extremely disappointed after high hopes product feedback

Being a tinkerer for years I have played with various devices and understand that experinental means if it breaks then you keep both parts and also are often on your own.

Now I would like to post this as feedback and not as criticism.

After many an hour on raspberry pi I decided the beaglebone black looked interesting and I like the web interface etc as it is great to visually demonstrate things.

My experience turned sour following the ubuntu sd card install and it worked upto CLI.
What concerns me is a simple desktop package pull ends in disaster.

Now either it is sheer coincide that issuing a reboot command on an sd card image results in failure.

Or applying a desktop to cli has somehow allowed without verification boot sector/eMMC writing.

Now it did still boot but ssh and hdmi were unavailable, so thinking an offical image would restore any corruption- I followed update instructions and it appears to have failed and bricked.

Occasionally it will boot without hdmi and although led flash ssh etc is unobtainable even though it shows on router..

I will be returning it to element 14/farnell for a refund and I hope that someone reads this and if needed uses a signed boot loader.

I also express my concerns that package update can result in bricking according to iirc.

Hopefully a solution that doesn't involve FDTI can be found.

I'm always interested in technology and although this ended badly for me, I am and would consider beagle boards again.

Disappointed Teaker1s

The board cannot ever be bricked. Never.

Just go to the support Wiki, the link on the white card that came in the box, http://circuitco.com/support/BeagleBoneBlack.

Go to http://circuitco.com/support/index.php?title=BeagleBoneBlack#Software_Resources and select Angstrom.

Or just use the direct link http://circuitco.com/support/index.php?title=Updating_The_Software

This will “unbrick” your board.


If you require a desktop experience perhaps try Debian, with LXDE installed on it. Ubuntu has known issues. Atleast 13.04 it seems.

With that said, in hardware the rpi has no redeeming qualities compared to the BBB, except that it does video well. In software the rpi has maturity. In the context of true embedded Linux though, the rpi can not compare, if you apply yourself enough.

One of my friends at university was joking the other day, the RPi is a lame board with a great graphics card and the beaglebone is a great board with modest graphics. Would be REAL nice if we could get SGX drivers for 3.8+. I know the community can’t do anything about that, but come on TI…

  • Nathaniel Lewis

Hi, sounds like you’ve just lucked out a bit. I can assure you that what your trying to do is quite possible, and i have 10’s of units running Debian and its cousin ubuntu.

I’d urge you to hang in there a little bit longer. Also remember that the Ubuntu and Debian builds are not supported by the Beaglebone Manfaucturer… So if you go outside of the supplied build then you are out of the “supported” space.

If you drop into the Irc channel ( #beagle ), theres a good chance someone will give you a hand.

Hello and thanks for the replies.
I have tried 5v bench supply and still the issues remain

The board will boot off an sd card of a different make and give cli login.

The bbb wont write to eMMC as per Gerald's suggestion-I have tried and tried- it refuses to initialise or I have just a power light.

I have contacted farnell about a return, I'm disappointed and willing to try any other ideas?

We have seen issues with some SD cards not working. Running the HP format tool may fix those issues, it has in the past.


Hi Gerald, thanks for the suggestion-I have followed the instructions again exactly and using recommend tools.

The beaglebone boots and appears to flash as it ends in user lights illuminated.

Followed power down and remove sd card.

Reboot I get 4 flashing leds.

I have contacted farnell to request that refund is instead a replacement.

I didn’t know who you were and a google and youtube video later-shows your passionate about hardware.

My apologies if I appeared disgruntled, I’m just frustrated my beaglebone experience was short lived.

Hopefully farnell will replace instead of refund-I’d like to try again and avoid whatever has occurred again.

Thanks for your assistance


I am the designer of the HW. My name is on the System Reference Manual.

Sorry you can’t get it to work.

If you go the RMA route, might get faster response.


Hi Gerald,
Farnell are collecting the beaglebone black and I will in due course get another.

When I have another beaglebone I will return, as you are someone passionate about hardware and keen to help-gives me faith that unlike telechips I will not be left talking to myself if querying something.

Genuinely thank you for taking the time to assist me

Regards Daniel