Introduce Yourself To a PocketBeagle With BaconBits

The PocketBeagle single-board computer is now a few months old, and growing fast like its biological namesake. An affordable and available offering in the field of embedded Linux computing, many of us picked one up as an impulse buy. For some, the sheer breadth of possibilities can be paralyzing. (“What do I do first?”) Perhaps a development board can serve as a starting point for training this young puppy? Enter the BaconBits cape.

When paired with a PocketBeagle, everything necessary to start learning embedded computing is on hand. It covers the simple basics of buttons for digital input, potentiometer for analog input, LEDs for visible output. Then grow beyond the basics with an accelerometer for I²C communication and 7-segment displays accessible via SPI. Those digging into system internals will appreciate the USB-to-serial bridge that connects to PocketBeagle’s serial console. This low-level communication will be required if any experimentation manages to (accidentally or deliberately) stop PocketBeagle’s standard USB network communication channels.

BaconBits were introduced in conjunction with the E-ALE (embedded apprentice Linux engineer) training program for use in hands-on modules. The inaugural E-ALE session at SCaLE 16X this past weekend had to deal with some last-minute hiccups, but the course material is informative and we’re confident it’ll be refined into a smooth operation in the near future. While paying for the class will receive built hardware and in-person tutorials to use it, all information – from instructor slides to the BaconBits design – is available on Github. Some of us will choose to learn by reading the slides, others will want their own BaconBits for independent experimentation. And of course E-ALE is not the only way to learn more about PocketBeagle. Whichever way people choose to go, the embedded Linux ecosystem will grow, and we like the sound of that!

6 thoughts on “Introduce Yourself To a PocketBeagle With BaconBits

  1. This reminds me of the various “fun shield” / “stem shield” sort of things for the Arduino ecosystem. Skip the jumper wires for now, just play with code and libraries and stuff. Good stuff! And the slides and lesson content really round it out, I’m gonna point some newbies at this tomorrow.

  2. Just for a little context, the BaconBits cape for the PocketBeagle owes it’s lineage to the Bacon Cape (https://elinux.org/Bacon_Cape) originally introduced with the BeagleBone Black at Design West in 2013 (https://youtu.be/kxvOyk70rhY). An of course the Bacon Cape owes it’s lineage to the BeaconBoard for the original BeagleBoard (https://elinux.org/BeaconBoard). The original BeaconBoard was so often referred to as “BaconBoard”, that the next design of the BeaconBoard for the BeagleBone Black was renamed BaconCape, and now we have BaconBits!

  3. The Baconbits cape is great. The pocketbeagle’s greatest limitation is the lack of USB host connector on board. I realize that its tiny, but making it a wee bit larger to accommodate a USB host connector would’ve cost almost nothing extra and while increasing board’s utility immensely. I may be pushing it, but adding built-in WiFi would’ve also been nice.

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