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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Please find below an ever-growing list of frequently asked questions and corresponding answers for the following products:
0. Does the BeagleCore™ BCM1 support feature XYZ better than BeagleBone Black / BeagleBone Green?
We have created the BeagleCore™ to be as compatible as possible with the BeagleBone Black. One of the key benefits of the BeagleCore™ BCM1 however is, that you can build your own PCB and thus implement features and workarounds not supported by the original BeagleBone Black. The only thing we can therefore refer to is the pinout of the BeagleCore™ BCM1 which shows in detail the features and possibilities of implementing the BeagleCore™ module and the feature-set supported.
1. What is the price for BeagleCore™?
Initially the unit price will be 55 USD for the BeagleCore™ BCM1 module and 129 USD for the BCS1 Starter-Kit.
2. Where can I get the BeagleCore™ and when?
The BeagleCore™ module and Starter-Kit will be sold through Conrad Electronic from April 2016 on.
3. Will BeagleCore™ BCM1 and BCS1 be open source hardware?
Yes. We strongly believe in the power of open source and we heavily rely on open source solutions when it comes to software. So we decided to pay back to the community.
4. How long will BCM1 be available?
We guarantee a long-term availability (production lifecycle) of BeagleCore BCM1 until December 31, 2023 at minimum.
5. What kind of connectors are used to connect the core to the baseboard?
The BeagleCore™ will be soldered right on your custom baseboard. This will make the connection very reliable and cost effective. It also means that the soldering has to be executed by a professional EMS company or by an experienced soldering technician. This package is called Land Grid Array (LGA) package, such as shown here.
6. Does the BeagleCore™ module bring out any GPIO pins from the Am3359 that are not available on the BeagleBone Black?
Not really. Maybe 4 to 6 additional GPIOs will be availabe on our BeagleCore, mainly used to emulate all original features of BeagleBone Black.
7. What do you mean by „industry standard“?
For genuine embedded industrial applications the existing BeagleBoard hardware is not suitable due to several reasons. Currently professional embedded computer-on-module applications use 100% defined and well engineered standards from PICMG (such as COM Express) or SGET (such as Qseven and SMARC). All of this makes the BeagleCore™ an industrial SOM – a system on module approach for the popular BeagleBone Black.
8. What temperature range do BCM1 and BCS1 support?
BCM1: The operating temperature range for the module with standard components is 0…60°C (commercial) but optionally you can get an extended temperature range -40…85°C (industrial). BCS1: The starter-kit supports an operating temperature range of 0…60°C (commercial).
9. What humidity does BeagleCore support?
Operating: 10 to 90% r. H. non cond. Storage: 5 to 95% r. H. non cond.
10. What about shipment to USA?
Shipment of BeagleCore™ BCM1 and BCS1 to the United States of Ameria (USA) can be made solely through Rapid Electronics as part of the Conrad Group.
11. Can I buy/order BeagleCore in my country?
Here is a list of countries, that Conrad (RapidOnline) currently services: Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; American Samoa; Andorra; Angola; Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Armenia; Aruba; Australia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahamas; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belarus; Belgium; Belize; Benin; Bermuda; Bhutan; Bolivia; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Botswana; Brazil; Brunei Darussalam; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cambodia; Cameroon; Canada; Canary Islands; Cape Verde; Cayman Islands; Central African Republic; Chad; Chile; Colombia; Comoros; Congo; Costa Rica; Côte d'Ivoire; Croatia; Cuba; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Djibouti; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Dutch Antilles; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; Equatorial Guinea; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); Faroe Islands; Fiji; Finland; France; French Guiana; French Polynesia; Gabon; Gambia; Georgia; Germany; Ghana; Gibraltar; Greece; Greenland; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guam; Guatemala; Guinea; Guinea-Bissau; Guyana; Haiti; Holy See (Vatican City State); Honduras; Hong Kong; Hungary; Iceland; India; Indonesia; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Jamaica; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kiribati; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Latvia; Lebanon; Lesotho; Liberia; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macao; Macedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic of; Madagascar; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Mali; Malta; Marshall Islands; Martinique; Mauritania; Mauritius; Mayotte; Mexico; Moldova, Republic of; Monaco; Mongolia; Montenegro; Montserrat; Morocco; Mozambique; Myanmar; Namibia; Nauru; Nepal; Netherlands; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Niger; Nigeria; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Palau; Panama; Papua New Guinea; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Pitcairn; Poland; Portugal; Qatar; Réunion; Romania; Rwanda; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; San Marino; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Solomon Islands; South Africa; Spain; Sri Lanka; Sudan; Suriname; Swaziland; Sweden; Switzerland; Taiwan, Republic of China; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Togo; Tonga; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Turks and Caicos Islands; Tuvalu; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States of America (USA); Uruguay; Uzbekistan; Vanuatu; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Viet Nam; Virgin Islands, British; Wallis and Futuna; Yemen; Zambia; Zimbabwe
12. What is the power supply needed for BeagleCore™ BCM1?
The voltage supply for BeagleCore™ BCM1 is 5V DC +/- 5%.
13. How long are you planning to support the BeagleCore™?
We aim at long-term availability and rely on the information we get from the manufacturers of key-components (i.e. the processor) which indicate a lifetime of 7+ years (as of 2016).
14. Is it possible to use Gigabit Ethernet with the BeagleCore BCM1?
Yes. If you want to get Gigabit Ethernet working on port 1 all signals to support RGMII are available. If you choose a proper PHY you should be able to get 10/1000/1000 Mbit working though there might be some limitations to the real speed due to software-limitations and processor speed. Please be aware that the BeagleCore BCS1 only supports 10/100 Mbit due to design-restrictions on the original BeagleBone Black.
15. Does the BeagleCore act / work like the BeagleBone Black (BBB)?
Absolutely! One of the key-advantages of the BeagleCore is its compatibility with the BeagleBone Black - be it software or hardware. If it runs on a BeagleBone Black, it will also run on a BeagleCore.
16. We noticed that the internal eMMC is not mounted by the operating system. What do we need to do?
We did not partition the internal eMMC which usually comes ext4 formatted on the BeagleBone Black. Therefore we recommend booting a Linux system from SD-card and then partition the internal eMMC as required. Since we are aware that not all of our clients want to run a Linux system we did not partition the eMMC in advance so to cause no additional trouble.
17. When booting the BeagleCore for the first time, the board could not boot the OS. Is there any OS (Linux, etc.) pre-installed on the eMMC yet?
Since we know that there is no such thing as a standard OS for BeagleCore and many clients have specific needs towards operating system and/or file system, we have no pre-installed OS on the BeagleCore. However we have the Bootloader U-Boot running which you can use to install any OS via supported media (i.e. microSD, USB, Ethernet).
18. Are the PCB-files available in any other format than Altium?
No. We are fully aware that a lot of developers are either Open Source enthusiasts and thus relying on free software like Eagle or KiCad. However we strongly encourage our community to share their solutions with us to make them available to a wider audience.
19. Do you have any template for connecting the BCM1 to a baseboard?
Not singled out, but you can have a look at the assemly drawings for BCS1 as well as Footprint and assembly drawing for BCM1. The latter even has a System Reference Manual which covers all the technical details.
20. BeagleBone Black & Green have an EEPROM containing a unique serial number for each device. Is there any unique identifier for BeagleCore BCM1 or a way to set a serial number?
Just like BeagleBone Black & Green the BeagleCore BCM1 comes with this EEPROM. By using I²C bus you can write your own unique serial numbers to this EEPROM, if needed. However, a unique identifier already existes for each BCM1: The MAC address contained within the processor. You can easily use this as unique identifier / serial number replacement.
21. Do you have figures about power consumption of BeagleCore BCM1?
Since power consumption depends on lots of different variables such as operating system, peripherals, etc. it is almost impossible to answer this question in general. We always recommend testing power consumption and other important figures with an evaluation board.
22. Can I apply baremetal programming to BeagleCore BCM1/BCS1, more specifically using C language?
Yes. If it can be done on a BeagleBone Black, you can do it on a BeagleCore as well. Fortunately there are lots of useful links out there about this very topic. A good start may be using the BBB GPIO Library for C or having a look at Derek Molloy's book "Exploring BeagleBone".
23. What is the difference between BCM1.STR and BCM1.ETR?
The only difference is the temperature range. While BCM1.STR is suitable for Standard Temperature Range (0…60°C), the BCM1.ETR is made for Extended Temperature Range (-40…85°C). No other modifications have been made (i.e. eMMC SLC NAND instead of MLC).
24. Is it possible to use BeagleCore for EtherCAT, PROFINET, etc. by making use of the PRUs?
There are several tutorials on the internet dealing with BeagleBone Black and PRUs. Like with any other software: if you can run it on BeagleBone Black, you can run it on a BeagleCore BCM1 as well. In this case, just make sure you grab the AM335x PRU package for BeagleBoard.
25. Does BeagleCore / BBB support realtime (RT-PREEMPT)?
There are kernel modifications available on the internet, that allow for RT-PREEMPT. Please have a look at this kernel patch for BBB for more information.
26. Can we address feature XYZ through Eclipse IDE?
If you can achive the same with a BeagleBone Black, you can do the same with BeagleCore BCM1. Maybe you need to do some minor configuration work in advance, but the BeagleCore BCM1 is fully pin compatible with BeagleBone Black and thus makes developing for BeagleCore a breeze.
27. According to your spec it is possible to configure some of the PINs differently, but I can not configure the PINs in Linux. What do I need to do to get it working?
The spec is correct. Please check the config-pin tool for PIN definition collisions. If the cape-definition is missing, it will result in an error in Linux.
28. How do I retrieve the version of the u-boot bootloader on BeagleCore BCM1?
If you are running Linux you can get the information in runtime by using this command:
grep -a -m2 "U-Boot" /dev/mmcblk0 | tail -n1.
29. How does the mechanical placement of the BCM1 work on a custom baseboard? How is the calibration done? Do you provide information about reference points on the BCM1?
There are 4 fiducials on the topside, which can be used for the correct placement (measurement). For further information please have a look at the PDF file with a visualization.
30. How many soldering cycles (for rework) does the BCM1 still allow for?
We recommend ONLY ONE rework cycle. Each BCM1 would have had two soldering cycles then which is best-practice for two-sided modules.
31. What is the exact height of the BCM1 and how does it vary?
The BCM1 is 3.6mm high with a maximum tolerance of 3/10.
32. Does the BCM1 operate stable with a supply voltage of 4.5V?
Yes, but there could be problems with connected USB devices.
33. How do I install an OS, if SDIO interface is occupied? Is there a way to install via USB?
If SDIO interface is unavailable, you can use USB1. There is a guide on how to flash BBB via USB that is very helpful.
34. Do I need to place capacitors on the baseboard?
Yes, there are two capacitors needed: C200 (VDD_MPU) and C201 (VDD_PLL). Please have a look at the schematics for BCS1 where you will find detailed information on how to place the BCM1 module onto your baseboard on page 4.
35. Why does the BCM1 have two 3.3V rails?
When we created BCM1 and BCS1 we strictly followed the design of the BeagleBone Black which uses the two 3.3V rails as follows:
- VDD_3V3A for analogue circuit parts (e.g. HDMI clock)
- VDD_3V3B for peripherals (e.g. microSD)
36. Does the voltage regulator of the BCS1 (with BCM1 module soldered) break if the board is not shut down properly?
In theory this could happen when using a long connecting line (inductance) to the power supply in combination with a very low input impedance. This results in a series resonant circuit which can then destroy components on the PCB. The BCS1 does not provide a protective circuit since it just resembles the BeagleBone Black. However, when working with the BCM1, one could create smart solutions to work around this issue.
37. Can you recommend a WiFi module to use with BeagleCore BCM1?
There are different solutions available, but we recommend the BlueGiga WF111 Wireless Module which is also very cost-effective. The biggest advantage of this approach is, that you can use LAN and WiFi at the same time! For testing you require SDIO plus a microSD to SD cable adapter, since no BeagleBone Cape is available for this solution. Another big plus is the existing Linux documentation.
38. How can I distinguish BeagleCore BCM1.STR and ETR modules at a glance?
The standard temperature range module BCM1.STR comes with an AM3358BZCZ100 processor allowing for 0°C to 90°C whereas the extended temperature range module BCM1.ETR with its AM3358BZCZA100 processor allows for -40°C to 105°C.