Apple full numeric [Aluminium] keyboard and internal hub does not work

Hi Guys

Someone asked a similar question before, but no one had an answer then.
I was going to give up and buy another keyboard but when I googled a bit more, I saw that a lot of people are able to use it with their beaglebone black.

I will explain the conditions and problem in details.

I have a beaglebone black powered up via a USB charger (NOT via the 5V DC adapter)
I have it connected to a display via a microHDMI cable.
I am running Angstrom. Updated to 4.09.2013 image. (emmc boot)

When I plugged in a normal wired optical mouse, it powered up and I was able to use it.
I then used an Apple keyboard as described in the title and plugged the mouse to its internal hub on the sides. Nothing worked, both did not show any signs of being powered up.
I of course rebooted and checked lsusb output. I could see the Apple device listed there.

Is this a driver issue or a power supply problem?
Kinda new, so help me out please.


Not sure it will fix your issue, but the image you are using is very old. I suggest that you try a more up to date image on your board.


Hi Sushant Khanna,

I have read about similar issues with all sorts of devices, and as far as I can tell the type of hub used can be a big factor in this situation. First, if you have not tried checking if each device works by its self on the USB host port ( individually ) I would do so now.

So, I think in this case I would check to see if the keyboard works by its self with nothing else plugged into it. If it does, then yes this would be a bit of a quandary, as putting this specific keyboard on another hub may make the situation worse. All may not be lost though, there could be a kernel driver module for this specific keyboard, although I would not hold my breathe.

You may want to try using a different keyboard / mouse, with a known good working USB hub( if you have such laying around ). Spending money on something and not having that work either . . . yes, I know would not be ideal. Said hub should also be self powered.

As to whether you’re needing an external power supply I am not sure, and Gerald would know better than I. However we all could use more information to help us know what exactly is happening. Such as the serial debug output at the time the board is powered up with the keyboard and mouse plugged into the USB port. Sometimes, it can not be overstated how handy a serial debug interface can be . . .

Thanks William and Gerald

I will try to get the newer image. I thought 4th Sep, 2013 would be the last stable one but I will look for a newer one.

William, I understand what a Serial debug interface is but I have never used one. I am an app engineer, broadening my domain.
I will get the cable and start doing that. However, can’t I just pull the logs from the file system?
I might be wrong but isn’t serial debugging for kernel level problem, like the ones which prevent boot at all?

One last thing. Should I be looking for a particular kind of keyboard?
Beaglebone black has problem out of the box I guess.

The mouse works fine if I plug it in seperately.

I bought a basic USB hub and plugged that into my beaglebone. It powered up normally.
I plugged in the mouse as well. They both power up for a second and then go blank.
Is this a hardware limitation? Can I ONLY use powered USB hubs?


It is not a HW limitation. All devices must be plugged in BEFORE you power on the board to make the software happy.

Also. I suggest you register so I don’t have to approve your spots. That means they go through immediately.


Oops, Sorry. Forgot to do that.

I did plug them in before I powered up. They still went dead.

OK. So the kernel does not have the drivers to support them. I have yet to find a keyboard that does not work. I have not tried and Apple keyboard and I have no plans to buy one. You can look at the list of keyboards that are know to work on the support Wiki.


Surprising, because for some the Apple one works fine.

Btw, The power issue is happening with the mouse and hub. I was able to run the mouse normally if I plug in directly. The hub should be just an extension. That is why I asked if powered hubs are a necessity.

Yes, Apple Keyboard works fine on other beagle boards as well, such as the BeagleBone and its 3.2 kernel.

The USB Host port is limited in current. It will supply at least 500mA which is enough to power a HUB with a keyboard and mouse connected. Assuming of course that you are running off a 5VDC supply of at least 1A.


I am running the board through USB rather than a 5VDC adapter as I mentioned in the initial post.
It might be supplying a lower current rate. I’ll try to get a dedicated adapter, plug in directly and check.
Will post back once done.

If that is the case, then what you are seeing is exactly what I would expect to you to see.


Ok, I feel like a total ass now :stuck_out_tongue:

I took a 5V, 1.2A adapter which comes with my wifi router, and booted BBB with that. Worked like a charm, even the apple keyboard.
Though I was providing USB port with a 5V 1A input, it was not taking that much. I should have seen this :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks again Gerald. I will mark this as complete.