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Connecting up your BeagleBone AI-64

This section provides instructions on how to hook up your board. This beagle requires a 5V > 3A power supply to work properly via either USB Type-C power adapter or a barrel jack power adapter.

Recommended adapters:

  • 5V @ 3A USB C power supply adaptor for SBCs.

  • 5V > 3A laptop/mobile adaptor with USB-C cable.

All the Fig 3.1 BeagleBone AI-64 connections ports we will use in this chapter are shown in the figure below.

BeagleBone AI-64 connections ports

Fig. 1 Fig 3.1 BeagleBone AI-64 connections ports

Methods of operation

  1. Tethered to a PC, or

  2. As a standalone development platform in a desktop PC configuration with a Display Port Monitor, power supply, keyboard, and mouse

What’s In the Box

In the box you will find three main items as shown in Fig: BeagleBone AI-64 box content.

  • BeagleBone AI-64.

  • Instruction card.

Get yourself a USB-A to USB-C and you have a setup for the tethered scenario and creates an out of box experience where the board can be used immediately with no other equipment needed.

BeagleBone AI-64 box content

Fig. 2 Fig: BeagleBone AI-64 box content

Main Connection Scenarios

This section will describe how to connect the board for use. This section is basically a slightly more detailed description of the Quick Start Guide that came in the box. There is also a Quick Start Guide document on the board that should also be referred to. The intent here is that someone looking to purchase the board will be able to read this section and get a good idea as to what the initial set up will be like.

The board can be configured in several different ways, but we will discuss the two most common scenarios as described in the Quick Start Guide card that comes in the box.

  • Tethered to a PC via the USB cable

    • Board is accessed as a storage drive and

    • a virtual Ethernet connection.

  • Standalone desktop

    • Display

    • Keyboard and mouse

    • External 5V > 3A power supply

Each of these configurations is discussed in general terms in the following sections.

Tethered To A PC

In this configuration, the board is powered by the PC via the provided USB cable –no other cables are required. The board is accessed either as a USB storage drive or via the browser on the PC. You need to use either Firefox or Chrome on the PC, Internet Explorer will not work properly. Fig: Tethered Configuration shows this configuration.

Tethered Configuration

Fig. 3 Fig: Tethered Configuration

At least 5V @ 3A is required to power the board, In most cases the PC may not be able to supply sufficient power for the board. You should always use an external 5V > 3A DC power supply connected to the barrel jack.

Connect the Cable to the Board

  1. Connect the type C USB cable to the board as shown in Fig: USB Connection to the Board. The connector is on the top side of the board near barrel jack.

USB Connection to the Board

Fig. 4 Fig: USB Connection to the Board

  1. Connect the USB-A end of the cable to your PC or laptop USB port as shown in the usb-a-connect-figure below.

USB Connection to the PC/Laptop

Fig. 5 Fig: USB Connection to the PC/Laptop

  1. The board will power on and the power LED will be on as shown in Fig: Board Power LED below.

Board Power LED

Fig. 6 Fig: Board Power LED

  1. When the board starts to the booting process started by the process of applying power, the LEDs will come on in sequence as shown in boot-status-figure below. It will take a few seconds for the status LEDs to come on, so be patient. The LEDs will be flashing in an erratic manner as it begins to boot the Linux kernel.

Board Boot Status

Fig. 7 Fig: Board Boot Status

Accessing the Board as a Storage Drive

The board will appear around a USB Storage drive on your PC after thekernel has booted, which will take a round 10 seconds. The kernel on the board needs to boot before the port gets enumerated. Once the board appears as a storage drive, do the following:

  1. Open the USB Drive folder.

  2. Click on the file named start.htm

  3. The file will be opened by your browser on the PC and you should get a display showing the Quick Start Guide.

  4. Your board is now operational! Follow the instructions on your PC screen.

Standalone w/Display and Keyboard/Mouse

In this configuration, the board works more like a PC, totally free from any connection to a PC as shown in desktop-config-figure. It allows you to create your code to make the board do whatever you need it to do. It will however require certain common PC accessories. These accessories and instructions are described in the following section.

Desktop Configuration

Fig. 8 Fig: Desktop Configuration

Ethernet cable and M.2 WiFi + Bluetooth card are optional. They can be used if network access required.

Required Accessories

In order to use the board in this configuration, you will need the following accessories:

  • 5V > 3A power supply.

  • Display Port or HDMI monitor.

  • miniDP-DP or active miniDP-HDMI cable (or a recommended miniDP-DP or active miniDP-HDMI adapter https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089GF8M87 has been tested and worked beautifully).

  • USB wired/wireless keyboard and mouse.

  • powered USB HUB (OPTIONAL). The board has only two USB Type-A host ports, so you may need to use a powered USB Hub if you wish to add additional USB devices, such as a USB WiFi adapter.

  • M.2 Bluetooth & WiFi module (OPTIONAL). For wireless connections, a USB WiFi adapter or a recommended M.2 WiFi module can provide wireless networking.

Connecting Up the Board

  1. Connect the miniDP to DP or active miniDP to HDMI cable from your BeagleBone AI-64 to your monitor.

Connect miniDP-DP or active miniDP-HDMI cable to BeagleBone AI-64

Fig. 9 Fig: Connect miniDP-DP or active miniDP-HDMI cable to BeagleBone AI-64

  1. If you have an Display Port or HDMI monitor with HDMI-HDMI or DP-DP cable you can use adapters as shown in. Fig: Display adaptors.

Display adaptors

Fig. 10 Fig: Display adaptors

  1. If you have wired/wireless USB keyboard and mouse such as

    seen in FigKeyboard and Mouse below, you need to plug the receiver in the USB host port of the board as shown in FigKeyboard and Mouse.

Keyboard and Mouse

Fig. 11 FigKeyboard and Mouse

  1. Connect the Ethernet Cable

If you decide you want to connect to your local area network, an Ethernet cable can be used. Connect the Ethernet Cable to the Ethernet port as shown in Fig: Ethernet Cable Connection. Any standard 100M Ethernet cable should work.

Ethernet Cable Connection

Fig. 12 Fig: Ethernet Cable Connection

  1. The final step is to plug in the DC power supply to the DC power jack as shown in barrel-jack-figure below.

External DC Power

Fig. 13 Fig: External DC Power

  1. The cable needed to connect to your display is a miniDP-DP or active miniDP-HDMI. Connect the miniDP connector end to the board at this time. The connector is on the top side of the board as shown in miniDP-figure below.

Connect miniDP to DP or active miniDP to HDMI Cable to the Board

Fig. 14 Fig: Connect miniDP to DP or active miniDP to HDMI Cable to the Board

The connector is fairly robust, but we suggest that you not use the cable as a leash for your Beagle. Take proper care not to put too much stress on the connector or cable.

  1. Booting the Board

As soon as the power is applied to the board, it will start the booting up process. When the board starts to boot the LEDs will come on. It will take a few seconds for the status LEDs to come on, so be patient. The LEDs will be flashing in an erratic manner as it boots the Linux kernel.

BeagleBone AI-64 LEDs

Fig. 15 Fig: BeagleBone AI-64 LEDs

While the four user LEDS can be over written and used as desired, they do have specific meanings in the image that is shipped with the board once the Linux kernel has booted.

  • USR0 is the heartbeat indicator from the Linux kernel.

  • USR1 turns on when the microSD card is being accessed

  • USR2 is an activity indicator. It turns on when the kernel is not in the idle loop.

  • USR3 turns on when the onboard eMMC is being accessed.

  • USR4 is an activity indicator for WiFi.

  1. A Booted System

    1. The board will have a mouse pointer appear on the screen as it enters the Linux boot step. You may have to move the physical mouse to get the mouse pointer to appear. The system can come up in the suspend mode with the monitor in a sleep mode.

    2. After a minute or two a login screen will appear. You do not have to do anything at this point.

    3. After a minute or two the desktop will appear. It should be similar to the one shown in Fig: BeagleBone XFCE Desktop Screen. HOWEVER, it will change from one release to the next, so do not expect your system to look exactly like the one in the figure, but it will be very similar.

    4. And at this point you are ready to go! Fig: BeagleBone XFCE Desktop Screen shows the desktop after booting.

BeagleBone XFCE Desktop Screen

Fig. 16 Fig: BeagleBone XFCE Desktop Screen