USB Hub, Subsequent Data Use Fail

I recently purchased A Beagle Board Black within the last week and now I get to use it.

Please consider me extreme newb status in that I ask you to please spell everything out if you have an answer as I’ve got several kids I’m mentoring even more frustrated by acronym-laced instructions than I :wink:

We’re quick learners, just from really, really bad school districts behind even Mississippi that think using a spreadsheet and anti-virus downloads constitutes a computer class. We’ve decided to get our own tech space together and will thoroughly use your advice.

I have connected a USB hub/card reader that I have plugged into the main USB port. My video is a TV which I set to not clip the edges of the desktop by adjusting the TV’s display settings.

I was extremely stoked to find that not only was the hub and reader running a combo wireless keyboard and mouse off of one port, but also displaying and detecting all USB drives plugged into it and the files inside. This is extremely ideal as the OS comes with GIMP and text editors, plugs into whatever HDMI TV in front of me; about all I need for my brand of craziness. Learning to use Linux on my own finally is a side benefit.

But upon trying to load any file from my drives into GIMP the unit OS freezes. I have to hit reset. Is it because I am running the OS off the “vanilla” setting/drive? Maybe it has no room? It doesn’t seem to . . .

I have noticed a few posts about getting the SD chip to read. And moving the OS to it. I have one blank SD formatted ‘ext4’ of 16gb I could not get it to detect, and of course as I’ve seen on this forum I can’t leave it in its slot at boot and expect the Beagle to boot.

I have access to a windows machine that can do some file operations if needed, but I travel a lot and I don’t take internet access for granted and I get frustrated by not being able to endlessly trawl the internet for up-to-date specifics on use of this superior-to-windows OS. And I must say this product forum and your gracious willingness to oblige us customers was what made me finally get one of these.


Thank you, I will get to work on this

If I may make a suggestion.

As an extreme newbie I would go with the Beaglebone White.

I know it is twice the price of the black but it is a mature product, where the black is not (sorry Gerald)

It is EXTREMELY easy to make backups of the OS and even try different versions of the same OS.

Many of the tools are Windows Xp tools, like the uSD card formatter and the card imager.

There are no buttons to hold down. You just pop out the old uSD card and pop in the new one.

I am currently using the BB-White in a small volume commercial product and it is working like a champ.

Every time I install a software package successfully, I use the Xp imager software to make a complete OS back up.

Also if I want to update my client’s firmware, I just send them a new uSD card.

Good Luck !


Nothing to be sorry about. If you can’t handle the two differences (eMMC and HDMI) then that is not an issue. Both can easily be disabled.

Only thing then that you are missing is the USB to serial and that is cheaper at $15 than another $44 for the white…


All you would have to do to make it boot of microSD like the white is by deleting the MLO file. Then you won’t have to deal with eMMc at all.

Ok, we have gotten an SD chip to display on the desktop as ‘Angstrom’ - I assume it has been formatted with the supplied OS properly.

In addition, the ‘MLO’ file was deleted using instructions provided. We now have ‘BEAGLEBONE’ and additionally ‘BEAGLE_BONE’ displaying as well. It seems to be booting from the SD chip. (Note, SD chip is 16gb, enough for a massive home folder in comparison.)

And unlike previously, the image (graphical that is) files do load (tested at 100kb .jpg), and more importantly display unlike before, but THEN the OS freezes up. Several resets the pattern holds tight but at least its prettier than before :wink:

Is this an issue with the USB hub no longer switching between data and keyboard/mouse? I cannot think of how to get both data and input otherwise. And how do I carve out space on the Home folder or wherever BB is storing info? Do I need to? If I write something on a text editor for instance, and save, where should it go?

Thank you again for being on top of this!

Got that part. Booting cool now.

Sorry, meant to reply specifically to Juan C.

Problem still exactly as above.


The OS is allowing me to move a file to desktop, but upon opening I have the same hangup issue. No more mouse or keyboard input.

And I should say GIMP of course is loading up previous to these shenanigans like it always has for me.

Hmm…that is weird.

Can you go into your terminal and navigate to the following:
$ cat /media/BEAGLEBONE/ID.txt
and tell me what you see.

Hmm…that is weird.

Can you go into your terminal and navigate to the following:
$ cat /media/BEAGLEBONE/ID.txt
and tell me what you see.

Done. ‘cat /media/BEAGLEBONE/ID.txt’ supplies the following:

Cloud9 GNOME Image 2013.06.06

‘cat /media/BEAGLE_BONE/ID.txt’ <<< the other “BEAGLE_BONE.txt” now on desktop BTW,
supplies following:

So this appears to a problem with opening most files in general, whether on Home folder or USB in general. GIMP is most obvious, but certain text files ‘.doc’ opened with Abiword also freeze up.

A very small text file opened successfully off of home folder with Gedit. That’s pretty much it so far. Will keep trying later, may try to move to other OS using instructions elsewhere in forum.

on an off chance whats "free" tell you your memory is
i run debian om my BBB and have no issues
i am running debian on a 16gb sd card granted
i leave the stock angstrom on the emmc so if i am ever in doubt of
something i just pop out
the sd card and reboot

i dont bother to use the boot button and have a modified ///uEnv/.txt
file to allow me to boot from the sd card
if inserted

Thanks for understanding Gerald J

I bought one of the first Blacks off the line.

If I understand you correctly, if I was to remove uboot and MLO from the eMMC then I would have a

Beaglebone white with HDMI but no serial?

That wouldn’t be a problem because the first thing I did was hook a Sparkfun FTDI serial adapter to it.

Is it possible to use the eMMC as an onboard “flash drive” by mounting it like another drive?

Then you would have a (cheaper) BBWhite on steroids !


Just MLO. Or just rename it to MOO instead of MLO. That way by renaming it, you could still use it.

No, the BBB is 1GHZ and 512MB DDR3 so it is different than the original one. But from a basic functionality standpoint, they would be about the same.

You should be able use the eMMC as a drive. As to steroids and cheaper, that is already the case!


In addition to Wulf Man’s suggestion to run ‘free’ to examine your RAM usage, I recommend running the following in a terminal:

df -k

du -s -k /*

Also, are you powering the BBB with the USB cable? Do you have a working ethernet link over the USB cable?

Due to the size of your SD card it may be unlikely but there is a possibility that after running long enough over USB cable you can eat all the filesystem space with log files. The driver for the USB networking has been compiled with debugging turned on by default and the log messages create megabytes of data per minute. These commands will provide the info to help verify whether this is your problem or you have a different problem.

Cool !

Thanks …….

Gonna try to do this in order:

  1. Running ‘free’ produces

Mem: total=510820 used=208120 free=302700 shared=0 buffers=14540 cached=101480

+/- buffers/cache used=92100 free=418720

Swap: 0 0 0

  1. We’ve had the board plugged into AC power whole time, save the ‘MLO’ file deletion (we saved it elsewhere for later). In addition it has yet to be plugged into any Ethernet connection. What you said about it logging all the time makes sense, so it’s not from network either.

  2. Ran df -k >>> It shows that ‘rootfs’ is at 41% usage out of 3gb blocks and same for ‘dev/root’. ‘devtmpfs’ is occupying 0% of 250mb blocks. There are 5 ‘tmpfs’ directories taking up 250mb a piece and not using any more than 1% of their blocks.

The three ‘/dev/mmcblk0p1’, ‘*1p2’, ‘*1p1’ are at 95%, 77%, and 78% percent respectively for ‘BEAGLE_BONE’, ‘ANGSTROM’, and ‘BEAGLEBONE’

  1. Ran ‘du -s -k /*’ :

4576 /bin

4472 /boot

4 /dev

40440 /etc

166732 /home

41260 /lib

16 /lost+found

1375216 /media

4 /mnt

du: cannot access '/proc/644/task/644/fd/3 ': No such file or directory

du: cannot access '/proc/644/task/644/fdinfo/3 ': No such file or directory
du: cannot access '/proc/644/fd/3 ': No such file or directory
du: cannot access '/proc/644/fdinfo/3 ': No such file or directory

0 /proc
268 /run
2244 /sbin
0 /sys
4 /tmp

871536 /usr

146396 /var

That’s it for those two commands.