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BlueSteel-Basic Description

The BlueSteel-Basic is a low-cost, open-hardware development platform based on the Texas Instruments AM335x ARM® Cortex-A8 processor. It can boot Linux in under 10 seconds and get started on development in less than 5 minutes with just a single USB cable. The onboard eMMC and HDMI circuitry are not populated.

BeagleBone BeagleBone Black BlueSteel-Basic
Processor AM3359ZCZ72, 720MHz AM3358BZCZ100, 1GHz AM3358BZCZ100, 1GHz
HDMI No Yes No
DRAM 256MB DDR2 400MHz 512MB DDR3L 800MHz 512MB DDR3L 800MHz
Flash uSD 4GB eMMC, uSD uSD
Onboard JTAG Yes, over USB Optional Optional
Serial via USB via header via header
PWR Exp Header Yes No No
Power 300-500 mA@5V 210-460 mA@5V TBD

BlueSteel-Basic Features

The following table lists the key features of the BlueSteel-Basic.

Processor Sitara AM3358BZCZ100 1GHz, 2000 MIPS
Graphics Engine SGX530 3D, 20M Polygons/S
SDRAM Memory 512MB DDR3L 800MHz
Onboard Flash None
PMIC TPS65217C PMIC regulator and one additional LDO
Debug Support Optional Onboard 20-pin CTI JTAG, Serial Header
Power Source miniUSB USB or DC Jack
5VDC External Via Expansion Header
PCB 3.40" x 2.10"
6 layers
Indicators 1-Power, 2-Ethernet, 4-User Controllable LEDs
HS USB2.0 Client Port Access to USB0, Client mode via mini USB
HS USB2.0 Host Port Access to USB1, Type A Socket, 400mA LS/FS/HS
Serial Port UART0 Access Via 6-Pin 3.3V TTL Header. Header Is Populated
Ethernet 10/100, RJ45
SD/MMC Connector MicroSD, 3.3V
User Input Reset Button
Boot Button
Power Button
Expansion Connectors Power 5V, 3.3V, VDD_ADC(1.8V)
3.3V I/O On All Signals
McASP0, SPI1, I2C, GPIO (69 max), LCD, GPMC, MMC1, MMC2, 7 AIN (1.8V Max), 4 Timers, 4 Serial Ports, CAN0, EHRPWM(0,2), XDMA Interrupt, Power Button, Expansion Board ID (Up to 4 can be stacked)
Weight TBD
Power TBD

BlueSteel-Basic Pictures

Following are pictures of the BlueSteel-Basic board.


Getting Started

The getting started instructions for the BlueSteel-Basic are similar to the ones for BeagleBone (White) and BeagleBone Black with a few changes. To view the getting started guide for the BeagleBone (White) and BeagleBone Black please visit here.

Since the BlueSteel-Basic does not have the eMMC andd HDMI circuitry populated, it requires to boot up from a microSD card. To download the latest images for the SD card please visit here and select either the Debian or Angstrom links (Debian is the official software for BeagleBone Black) under BeagleBone section. These software versions allow booting from micro SD card without flashing the eMMC.

By default, the Linux kernel from either Debian or Angstrom distribution when booting up will load the eMMC and HDMI device tree files. This can be disabled for the BlueSteel-Basic by adding the line below to the uEnv.txt file:


If you are using Debian, the line above was already included and commented in the uEnv.txt file. To use it, just simple uncomment the line. After booting, you can check whether the eMMC and HDMI device tree files loaded or not by issue the command below:

   cat /sys/devices/bone_capemgr.*/slots
       0: 54:PF--- 
       1: 55:PF--- 
       2: 56:PF--- 
       3: 57:PF--- 
       4: ff:P-O-- Bone-LT-eMMC-2G,00A0,Texas Instrument,BB-BONE-EMMC-2G
       5: ff:P-O-- Bone-Black-HDMI,00A0,Texas Instrument,BB-BONELT-HDMI
       6: ff:P-O-- Bone-Black-HDMIN,00A0,Texas Instrument,BB-BONELT-HDMIN


This Accessories Page lists all compatible accessories for the BeagleBone Black. Except for the HDMI cables, the remaining accessories should be compatible with the BlueSteel-Basic.

Optional JTAG

There is no JTAG over USB support on the BlueSteel-Basic. JTAG is an uninstalled option. To install the JTAG header, all you have to do is install P2 on the back of the board. P2 is a Samtec FTR-110-03-G-D-06 connector and can be purchased from Samtec or any of their distributors.

If you are using Code Composer Studio, you will need a Gel File

Cape Support

The BlueSteel-Basic supports any cape that is compatible with the BeagleBone Black. Since the BlueSteel-Basic does not use the eMMC and HDMI interface, all of these pins on the expansion headers are now freed up for more compatibility. For information on cape compatibility and support go to BeagleBone Black Capes

WIFI Adapters

NOTE: It is highly recommend that you use DC power when running these dongles due to the current requirements of the dongles.

           DONGLE                                    WORKS ON
ASUS USB-N13 802.11 b/g/n           Angstrom 
EDIMAX EW-7811UN          
D-Link DWA-125                       Debian LXDE,  Debian Gnome Desktop
D-Link DWA-121                      Angstrom  Debian LXDE,  Debian Gnome Desktop
Belkin N150                          Debian LXDE
TP-Link TL-WN727N                    Debian LXDE,  Debian Gnome Desktop
Netgear WNA1100                      Debian LXDE,  Debian Gnome Desktop
Keebox W150NU                        Debian LXDE,  Debian Gnome Desktop

Note: Always run the board from 5VDC 1A minimum supply when using a Wifi Dongle. You may need to use a extension cable to move the dongle away from the planes of the PCB. Sometimes standoffs will work. We also have had instances where when placed in a metal case, there can be Wifi issues as well. You can also use a dongle with a real antenna on it such as Logic Supply which will help.

Serial Debug Cable

The BlueSteel-Basic is compatible with the Black's Serial Debug Cables

Tips and Pointers

Expansion Header Usage

There are several precautions that need to me taken when working with the expansion headers to prevent damage to the board. ALL VOLTAGE LEVELS ARE 3.3V MAX. APPLICATION OF 5V TO ANY I/O PIN WILL DAMAGE THE PROCESSOR AND VOID THE WARRANTY. ANALOG IN VOLTAGES ARE 1.8V MAX. APPLICATION OF >1.8V TO ANY A/D PIN WILL DAMAGE THE PROCESSOR AND VOID THE WARRANTY.

  1. Do not apply any voltages to any I/O pins when the board is not powered on.
  2. Do not drive any external signals into the I/O pins until after the SYS_RESETn signal is HI (3.3V).
  3. Do not apply any voltages that are generated from external sources until SYS_RESETn signal is HI.
  4. If voltages are generated from the VDD_5V signal, those supplies must not become active until after the SYS_RESETn signal is HI.
  5. If you are applying signals from other boards into the expansion headers, make sure you power the board up after you power up the BlueSteel-Basic or make the connections after power is applied on both boards.

Powering the processor via its I/O pins can cause damage to the processor.

Serial Header Usage

Power restrictions on the serial debug header are not an issue. On the board, there is a buffer that prevents damage from occurring by having the connector of the FTDI cable connected to the the header. It is safe to do and will not cause damage to the board when power is not applied to the board.

Extremely Useful Links

The links below were intended for the BeagleBone and BeagleBone Black; however, you may find them useful for the BlueSteel-Basic. BeagleBoard How to Videos
Hipster Cricuits
Getting Started On BeagleBone Black
Adafruit Tutorials This site is well worth a visit. You may even decide to make it your home page!
Derek Molloy's Blog
GPIO and Device Tree (Derek Molloy)
C/C++ Introduction on BeagleBone (Derek Malloy)
Hackaday You can also subscribe to this. Should be checked often for the latest cool projects on BeagleBone Black
Interent Sharing On Windows 7
Robert P. J. Day's Wiki
Linuxonarm Wiki

Connecting to the BlueSteel-Basic: Serial Connection, SSH, or USB

This link provides instructions on how to connect to the BeagleBone Black through either a serial connection, SSH using an ethernet cable, or SSH to the BeagleBone's built-in IP address over a USB cable but can also be used for the BlueSteel-Basic.

Differences between the BlueSteel-Basic and BeagleBone Black

The BlueSteel-Basic and BeagleBone Black are identical except the eMMC and HDMI circuitry are not populated on the BlueSteel-Basic.

Known Issues

WIKI Issues

If you find any issues with any information on this WIKI, please contact


You can find a list of reported issues and add additional ones by going to Bug Tracker

Software Resources

Debian Beta Image

The BlueSteel-Basic uses the same software as the BeagleBone Black, which is Debian. The latest software can be downloaded at latest images. Please note that since the BlueSteel does not have eMMC, you have to use the software version that boots from SD card instead of flashing the eMMC.


It is highly recommended that you always use the latest version of the Software.
You can use the instructions on how to create a bootable microSD card to update the software for your BlueSteel-Basic.

Software Sources

To access the getting started guide do the following:

  1. Go to
  2. At the top of the page next to the "Clone in Windows" button, click the ZIP button.
  3. Unzip that folder into a separate directory.
  4. Open the readme file.


For instructions on how to get Android onto the board goto Android


If you want to turn your BlueSteel-Basic into a SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) you can check that out at BeagleSNES. This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco.


This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco. Gentoo


This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco. ArchLinux


This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco. LinuxCNC


This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco Minix


This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by CircuitcoCNU


This link is provided as a convenience and the software located at this link is not supported by Circuitco Asterisk (Instructions Asterisk on BeagleBone Black).


For information on how to install the latest EZSDK from TI got to EZSDK.


The BeagleBone Network Multitool (beaglenmt) is a lightweight, X11-free, networking-centric, and IPv6-ready server distribution targeting the BeagleBone platform. beaglenmt supports the BlueSteel-Basic hardware platform.

Hardware Files

The BlueSteel-Basic uses the same design materials as the BeagleBone Black with the eMMC and HDMI circuitry are not populated.

The links below are static links that always point to the latest version of the listed documents. These links can be used by distributors or users to point to the latest documentation. As documents are updated, the links will remain the same, but the actual file will be updated. This insures that you always have the latest documents and your links will always work.


Capes are add on boards that can be connected to the BlueSteel-Basic to add functionality. These capes are made by a lot of different companies and individuals.
A list of capes that are in production are listed at BeagleBone Capes.

If you have a cape that is in production and can be purchased and you would like it listed, please contact Circuitco.

Some of the capes were originally designed for the BeagleBone (White), which used 3.2 kernel. However, the kernel is 3.8 on the BlueSteel-Basic, so work is required to get the drivers updated for most of the capes to work. Any capes that are compatible with the BeagleBone Black can also work on the BlueSteel-Basic. Additionally, the BlueSteel-Basic does not include eMMC and HDMI circuitry; therefore, any capes that use these signals on the expansion header can now compatible with the BlueSteel-Basic without having to disable these interfaces.

10Pin Connector

The 10 pin power expansion header on the BeagleBone (White) has been removed on the BeagleBone Black and also not available on the BlueSteel-Basic. Any cape needing this connector will not be 100% compatible.

RMA Support

If you feel the board is defective and you want to get it looked at please contact You will need the serial number. It is located on the expansion header in the form of a white label.


The links below were intended for the BeagleBone and BeagleBone Black; however, you may find them useful for the BlueSteel-Basic.

Books specifically on BeagleBone

Recommended books on Linux

Recommended books on ARM architecture