Microsemi:VSC8531BB1G/Specifications and Resources

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This is the official Microsemi VSC8531BBB Specifications & Resources Wiki maintained and supported by David Grant of Microsemi Corporation.
The majority of the content on this page was generated by Gerald Coley a founding member of BeagleBoard.org, a non-profit 501(C) organization.
If you have any questions or issues with the content on this Wiki, please contact David Grant



VSC8531BBB Description

The VSC8531BBB is the latest design to join the licensed BeagleBoard Compatible family. It is a lower-cost, high-expansion focused BeagleBoard using a low cost Sitara XAM3359AZCZ100 Cortex A8 ARM processor from Texas Instruments. It is similar to the Beaglebone Black (Rev C) but with some features added. The table below gives the high points on the differences between the BeagleBone Black (Rev C) and the VSC8531BBB.

File:BBBvsVSC8531BBB.jpg

VSC8531BBB Features

The following table lists the key features of the VSC8531BBB.

Features.jpg


In the box is (1)VSC8531BBB board, (1)micro USB cable, and (1)Quick Start card that should be read.

VSC8531BBB Picture

Here is a picture of the VSC8531BBB (Rev A) board.

File:VSC8531BBB REVA.jpg

VSC8531BBB Key Component Locations

Here are the locations of the key components on the VSC8531BBB.

COMP A5A.jpg

VSC8531BBB Connector and Switch Locations

Below is the location of the connectors and switches on the Rev A board.

File:VSC8531BBB CONN.jpg

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the VSC8531BBB & BeagleBone Black (Rev C)

List of frequently asked questions concerning the VSC8531BBB. It will be updated as more questions continued to be answered.

Terms of Use

UPDATED INFORMATION

You may use the VSC8531BBB design materials as you choose. There are no licences involved in the usage of the VSC8531BBB design materials. Microsemi does not encourage the use of the board that is manufactured under the BeagleBoard compatible licensed logo or the Microsemi logo in commercial products.
When used in a product, the end customer is responsible for its use in their product. Microsemi Corporation does not guarantee that it will work in any particular application or use case.
Changes in components used on the production of these boards such as memory devices (based on availability), may affect operation of the board, either positively or negatively.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. To
view a copy of this license, visit creativecommons.org or
send a letter to:
Creative Commons 171 Second Street, Suite 300 San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
All derivative works released back into the public domain are to be attributed as based on the
work created by Gerald Coley of BeagleBoard.org.
For more information, see Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License 

ALL design materials are Open-Source and easily accessible. Everything is provided to enable you to build your own board. You can make changes as needed or use it as-is. It is your product when you use these materials.
Feel free to build the board yourself at your local contract manufacturer of choice.

If you have questions on any of this, you can contact David Grant

Accessories

For a list of the confirmed working accessories please go to * Accessories Page
Covered there are cables, power supplies, displays,etc. Anything that can be added to the VSC8531BBB.

Optional JTAG

There is no JTAG over USB support on the VSC8531BBB. The VSC8531BBB is different than the BeagleBone. JTAG is an uninstalled option.

To install the JTAG header, all you have to do is install P2 on the back of the board.
P2 is a Samtec FTR-110-03-G-D-06 connector and can be purchased from Samtec or any of their distributors.

If you are using Code Composer Studio, you will need a Gel File

Cape Support

Microsemi Corporation nor Beagleboard.org are the maker of the various capes. Most of them are made and supported by Circuitco LLC under the beagleboardtoys.com name. For information on cape compatibility and support go to VSC8531BBB Capes

WIFI Adapters

           DONGLE                                    WORKS ON
ASUS USB-N13 802.11 b/g/n           Angstrom Debian 8.2
EDIMAX EW-7811UN          
D-Link DWA-125                       Debian LXDE,  Debian Gnome Desktop
D-Link DWA-121                      Angstrom  Debian LXDE,  Debian Gnome Desktop
Belkin N150                          Debian LXDE
TP-Link TL-WN727N                    Debian LXDE,  Debian Gnome Desktop
Netgear WNA1100                      Debian LXDE,  Debian Gnome Desktop
Keebox W150NU                        Debian LXDE,  Debian Gnome Desktop

Note: Always run the board from 5VDC 1A minimum supply when using a Wifi Dongle. You may need to use a extension cable to move the dongle away from the planes of the PCB.
Sometimes standoffs will work. We also have had instances where when placed in a metal case, there can be Wifi issues as well.
You can also use a dongle with a real antenna on it such as [http:// http://www.logicsupply.com/uwn200/. Logic Supply] which will help

Serial Debug Cable

For information on the serial debug cables go to Serial Debug Cables

Board Revisions and Changes

Revision A (Proposed Production Version)

This board design is essentially a revision of the BeagleBone Black (Rev C) Design with some design modifications made to it by Embedded Product Design LLC

Expansion Header Pin Usage

There are several precautions that need to me taken when working with the expansion headers to prevent damage to the board.

ALL VOLTAGE LEVELS ARE 3.3V MAX. APPLICATION OF 5V TO ANY I/O PIN WILL DAMAGE THE PROCESSOR AND VOID THE WARRANTY.
ANALOG IN VOLTAGES ARE 1.8V MAX. APPLICATION OF >1.8V TO ANY A/D PIN WILL DAMAGE THE PROCESSOR AND VOID THE WARRANTY.

1) Do not apply any voltages to any I/O pins when the board is not powered on.
2) Do not drive any external signals into the I/O pins until after the SYS_RESETn signal is HI (3.3V).
3) Do not apply any voltages that are generated from external sources until SYS_RESETn signal is HI.
4) If voltages are generated from the VDD_5V signal, those supplies must not become active until after the SYS_RESETn signal is HI.
5) If you are applying signals from other boards into the expansion headers, make sure you power the board up after you power up the VSC8531BBB or make the connections after power is applied on both boards.

In the System Reference Manual you will find reference to Boot Pins. These pins are connected to the expansion header.
If you load or terminate these pins to the point it affects their default setting, the board will not boot.

Powering the processor via its I/O pins can cause damage to the processor.
The expansion headers can be viewed on this Cape Expansion Headers.

Serial Header Usage

Power restrictions on the serial debug header are not an issue. On the board, there is a buffer that prevents damage from occurring by having the connector of the FTDI cable connected to the the header. It is safe to do and will not cause damage to the board when power is not applied to the board.

Extremely Useful Links

BeagleBoard home page
BeagleBoard How to Videos
Hipster Cricuits
Getting Started On VSC8531BBB
Adafruit Tutorials This site is well worth a visit. You may even decide to make it your home page!
Derek Molloy's Blog
GPIO and Device Tree (Derek Molloy)
C/C++ Introduction on BeagleBone (Derek Malloy)
Hackaday You can also subscribe to this. Should be checked often for the latest cool projects on VSC8531BBB
Interent Sharing On Windows 7
Robert P. J. Day's Wiki
Linuxonarm Wiki

Expanding the Storage Partition on microSD

If you have installed a Linux distribution on your microSD you can modify the root file system partition. You are then able to utilize all of the space on your microSD card regardless of the size of the default partition of your given image. Follow the instructions found on Expanding File System Partition on a MicroSD.

Note: The instructions on that page are general and are not guaranteed to work on every Linux distribution.

BoneScript

Bonescript is a Node.js library specifically optimized for the Beagle family, featuring familiar Arduino function calls, exported to the browser. The BoneScript library provides several functions useful for interacting with your hardware. The following BoneScript provides a dozen of hardware demos that interact with the VSC8531BBB.

Connecting to the VSC8531BBB: Serial Connection, SSH, or USB

In the following Terminal Shells page, there are instructions on how to connect to the VSC8531BBB through either a serial connection, SSH using an ethernet cable, or SSH to the BeagleBone's built-in IP address over a USB cable.

Creating a uSD card for Extra Storage

MicroSD Card For Extra Storage

HDMI Issues

HDMI Issues..We have several people having issues getting the board to work with various TVs and Displays. RMA returns have shown no issues.

If you are having issues a separate support page has been set up at HDMI Issues

Known Issues

WIKI Issues

If you find any issues with any information on this WIKI, please send the information to the discussion forum http://beagleboard.org/Community/Forums.

Software

1) The microSD card cannot be used as a storage device when booting from microSD in the 3.8 kernel.
2) SGX support is not currently provided i the 3.8 kernel. 3) The latest production image 6_20_2013 does not work on Lapdocks.

You can find a list of reported issues and add additional ones by going to Bug Tracker

Hardware

Here are the known Hardware issues:

Improper Power Down....All Revisions

We have been noticing a very small number of boards that are experiencing power issues, where the LED flashes and the board does not power up. We have been chasing this for a while now and due to the small number of boards that have the issue and the fact that the issue can also be caused by having things connected to IO pins not powered correctly, it has been hard to nail down. Our initial take was that it was a manufacturing issue on some boards, but we could never prove that. Based on the latest information we have gathered, this appears to be an instance where the PMIC does not power down the processor in the right order due to the violent removal of the power cables, either USB or DC. So, we are recommending that the power button be used to power off the board or by issuing the Halt command. After that you can remove the power cable. If everyone follows this process, we should see a decrease in these issues, but it will take a while for the results, either good or bad, to show up. This will also help prevent the contamination of the eMMC and the SD cards by allowing the kernel to shutdown properly before power is removed.

Another issue that we have seen is that the power supply when plugged in will create a spike that exceeds the voltage rating of the PMIC or will cause the voltage to drop momentarily. This can occur after power up cycle has started. When this occurs, the PMIC will shutdown. This can cause the processor to be powered down before it is powered all the way up, damaging the processor. It is suggested that to prevent this that you use a well regulated power supply that can handle the current surge of the powering up process.

Software Resources

Debian Beta Image

All boards now ship with the Debian image. The Debian is compatible with all versions of the VSC8531BBB

MachineKit Debian Image with LinuxCNC and Xenomai

Building a CNC machine or 3D printer can be greatly simplified with this customized Linux distribution. http://blog.machinekit.io/p/machinekit_16.html

Angstrom

It is highly recommended that you always use the latest version of the Software.
For instructions on updating the Angstrom Software on your VSC8531BBB go to Updating the Software

If you power off the board without using the Power Button to do it, you can corrupt the data in the eMMC Flash.
For instructions on reflashing the Angstrom Software on your VSC8531BBB go to Updating the Software

Software Sources

To access the getting started guide do the following:

1) Go to http://github.com/jadonk/beaglebone-getting-started.
2) At the top of the page next to the "Clone in Windows" button, click the ZIP button.
3) Unzip that folder into a separate directory.
4) Open the readme file.

Android

For instructions on how to get Android onto the board goto Android

FreeBSD

FreeBSD now has official support for VSC8531BBB: Project Page

Nintendo

If you want to turn your VSC8531BBB into a SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) you can check that out at BeagleSNES
This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco or BeagleBoard.org.

Gentoo

This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco or BeagleBoard.org. Gentoo

ArchLinux

This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco or BeagleBoard.org. ArchLinux

LinuxCNC

This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco or BeagleBoard.org. LinuxCNC

Minix

This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco or BeagleBoard.org. Minix

XNU

This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco or BeagleBoard.org. CNU

Asterisk

This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco or BeagleBoard.org. Asterisk (Instructions Asterisk on VSC8531BBB).

TI EZSDK

For information on how to install the latest EZSDK from TI got to EZSDK.

Beaglenmt

The BeagleBone Network Multitool (beaglenmt) is a lightweight, X11-free, networking-centric, and IPv6-ready server distribution targeting the BeagleBone platform. beaglenmt supports the VSC8531BBB hardware platform.

Hardware Files

LATEST PRODUCTION FILES (A)

The links below are static links that always point to the latest version of the listed documents. These links can be used by distributors or users to point to the latest documentation. As documents are updated, the links will remain the same, but the actual file will be updated. This insures that you always have the latest documents and your links will always work.

If you have any questions on these files (once made available in the July time frame), please contact David Grant

These links do not work at this time.

BeagleBone Capes

BeagleBone capes are add on boards that can be connected to the VSC8531BBB to add functionality. These capes are made by a lot of different companies and individuals.
A list of capes that are in production are listed at BeagleBone Capes.

If you have a cape that is in production and can be purchased and you would like it listed, please contact Circuitco. More information regarding the Cape Expansion Headers can be found at Cape Expansion Headers.

Most of the current capes will work with the VSC8531BBB at some point. However, the kernel is 3.8 on the VSC8531BBB, so work is required to get the drivers updated for most of the capes to work.
Some may not work or may require some hardware changes due to some differences in the design of the VSC8531BBB as described below.

For a list of the ones that are currently identified as compatible and incompatible, go to VSC8531BBB Capes.

Onboard HDMI

The onboard HDMI driver uses the LCD pins. They are still connected to the expansion header, but in some cases, they could cause an LCD cape to have some noise issues unless the cape has a buffer.
A buffer should take care of this issue. If you want to use these pins as GPIO pins, you may be limited in speed due to the capacitance caused by the loading of the pins by the HDMI driver.
They should function fine in most applications.

Onboard eMMC

The onboard eMMC uses the MMC1 signals. They are also connected to the expansion header.
The expectation is that in order to use these signals, the eMMC device on the VSC8531BBB will need to be disabled by activating the reset line to the eMMC device.
It is not clear that this will work as you have to write to the eMMC first and tell it to enable the reset. At this point in time, it is not totally clear that the reset line will do the trick. Further investigation is ongoing. This will also require booting from the uSD port.
Best option is to not use the MMC1_CLK and MMC1_CMD signals at all and tie them low.
Do not use these signals for anything else while trying to use the other eMMC1 lines on the expansion header.

10Pin Connector

The 10 pin power expansion header is not available on the VSC8531BBB. Any cape needing this connector will not be 100% compatible.

Regulatory Compliance Documents

If you have any questions on these files (once made available in the July time frame), please contact David Grant

These links do not work at this time.

Export Information

ECCN: 5A002A1

CCATS: TBD

RMA Support

If you feel the board is defective and you want to get it looked at go to RMA Request You will need the serial number. It is located on the expansion header in the form of a white label.

We only accept RMA requests for those boards purchased through authorized Microsemi Corporation distributors that carry the VSC8531BBB.
You can find a list of authorized distributors on the buy pages at http://www.microsemi.com/salescontacts
If you purchase a board from an unauthorized distributor, you need to return the board to them for replacement or repair.

Books

Books specifically on BeagleBone

Recommended books on hot topics around BeagleBone

Recommended books on Linux

Recommended books on ARM architecture