Awaken the Panda (Board)

This is a long overdue post, mainly my fault for being too focused on the technical stuff. Anyway, this post will give you a head start on making the Pandaboard work.

Installing Ubuntu

This part of the post covers on how to get Ubuntu up and running on the Pandaboard.

The link above covers the installation process step-by-step and is pretty comprehensive in my opinion. However, I’m still going to walk through the installation process.

For our project, the hardware we used to install Ubuntu are covered below:

  • PandaBoard (Upgrading to the ES version when we get it)
  • SanDisk Secure Digital High Capacity Card Extreme Video HD 16GB Class10                                (generally Class 10 SD cards are recommended)
  • SD Card Reader

To get started, I would recommend to download the Ubuntu operation system on your computer and install it. This is recommended for Windows user as it is more convenient when backing up images of the SD card. Virtual Machine should be fine if you don’t want to dual-boot.

After that, download the pre-built binaries from the links given below:

Ubuntu 12.04

Moving on, you need to put the image into the SD card. I had trouble trying to follow the instructions as it seems to be missing on how to prepare the SD card for imaging. All you need to do is to delete any partition in the SD card. I used GParted Disk Editor to delete the partition.

1. Place the SD card at your host computer.
2. Make sure the SD card is not mounted (just umount it if needed)
3. Identify the correct raw device name (like /dev/sde – not /dev/sde1, can be found in GParted)
4. Run the following command to write it:                                                                                                                   (replacing sde with the right card reader id; my card reader was /dev/mmcblk0)

  1.  gunzip ubuntu-12.XX-preinstalled-desktop-armhf+omap4.img.gz
  2. sudo dd bs=4M if=ubuntu-12.04-preinstalled-desktop-armhf+omap4.img of=/dev/sde
  3. sudo sync

Once done, you’re ready to boot up your PandaBoard. Plug the SD card into the SD card slot of the PandaBoard, turn on the power, and prepare to be amazed.

Follow the installation instructions on the screen. The installation is rather straight forward. Therefore, I won’t cover on this.

Backing up SD Card
Installation process can be quite a hassle. Other than that, you might want to backup personal settings or files. Therefore, it is essential to backup especially if you are working on a project. Backing up is a simple and hassle free process.

Instructions as follow:

  1. Open a Terminal in Ubuntu on your PC.
  2. Before that, you have to identify the identity of your SD Card in your card Reader.
  3. In the terminal, key in the following, replacing sde with id of card:
    dd if=/dev/sde of=./[Name of backup].img

Restoring image to SD Card

  1. delete any partition in the SD card.
  2. open terminal, run the following commands, replacing sde with id of card:
    dd bs=4M if=[Name of backup].img of=/dev/sde

That’s all for getting the PandaBoard to work. The only driver you need to install is the PowerVR Graphics driver. You should be notified by Ubuntu to install it.

Good Luck with the Panda :DD

– Chee –


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