The BeagleBone Black Turns Blue with BlueSteel-Basic, Loses HDMI and Flash

CircuitCo has just introduced BlueSteel-Basic, a development board based on the Beaglebone Black but with a Blue PCB, no HDMI output, and no eMMC flash that’s destined to be used by OEMs in their products. LinuxGizmos also reports that BlueSteel-Basic is to be followed by BlueSteel-IT, an industrial temperature grade (-40 to 100°C) board based on the Beaglebone Black, and Bluesteel-Core, a computer-on-module (CoM) based on Ti Sitara AM335x that are scheduled for July 2014.
Bluesteel-basicLet’s checkout BlueSteel-Basic specifications:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments Sitara AM3358BZCZ100 @ 1GHz (2000 MIPS) with PowerVR SGX530 3D GPU (20M Polygons/S)
  • System Memory – 512MB DDR3L @ 800MHz
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x mini USB 2.0 port
  • Debugging – Serial header and optional on-board 20-pin CTI JTAG
  • Expansion Connectors Signals:
    • 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)
  • Misc – Indicators: 1-Power, 2-Ethernet, 4-User Controllable LEDs; Buttons: User input, boot, and power.
  • PMIC – TPS65217C PMIC regulator and one additional LDO
  • Power Supply – +5V via miniUSB USB or DC Jack, 5VDC external Via expansion Header
  • Dimensions – 8.6 x 5.3 cm – 6 layers PCB
  • Weight – TBD


And if you’d like to get a clearer picture of the differences between BeagleBone, BeagleBone Black and BlueSteel-Basic, there’s a table that for that!

BeagleBoneBeagleBone BlackBlueSteel-Basic
ProcessorAM3359ZCZ72, 720MHzAM3358BZCZ100, 1GHzAM3358BZCZ100, 1GHz
DRAM256MB DDR2 400MHz512MB DDR3L 800MHz512MB DDR3L 800MHz
FlashuSD4GB eMMC, uSDuSD
Onboard JTAGYes, over USBOptionalOptional
Serialvia USBvia headervia header
PWR Exp HeaderYesNoNo
Power300-500 [email protected]210-460 [email protected]TBD

Just like the BeagleBones, BlueSteel-Basic will be open source hardware simply because it’s exactly the same as the BeagleBone Black, but without the components required for HDMI and eMMC flash. That also means the capes, Beaglebone’s expansion boards, will be supported. The board will also leverage all the software brought to the the BeagleBone Black with support for Debian and Angstrom, but also Android, Gentoo, ArchLinux ARM, Minix, and more. You can find more technical details on BlueSteel-Basic Wiki.

BlueSteel-Basic will cost the same as BeagleBone Black Rev C, that is $55 and start shipping on June 30. You can pre-order BlueSteel-Basic on Boardzoo.

Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.

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Ian Tester
6 years ago

Fix the pre-order link at the end.

6 years ago

“BlueSteel-Basic will cost the same as BeagleBone Black Rev C”
I don’t see any benefit to this board over the BBB-C???

David Anders
6 years ago

@Joe joe, the benefits are: * no restrictions on commercial usage * volume price discounts * all I/O is available on the expansion header as an OEM/ODM developer, the BeagleBone Black present a great starting point, however it does present a number of obstacles, in that has significant restrictions on the use of the BeagleBoard logo. In addition, there a limited set of authorized distributors who can sell BeagleBone Black, and are limited in the number of boards they can sell to a single customer. Another aspect is that most OEM/ODM developers who are including the BeagleBone Black (in… Read more »

6 years ago

@David Anders

BeagleBone Black never had any commercial usage restriction.
Blue Steel and BBB have exactly the same I/O available.

6 years ago

Benefit is that, since it costs less to produce, maybe they are not loosing money for every unit shipped. Hence they will deliver as many as you want.

David Anders
6 years ago

@predielis BBB does have commercial use restrictions, as i linked earlier. you can use the BBB for whatever you want, however, the limitations are that you may not qualify for RMA/Warranty, you can not use the BeagleBoard name as part of the project(without approval), in addition you are not guaranteed functionality or availability. as for the signals, the difference between BlueSteel and BBB are that ALL of the signals on the expansion headers are usable. on the BBB the signals used for eMMC and HDMI create a major muxing issue for those signals on the expansion headers. it is virtually… Read more »

David Anders
6 years ago

sorry i thought i linked to it in my original post:

Chris Walker
Chris Walker
6 years ago

@David Anders You do know that HDMI and eMMC pins can be accessed by configuring the uBoot boot loader right? Many of the pins I need for the two peripheral PRUs conflict with HDMI so what I do is simply include “optargs=capemgr.disable_partno=BB-BONELT-HDMI,BB-BONELT-HDMIN,BB-BONE-EMMC-2G” in the /boot/uboot/uEnv.txt file – of course, I would need to boot from the SD card from then on without the ‘BB-BONE-EMMC-2G’ overlay but I also gain access to ALL pins as well. The advantage(s) I see, besides the amazing tint of blue, is availability and no commercial barriers. The disadvantage then would be that one would always… Read more »

Brad Nicholas
5 years ago

So is this dead, or still moving forward? definitely interested in having a conversation.

Blank Phil
Blank Phil
5 years ago

@Brad Nicholas and cnxsoft: That’s unfortunate. I’d jump on this.