BBB Installing Debian

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This image can be written to a 2Gb (or greater) microSD card, via 'dd' in linux or the win32 image program linked to on CircuitCo's wiki page.

For the update process, an external 5V supply capable of 1A or more is recommended. A USB charger that's 1A capable can be used. Only as a last resort should a PC or laptop USB port be used. They can only supply 100ma or 500ma, and some machines will shut down the USB port if it detects an over-current condition. The BBB can pull up to 750ma during the flash update process.

After building the SD card image (instructions below):

  • Remove all power from the BBB
  • Disconnect Ethernet cable
  • Remove any capes
  • Insert SD card into BBB
  • Press and hold the boot select button (next to microSD card) and apply power
  • After a few moments it should boot and being flashing the eMMC (the LEDs will blink during the process)
  • Once completed, all 4 LEDs should be on solid
  • Remove power
  • Remove SD card
  • Apply power, and BBB should boot in Debian

About 500Mb's are written to the eMMC, so the update process should only take about 5-6 minutes after power on.


  • If only two LED's stay lit and nothing happens, the board has crashed due to lack of power. Try with a 5V/1A DC supply plugged in (recommended)
  • If the 4 LED's blink a constant pattern, eMMC write failed, first REMOVE ALL capes, then retry again.
    • (error -84: which may mean you've reached the max number of erase/write cycles...)

Default usernames and passwords:

  • User: debian/temppwd
  • Root: root/root

Get pre-built image:


Verify Image with:

md5sum BBB-eMMC-flasher-debian-7.3-2013-12-17-2gb.img.xz 
f624b1be50357cbd494dc013720ad7dd  BBB-eMMC-flasher-debian-7.3-2013-12-17-2gb.img.xz

Write the image to a 2GB or larger SD card:

unxz BBB-eMMC-flasher-debian-7.3-2013-12-17-2gb.img.xz
sudo dd if=./BBB-eMMC-flasher-debian-7.3-2013-12-17-2gb.img of=/dev/sdX

Reference: (this is the script that writes to the eMMC, and is linked to just as a point of interest)