Ideas for Mass Flashing/Testing

Hi Everyone,

I have a board that has been developed using the Beaglebone Black as a reference design.
We are trying to figure out a way to do mass Flashing/Testing of the boards in a production environment.

The boards will be coming from our manufacturer with absolutely nothing on the internal flash or EEPROM.
I’d like to devise a way to be able to plug multiple boards boards into a jig (i.e. a USB hub), and have them flash and go through some initial test scripts to test out the hardware functionality.

My hope was that the board would be able to boot off of USB0 via a USB hard drive, flash or NFS drive with the boot partition and boot files also located on the drive. From what I’ve read, I understand, there is no possible way of doing this and that a boot partition must exist on an SD card or the on-board flash in order to boot from NFS, or USB0.

Is my understanding correct? Are there other ways to boot the board with no on-board flash/SD boot partition?

Thanks in Advance!

The bbb from CircuitCo has the same issue. On first power, a script on
the microSD programs the board eeprom, then reboots. Then the kernel
will find the eMMC device, then we resync the data from the microSD to
the eMMC.


something you can insert into mSD slot to emulate mSD, then you should
be ok. I'm sure there is such a thing, but no idea.

There is also serial boot.. This is why you see the "CCCC" 's on the
serial port when the eMMC and microSD are blank.


Here at Special Computing, we use our custom serial booter for our initial power up test rigs before moving on to NFS boot. Its easier to scale up these networked test rigs that doesn’t depend on too much working on the board as power is first applied (there may not even be a microSD on our boards).

Thanks for the replies!
How long is typical for a serial boot?

The SD card slot will not be populated, but a boot partition could be made available using a bed of nails and an SD card elsewhere.

Ideally, I’d like to have the board boot, giving it enough life to do a full burn of the on-board flash and to configure the EEPROM.
I imagine that serial boot may be very slow, however, a script could be configured to write to the EEPROM, and burn a customized u-boot so that the device can connect to a faster medium for the rootfs (via NFS or USB0).

Would serial boot be ideal for this sort of thing?

I meant to say “burn a customized boot partition”.