All posts in “BeagleBone”

Texas Instruments Intern Design Contest Roundup – 2013

With the 2013 TI Intern Design Contest coming to a close, I felt it would be helpful to do a quick roundup of my favorite project entries. This year there were two categories for the design competition, with two awards for each category.

The first category was focused on creating an add-on board for the TI LaunchPad series. This includes the MSP430, TIVA-C, and C2000 platforms. The second category included entries focused on creating an add-on board for the BeagleBone Black.

While there were 50 teams (1-4 people) that originally committed to the contest, it looks like only 40% or so managed to complete their designs and submit a project. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting submissions.

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SensorCape Version 0.2 Test Boards Have Arrived

I was happy to come home to a nice purple package today. In this purple package were three copies of my SensorCape for BeagleBone Black. I am sending them for assembly tomorrow and hope to have them back early next week to begin testing.

Now that I have received the boards and can look at them in person, I have found a few changes that I think I will make in the final version.

  • Remove the 4 orange LED’s – I still think they are awesome but there are already 4 perfectly capable LED’s on the BeagleBone, no need to be redundant.
  • Move the pressure sensor to where the LED’s are – This will free up some extra space on the board for a better layout.
  • Reduce the number of push buttons from 4 to 2 or possibly replace with a 5 position switch – Either one of these options will free up board space and reduce cost
  • Remember to fill the area around the TMP006 – It looks like I forgot to pour my copper fill before I exported my gerber files, the TMP006 probably won’t work correctly without this but we’ll see.
  • Move the EEPROM to the correct I2C bus – This is an error I noticed before I received the boards, I have the cape EEPROM connected to the wrong I2C header, it should be on I2C2

I think that’s it, enjoy the photos below click for a full picture.

  • The Three Amigos - Bare SensorCape for BeagleBone Black Fresh Out of the Packaging

    The Three Amigos – Bare SensorCape for BeagleBone Black Fresh Out of the Packaging

  • Top View of a Bare SensorCape for BeagleBone Black

    Top View of a Bare SensorCape for BeagleBone Black

  • Bottom View of a Bare SensorCape for BeagleBone Black

    Bottom View of a Bare SensorCape for BeagleBone Black

Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone Black

Trying to choose between the Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone Black? This article will help you decide which one is best for the job.


There are already many articles out there comparing Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and BeagleBone Black; this is not one of those articles. I believe it is clear that Arduino is in a different league than the Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone Black, and serves an entirely different purpose. What I was looking for and couldn’t find was a comprehensive article that would summarize all of the pros and cons of the Raspberry Pi and the BeagleBone Black, and what each platform is best suited for. When I couldn’t find that article, I decided to write it myself.

I begin by giving a short introduction to each platform and then we will take an in-depth look at the two platforms side-by-side to determine which one is best for each category. The categories covered will be:

  • Raw Comparison
  • Unboxing
  • Ease of Setup
  • Total Cost
  • Connections
  • Processor Showdown
  • Graphical Showdown
  • Audio Showdown
  • Power Consumption
  • Expandability
  • Hardware Accessibility
  • Community

Let’s get started!

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SensorCape Version 0.2 Fabricated

Woooo! I just received an email from OSH Park saying my most recent order has been shipped to me.

This means that I should have the boards back in the next few days and can start assembly and testing. That puts me a few weeks away from a final version.

At $37 for three boards I can’t complain too much, but my two week wait was almost torture. If you are looking for a good way to make a small run of boards for your own project, check out OSH Park.

Thanks to those of you who are following progress, I’ll keep the site updated as I continue working.

In the meantime, check out some of my other articles.

Send Push Messages from BeagleBone Black or Raspberry Pi to iPhone or Android

If you have your BeagleBone Black or Raspberry Pi running a process and you would like it to send updates to your phone, you can easily accomplish that using a new API and service from Pushover.

This morning I was considering different methods for getting messages from my BeagleBone Black sent to my iPhone. At first I considered setting it up to send emails, but that is a little bit of work and isn’t extremely reliable. I also considered setting it up to send tweets, but that involves creating a separate twitter account and dealing with OAuth to interface with Twitter.

As it happened I ended up stumbling across Pushover while I was looking at possible channels in IFTTT. I spent a few minutes looking around the Pushover website and looked over their API and what do you know, this is the perfect service for pushing updates to your phone. So how can we do that?
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Enable Bluetooth on BeagleBone Black

Have you bought a Bluetooth adapter for your BeagleBone Black but can’t get it to work? If so, this article is for you. I will show you how to easily enable Bluetooth on BeagleBone Black.

If you are having trouble getting your computer or other device to pair with the Bluetooth dongle you have attached to your BeagleBone Black, the fix may be as simple as this two step procedure. By default, the Bluetooth drivers are not fully enabled; I will show you how to fix this.

Quick Version

If you don’t care about learning what is going on, just copy and paste this command into your BeagleBone Black. I don’t really recommend doing this in general, if you get into the habit of just copying and pasting code from random websites on the internet, you could easily give someone fairly unrestricted access to your system. But if you can look at the commands below and understand what is going on, go for it.

echo –e “\n[Bluetooth]\nEnable=true” >> /var/lib/connman/settings && systemctl enable bluetooth.service && systemctl start bluetooth.service

If you would like to learn a little bit more about what you are doing and why, continue reading.
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