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Exploring BeagleBone: Tools and Techniques for Building with Embedded Linux by Derek Molloy

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CHAPTER 1 The BeagleBone Hardware

In this chapter, you are introduced to the BeagleBone platform hardware. The chapter focuses on the BeagleBone Black and the various subsystems and physical inputs/outputs of the board. In addition, the chapter lists accessories that can be very helpful in developing your own BeagleBone‐based projects. By the end of this chapter, you should have an appreciation of the power and complexity of this computing platform. You should also be aware of the first steps to take to protect your board from physical damage.

Introduction to the Platform

The BeagleBone is a compact, low‐cost, open‐source Linux computing platform that can be used to build complex applications that interface high‐level software and low‐level electronic circuits. It is an ideal platform for prototyping project and product designs that take advantage of the power and freedom of Linux, combined with direct access to input/output pins and buses, allowing you to interface with electronics components, modules, and USB devices. The characteristics of the BeagleBone platform are that it

  • is powerful, as it contains a processor that can perform up to 2 billion instructions per second,
  • is low‐cost, available for as little as $45–$55,
  • supports many standard interfaces for electronics devices,
  • uses little power, running at between 1 W (idle) and 2.3 W (peak),
  • is expandable through the use of daughterboards and USB devices,
  • is supported by a huge community of innovators and enthusiasts, ...

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