BeagleBoard.org BBB Wireless BBBWL-SC-562 - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: BeagleBoard.org BBB Wireless BBBWL-SC-562

Author: ninjatrent

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Evaluation Boards

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: Raspberry Pi 3

What were the biggest problems encountered?: Shutdown with power button not consistent. HDMI Micro Type D port and USB port too close together. Tight fit when using both ports at same time.

Detailed Review:

I would  like  to  start by  thanking  the  Element  14  community  for allowing  me  the  privilege  of participation  in  the  testing  and review  of this  product . I hope  that  you will  find  this report  helpful  and thank  you  for  your  time reading  it. Okay  let's  get  started. It is with  great  honor  I present  to you, the Beaglebone  Black  Wireless.

Arrival of the Beagle Bone Black Wireless

 

 

    The BBB Wireless  arrived  from  Newark  Element  14 on time  as promised. It was found

securely  packaged and intact upon  opening  of box. Packaging  is  of good  quality  with  Newark

Element  14 website  printed on  box. Inside  the  box  protected with  recyclable  packing  paper  and

pink antistatic  bubble  wrap  is the  box containing  the  BBB  Wireless, a Micro USB to USB cable and some  documentation from  Element  14. The  box containing  the  BBB W is of very  good  quality. Glossy  printed color  image  of device  on box, on reverse some  information  about  the  device  and country  of  origin which  is  Madison Heights, Michigan,USA.

 

    Inside  the  box  I found  a printed  card from beagleboard.org containing easy to follow  instructions  for  the  first  boot. On the  reverse  of card are found  two different  methods  of getting  started  with  the  device. The first  option  is “Tethered  to  a PC” and the  directions are as follows:

Tethered to a PC

 

1. Connect the  USB cable  to the  board

2. Connect  the  other  end  of  the  USB  cable  to  the  PC

3. Look  for  a  new  mass storage  drive  to appear  on  PC

4. Open the  drive  and click  on START.HTM

5. Follow  the  instructions  on the  PC

 

Stand alone  Beaglebone Black

 

       Here  are  the  directions  as listed. I would  like  to  mention  that  this method  will  require  peripherals  not  included  with  the  board. They  are  an USB  keyboard  and  mouse, an USB  hub, a HDMI  TYPE  A  to  HDMI MICRO  TYPE  D  cable, and  a 5V  1 - 2A  DC Power  Supply with  a  2.1mm ID x 5.5mm OD Coaxial DC Barrel Plug or USB Micro Type B Plug, all of  which  are  available  from  Newark Element  14 ,  Premier  Farnell  Element  14, MCM Electronics, and Adafruit. The  start up  guide  states a 5V 1A DC power  supply  but  I purchased a 5V  2A  DC Power  Supply with  a  2.1mm ID x 5.5mm OD Coaxial DC Barrel Plug and one with a USB Micro Type B Plug for this Road Test. If  you  have  the  necessary  peripherals  to get started  with  the  stand alone  Beaglebone  then here  are  the  simple  instructions  for  that method as stated in provided  quick  start guide.

 

1. Connect the keyboard/mouse to the USB Host port

2. Connect  the  HDMI  cable  to the  board

3. Connect  the  HDMI  cable  to  the  HDMI  monitor

4. Plug  in  a 5V  1A  DC  power  supply

5. Board  will  boot without  password

6. Desktop  will  appear  on  the  monitor

 

BeagleBone Black Wireless Specifications:

 

Processor:  Octavo Systems OSD335x SiP TI Sitara AM335x 1GHz ARM® Cortex-A8

SGX530 graphics accelerator, NEON floating-point accelerator, and 2x PRU 32-bit 200MHz microcontrollers in a 27mm x 27mm BGA Package.

 

Memory: 512MB 800MHZ DDR3 RAM, 4GB 8-bit eMMC on-board flash storage, and SD/MMC Connector for microSD

 

Software Compatibility:

Debian Linux, Android, Ubuntu, Cloud9 IDE on Node.js w/ BoneScript library

 

Connectivity:

High speed USB 2.0 Client port: Access to USB0, Client mode via microUSB

High speed USB 2.0 Host port: Access to USB1, Type A Socket, 500mA LS/FS/HS

Serial port: UART0 access via 6 pin 3.3V TTL Header. Header is populated

WiLink 1835 WiFi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz.  Supports the following modes:

2x2 MIMO , AP, SmartConfig, STA, Wi-Fi Direct, Mesh over Wi-Fi based on 802.11s, and Bluetooth 4.1 with BLE

Power management: TPS65217C PMIC is used along with a separate LDO to provide power to the system

Debug Support: Optional Onboard 20-pin CTI JTAG, Serial Header

Power Source: microUSB USB or DC Jack , 5VDC External Via Expansion Header

User Input / Output: Reset Button, Boot Button, and Power Button

4 user configurable LEDs; WiFi and BT LEDs; Power LED

Video/Audio Interfaces: HDMI D type interface, LCD interface, Stereo audio over HDMI interface

Expansion Interfaces: LCD, UART, eMMC, ADC, I2C, SPI, PWM

 

Personal notes:

 

    The uFL SMT Antenna Connectors are a great feature allowing the user multiple options to upgrade from factory to larger antennas with the use of uFL to SMA and UFL to RP-SMA adapter cables. With the addition of the TI WiLink 1835 WiFi Chip the potential use in IT and Robotics applications is only limited to your imagination.

     Important note, P9-07 SYS 5V receives power from micro USB 5V power supply while P9-05 VDD 5V receives power when the barrel plug 5V power supply is used.

   The proximity of USB port and  HDMI  Micro  Type  D port are a bit close. Very tight fit when using usb port and HDMI Micro Type D cable at same time. A change to more readily available HDMI Mini Type C would be optimal if intended for use with display. Even though the Micro Type D port occupies less space than the Mini Type C, there are more available options the Mini Type C. I ran into some difficulty locating a Type D that would fit while also using the USB port. Changing out the USB Type A port for USB Micro Type B OTG would free up space on PCB. I found the HDMI port unnecessary with my intended application.

     The addition of a CSI camera port similar to Raspberry Pi 3 would be helpful and a beagleboard standard camera of at least 8 MP would be awesome. There are many cameras that are compatible with the BBBW but as the user I would prefer to use a camera that is optimally designed for use with the BBBW.

     Timing of powering down the BBBW with power button is not consistent and a bit unpredictable. This could be due to process running in backround or issue in my device tree. Longest time to power down with power button about 2 minutes. Power down through SSH is very quick and responsive.

 

     I was very interested to see how much heat the BBBW generated while the CPU was under a full workload. I took surface temperature readings from several points on the BBBW with an infrared thermometer. The highest surface temperature I recorded was 109.1°F or 42.83°C on the processor.

 

Overall the BBBW performed exceptionally. The recent addition of the TI WiLink 1835 WiFi chip allows users more options for connectivity and development. The greatest thing about the BBBW is that it is an open source, open hardware platform. If there is something you don’t like about the design, or you feel it might not suit your particular application needs, the BeagleBoard organization has made available all design files and software on GitHub.

  https://github.com/beagleboard/beaglebone-black-wireless

 

 

Here is link if you would to learn more about BeagleBoard.org:

 

  http://beagleboard.org/black-wireless

 

 

This is a link to the Octavo Systems website where information regarding the  Octavo Systems OSD335x SiP TI Sitara AM335x 1GHz ARM® Cortex-A8 Processor:

 

`    http://octavosystems.com/octavo_products/osd335x/

 

 

Currently I have connected to the BBBW an Adafruit BME280 temp/baro/humidity breakout board, the Adafruit DS3231 Precision RTC breakout board, Adafruit 0.56" 4-Digit 7-Segment Display w/I2C Backpack,  and an Adafruit Power Boost 1000c LiPo charger & power supply mounted on the Adafruit BeagleBone ProtoPlate.

 

Here you will find helpful info on configuration of these components with the BeagleBone Black Wireless:

 

      https://learn.adafruit.com/adding-a-real-time-clock-to-beaglebone-black

 

      https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit_Python_BME280

 

      https://github.com/adafruit/adafruit-beaglebone-io-python/blob/master/doc/run_config-pin_during_startup.md

 

    https://learn.adafruit.com/led-backpack-displays-on-raspberry-pi-and-beaglebone-black

 

 

Final remarks

  I am very impressed with the performance of the BeagleBone Black Wireless. There is not much that I would improve other than the few points previously mentioned.  Most cases, peripherals, and other accessories designed for use with the BeagleBone Black are compatible with the BBBW. I highly recommend the BeagleBone Black Wireless to anyone who is looking to purchase a reliable single board computer with amazing wireless capabilities for development.

 

Update 7-19-17

 


     The Adafruit Proto Cape Kit fits with lid fully closed. The lid will require modification to accommodate any additional components on top of the Proto Cape.

 

                          Custom 27mm x 27mm heatsink. The BBB W does not require a heatsink.

  I used the mounting hardware from the Adafruit Proto Plate kit. If you would like to purchase the mounting hardware separately, the dimensions are as follows:

 

      4 x 4-40 1/2" Metal or Nylon Polyamide Screws

      4 x 4-40 Metal or Nylon Polyamide Hexnuts

      4 x 3/16" Nylon Polyamide Standoffs * This height will work if the Micro USB is used for power. If you desire to use the 5V power jack, a shorter standoff must be used.

Anonymous
  • Hi All,
    I am not sure if anyone else has faced this issue. I have BBB Wireless installed with latest Debian installed in it. Wifi works fine for less than an hour and disconnects. I use Dynamic IP. Can you suggest me some solution for my problem?
    More details:

     

    /boot/uEnv.txt

     

    #Docs: http://elinux.org/Beagleboard:U-boot_partitioning_layout_2.0

     

    uname_r=4.4.91-ti-r133

    #uuid=

    #dtb=

     

     

    ###U-Boot Overlays###

    ###Documentation: http://elinux.org/Beagleboard:BeagleBoneBlack_Debian#U-Boot_Overlays

    ###Master Enable

    #enable_uboot_overlays=1

    ###

    ###Overide capes with eeprom

    #uboot_overlay_addr0=/lib/firmware/<file0>.dtbo

    #uboot_overlay_addr1=/lib/firmware/<file1>.dtbo

    #uboot_overlay_addr2=/lib/firmware/<file2>.dtbo

    #uboot_overlay_addr3=/lib/firmware/<file3>.dtbo

    ###

    ###Additional custom capes

    #uboot_overlay_addr4=/lib/firmware/<file4>.dtbo

    #uboot_overlay_addr5=/lib/firmware/<file5>.dtbo

    #uboot_overlay_addr6=/lib/firmware/<file6>.dtbo

    #uboot_overlay_addr7=/lib/firmware/<file7>.dtbo

    ###

    ###Custom Cape

    #dtb_overlay=/lib/firmware/<file8>.dtbo

    ###

    ###Disable auto loading of virtual capes (emmc/video/wireless/adc)

    #disable_uboot_overlay_emmc=1

    #disable_uboot_overlay_video=1

    #disable_uboot_overlay_audio=1

    #disable_uboot_overlay_wireless=1

    #disable_uboot_overlay_adc=1

    ###

    ###PRUSS OPTIONS

    ###pru_rproc (4.4.x-ti kernel)

    uboot_overlay_pru=/lib/firmware/AM335X-PRU-RPROC-4-4-TI-00A0.dtbo

    ###pru_uio (4.4.x-ti & mainline/bone kernel)

    #uboot_overlay_pru=/lib/firmware/AM335X-PRU-UIO-00A0.dtbo

    ###

    ###Cape Universal Enable

    enable_uboot_cape_universal=1

    ###

    ###Debug: disable uboot autoload of Cape

    #disable_uboot_overlay_addr0=1

    #disable_uboot_overlay_addr1=1

    #disable_uboot_overlay_addr2=1

    #disable_uboot_overlay_addr3=1

    ###

    ###U-Boot fdt tweaks...

    #uboot_fdt_buffer=0x60000

    ###U-Boot Overlays###

     

     

    cmdline=coherent_pool=1M net.ifnames=0 quiet

     

    #In the event of edid real failures, uncomment this next line:

    #cmdline=coherent_pool=1M net.ifnames=0 quiet video=HDMI-A-1:1024x768@60e

     

    ##Example v3.8.x

    #cape_disable=capemgr.disable_partno=

    #cape_enable=capemgr.enable_partno=

     

    ##Example v4.1.x

    #cape_disable=bone_capemgr.disable_partno=

    cape_enable=bone_capemgr.enable_partno=BB-UART1

     

    ##enable Generic eMMC Flasher:

    ##make sure, these tools are installed: dosfstools rsync

    #cmdline=init=/opt/scripts/tools/eMMC/init-eMMC-flasher-v3.sh

     

    ###Overide capes with eeprom

    uboot_overlay_addr0=/lib/firmware/BB-UART1-00A0.dtbo

     

     

    /etc/network/interface

     

    # This file describes the network interfaces available on your system

    # and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

     

    # The loopback network interface

    auto lo

    iface lo inet loopback

     

    # The primary network interface

    #auto eth0

    #iface eth0 inet dhcp

    # Example to keep MAC address between reboots

    #hwaddress ether DE:AD:BE:EF:CA:FE

     

    ##connman: ethX static config

    #connmanctl services

    #Using the appropriate ethernet service, tell connman to setup a static IP address for that service:

    #sudo connmanctl config <service> --ipv4 manual <ip_addr> <netmask> <gateway> --nameservers <dns_server>

     

    ##connman: WiFi

    #

     

    # Ethernet/RNDIS gadget (g_ether)

    # Used by: /opt/scripts/boot/autoconfigure_usb0.sh

    iface usb0 inet static

        address 192.168.7.2

        netmask 255.255.255.252

        network 192.168.7.0

        gateway 192.168.7.1

     

  • Thank you very much.

     

    The pre-installed Debian Linux LQXT desktop is not as user freindly as Windows or iOS. That is not to discourage non Linux users, but to encourage them to learn the all the benefits of an open source operating system. There are many resources and community support available at  beagleboard.org, element14.com, adafruit.com, and more.  It would be great for some that would like to learn more about linux, arduino, python,and java script. The Bone Script library that as available thru internet browser when the BBBW is connected to PC with USB cable is Node.js library specifically written for the BeagleBone family. The Node.js library is java script runtime built on Google's Chrome V8 open source java script engine. I have not yet fully explored the the Bone Script library but have tried a few of the examples that interact with the four user programmable LEDs.  Had some issues with connecting to Windows 10 PC which I will revisit now that there is more time. Currently I use a Raspberry Pi 3 or my android tablet to connect to the BBBW thru wifi with ssh. If the user has a basic understanding of programing and computers then they should have no problems learning. With so many available resources, documentation, and community support, it is easy to get started. It's amazing how much power one can fit in an Altoids mint tin.

     

         Thank you for your time in reading this report.

     

     

           Trent

  • Nice test report.

     

    How easy is the software to use for a non Linux person?

     

    DAB

  • Thank you very much. Huge thanks to the Element 14 community and the supplier. It's truly an honor to be a part of this community. I look forward to sharing more of my personal experience with the BBB-W in my blog.

  • Thank you very much. And thank you for reading it.

  • I'll agree with , for a first-time review, I think this is good. You'll get better as you do more of them. But overall you produced the kind of review we are looking for. part unboxing, part experiments, part project and part overall opinion with some kind of media support (images, in your case.

     

    A roadtest is not a design challenge. It's a product review. Unboxing and experiments are the meat-and-potatoes of a roadtest. We want to see you play around with it. Now, some people actually create a design-challenge kind of project. While that's great to do, I'm not thrilled about it if it can't be done in the 60 days. I right now, I have a roadtester who has told me he is using the product in a prototype for his job, and the way he described it, I was quite interested. But it's been at least 3 months and I've had to explain twice to the supplier why the review is not complete.

     

    Listing the instructions to fairly simple tests are not needed. But if you are testing something unique, then I would like to see them.

     

    I liked the infrared thermometer test. Something unique.

     

    Your images of how you connected it to the adafruit boards was a good touch.

     

    Providing resources is great. I'm sure they will help someone.

     

    Overall, you did a good job. Thanks.

     

    Randall Scasny

    RoadTest Program Manager

  • A good review with some interesting experiments and useful suggestions. It is your first review as you posted somewhere else, so my congrat!

     

    Enrico