BeagleBoard-xM – Part 1. Some Basic Info

As you may know i got my hands on a Beagleboard-xM. This things seems so cool but is the most fustrating board i experienced. Perhaps that’s because im not that linux savvy.

From what can tell the most important first step in this stuff is booting the uSD(micro sd) card it came with. Which is simple… Make sure everything is plugged except power. The last thing you should plug is power… to avoid any voltage spikes.

Ok since i know my board works the next thing i wanted to do is create my own uSD card with linux and stuff. The way i see it is… YOU NEED LINUX… lets leave it at that. Without linux you will have headaches. I have linux installed in a VM and on a second PC/Laptop. I use the laptop for my work mainly because it has a built in SD reader which simplifies things a lot.

Ok from what i can tell the SD card has to have 2 partitions.
Partition #1. FAT32 (Should have BOOT & LBA flags) Should be at least 128MB to be safe.
Partition #2. EXT3 This should fill the rest of the card.

The FAT32 partition is what we would call the BOOT partition. It will hold the uImage (linux image) and some other files. Ill get into that when the time comes.

The EXT3 partition is what we would call the ROOTFS or Root Filesystem which will hold the actual linux filesystem and everything you ever do on this beast.

I would recommend getting a 4GB SD card for a good performance amount of space. What i will be covering in the upcoming parts are:

1. How to Partition the SD card
2. Using Narcissus to build a test uImage and RootFS.
3. Loading SD card with our newly built uImage and RootFS.
4. Creating scripts for booting the board and placing them on SD card.
5. Testing our creation on live hardware.

Wish me luck. As this is something im learning on the fly and plan on explaining here to help others. There is documention online on this but nothing that good to get someone started up from nothing. I have had my board for about 2 days now and still have not been able to boot a custom linux file system. So as soon as i can… you can bet you all will be able to as well.

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About atomsoft

Starting a small company. Trying to build it from ground up. Only 2 employees so far. Nothing serious yet but soon!

6 responses to “BeagleBoard-xM – Part 1. Some Basic Info”

  1. Tom Rini says :

    FYI, performance will depend more on the class of the card than the card size. But otherwise you’re on the right track, good luck!

    • atomsoft says :

      Yeah true, i mainly say that because it you use a puny MicroSD card then you are stuck with that space… rather start with something with breathing room, as not to have to move things over. Also Thanks! Ill need all the luck i can get 🙂

  2. Jeremy Stearns says :

    I am in the exact same boat! It took me about 2 days to get my BB-XM-C to boot a custom image from Narcissus. I am also new to linux and started using Ubuntu 11.10. For some reason that I still can’t explain I could not get the omap3-mkcard.sh script to run on my machine, so i had to format the card manually. This should not have been difficult, but for some reason it sure did get me a headache! I had to hand-pick different commands from different web sources to finally get everything to work. Best of luck to you and I will continue to see what you post to see how you are getting along.

  3. bobh says :

    Great project–you will learn a lot. I went the Angstrom/Open Embedded route myself.
    This is also a very good example of building/patching the kernel with Ubuntu on the beagle board: http://www.brianhensley.net/2012/02/spi-working-on-beagleboard-xm-rev-c.html
    Worked first time for me.

    • atomsoft says :

      Thanks, you know something…i think it works no problem for me too…i have been trying for 2 days but i never said what the issue was… nothing was showing on my monitor… but im a idiot the resolution wasnt accepted… plugged to my tv and all was fine…today i even booted a newly made image with a custom user.scr and newer u-boot.bin. its cool. ill write up part 2 soon.

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