Having worked with the BeagleBoard-xM for a few days now, I'm quite impressed. Since it is positioned as a hobbyist/hacker board, I went in expecting a bumpier ride than it has actually been. It looks like the team applied a lot of the lessons learned from the original BeagleBoard successfully with the Beagleboard-xM.

To my surprise, the BeagleBoard-xM was quite usable within 5 minutes of opening the box. The validation image shipped with the board provides several ways to interact with it out of the box: via a standard keyboard/dvi monitor setup, serial, and Ethernet. This turned out to be a good thing since my ancient monitor didn't like the default video settings. No problem, I was able to ssh in via Ethernet as well as connect via serial with no problems.

After poking around for a while and verifying the main board functionality I was interested in, it was time to move on to the demo image. The demo image is still a work in progress but it both provides a more complete Linux environment as well and more thoroughly demonstrates the capabilities of the device.

It's worth noting that the validation image (what currently ships on micro SD card with the BeagleBoard-xM) is for verifying proper operation of the hardware and is not something you'll want to use for long. Apparently, there is a licensing issue with the demo image that prevented the board from shipping with it instead but it is freely available for download. The demo image also includes the validation image (which can be booted into by holding the user button down for 5 seconds or via the serial console during the boot process).

Overall the hardware has been rock solid... no issues to report so far. S-Video doesn't appear to be terribly well supported in the demo image but that's more of a configuration and driver issue than a hardware one. The main area that needs attention is the documentation, which is a work in progress. As someone new to Angstrom, the distribution used by the BeagleBoard, I'm spending most of my time learning the peculiarities of this distro as well as the drivers for the TI-specific hardware that have been layered on. I'm having a fair degree of success applying the documentation and discussions of the original BeagleBoard to the -xM as they are very similar devices. But they're not the same and the distribution is somewhat different than what the documentation I've found describes.

I wanted to come up for air long enough jot down these initial thoughts before diving back in again. There is a little more configuration tweaking needed before diving into the main task of integrating the BeagleBoard-xM into a couple of projects that have been waiting for it to arrive...

Shop at Amazon and support this site

Copyright © 2006-2013 Quantoa LLC.
All rights reserved.