µSD Card size Image, BBB, balena Etcher

I have a problem with the memory size of my µSD cards.
I have several 4GB cards.
Card 1: Total memory
Card 2: Total memory 3,982,491,648
Card 3: Total memory 3,896,492,032
Card 4: Total memory 3,900,702,720
With balena etcher, the image “Debian 9.5” can be installed on the SD cards without any problems.
When I boot the BBB with the SD card inside, the image is only installed with card 3 and 4.
If I use card 1 or 2, the BBB boots normally from its eMMC.
Of course, I can now also use 2GB cards.
However, I have installed numerous programmes and use 74% of the memory.
In the future, I would like to back up my BBB to a 4 GB card and be able to transfer this back up to another BBB.
How can I make it so that only part of the SD card is used for the back-up?
I have already formatted and partitioned the SD card differently several times.
Installing the image with balena still works without any problems but it is not installed on the BBB.
Do you have a solution to my problem?
It must be possible to install an image with even larger cards >8GB because the image is much smaller.
Many thanks for your support

Please clarify this, I read it to mean it does not boot from SD card.

You can also use the USB port / usb stick to archive your programs, just log in on the debug port. Then mount the device.

Yes, that is correct. It does not boot from the SD card.

However, I do not only want to boot from the SD card.
I want to install the image directly from the SD card into the eMMC.
That has not been a problem so far.
It seems, my new SD cards are probably a bit too big for the BBB.
Best regards

Please provide link to the image you are downloading so we can make sure you are on the correct one.
Also, keep in mind when the SD boots and plants the code into emmc it takes a while to do that and it might leave the impression that it is not working.

Do you have a TTL adapter so you can monitor the boot sequence on a host?

I download the image there.
Debian 9.5
With two cards it works perfectly.
The other two do not work.
It neither boots from the card nor installs the image.
I have also tried other cards.
There must be a context with the size of the card.

Which specific file? 9.5 was a few variations…


both this image version and the images I created with the script
only work with the small SD cards.

From /opt/scripts/ please run git rev-parse HEAD so we know what era the scripts are at…

Just for clarity sake to help debug. (Debian 9.x is way EOL, i’m only working with Debian 11.x and Debian 12.x at this point…)

  • So you download and flash the eMMC with: BBB-blank-debian-9.5-iot-armhf-2018-10-07-4gb.img.xz…
  • install xyz
  • run: ./beaglebone-black-make-microSD-flasher-from-eMMC.sh

Some “SD” cards work to flash another BBB, where as other’s dont?


Yes that is correct.
I will try the latest image tomorrow.
But I am sure that this will not work either.
I will get back to you.

could it be that the cards that work are SDHC (good) while the cards that don’t are SDXC?


Shouldn’t be a SDXC issue, they all support older transport communications.


Hi @ASbetebe it would be useful to save the serial log from running: ./beaglebone-black-make-microSD-flasher-from-eMMC.sh

ps, the reason i asked for the

git rev-parse HEAD

of /opt/scripts/, back in that era we had been updating the flasher scripts quite a bit…



I have now done the following.
SD card 1 4GB (3.900.702.720) the small one.
SD card 2 4GB ( the large one.

Image downloaded
AM3358 Debian 10.3 2020-04-06 4GB eMMC IoT Flasher

I played this image with balena etcher on both SD cards.

With SD card 2 (large) it did not boot from the SD card and the image did not load.

With SD card 1 (small), the image was loaded directly onto the BBB.
Everything as it should be. Perfect.

After installing the image, I did the following with the BBB.
Booting without SD card.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade
$ cd /opt/scripts/tools/
$ git pull
$ sudo ./update_kernel.sh

$ cd developers
$ sudo ./update_bootloader.sh

$ cd /opt/scripts/
$ git rev-parse HEAD
$ sudo reboot

After the reboot, I created an image on both SD cards.
$ cd /opt/scripts/tools/eMMC
$ sudo ./beaglebone-black-make-microSD-fl…eMMC.sh
There were no error messages.

I was then able to upload the image from SD card 1 (small) directly to another BBB. Just as it should be. Perfect.

The image from SD card 2 (large) could not be installed.

It must have something to do with the size of the SD card.

How can I save the serial log of ./beaglebone-black-micro…sh ?
Where can I find the log ?

best regards

What are the makes of the SD cards you are using ?

I would guess that there is something about card 2 that the boot rom does not like.

It has nothing to do with the fact it is slightly larger. You can flash the downloaded image on any sized SD card as long as it is large enough and should boot. You could use an 8G or 32G card. The initial partition written from the image will be around 4G, it will then be expanded after booting to fill the SD card.

Once booted you can create an image on both cards, so Linux is quite happy with the cards you are using. However the boot code in the CPU responsible for loading the initial image to boot is going to be a lot simpler and to some extent fussy about the cards you use.

Is it possible the sector size on the non booting card is not 512 bytes ? I know some 2G cards had 1024 byte sectors, but no idea if any others have 1K sector sizes. That could confuse the boot rom if it just assumes 512 byte sectors.

The cards are from Intenso.
4GB class4 microSDHC
The information I was able to read out with GParted indicates that everything is identical except for the size.
Is there a good programme to find out more information about the card?
How can I ensure that I only buy the right cards in the future?
Many greetings

Have you got a serial console hooked up ?

It would be good to know at what point in the boot process is failing with the non working cards.

I assume the variation in sizes is down to faulty flash blocks on the SD card, but again as long as there is enough space on the SD card to flash the image it should boot.

I have connected a display to the BBB.
But I can’t get any information from it.

When the BBB boots with a small SD card, all 4 user LEDs light up for ~14seconds. And then the image will be installed. Perfect

When the BBB boots with a large SD card, all 4 user LEDs light up for ~4seconds. And then the BBB starts normally as if there is no SD card in the slot.

In the meantime I have more than 10 SD cards with me and with all of them I can only notice the difference in memory size.

You need to connect a serial console cable to the board to see what is happening.
It is the only way to see what is happening with the boot process.

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I have attached a log file of the boot process.
output_2023-05-10_16-11-39.log (4,8 KB)

Try again, that’s something else what was it encoded with… gtkterm has a save to log file feature.