Even with its drawbacks, BBB is a compelling platform for home automation and Hobson runs well on it.
- A Beaglebone Black revision C (note that other revisions may work but this is the one that has been tested). As of this writing, Microcenter is selling them for $39.95.
- A 5v DC 2A power supply like this one. Although you can technically power the BBB via its mini USB port, the recommended approach is to use the 5v barrel connector.
- An 8 GB micro SD card like this one.
- An enclosure to keep the BBB safe. There are a lot of options here but I've been very happy with this all metal one from Logic Supply.
So, depending on what and where you buy, there's no reason you can't assemble a fully capable Hobson hardware hub for between $60 and $70.
Snappy Ubuntu Core
Ubuntu recently announced its Snappy Ubuntu Core operating system as a solution for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It's effectively a lightweight version of the Ubuntu Linux operating system that is very secure, highly reliable and easy to upgrade. Even in its current alpha state, it appears to run well and will only continue to improve. Given what it is trying to achieve and the fact that its first supported hardware platform is BBB, it seemed logical for Hobson to support it natively.
There are four steps necessary to get Hobson running on BBB using Snappy Ubuntu Core:
1. Download the Snappy Ubuntu Core image file and flash it to an SD card
See the "Getting Started with Beaglebone Black" section on this Snappy Ubuntu Core page for details. Here are a couple of helpful hints:
- The file you're downloading is
ubuntu-core-WEBDM-alpha-02_armhf-bbb.img.xz(or whatever the latest version is) available from this page. Note that this is an XZ compressed file. You can use 7-Zip on Windows or Entropy on Mac (a paid program but it offers a demo) to extract it. What you want is a file that ends in
- For Windows, you can use the Win32 Disk Imager program to flash the
.imgfile to the SD card.
- For Mac, you can use the Pi Filler program to flash the
.imgfile to the SD card.
- For Linux, you can use the following command:
dd if=ubuntu-core-WEBDM-alpha-02_armhf-bbb.img of=/dev/sdX bs=32M(where
sdXis the device for your blank SD card).
2. Boot the BBB
Insert your newly flashed SD card into BBB and power it up. Make sure BBB is connected to the same network as your PC.
Note: It is highly recommended that you verify that the date and time are set correctly on the BBB. See the Hints & Troubleshooting section below.
3. Visit the WebDM
Wait a few minutes and then use your PC's browser to visit Ubuntu Core Snappy's WebDM page: http://webdm.local:4200. It will look like this:
4. Install Hobson
Click the "Store" tab at the top of the page and search for Hobson (or hobson-hub):
See the Hub Configuration Wizard page for more details.
Hints & Troubleshooting
Ubuntu Core Snappy has some idiosyncracies due to its current (as of this writing) alpha status. Here are some helpful hints in case you run into trouble.