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Hardware support

While BeagleG currently is tied to the BeagleBone Black am335x CPU family utilizing its neat PRU, it can support various hardware that wire up the outputs to stepmotor drivers.

There are various BeagleBone-Black capes that provide such stepper motor drivers for 3D printers and CNC machines.

This directory contains sub-directories with the name of the particular hardware. Each directory contains the necessary hardware description used by BeagleG. You need to enable the hardware you intend to use in the toplevel Makefile.

  • BUMPS/ The BUMPS board was initially developed for BeagleG before there were any other boards available.
  • CRAMPS/ The CRAMPS board by Charles Steinkuehler is a popular cape.
  • Pockegotion Work in progress for a cape for the PocketBeagle.

(If you have access to other boards and run them with BeagleG, consider adding the support and send a pull request)

Load cape device tree

The following was true Kernel 3.8.x type distributions, this is simplified for 4.x. TODO: update documentation for 4.x

In each hardware subdirectgory directory, named after the cape, there is a device tree overlay file that you need to install for your hardware (or just use the one that comes with your board).

We can enable your cape, you can use the start-devicetree-overlay.sh script in this directory:

sudo ./start-devicetree-overlay.sh BUMPS/BeagleG-BUMPS.dts

(pass the DTS file of the board you are using as parameter)

This initializes the pinmux now, but we have to do this every time after boot. Also, we'd like to have the cape installed as early as possible in the boot process to properly set all the output values to safe values.

There is a script for that.

First make sure that you have the bb-customizations package installed:

sudo apt-get install bb-customizations

.. Now run this script

sudo ./install-devicetree-overlay.sh BUMPS/BeagleG-BUMPS.dts

In general, what this script is doing is to add the overlay name to the cape_enable lines in /boot/uEnv.txt file to let the kernel know to enable that cape at boot time.

The kernel looks for the firmware in /lib/firmware - since at boot time the root-fs is not mounted yet, just the init-rd ramdisk, we need to make sure to have it in the initial ram-filesystem. The script issues an update-initramfs that does that (with help from scripts from the bb-customizations package).

Adding support for new hardware

To add support for a new cape, you need to create a subdirectory with the name of the cape you want to add.

The directory should contain at least a README or README.md describing the board and provide references where it can be found.

You should provide a *.dts device tree overlay file for easy install (or provide a link where it can be found). If you have a *.dts file, it will work with the start-devicetree-overlay.sh and install-devicetree-overlay.sh scripts in this directory.

In order to make things compile, each hardware subdirectory requires the following files with these exact names:

  • beagleg-pin-mapping.h: mapping of GPIO pins to logical pins (e.g. MOTOR_1_STEP). As an example, see the BUMPS beagleg-pin-mapping.h

  • pru-io-routines.hp: a file containing a set of PRU subroutines to set certain values. You can write this file yourself or just use the generic version provided in this directory:

    cd hardware  # Where this README.md is; subdirectory of the beagleg/ toplevel dir
    cp template-pru-io-routines.hp MyCapeName/pru-io-routines.hp

You can enable compilation for your new cape by setting the variable BEAGLEG_HARDWARE_TARGET in the toplevel Makefile to your cape name:


Please check out the existing subdirectories to get an idea. If you added a new board, consider sending a patch.