sata hard disk on BeagleBoard-xM

Hi all, I am a new member of this group. I am working on image processing using opencv, ffmpeg etc. library with webcam, IP camera in desktop over a few years. My working area is on video compression, recognition etc. All the thing I have done in fedora, ubuntu and windows. Now, I want to do these in embedded environment. So, I have choose BeagleBoard-xM. Now I have some few question.

  1. Has this BeagleBoard-xM a sata Hard disk port such that I can connect it with a sata hard disk ?
  2. How should I arrange the power to continuing the board 24x7 ?
  3. Is this board is very reliable for continuous performance of 24x7 ?

I need the these information very urgently. Please give me some help.

Thanking You
Srikanta Mondal

None of the BeagleBoards have a SATA interface. You could use a USB to SATA interface.
Connect power and make sure it stays on for 24x7. You could also look at a battery backup in case the AC mains fail.
It should have no issue running 24x7 as long as the SW is and power is robust enough.


First off all Thanks to Gerald Coley for replying. Now, again I have some quires.
for my project I need following things:

  1. One PCI slot to connect 4 channel DVR card
  2. 2 RS232 port
  3. If my application is running smoothly in Ubuntu-xfce with intel atom and 1GBDDR3 RAM, then can it run on Beagle Board? My application needs the following drivers:
    a. USB DVR driver
    b. USB 3G mobile broadband dongle
    c. 4 channel PCI DVR card

Can I customize a board with my choice? If I provide a bulk order of 250 boards?

I am in India, from where I would get a demo board?

Thanking You
Srikanta Mondal

  1. Cortex-a8 is not that powerful as Atom, but may be you don’t need this
  2. PCI is not an option for the Beagleboard. Even using usb-pci bridges are not effective as usb bus is extremely slow at ARM in terms of the bus throughput.

Moreover 4 channel videoprocessing is real challenge for DM3730 (or omap3530?? Even worse), even if internal dsp is utilized

I suggest that you read the System Reference Manual.

No BeagleBoard has a PCI interface.
They all have one serial port unless you ad a daughter card to access the second or add a USB to serial adapter to a USB host port.
None of them have 1GB DDR3.

Sounds like you need an expensive laptop or desktop PC for your project. Or, you can design your own board. Buying these boards in bulk will not solve the issue of these interfaces not being there.


This post leads me to ask a few follow on questions:

  1. How hard would it be to add things like wireless or sata on a cape?
  2. How do you find someone competent to customize the bone?
  3. Who is currently making bones and are they willing to make short runs of customized bones?



See below.


This post leads me to ask a few follow on questions:

  1. How hard would it be to add things like wireless or sata on a cape?

If you could connect WLAN via the MMC at 3.3V, that would be possible. SPI is another option for WLAN. The expansion has MMC and a 16b address bus that could be used.

  1. How do you find someone competent to customize the bone?

Depends on what you need. It should not be difficult to find someone once your needs are understood. If you want ot go this route, then there are other options available that may be used to make these connections.

  1. Who is currently making bones and are they willing to make short runs of customized bones?

BeagleBones are made by CircuitCO and yes they would entertain making customized runs of any of the BeagleBoards.

Feel free to ocntact me direct.

SATA should be very simple, on the 16 bit expansion bus, it looks like
glue less connection could be possible (to pata sata ic, those cost
like nothing..)


If you are looking SATA hard-disk for storage purpose, then better option will be to use network attached storage.
In linux
sshfs can mount the remote drive to local drive. The speed can be better using network storage ( I follow this in my experiments ).

In india the IDA systems provides beagleboard.

For continuous power you might want to use your laptop for supplying input power to your board.

Anyways interesting questions, waiting for answers too. :slight_smile:

It’s an option but it’s certainly not a “better” option. The BB can be used as an incredibly powerful “embedded” controller. So, for example, my laser ranging system produces a lot of raw data, ~100MB per m^2 scan, and sata is a good option for attaching a storage system. But, out in the field, the laser system isn’t attached to a network. I need local storage that is bigger and faster than an sd card or usb2. As for using a laptop to supply power, that’s just wrong. A laptop is much more fragile than a BB and can only supply 100mA through usb. My m2m cellphone draws 2A when it’s connecting and I’m sure that other things draw like that as well. (Besides, it you have a laptop turned on, what’s the point of a BB?)


The hardware may be simple but any idea how much kernel hacking would be needed (or is it already there?)? Also, any idea what conflicts there would be using those 16 pins for this? Also, since sata is serial, i.e. two wire, is there some way to not use 16 pins? I know this is a pretty simple question but I'm hoping someone who knows about these things will comment for the community (and me:)).

One other, simple question point: is sata really for a BB? The BB is a single core, < 1GHz processor. Can it efficiently work with a sata drive or is the drive too fast?

actually having sata on BB CAPE is not that bad idea at all... the 16
bit memory bus does not overlap LCD bus so both can be used at same

kernel hacking is not that much needed at all there are ide drivers
that need only minor modifications


It does not matter how slow BB, all hdd have cache which compensate any bus delays.