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Beaglebone Bundle: BBB, Wireless Cape & Display - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 7
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 9
Demo Software was of good quality: 6
Product was easy to use: 6
Support materials were available: 6
The price to performance ratio was good: 6
TotalScore: 40 / 60
  • RoadTest: Beaglebone Bundle: BBB, Wireless Cape & Display
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Development Boards & Tools
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes - null
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: Raspberry Pi 3 With 4.3" LCD HAT
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: Unable to get the Wireless Connectivity Cape Working

  • Detailed Review:

    BBB IoT Bundle RoadTest Review

    Gurinder Singh Gill

     

    NOTE : OFFLINE VERSION AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD AS ATTACHMENT

     

    Introduction

    First of all I want to Thank Element 14 and Ti for selecting me in this wonderful RoadTest.  One fine Morning I got a crushed parcel from Element 14 Hmm.. I wonder What’s inside ?  

    Lets unbox it to see ! Its Element 14 so definitely there may be something interesting ;P  

     

    Unboxing

    So unboxing was darn simple, just RIP it apart ;D and as expected some BIG Bubble Wrap Well thats just what electronics need  

     

     

     

    Getting rid of all the BIG Bubble wrap unfolds three beautiful packages . Its Mesmerising .. .. One Moment please .. .. ..

     

    OK, so moving forward,   

     

    bbbbcclcd

    It was indeed a beautiful unboxing. So, Lets now Focus on the Actual Review

     

    Review will be divided into FIVE (5) subsections :

    1. The Beagle Bone Black

    2. Wireless Connectivity Cape

    3. 4.3” LCD Display Cape

    4. Battery Modification to the Black (I am Not Racist !! was referring to the Beagle Bone)

    5. Progress update and Video Review

    I will cover the rest 2 in a separate Blog !!

     

    Beagle Bone Black or just BBB or Black or Bone ##$$@@

    Beagle Bone Black is one of the most feature rich SBC’s I came across and has a bunch load of GPIO’s. It is not exactly designed for kids to play with but it is pretty easy to use and have fun with.

     

    If you have a Specific project you are working with, be rest assured you can get a million things done just with this SBC without any so called “HATs” (Opps.. I never said anything !).

     

    The add-on boards which can extend the functionally to the board are referred to as “Capes” (I am not sure Who thought of a Dog, then Giving him a Bone and then putting a Cape on him sending him to outer space ??? I mean it is a Dog after all $$%%^##@@ WTF !!)

     

    Ok, moving on The board is really easy to use for those trying to shove it in your dog’s mouth!! (B.T.W. Don’t Do It !!). Just plug in a USB HUB then plug the Keyboard and Mouse in it and an MICRO HDMI to HDMI Female Connector and then the HDMI cable and finally a 5V Power Adapter and you are all set up Just like a champ !! After complete Booting (VIDEO LINK) which takes about 80 sec you will be presented with a wonderful LXDE interface to play with

     

    For those of you who don’t have the MINI HDMI adapter, you can just connect the Ethernet to the Bone and you will have a wonder full Node.JS based Cloud 9 IDE to get started with Bone. <local_ip_addr:3000>

     

    The bestsellers in the bone

    • 2 Programmable Realtime Units : They are just High performance RISC Processors running at 200Mhz with 8KB instructions RAM and 8KB Data RAM.
    • 1 GHz ARM Cortex A8 RISC Processor with NEON SIMD Coprocessor 256KB L2 Cache
    • Option for Bare Bone programming using TI SDK & CCS or Linux ports (There are a ton of them)
    • OPEN SOURCE Hardware Design and Software (Not like any of the Pi’s or oranges or banana or OREO’s ;P )

     

    The Not So bestseller in the bone

    • USB and Micro HDMI slots are Extremely near. I have personally shaved plastic from one of the cheep mini to HDMI connector and have barely managed to get them plugged together.
    • Once a Cape is attached, It doesn’t want to come out that easily (Apparently Dogs love Capes ??^^$$## )
    • My Thinking HAT is On ;  Will Update once I find more flaws in the cute DOG

     

    Wireless Connectivity Cape

    OK , So a Bit Disappointing One..

     

    Well The specs of the Cape is like WoW.  But Instructions on How to get it working is like  Errr .. ..

    CLICK HERE for Specs.

     

    As on date I am not able to get the board working !! Few details I can share:

    1. The Board is a power Beast and may consume up to 1.2-2 Amps easily So if you have a standard 5V 2Amp supply .. Get a New Charger rated at least 3Amps.
    2. It is very difficultly to get the board  out as the cuts just perfectly match the Bone’s cutout. So If you plug the cape all the way in bone, It’s gonna stay there for a while !!
    3. Planning to use a Li Battery using the on board PMIC !! Whann Whann Whann Big NO as the PMIC wont support the power with default configuration.

     

     

    4.3” Display Cape

    OK, So After a Break , I went on with the 4.3” LCD Display Cape. And Damn the display is awesome. It is a 4.3” 470x272 RGB Resolution Display with Capacitive Touch . Yup It has Capacitive touch None of those Resistive Touch Rubbish !!

     

    Moreover It also has an On Board EEPROM with Kit Identity So Bone recognises it like Men recognise Women   You just need to plug the Display Cape, Connect the LCD using the connector,Flash the latest Debian IMAGE on to your Bone and You are Good to Go.

     

    Click Here for The Full Booting Video

     

    Coming to some Details

    1. The display is quite Easy on Bone with a current consumption of about An Amp

    2. With the Battery solution apparently the Display works just fine wit the PMIC getting a bit Heated but I have ran the system for about an hour on Battery and everything seems to work fine.

    3. The Board had some flux residue on the connector pins ??? Hmm.. see Pic below.

    4. This should have been the first point :: BUT the display connectors are fragile and can break very easily. Plus the connectors on the Interface board is also not reversible so it fits exactly the way in the photos.

    5. The display is Manufactured by Rocktech Displays (Pic Below for Part No)

    6. This Display uses a Ton of GPIO’s and Has Known Issues of WIFI and BLE not working Issues if using in conjunction with the above cape or with Beagle Bone Wireless. It uses the 24 BIT LCD bus

    Few More Pictures just for fun

     

     

     

    So on an Final NOTE It was an Interesting Review and A tone is wet to be done.

    A sneak peek of Whats Coming is given Below

     

     

    CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL VIDEO REVIEW

     

    REFERENCES :

    1. Getting Started Guide
    2. Beagle Bone 101 Guide
    3. Beagle Bone Black TI PAGE
    4. Beagle Bone Black E14 Page
    5. TI AM335 Datasheet
    6. Beagle Bone Black eLinux Page - You can get all INFO on everything about Bone
    7. My Video Channel

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