Beagleboard:Terminal Shells

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Terminal Shells

When the BeagleBone Black is shipped, it has built-in networking that allows remote access. Since it has built-in network services, it can be accessed remotely over the internet and can be used to access electronic projects. There are multiple ways to connect to the BeagleBone Black. In the following wiki, you can connect to your BeagleBone Black through either a serial connection, SSH using an ethernet cable, or SSH to your BeagleBone's IP address over a USB cable. The advantages of each depend on the intentions of the user.

If the intention is to change some files, look through directories, or debug issues, serial connecting is a good option because it provides a reliable connection. Since the BeagleBone Black comes with a USB connection, it is really easy to connect to the host computer. If the user needs to debug issues on the BeagleBone Black such as checking for conflicting HDMI/eMMC pins, serial connecting is the best choice if the BeagleBone Black is connected to an FTDI cable. This allows the user to see what is occurring when the BeagleBone Black is booting up.

If there is a project that needs data logging and is in a remote location, setting up a static IP address is a good choice since it can be accessed anywhere, assuming the BeagleBone Black has an Ethernet connection or is connected with a WiFi dongle. Since it just requires an internet connection, it doesn't require the BeagleBone Black to be mounted, eliminating the need to download the drivers to the host computer. It should be noted that any faulty communication with the router can cause problems connecting.

If you want to program in BoneScript, running through the BeagleBone's IP address over a USB cable is the best choice because the BeagleBone Black's Angstrom Distribution ships with a socket server that runs as a service using node.js and bonescript. When the BeagleBone Black is connected to the computer, the IP address can be launched in either the Chrome or Firefox browser. When it is launched, there is a BoneScript interactive guide that can be used to interface with the BeagleBone Black directly through the press of a button. There is also a Cloud9IDE that can be launched to edit programs that live on the board. More information can be found in the Getting Started page.

Below, are instructions on how to connect with each of the aforementioned connections.


Serial Connect

1. Download PuTTy, a free implementation of Telnet with a terminal emulator. You can download it at this link. A window should pop up asking if you want to make changes. Press “yes” and wait for PuTTy to install.
2. Once installed, click the start menu and search for: “PuTTy-SSH” and open the program.
3. Under Connection Type: Click the “Serial” radio button.
4. Change COM number to COM Port # as specified in the Device Manager. If you are unsure of what COM port you have, refer to the "Finding COM Port with Device Manager" section on the bottom of this page.
5. On the left hand side of the Window look for: Expand Connection and find Serial. Double check the following settings.

  • Speed(baud): 115200
  • Data Bits: 8
  • Stop bits: 1
  • Parity: None
  • Flow Control None

6. (Optional) – Click back to ‘Session’ on the left and enter a name in the 'Saved Sessions' bar and then hit 'Save' button to save sessions for easy re-open later.
7. At the bottom right of the window, click the open button. Your terminal emulator is now ready.

SSH: Setting up a Static IP

If you would like to SSH into your BeagleBone Black with an ethernet cable, you can configure the IP settings of the BeagleBone Black through Linux shell commands. Before beginning this tutorial, make sure your BeagleBone Black is connected with an ethernet connection.

1. Serial connect to your BeagleBone Black, as described in the section above.
2. We will now check the inet address and Mask address of the current internet connection. Type the following into PuTTy:


You should see something like the picture below. On a piece of paper, write down the inet and Ethernet.PNG
3. Next, display the contents of the /etc/network/interfaces file by typing the following commands. Note: If you don't have this file, skip to step #4.

cat /etc/network/interfaces

If your board is configured to use DHCP services, you should see this:

iface eth0 inet dhcp

If your board is configured to use static IP settings, you should see this:

iface eth0 inet static

4. Using a text editor, such as 'nano', we will edit the interface settings. Type the following into PuTTy

$cd /etc/network
$sudo nano interfaces

5. Using your own inet and mask addresses, type the following in the 'nano' editor. When you are done, press Ctrl+x, enter Y to save the changes, and press Enter to exit the editor.

iface eth0 inet static

6. After performing these steps, your BeagleBone Black will have a static IP address and can be SSH'ed into using PuTTy. Power down your BeagleBone Black and turn it back on so we can test the IP settings.
7. Once your BeagleBone Black is connected to your PC, open up a new session for PuTTy. Make sure that the SSH radio button is highlighted then type in the inet you had into the "Host Name (or IP Address)" text box. Finally, click 'Open' on the bottom of the screen.
8. Assuming all the steps were followed, the BeagleBone Black will connect. Login as 'root' and press enter for password.
9. It may prompt you with a PuTTY Security alert about the server's host key. Press 'Yes' and it is now ready for use!

SSH: BeagleBone's IP Address

You can also connect to your BeagleBone Black by SSH'ing to it's IP address, which is
1. Connect the BeagleBone Black to your computer using the USB cable.
2. Open up PuTTy-SSH and click on the SSH radio button.
3. In Host Name, type in: and press Open at the bottom.
4. Log on as 'root' and press enter for the password. You are now connected!

Tera Term Installation and Use

1. Download Tera Term at this link
2. Install Tera Term with standard installation.
3. Open Tera Term and select the ‘Serial’ option at the bottom.
4. Make sure the correct COM port is selected. If you are unsure of what COM port you have, refer to the "Finding COM Port with Device Manager" section on the bottom of this page.
5. Hit ‘OK’ and the terminal to your BBB should open. Your terminal emulator is now ready.

Google Chrome Add-On: Secure Shell 0.8.19

If you use Google Chrome and are a fan of add-ons, Secure Shell is a great tool to use to SSH into your BBB!

  1. Plug in your BBB to your computer via a Mini-USB data cable.
  2. Download Secure Shell 0.8.19 from the following link.
  3. Once it is finished downloading, you can access the application if you open a new tab (Ctrl+n) and browse to your Google Chrome apps.
  4. We will now make a new connection. Look for the textbox that has "username@hostname or free form text" written in it. Replace it with root@
  5. Press enter and wait for it to load. It will ask you if you are sure if you want to continue connecting. Type in "yes."
  6. Your Secure Shell is now ready for use!
  • Note: The Secure Shell is in beta testing so not all features that you may want to use will be supported. Visit the chrome store regularly to see if they have made any updates. You can check their FAQ here.

Finding COM Port with Device Manager

  1. Make sure your BBB is disconnected from your computer.
  2. Click the Start Menu and search for "Device Manager." Click yes on the window that pops up and it will open.
  3. Look for "Ports (COM & LPT)" and press the arrow to expand.
  4. Write down the ports that are available.
  5. Use the provided USB cable to plug the Beagle into your computer.
  6. The Device Manager should refresh. Check "Ports (COM & LPT)" again and your BBB should appear. It will be the COM that wasn't there before. Write down the COM# on a piece of paper.