This is the steps that I took to setup a beaglebone black for development of ardupilot (aka beaglepilot)

  1. Download the latest debian image from the page. I will be using the onboard emmc, so download Debian (BeagleBone Black - 2GB eMMC) 2014-03-04. The date might differ, but should be at least this.

  2. Write it to a SD card using the command

    sudo dd bs=4M if=/path/to/BBB-eMMC-flasher-debian-7.4-2014-03-04-2gb.img of=/dev/mmblk0
  3. Place the sd card in a BBB, press down the boot button, and connect it to an external power supply.
    Wait till all the 4 LEDs light up, then let go of the boot button.
    Wait for about 15-20 mins and then all the 4 LEDs will light up again.
    You now have Debian on your BBB's 2Gb emmc.

  4. Next, connect your BBB to a Linux/Windows machine using the USB cord that comes with it.
    Setup an ssh connection with

    ssh root@

    Share your machines internet connection with the BBB. (Internet sharing in Mac OS X is broken, you can connect it to your router and then ssh)
    On Ubuntu, I do

    sudo iptables -A POSTROUTING -t nat -j MASQUERADE
    sudo echo 1 | sudo tee /proc/sys/net/ipv4/ip_forward > /dev/null

    And on the BBB running Debian, do

    /sbin/route add default gw
    echo "nameserver" >> /etc/resolv.conf

    Now you should be able to

  5. Next let's run an update

    apt-get update
    apt-get upgrade

    Now, check the available space

    df -h

    Output will be something like

    Filesystem                                              Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    rootfs                                                  1.7G  1.3G  286M  83% /
    udev                                                     10M     0   10M   0% /dev
    tmpfs                                                   100M  568K   99M   1% /run
    /dev/disk/by-uuid/9523ab07-4572-412c-ac11-1e9672a03fa8  1.7G  1.3G  286M  83% /
    tmpfs                                                   249M     0  249M   0% /dev/shm
    tmpfs                                                   249M     0  249M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
    tmpfs                                                   100M     0  100M   0% /run/user
    tmpfs                                                   5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
    /dev/mmcblk0p1                                           96M   72M   25M  75% /boot/uboot
  6. Memory onboard is limited. You can get rid of a lot of packages that you won't need. Do a

    dpkg-query -l

    to get the list of installed packages.
    You will have to get rid of a couple of packages because you will be running out of space. Also, take a look at this wiki upage. Lists what you don't need with Debian.

  7. Following are the steps to connect the BBB to a WiFi network. I am going to be using OurLink USB WiFi dongle which is available on Adafruit.



    Bus 001 Device 002: ID 0bda:8176 Realtek Semiconductor Corp. RTL8188CUS 802.11n WLAN Adapter
    Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
    Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub

    We can see that it belongs to the RTL8188. I believe it requires the firmware-realtek package, which comes pre installed.
    We will also be using wireless-tools package, which also comes pre installed.
    Uncomment the WiFi example in /etc/network/interfaces

    # WiFi Example
    auto wlan0
    iface wlan0 inet dhcp
    wpa-ssid "SSID"
    wpa-psk  "PASSWD"

    Reboot. You should be connected to the WiFi network now.

  8. Follow the instructions from the ardupilot wiki
    In short,

    cd ~
    git clone
    git clone
    apt-get install libtool automake autoconf libexpat1-dev
    apt-get install python-matplotlib python-serial python-wxgtk2.8 python-scipy python-opencv ccache
    pip install pymavlink MAVProxy

    Add this to your ~/.bashrc

    export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/ardupilot/Tools/autotest
    export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/MAVProxy
    export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/mavlink/pymavlink/examples
    export PATH=$PATH:$HOME/jsbsim/src
    export PATH=/usr/lib/ccache:$PATH


    source .bashrc

    Install jsbsim (only in case of plane)

    cd ~/jsbsim

    For simulating a plane run this command:

    cd ~/ardupilot/ArduPlane --console --map --aircraft test

    For simulating a copter run this command:

    cd ~/ardupilot/ArduCopter --console --map --aircraft test

    For simulating a rover run this command:

    cd ~/ardupilot/APMrover2 --console --map --aircraft test

Loads more to do like figure out space restrictions, get a real time kernel and try a 3g dongle with the BBB.

Cheers till the next time !