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Open source COM version of BeagleBone Black hits Kickstarter

Jun 29, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 3,711 views

An open source, 49 x 32mm COM version of the BeagleBone Black called the “BeagleCore” offers Cape compatibility and starts at $44, or $111 with a baseboard.

A German startup called BeagleCore is spinning a computer-on-module version of’s BeagleBone Black single board computer on Kickstarter. Packages start at 39 Euros ($44) for the first 500 units shipping in Feb. 2016, or 49 Euros ($55) for the second shipment in April. With a baseboard, it costs 99 Euros ($111), also with April 2016 shipment. The BeagleCore and Starter-Kit support Linux flavors including Debian, Ubuntu, Android, and Cloud9 IDE on Node.js with BoneScript library.

BeagleCore alone (left) and plugged into optional baseboard
(click images to enlarge)

The 49 x 32mm module, which is roughly one-third of the size of a BeagleBone Black, offers a “a well selected pin assignment to give access to all features of the BeagleBone Black,” says BeagleCore. “If you can run it on BeagleBone, you can run it on BeagleCore, as well. Plus you have the advantages of creating your own PCB layout and not only rely on Capes to enhance your baseboard.”

There have been several developer boards based on the BeagleBone, which extend it with various features, such as the FPGA-enabled Logi-Bone, but as far as we know, this is the first COM version equivalent to the Raspberry Pi’s Raspberry Pi Compute Module. A year ago, CircuitCo announced an OEM version of the BeagleBone called the BlueSteel-Basic, but the product was quickly scrapped. The same seems to have happened to CircuitCo’s planned COM version, called the BlueSteel -Core.

All hardware schematics, PCB layout, and the bill of materials of the BeagleCore will be free to download, modify, and use, says the company. However, there are relatively few details available now.

The BeagleCore is equipped with the same Texas Instruments AM335x Cortex-A8 Sitara SoC found on the BB Black, and its similarly clocked to 1GHz. The module has the same 512MB of DDR3 RAM and 4GB of 8-bit eMMC flash. Supported extensions are said to include solder-pads assigned to a 10/100 Ethernet port, USB 2.0 host and client ports, and an SD slot.

BeagleCore front (left) and rendering of back showing board-to-board solder pads
(click images to enlarge)

Other I/O potentialities include a UART connection, a JTAG debug interface, and up to 59x GPIO for “HDMI, CAN, I²C, etc.” The BeagleCore has 7-year availability.

You need to go to the BeagleCore website to find information on the baseboard that comes with the optional Starter-Kit. The approximately BeagleBone sized 87 x 54 x 20mm baseboard offers Ethernet, a USB 2.0 host port, and a mini-USB 2.0 client port. There’s also an HDMI port with audio support, as well as a microSD port, a 6-pin serial UART interface, and dual 46-pin GPIO headers. LEDs are also available.

BeagleSuite options (left) and screenshot
(click images to enlarge)

The company also offers a web-based BeagleSuite application for programming and coordinating IoT sensor inputs for the BeagleCore or BeagleBone Black. BeagleSuite, which is a $6 add-on to any Kickstarter order, helps set up widgets for home automation jobs like controlling temperature or adjusting the brightness of lights depending on the brightness of the room. The BeagleSuite dashboard lets you set up actions based on various rules, without any programming required, says the company.

Companies interested in building products based around the BeagleBone’s AM3358 Sitara SoC can also go with a Linux-ready commercial COM like MYIR’s MYC-AM335X. However, we know of none that promise full BeagleBone code and Cape compatibility, as does the BeagleCore.

Meanwhile, Seeed Studio’s BeagleBone Green clone of the BB Black, which was announced in May and was intended to ship on June 19, was still not available at publication time. The SBC adds a battery backed real-time clock (RTC) and dual Grove System connectors for connecting Seeed’s Grove sensor boards. The BeagleBone Green also swaps out the barrel jack power connector for a micro-USB, and removes the HDMI port.

Further information

The BeagleCore is available on Kickstarter through Aug. 7, with packages starting at 39 Euros ($44) for the first 500 units shipping in Feb. 2016, or 99 Euros ($111) for the Starter-Kit with baseboard, with April 2016 shipments. More information may be found at the BeagleCore Kickstarter page and BeagleCore website.

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