Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beagle-Board - Beaglebone Black - re-flash it

Yes, OK OK, another post on internet about how to re-flash a Beagle-board Beaglebone black (BBB).
Why ?

Well, I needed to bring back to the origins my BBB and I found tons of instructions if you have Windows or Mac and some contradictory or incomplete instructions for Linux.
So, here my brief note to describe how to re-flash a BBB.

This procedure should be used in order to install the image on the BBB internal memory.
Basically the image will be copied on the internal memory.

Download the image

The image to download MUST BE one for the flash.
Normally is called from the Beagleboard latest images  link.
oh wait .. WHAT image ?

Well, I wanted to restore the original configuration as when I received the board, so Angstrom.

Prepare the image

On the net there are many places that describe how to do that under Window or Mac OS.
I'm using Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. Any versions however should do.
It is needed :

  • Archive Manager
  • Disk Utilities
  • dd

With the Archive Manager extract the image from the compressed file.

Load the image on the card 

You will end up with a file approx 3.6 Gbyte, so better to use at least a 4 Gbyte micro SD card or better, 8 Gbyte one like I did.
Put the micro SD card in a reader and connect it to the USB port.
Using Disk Utilities identify the added driver, it will be something in the range /dev/sdx.
Also, using the Disk Utility, unmount any partition eventually present on the microSD card.

Open a terminal, go in the directory where is contained the image file and in sudo mode type this command :

sudo dd of=/dev/sdx bs=1M

where is the part of the image name with the date and x is the correct driver associated with the inserted SD card.
BE VERY CAREFUL in this phase.
A misspelled driver name can format something else !

After few minutes the SD card will be ready.

Flashing the board

Time to flash the board.
ATTENTION !  The procedure can take quite a while !
Allow at least 30 to 45 minutes ! It could take longer though.

Follow these steps :

  • Be sure to have the board powered down
  • Remove any cape and USB stuff
  • Insert the microSD card in the microSD card slot
  • Push down the S2 button
  • Power up the board KEEPING PUSHED S2
  • When the 4 LEDs goes on, release S2
  • Some activity on the LEDs will indicate the loading process
  • Wait until ALL the 4 LEDs  are back ON - steady ON
  • Power off the board
  • Remove the microSD card
  • Reconnect cape and USB stuff if you have it
  • power up again the board

I found in my case, that it is important to have the "bare" board, no capes or USB stuff attached.
I had a USB dongle for an external wireless keyboard and I was unable to flash the NAND.
After removing LCD cape and USB dongle, I was able to flash the NAND without any problem.

Now I have the board running happily with full X server on the LCD.

Hope this article can help somebody

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