Servers by jDrones

BeagleBone Blue released, Linux-enabled autopilot for 80$


(Mirko Denecke) #1 has released the BeagleBone Blue, a Linux-enabled computer for robotic applications.

The BeagleBone Blue is an open hardware platform that include a large array of sensors and IO; IMU, Baro, PPM for RC input, 8 channels PWM output to Servos, DC motor driver, analog input, PRU, GPIO, LEDs, buttons, serial, CAN, I2C, SPI, USB, WiFi, Bluethooth, 2-cell LiPo charger and wide input voltage range.

In case you’re wondering how this came about, Jason Kridner has designed the BeagleBone Blue and he contacted me to implement the ArduPilot Flight Controller Software on BeagleBone Blue and make it a full blown Linux-enabled autopilot. Based on my previous experience with a similar project called the BBBmini, a BeagleBone Black coupled with a sensor cape of my own, that has been successfully built and flown by numerous DIYers around the world, the BeagleBone Blue is natural extension of my design with the benefit of having a single board solution.

Experimenters can now have their copter, plane, rover, submarine being controlled with ArduPilot software powered by a versatile linux platform with enough power to add cameras, additionals sensor and use a large array of available robotic language like ROS, dronekit-python and Mission Control suites for just 80$.

I am not related to TI or BBBmini and BeagleBone Blue ArduPilot support are both pure hobby projects.

Maxbotix ultrasonic sensor with serial port
(rmackay9) #2

This is really great and thanks so much for porting ArduPilot to the board. I’ve ordered two and I plan to write up a wiki page on to help others find the info they need.

The connectors on the board are JST-SH which are fairly common so we should be able to get the power modules, GPS, etc that people will want to use with these.

By the way, I had to slightly modify your post, I added “in case you’re wondering how this came about” to fix an html parsing issue we have in It has this problem where it cuts links in half which leads to invalid html.

(tridge) #3

great! I’ve ordered a BB blue too. Should arrive this week. Looks like a really nice board. I would have liked the IMU on SPI, but we can live with I2C for now.

(Mirko Denecke) #4

@tridge you are right, no IMU fast sampling available. Unfortunately I was not involved in the design of the board.

(tridge) #5

It’s not just the fast sampling - I am concerned that we may get FIFO sync errors. Do you get any console msgs from the driver about FIFO errors?
still, looks like a very nice board apart from this minor niggle

(Mirko Denecke) #6

@tridge no, not at all, seems to be fine.

(Jiro Hattori) #7

Ouch! “Unfortunately the item(s) on my purchase order have export restrictions imposed by the US Government.” What is happening on your order?

(Perth UAV - Sam) #8

Sweet! That looks really good!
Thank you Mirko for your efforts to port APM accross already!

With these types of processors there’s often a mux where it might be possible to reroute the sensors and put them on a SPI bus instead? It might cost one of the SPI ports, but they’re not commonly used on a cable/connector anyway. Might be worth a look.

So I’m assumming that APM is running on the main A8 CPU in linux and that the PWM/sensors is being driven by the PRU’s? Or is APM running on the PRU’s? I also see it has a M3 MCU. It would be good to have the A8 just running imaging and comms. A camera CSI would of been nice because then the USB would be free for 3G etc.

It’s cool that it has a 4A UBEC onboard, lipo charger, wifi mesh (802.11s) and even the 4 DCmotor channels. Do you know their current rating at 2S, I can’t find it in the spec? With all that “in the bag” it should make itself popular with the educational market, for kids to get into coding/automation etc. all on a budget. You really only need 4 DC motors, a battery and something to hold them together to make this thing fly! Nice!

In that regards it’s a shame they didn’t leave the HDMI on there, as that could of turned this drone into a home coding SBC…

(rmackay9) #9

I ordered from Mouser and they sent me an email saying I needed to fill in an EUC-EAR form (which they provided). I’ve filled that in and I hope they will process my order now.

(Jiro Hattori) #10

I have submitted EUC-EAR as well, but declined. I will cross fingers for you.

(tridge) #11

@mirkix, do you think we should precompile binaries for the BB blue on

(rmackay9) #12


My order was rejected by mouse overnight as well :-(.

Isabella from mouser was very nice about it but said this, “We received this product in with the expectation that the export classification would come in from the manufacturer or at least if the application have been submitted, approved, or not*. We have not gotten any response.”.

I’m going to try to order through Element14 instead.

(Mirko Denecke) #13

@tridge yes, that would be nice and maybe provide a DEB package as well.

(tridge) #14

a deb would be great! do you have time to write a script for generating that?

(Mirko Denecke) #15

@tridge I am not familiar with building deb package till now. Have to check how complicated it is.

(tridge) #16

got my BB blue today. Does anyone know what the default WiFi password is?

(Perth UAV - Sam) #17

@tridge If I may ask where did you manage to get your BB Blue from in Australia?

(tridge) #18

got it from element14

(Mirko Denecke) #19

@tridge could be BeagleBone

(tridge) #20

that was it, thanks!