Watching boot without HDMI

Folks,

It seems to take a while for the BBB to boot. I’m going to check out the newly posted Debian image soon, but also wanted to know if there’s any way to watch the boot in a terminal i.e. without using HDMI. I don’t have a micro HDMI cable and was hoping not to get one.

Is there a type of terminal connection which will persist through a reboot, so that the boot sequence could be seen? Not even sure if there’s anything to see, just suspected that the boot sequence spends some time “waiting on xyz…” where xyz is probably something I don’t need.

Yes. It is called the debug port. Connector J1.

http://www.elinux.org/Beagleboard:BeagleBone_Black_Serial

Gerald

Stick a usb-serial adapter on J1 and watch the full boot process, plus
the terminal is enabled, so you can use it once it boots.

Regards,

A serial cable will do this. A TTL to USB cable will probably be most
appropriate for you.

No, how could it? When you reboot the system it 'goes away'
completely, when it comes back it might have a different name, have a
different IP address, be running a different OS and not even have an
ssh daemon running (so your terminal wouldn't be able to connect at
all).

When the Ubuntu distribution shuts down it does at least tell you
before going:-

    chris@beaglebone$
    Broadcast message from root@beaglebone
            (unknown) at 16:05 ...

    The system is going down for halt NOW!
    Power button pressed
    Connection to bbb closed by remote host.
    Connection to bbb closed.
    chris$

Then you can reconnect when the system is back up but you won't see
any of the boot sequence. To see what happened (with any errors) try
the dmesg command after you've logged in.

It's *possible* to have a serial console (i.e. a 'terminal') on a
Linux system at boot time and it will then show (some of) the shutdown
and reboot sequence but you have to reconfigure the boot files to do
this and it's non-trivial.

Great, thanks guys, truly a newb question. From some more reading regarding the J1 on the BBB, it seems OK to use a 5V FTDI board since BBB was designed with the pin corresponding to 5V being disconnected. I have some credit at Sparkfun but they actually have several versions. Plus there’s the Bus Pirate as well…

Only use the 3.3V version.

Regards,

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Is there a type of terminal connection which will persist through a reboot,
so that the boot sequence could be seen? Not even sure if there's anything
to see, just suspected that the boot sequence spends some time "waiting on
xyz..." where xyz is probably something I don't need.

No, how could it? When you reboot the system it 'goes away'
completely, when it comes back it might have a different name, have a
different IP address, be running a different OS and not even have an
ssh daemon running (so your terminal wouldn't be able to connect at
all).

As others have posted you can via the J1 serial connection.

It's *possible* to have a serial console (i.e. a 'terminal') on a
Linux system at boot time and it will then show (some of) the shutdown
and reboot sequence but you have to reconfigure the boot files to do
this and it's non-trivial.

This is already done... Just connect up whatever 3.3v serial connector you prefer and your bootup/shutdown messages are there. I typically have screen or minicom connected here to see what I've hosed up lately.

Mike

I can recommend the USB to TTL serial cable from adafruit:

http://www.adafruit.com/products/954

It’s inexpensive and I’m using it with my BBB. I know it says it’s for Raspberry Pi but it’s actually universal and works with both.

at $10 it’s a good one for sure. Just to share, I have and use this one($20) which provides all 6 lines on a single 1x6 header and plugs directly into J1(black wire to J1-1) and it’s used for Arduino(DC Boarduino).

http://www.adafruit.com/products/70