Revision as of 10:02, 26 August 2008 by Mru (talk | contribs) (Correct NEON bug workaround gitweb link)
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This page collects frequently asked questions (FAQ) about TI's ARM based OMAP3 Beagle Board. See "official" BeagleBoard FAQ and eLinux BeagleBoard wiki page, too.

Board revisions

Q: What is the difference between BeagleBoard revision B4 and B5?

A: Revision B5 removes capacitor C70 to fix errata #7.

BeagleBoard alternative distributors

Q: Are there any alternative distributors to order BeagleBoard from?

A: No, unfortunately not. You have to order from DigiKey.

DigiKey out of stock

Q: I like to order a BeagleBoard from DigiKey. But they seem to be out of stock?

A: DigiKey is having IT issues in that they can't handle partial shipments against an order, it does not show up in their system. Currently, they are receiving > 200 boards a week from the contract manufacturer. Typically they will only show a QTY of 1 for EVMs and it is not an indication of total quantity they have.

Shipped hardware

Q: I like to buy a BeagleBoard from DigiKey, what hardware is included?

A: Only the board itself. To make board as cheap as possible, for most peripherals you need additional adapters.

Shipped software

Q: I like to buy a BeagleBoard from DigiKey, what software is included?

A: 2nd stage loader (X-Loader) and bootloader U-Boot in diagnostic version is flashed to Beagle's NAND flash. No further operating system, e.g. Linux, is included.

Peripherals needed

Q: As shipped BeagleBoard doesn't contain any peripherals and adapters, what else will I need?

A: There are some adapters necessary to bring up and some are nice to have for diagnosis etc.:

  • IDC10 to DB9M serial adapter (necessary)
  • Serial null modem cable (optional, depends on your serial adapter and your serial PC port)
  • USB serial adapter (optional, depends if your PC has still DB9M serial connector)
  • SD card >= 256MB (necessary, at least for some fun with demos)
  • USB-A to mini USB cable to power BeagleBoard (necessary, or optional if you have additional 5V power supply, see below)
  • 5V, >= 500mA, 2,1mm/5,5mm plug, stabilized power supply (optional)
  • HDMI to DVI-D cable (optional)
  • USB Standard-A to Mini-A Adapter (optional, for USB usage external 5V power supply is necessary)
  • Self power USB hub (optional, and some USB peripherals like keyboard and mouse)

New board, and now

Q: Hurray, I got my board. And now?

A: See out of the box page.

Serial connection #1

Q: If I power my new board, after some seconds USR1 and USR2 LEDs are switching on, but I can't get anything in terminal program (minicom, kermit, hyperterm etc,).

A: Review wiring of your IDC10 to DB9M serial adapter, try with and without NullModem cable, try to use DB9 serial port of your PC or USB serial adapter. Try all combinations.

BeagleBoard only implements RS-232 signals RX, TX, and GND. These are pins 2, 3, and 5 of BeagleBoard 5x2 header P9 and also the DB9 connector on the serial adapter. To see if there is any activity at all on the serial port, use an RS-232 LED monitor or break-out box or a digital oscilloscope to see if there is a bit stream on TX.

Serial connection #2

Q: I tried everything from serial connection #1 above but still nothing. It seems that I sometimes get some random characters, though.

A: If there is a bit stream, check that you have configured your terminal program to:

  • BAUD RATE: 115200
  • DATA: 8 bit
  • PARITY: none
  • STOP: 1bit
  • FLOW CONTROL: none

This will work with most PCs. However, your PC may want to see DSR before it transmits to BeagleBoard and needs to have DTR (pin 4) wrapped back to DSR (pin 6).

Serial connection #3

Q: Hurray, I got my new board, I'm quite sure that my serial connection is correct using the above two FAQs. Unfortunately, I get (boot) output, but can't type anything at U-Boot prompt.

A: Try test proposed from John: Here's a useful experiment: disconnect BeagleBoard and jumper TX (DB9 pin 3) to RX (pin 2) at the end of your serial cable. See if your jumper echoes to your terminal emulator. If not, try jumpering DTR (pin 4) to DSR (pin 6) and repeat test. You can also jumper RTS (pin7) to CTS (pin 8) if you don't trust your software to have turned off flow control.

Serial connection #4

Q: I tried all three serial FAQs above, and I'm really really sure that anything is fine with my local serial configuration. But I still can't type anything at U-Boot prompt.

A: If you get TX data from the BeagleBoard OK but do not get RX data from your terminal program to BeagleBoard, check P9 pin 2 with a digital 'scope or an LED with 1K series resistor to see if there is any activity there. If there is data and you are really, really sure that everything is correct with your serial connection, then most probably your board suffers from errata #8. Then it's time for the Beagle Hospital. Sorry, you have to replace/repair it using RMA process.

Graphics accelerator

Q: OMAP3530 used on BeagleBoard contains a graphics accelerator (SGX) based on the SGX core from Imagination Technologies. Are Linux drivers available for this? If not, when will they be available? Will they be OpenSource?

A: See Graphics accelerator section at BeagleBoard wiki page.

USB 2.0 EHCI HS connector

Q: On my board, USB 2.0 EHCI HS connector (#8) isn't soldered? Why? How can I use USB?

A: At revision A and B boards, USB 2.0 EHCI HS is broken due to HW errata #5. Therefore revision B boards don't have this connector soldered. This will be fixed with revision C boards (expected ~November 2008). You can use full USB functionality using OTG port with something like mini A to USB A adapter and self powered USB hub instead.

Expansion connector #1

Q: I got my new BeagleBoard Rev. xx board. But expansion connector (#5) isn't soldered. Is this wrong?

A: No, this is correct. All boards are shipped without mounted expansion connector.

Expansion connector #2

Q: Which signals are available at expansion connector?

A: See BeagleBoard HW Reference Manual Table 18. Depending on the pin mux you have:

  • MMC2
  • McBSP1
  • McBSP3
  • I2C2
  • McSPI3
  • McSPI4
  • UART2
  • GPIO

Expansion connector #3

Q: Should I mount expansion connector at top or bottom side?

A: Do as you like and as it fits your application. This is the reason why it isn't soldered by default

Expansion connector #4

Q: How much current can the Beagle supply to peripherals?

A: You are limited to 100mA @ 1.8V. This is referenced in the BeagleBoard HW Reference Manual in section 5.20.

Sound at git kernel

Q: I use OMAP git kernel, e.g. by Koen's demo images or I compiled it my own. Using audio or mplayer with audio output kernel crashes with something like

Unable to handle kernel NULL pointer dereference at virtual address 00000000

A: Unfortunately, ALSA sound output with current OMAP git kernel is broken. It is supposed that Beagle ASoC driver is fine, but something in ALSA together with the driver results in above error. So you can't use audio with recent git kernel, used within Koen's demo images, too. Use mplayer with -nosound option or use omapfbplay.

NEON performance

Q: There is some rumor that NEON performance is bad due to a OMAP3 hardware bug?

A: The hardware bug will be fixed with OMAP3 silicon revision ES3.0 (not available yet, available with Beagle revision C boards?). There is a software workaround used at BeagleBoard, e.g. with Koen's demo images. The performance impact isn't clear, yet. But the remaining performance is sufficient to play 720p video using omapfbplay at BeagleBoard :-)

Demo videos

Q: I'm using Koen's demo image. Which (demo) videos can I use to test (720p) video playback with mplayer or omapfbplay?

Q: Try 720p .avi versions of

Don't forget to disable sound, though.

Note: Don't forget to extend your kernel's bootargs in U-Boot by



Q: Who is Boris?

A: You don't know Boris?