How about a REAL successor for the BBB/BBG?


just for my understanding: the BBB and BBG have been an incredible success, not only because hobbyists like them but also because the industry makes use of this great board.

As successor the BBB AI failed - in my opinion because it was way too expensive. Now a new BBB AI is on the way - even more expensive and with an incopatible form factor.

Is this really the right direction to develop the BeagleBones into?

How about a BBB/BBG with the new SoC but without all these additional, fancy interfaces and with an unchanged form factor? I think dropping all these additional interfaces also could save some money and make the whole board cheaper!?


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What new SoC did you have in mind?

AM62x is a good candidate for the next generation low-cost BBB, should the Beagleboard Foundation decide to use a TI SoC.

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Why not the Sitara AM5729 which was used on the first AI? R any other successor of the AM3358 with similar features and more cores and/or higher clock?

That’s - in my opinion - the next big problem with the BB AI64: a new SoC from a different family and therefore with different internal architecture.

If there will be a successor (same shape as BBB), these are my desiderata:

  1. it must be possible to power it straight via USB, one single cable to do all configurations, FANTASTIC (BBAI-64 can’t, instable, requires power suppy, maybe uses too much power)
  2. NO FAN REQUIRED. I hate them, they add detestable noise and mechanical problem to all projects. This was the original sin of BBAI-32.
  3. USB-C instead of miniUSB. Now everywhere, very cool
  4. Trade off, if we could have a double core or more, it would be nice. Still, if to make it so we loose point (1) or (2) than NO !
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I agree with that. Not only the changed form factor but also that huge heatsink of the BBB AI64 is really disappointing. Why name this a BeagleBone when it more looks like a BeagleBoard?

The big success of the RasPi in my opinion comes from the fact, that it provides evolutionary changes, not revolutionary ones. This was also true for BBWhite → BBBlack → BBGreen. But now the BBB AI(64) breaks with that philosophy completely.

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Btw, I can use my BBAI-64 connected to usb port without an external power source - and with a fan connected to BBAI-64 port.
I have 4 Raspberry py 4 and it’s impossible to use without a fan connected to.

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Why is it impossible? We are using several RasPi here, all within a tight housing and with a passive heat sink only - so there is absolutely no need for a fan.

I’m using the pis with ros to control some experiments.
Without fan the pis shutdown after 5 minutes running.

. if you power from usb expect suprises. i dropped doing it on bbai64, unreliable. reliable on bbb. there should be on old thread of mine about it.
. on bbai32, the fan is required, i hope you don’t want to dispute that
. on bbai64, fan is not required but considering the amount of heat it produces, even without load, it is better you consider the heat factor well.

To come back to my original question: how about a real BeagleBone instead of this overexpensive, more BeagleBoard-like thingy? Any statements from the hardware developers? Or aren’t they participating in this board here?


I think the selection of boards is pretty good.

You have the single core BBx variants.

You have the BBAI if you need more power than the BBx’s. I don’t own this one.

If that isn’t enough there is the BBAI64. Yes it is physically slightly larger but this is because you can’t fit it on the same size board. That is always likely to be an issue when going to newer more powerful chips.

There are some changes I would like to see, or that could be done perhaps.


For the BBx’s not using the Octavo modules.
It would be nice if the eMMC was larger, 8 or 16GB. This is probably just a case of substituting a larger eMMC and probably needs no changes to the PCB.
Probably a minimal price increase.

More RAM might also be nice, but would require a new PCB layout.

For the BBx varients that use the Octavo Systems OSD3358 module, more memory might not be possible, unless they have modules with more eMMC/RAM, in which case it would just need a new module, no PCB redesign.

For the BBAI64.

The biggest disappointment with the BBAI64 for me, is the lack of mounting holes for a fan. Yes you can run without a fan, but it does get hot.

It would be nice if the heatsink had mounting holes for a 60mm fan. I currently have a bracket fitted to the mounting holes in the PCB to place the fan over the heatsink but that then means I can’t mount the PCB.

I don’t see any reason to develop another new board unless it brings something that is missing in the others.

You could use some female to male thread stand-offs screwed into the heatsink panel nuts on the back side of the board.

I was going to mill down some of the fins then drill and tap into the heatsink for mounting a fan. Or just machine another one, we are still playing with the ai64, have not made any commitments to it yet.

All the boards have something the other ones don’t have regarding features.

These beagleboards with the TI SoC are the best documented and supported out of all of them. So that is an extremely powerful magnet attracting us to use them.

It would be nice if they would put a connector on the board for a RTC backup battery. AND put a reset /right angle/ switch on the connector side of the board so we can use a pin hole to reset it. Maybe use a full size vertical HDMI connector so we don’t need to have an adapter on it.

Also seems like a ribbon connector going to a “breakout” board would be much better than the double headers, maybe not.

We have a design for a heatsink that includes a fan, so it can be swapped out. We’re working on making it available. We didn’t want to ship the default with a component that could wear out mechanically.

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@jkridner I would certainly be interested in swapping my heatsink if that ever becomes possible.

One other thing I should also have mentioned are the serial console/fan headers.
I know space is very tight on the board, but the tiny connectors are a real pain. I have used many dev boards with similar or smaller connectors before, and things are usually ok if you just plug a cable in and leave it alone. However all to often due to the very small size of the cable and crimp, it is very easy to break a wire.

Given the size it is almost impossible to self crimp theses connectors. A standard 0.1" pin header would be so much better.

This is more of a problem on the two serial headers than the fan header, as they are far more likely to be removed. Plus if the board comes with a heatsink & fan, I assume it will also come with a connector for the header.

It would be nice if at some point in the design, some information was made available for comment by the community.

Curious, what are the problems with powering BBAI-64 using the USB-C connector? I have only used BBAI-64 powered by USB-c and has not experienced any power issues so far. What problems should I expect and when do they happen?

From my understanding and a little Googling for a USB3 type A port, the host must supply at least 900mA to meet USB3 specs. If the host is type C, then it is 1.5A.
The quality/length of the USB cable will also be a factor.

The BBAI64’s USB C is not PD compatible, so that excludes the higher power available there.

There are a lot of cores in the BBAi64 and I think somewhere in the docs it is recommended to use at least a 5V, 3A supply.

I tried powering my board from USB and it wasn’t even booting. That was connected to a type A port on my laptop. It looked like it was stuck in a boot loop reset situation.

I bought a USB C → USB C PD cable rated at 65W and powering the BBAI64 from the USB C port on my laptop did work, but again it was just sitting there doing mostly nothing. This was the minimal non desktop image, so no GPU running consuming power. This cable was visibly much thicker than the USB A → USB C cable i tried to start with.

If the board does not get enough power then this could lead to lockups, reboots or just some random instability. It will depend on how close you are to the limit. There should be some sort of brown out reset in there somewhere. If the board resets while writing to the eMMC then there is going to be the potential for corruption there.

I would always use a proper DC adapter to power any board if there is the option to do so. I would also chose any dev board with a separate DC input over a USB only power board.

The original question was about a compatible successor of the BBB/BBG, not about some specific cooling/powering problems of the BB-AI64. So would you mind opening an own thread for this OT-discussion? This would help to keep the focus on the original question in this thread.

Thank you :slight_smile:

Had an interesting issue here, the lab power supply was folding back at a much lower current than what was indicated on the front panel. We are using NVMe on the boards in testing and they are now doing fine with a stiff wall adapter, if memory is correct they are rated at 5 amps.

Power supply regulation is also important.

I must say i remembered badly a conversation I had some time ago with Robert, what i said was not accutate. The problem is not only with USB powering. (maybe it has been fiexd, it is a few months i am not experimenting). See here