Sunday, May 16, 2010

Setting up the BeagleBoard and the dev-env

My Beagle arrived some three days ago after waiting in the local DHL distribution hub for several days (something went wrong with the address). As can be imagined, I was quite happy about finally receiving it and immediately made some nerd porn (=unboxing photos) out of it. A handsome little board it is to be sure.

Next was a little cable nightmare to go through. The Beagle has various channels of communications available, but unfortunately the RS232 (serial) interface is somewhat compulsory to get the board going for the first time. Thus I went out hunting in Uppsala to find the AT/Everex (IDC-10 to DBM9) cable.

Doesn't look all that fancy, does it? The problem is that it's a bit old and it's not the kind of thing that one would come across in modern electronics stores. I tried several bigger boutiques like MediaMarkt, ELGiganten, ONOFF, then a number of smaller shops in town. Not a chance. I finally found it in a modding/hardware service kind of shop (the variant I bought, as seen above, allows the serial port to be "brought out" from the older motherboards) and bought a female-to-female null modem cable there as well. Voila!

Back home, I noticed that the input pin 10 in my cable was plugged - appearantly pin 10 is used neither on the Beagle nor the cable itself, so it's suggested to either remove the plug or cut away the pin 10 on the Beagle. I tried removing the plug on the cable with a hot needle but it put up quite a fight. And I didn't have needle-nose pliers, so I just bent pin 10 on the Beagle sideways instead. It looks a bit crocodile-ish but does the job (plus it gives reference together with the plugged corner of the cable so I can't plug in the cable backwards :)).

I set up minicom on my Ubuntu 10.04 system, connected the USB-to-serial adapter (which uses the profilic PL2303 kernel module and works without problems, by the way) to the null modem cable, connnected the Beagle to the null modem with the AT/Everex cable, plugged in the USB A to miniB cable, and got a warm welcome from the U-Boot already present on the NAND.

Coming up next: Ångström running on the Beagle and the importance of working and non-working USB cables.

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