Microsemi:VSC8531BB1G/Specifications and Resources
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
- 1 VSC8531BBB Description
- 2 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about the VSC8531BBB & BeagleBone Black (Rev C)
- 4 Accessories
- 5 Board Revisions and Changes
- 6 HDMI Issues
- 7 Known Issues
- 8 Software Resources
- 9 Hardware Files
- 10 BeagleBone Capes
- 11 Regulatory Compliance Documents
- 12 Export Information
- 13 RMA Support
- 14 Books
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.
The following table lists the key features of the VSC8531BBB.
In the box is (1)VSC8531BBB board, (1)micro USB cable, and (1)Quick Start card that should be read.
Here is a picture of the VSC8531BBB (Rev A) board.
VSC8531BBB Key Component Locations
Here are the locations of the key components on the VSC8531BBB.
VSC8531BBB Connector and Switch Locations
Below is the location of the connectors and switches on the Rev A board.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
If you find any issues with any information on this WIKI, please send the information to the discussion forum http://beagleboard.org/Community/Forums.
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
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.
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
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
- Bootloader: http://www.denx.de/wiki/U-Boot/SourceCode (git://git.denx.de/u-boot.git)
- Kernel: http://github.com/beagleboard/kernel/tree/3.8
- Root file system: http://github.com/beagleboard/meta-beagleboard
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.
For instructions on how to get Android onto the board goto Android
FreeBSD now has official support for VSC8531BBB: Project Page
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.
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. ArchLinux
This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco or BeagleBoard.org. LinuxCNC
This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco or BeagleBoard.org. Minix
This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco or BeagleBoard.org. CNU
For information on how to install the latest EZSDK from TI got to EZSDK.
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.
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.
- VSC8531BBB System Reference Manual Rev A.1(PDF)
- VSC8531BBB Schematic (PDF)
- VSC8531BBB Schematic (OrCAD)
- VSC8531BBB BOM (xls)
- VSC8531BBB PCB Files Rev A (Allegro and Gerbers)
- MD5 Checksum for all files (md5)
- All Hardware Documents
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 specifically on BeagleBone
- BeagleBone Cookbook: Software and Hardware Problems and Solutions
- Exploring BeagleBone: Tools and Techniques for Building with Embedded Linux examples
- Bad to the Bone: Crafting Electronics Systems with Beaglebone and VSC8531BBB examples
- Learning BeagleBone Python Programming
- Learning BeagleBone
- BeagleBone Home Automation
- Building a Home Security System with BeagleBone
- BeagleBone Robotic Projects
- BeagleBone for Secret Agents
- BeagleBone for Dummies
- 30 VSC8531BBB Projects for the Evil Genius
- The VSC8531BBB Primer
- Building a VSC8531BBB Super Cluster
- VSC8531BBB Interfacing: hardware and software
- Mastering BeagleBone Robotics
- VSC8531BBB Programming by Example
- BeagleBone Media Center
- Android Hardware Interfacing with the VSC8531BBB
- BeagleBone Essentials
- Building Network and Servers Using Beaglebone
- Using Yocto Project with VSC8531BBB
- VSC8531BBB Programming using Matlab
- VSC8531BBB Cookbook
- My VSC8531BBB work notes (Japanese)
- BeagleBone Robot Development Guide(Chinese Edition)
- Programming the BeagleBone
- BeagleBone Home Automation Blueprints
Recommended books on hot topics around BeagleBone
- Hacking and Penetration Testing with Low Power Devices
- The Internet of Things: DIY Projects with Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and VSC8531BBB
- Embedded Android: Porting, Extending, and Customizing
- Embedded Linux Development with the Yocto Project
- Embedded Linux Systems with the Yocto Project
- Software Engineering for Embedded Systems: Methods, Practical Techniques, and Applications
- Beginning NFC: Near Field Communication with Arduino, Android, and PhoneGap
- Zero to Maker: Learn (Just Enough) to Make (Just About) Anything
- Designing the Internet of Things
- Getting Started with Electronic Projects
- Operating System Design: The Xinu Approach, Second Edition
- Learning ROS for Robotics Programming - Second Edition
- Hacking Your LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Kit
Recommended books on Linux
- Embedded Linux Primer: A Practical Real-World Approach
- Building Embedded Linux Systems
- Linux Device Drivers
- Linux All-in-One For Dummies
- Embedded Operating Systems: A Practical Approach (Undergraduate Topics in Computer Science)
Recommended books on ARM architecture
- ARM Assembly Language: Fundamentals and Techniques
- ARM Architecture Reference Manual - may be available as a free download