This Quickstart provides you with the tools and know-how to install and work with the Yocto Linux Board Support Package (BSP) for the phyCORE-AM335x Rapid Development Kit (RDK). This Quickstart shows you how to do everything from installing the appropriate tools and source, to building custom kernels, to deploying the OS, to exercising the software and hardware. Please refer to the phyCORE-AM335x Hardware Manual for specific information on board-level features such as jumper configuration, memory mapping and pin layout for the phyCORE-AM335x System on Module (SOM) and baseboard. Additionally, gain access to the SOM, mapper board, and baseboard schematics for the phyCORE-AM335x RDK by registering at the following:


The following system requirements are necessary to successfully complete this Quickstart. Deviations from these requirements may suffice, or may have other workarounds.



Getting Started With Binary Images

This section is designed to get the board up-and-running with pre-built images.

Connector Interfaces

Use the following as a reference for the connector interfaces on the phyCORE-AM335x RDK that will be used in this Quickstart.


Booting the Pre-built Images

The section was designed to show you how to boot the phyCORE-AM335x RDK with the pre-built demo images.

  1. Insert a bootable SD card into the SD0 (X20) slot on the baseboard. Since the default boot mode for the PD15.2.x release loads the kernel and root filesystem from the Barebox bootsource selected, configure the board to boot from SD/MMC (Selecting Boot Modes). A bootable SD card with phytec-qt5demo-image-phycore-am335x-1.sdcard extracted on the SD card is required. Instructions for creating an SD card are provided in the Creating a Bootable SD Card section of the Quickstart.
  2. If you ordered a PHYTEC Display such as the LCD-018-070-KAP, plug this into the LCD power and data connectors at X4 and X31.
  3. Connect the kit-supplied serial cable from a free serial port on your host PC to the DB9 connector X18 on the carrier board. This is the UART0 communication channel with the AM335x at RS-232 levels.
  4. Connect the kit-supplied Ethernet cable from the Ethernet connector X12 on the carrier board to your network hub, router, or switch. If you do not have an Ethernet connection you can postpone this step, Linux will boot without the need for Ethernet connectivity but having the connection will significantly reduce your boot time.
  5. Start your favorite terminal software (such as Minicom or TeraTerm) on your host PC and configure it for 115200 baud, 8 data bits, no parity, and 1 stop bit (8n1) with no handshake.
  6. Plug the kit-supplied 5 V power adapter into the power connector X3 on the carrier board. You will instantly see the red power LED D2 light up. You will also start to see console output on your terminal window. If everything was done correctly the board should boot completely into Linux, arriving at a root@phycore-am335x-1 prompt. The default login account is root with an empty password. Note that the first time the board is booted it will takes a little while for the SSH server to generate new keys. Subsequent boots should be faster.



 Not seeing any output on the console?

  • Check that you have setup the terminal software correctly per step 5.
  • Flash the release images from the PHYTEC FTP by creating a bootable SD/MMC card (Creating a Bootable SD Card), then configure the board to boot from SD/MMC (Selecting Boot Modes).

When finished with the kit demo, from the Linux command line use the reboot command to restart, or the poweroff command to shutdown the system. It is safe to remove power from the kit when reboot: System halted is printed on the console.

About the Yocto BSP

 The Yocto Project is a Linux embedded development environment which provides layers of meta data and tools. PHYTEC's Yocto BSPs are based on the Poky meta layer, which consists of the bitbake build tool, Linux base recipes, and various scripts to define a rudimentary linux system. The openEmbedded meta layer is also included in this BSP and is made up of a collection of meta layers which provide recipes for many software packages. The meta-phytec layer contains recipes and classes for BSPs developed by PHYTEC, such as the configuration for barebox, the kernel, and software specific to the various PHYTEC boards. The meta-yogurt layer provides additional tools as well as varous PHYTEC build images, such as phytec-qtdemo-image.

In order to help get started with PHYTEC's Yocto BSP structure, the phyLinux script can be used to obtain all the BSP sources relevant to your hardware configuration without interfacing with git or repo. Detailed information on building this BSP from source is provided following the Development Host Setup section.

Development Host Setup

Host Debian Packages

Yocto development requires certain packages to be installed. Run the following commands to ensure you have the packages installed:

sudo apt-get install gawk wget git-core diffstat unzip texinfo \
	gcc-multilib build-essential chrpath socat \
	libsdl1.2-dev xterm

The above is the recommended package installation for development on a Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Linux distribution. For a breakdown of the packages as well as a list of packages required for other Linux distributions, see the "Required Packages for the Host Development System" section in the Yocto Project Reference Manual:

Verify that the preferred shell for your Host PC is ''bash'' and not ''dash'':

sudo dpkg-reconfigure dash 
# Respond "No" to the prompt asking "Install dash as /bin/sh?"

Repo Tool

Download and install the repo tool. This tool is used to obtain Yocto source from Git.

cd /opt
sudo mkdir bin

# /opt/ directory has root permission, change the permissions so your user account can access this folder. In the following replace <user> with your specific username
sudo chown -R <user>: bin

cd bin
curl > ./repo
#add directory that contains repo to your path
chmod a+x repo

Add the repo directory in your PATH, using export from the command line or permanently by including it in .bashrc:

export PATH=/opt/bin/:$PATH

Git Setup

If you have not yet configured your Git environment on this machine, please execute the following commands to set your user name and email address. See here for more information on getting started with Git.

git config --global "" 
git config --global "Your Name"

Server Setup (Optional)

Building the BSP from Source

Create a directory which will house your BSP development. In this example the BSP directory is /opt/PHYTEC_BSPs/. This is not a requirement and if another location is preferred (ex. ~/PHYTEC_BSPs) feel free to modify. We recommend using /opt over your HOME directory to avoid errors attributed to ~ syntax as well as the sudo requirement for the root filesystem and automation package building. We also recommend creating a package download directory (yocto_dl) separate from the yocto tree (yocto_ti), as it makes resetting the build environment easier and subsequent build times much faster.


sudo mkdir /opt/PHYTEC_BSPs
cd /opt/

# /opt/ directory has root permission, change the permissions so your user account can access this folder. In the following replace <user> with your specific username
sudo chown -R <user>: PHYTEC_BSPs

mkdir yocto_ti
mkdir yocto_dl
cd yocto_ti
export YOCTO_DIR=`pwd`

At this point you will now be able to navigate to the Yocto directory using the $YOCTO_DIR environment variable.

Download the BSP Meta Layers

Download and run the init script phyLinux:

chmod +x phyLinux

This script will use the repo tool to manage the various git repositories used in this BSP. Repo will automatically be detected by phyLinux if it is found in the PATH. During the execution of the script, you need to choose your processor platform, BSP release and hardware. The following are the available configurations for the phyCORE-AM335x Rapid Development Kit:

The rest of the Quickstart assumes that the standard phycore-am335x-1 is used, although the other phyCORE-AM335x configurations may be used as well.

# You can provide the SoC platform and BSP release as arguments, and then be prompted to choose your hardware configuration: 
./phyLinux init -p am335x -r PD15.2.1
# Once the source has been fetched, you will be asked to select a machine configuration. Enter "9" if using the standard phyCORE-AM335x kit (Enter "15" for the standard kit + wifi module):
* Please choose one of the available Machines:
*    1 :      beagleboneblack-1 :  Hardware Revision A5C 2GiB eMMC
*    2 : phyboard-maia-am335x-1 :  PB-00702-002, PB-00702-004
*    3 : phyboard-maia-am335x-2 :  PB-00702-003
*    4 : phyboard-maia-am335x-3 :  PB-00702-006 (with rs485)
*    5 : phyboard-wega-am335x-1 :  PB-00802-0200C PB-00802-0101C (PEB-AV-01)
*    6 : phyboard-wega-am335x-2 :  PB-00802-008 PB-00802-010 (PEB-AV-02)
*    7 : phyboard-wega-am335x-3 :  PB-00802-005.A0 PB-00802-310I.A0
*    8 : phyboard-wega-am335x-4 :  PB-00802-410C.A0
*    9 :       phycore-am335x-1 :  PCM-051-12102F0C.A1/PCM-953 (Kit)
*   10 :       phycore-am335x-2 :  1GiB RAM, 1GiB NAND variant
*   11 :       phycore-am335x-3 :  PCM-051-01041E0I.A1, PCM-051-02041E0I.A1, PCM-051-02002E0I.A1
*   12 :       phycore-am335x-4 :  PCM-051-0005160C.A1, PCM-051-0005160I.A1
*   13 :       phycore-am335x-5 :  PCM-051-00051F0I.A1
*   14 :       phycore-am335x-6 :  PCM-051-42102F0I.A0
*   15 :       phycore-am335x-7 :  PCM-051-12102F0C.A1/PCM-953 (WiFi jumpered)
*   16 :       phyflex-am335x-1 :  PFL-A-03-12113F8I.A1/PBA-B-01
*   17 :       phyflex-am335x-2 :  PFL-A-03-11041D0C.A0/PBA-B-01
*   18 :       phyflex-am335x-3 :  PFL-A-03-1005150C.A0/PBA-B-01
*   19 :       phyflex-am335x-4 :  PFL-A-03-23113F8I.A0/PBA-B-01
$ 9

# Alternately, simply run the init script and you will be prompted to choose the desired settings from a list of options
./phyLinux init

After the configuration is set up, you can view the current settings by running:

 ./phyLinux info

Start the Build

Run the Yocto build directory setup:

MACHINE=phycore-am335x-1 source sources/poky/oe-init-build-env build

Add the the new download directory to $YOCTO_DIR/build/conf/local.conf:

DL_DIR ?= "/opt/PHYTEC_BSPs/yocto_dl"

The setup is complete and you now have everything to complete a build. It is suggested that you start with PHYTEC's QT5 demo image to verify functionality before building other images. Alternate images are located in various meta layers at meta*/recipes*/images/*.bb. They can be found using the command bitbake-layers show-recipes "*-image*" in $YOCTO_DIR/build/. Note that images that have been tested with this build are listed when the build directory is set up with the oe-init-build-env script.

The following will start a build from scratch including installation of the toolchain as well as barebox, Linux kernel, and root filesystem images.

cd $YOCTO_DIR/build
MACHINE=phycore-am335x-1 bitbake phytec-qt5demo-image

Built Images

All images generated by bitbake are deployed to $YOCTO_DIR/build/deploy/images/phycore-am335x-1:

Source Locations:

Build Time Optimizations

The build time will vary depending on the package selection and Host performance. Beyond the initial build, after making modifications to the BSP, a full build is not required. Use the following as a reference to take advantage of optimized build options and reduce the build time.

To rebuild Barebox:

bitbake barebox -f -c compile && bitbake barebox

To rebuild the Linux kernel:

bitbake linux-ti -f -c compile ; bitbake linux-ti

The Yocto project's Bitbake User Manual provides useful information regarding build options:

Customizing the BSP

We recommend you create your own layer and make changes to the existing BSP there. This will make it easier to update the BSP. Instructions and tips on creating your own layer are available here:

Appending Recipes

To modify an existing recipe in your own layer, use a bbappend file. The following is an example of modifying the barebox 2015.09 recipe,, located at $YOCTO_DIR/sources/meta-phytec/recipes-bsp/barebox/

Create a ''recipes-bsp/barebox/'' directory in your own meta-layer to place the bbappend file in. Make sure that the new file matches the .bb file name exactly. Alternatively, you may use % after the underscore in place of the specific version for portability with future versions of the recipe.

mkdir $YOCTO_DIR/sources/<YOUR_META_LAYER>/recipes-bsp/barebox/
vim $YOCTO_DIR/sources/<YOUR_META_LAYER>/recipes-bsp/barebox/barebox_%.bbappend

For information on how to write a recipe, see chapter 5.3 of the Yocto Development Manual:

Adding Packages to the build

There are various ways to add a package to the BSP. For example, packages and package groups can be added to image recipes. See the Yocto Development manual for how to customize an image:

The following instructions demonstrate how to add a package to the local build of the BSP. First, search for the corresponding recipe and which layer the recipe is in. This link is a useful tool for doing so:

If the package is in the meta-openembedded layer, the recipe is already available in your build tree. Add the following line to $YOCTO_DIR/build/conf/local.conf:

IMAGE_INSTALL_append = " <package>"

The leading whitespace between the " and the package name is necessary for the append command.


If you need to add a layer to the BSP, clone or extract it to the $YOCTO_DIR/sources/ directory. Then, modify $YOCTO_DIR/build/conf/bblayers.conf to include this new layer in BBLAYERS:

BBLAYERS += "${BSPDIR}/sources/<new_layer>"

Configuring the Kernel

The kernel configuration menu allows the user to adjust drivers and support included in a Linux Kernel build. run the following command from the build directory:

cd $YOCTO_DIR/build
bitbake linux-ti -c menuconfig

Then rebuild the kernel:

bitbake linux-ti -f -c compile ; bitbake linux-ti

To rebuild the root filesystem:

bitbake -f phytec-qt5demo-image

Customizing the Device Tree

The device tree is a data structure for describing hardware, and is a way of separating machine specific information from the kernel. For information on the device tree concept, is a good source:

Device trees for PHYTEC products consist of a board DTS file, a SOM dtsi and a carrier board dtsi. The SOM dtsi includes the processor dtsi and contains definitions for all devices that are located on the SOM, such as NAND flash. Peripherals whose signals are routed through the SOM but whose hardware is located on the carrier board are defined in the carrier board dtsi, such as MMC. The board file then enables optional nodes that were defined in the dtsi files that pertain to this specific board configuration. For example, the phyCORE-AM335x SOMs may or may not have SPI NOR flash populated. If it is populated, then SPI NOR should be enabled in the board dtsi rather than the SOM dtsi.

Additionally, there are separate dtsi files for various expansion boards, such as LCD-018: am335x-phytec-lcd-018.dtsi. For more information on enabling expansions in barebox, see Expansion Board Settings.

To disable a peripheral such as SPI NOR Flash, change the status of the serial_flash node in arch/arm/boot/dts/am335x-phycore-rdk.dts from "okay" to "disabled":

&serial_flash {
	status = "disabled";
	partition@0 {
		label = "xload";
		reg = <0x0 0x20000>;

The kernel source directory has very good documentation and examples on what bindings are supported for specific peripherals: Documentation/devicetree/bindings/.

Creating a Bootable SD Card

The process requires an SD card reader operational under Linux to format and access the Linux partition of the card. If you do not have SD card access under Linux then copying the bootloader and mounting the root filesystem on SD/MMC card will not be possible.

  1.  Determine the SD card device name
    1. The SD card device name is of the form /dev/sd[b|c|d|e]. Run the following without and with the SD card connected:

      ls /dev/sd*
    2. The device that appeared on the call to ls with the SD card but not the call without is the SD card device.

  2. Unmount all partitions of the SD card, using the SD card device name from Step 1:

    umount /dev/sd[b|c|d|e]* 
  3. Load the sd-card image onto the SD card from the linux command line. This will format the appropriate partitions, as well as add Barebox, the kernel image, and the root filesystem to the card:

    sudo dd if=phytec-qt5demo-image-phycore-am335x-1.sdcard of=/dev/sd[b|c|d|e] bs=1MB
Once the SD card has been formatted, you may update the kernel, root filesystem, and barebox individually as well:


  1. If modifying the kernel, remove the existing linuximage and device tree binary files:

    rm /media/boot/linuximage
    rm /media/boot/oftree
  2.  Load the new Linux kernel and device tree binary to the SD Card. Note that the default bootloader environment is configured to recognize "linuximage" and "oftree" as the kernel and dts respectively:

    cp zImage /media/boot/linuximage; sync
    cp zImage-am335x-phycore-rdk.dtb /media/boot/oftree; sync

Root Filesystem

  1. If modifying the root filesystem, remove the existing:

    sudo rm -rf /media/rootfs/*
  2. Load the new filesystem to the SD Card:

    sudo tar -zxf phytec-qt5demo-image-phycore-am335x-1.tar.gz -C /media/root/; sync


  1. Remove the existing barebox and MLO images:

    rm /media/boot/barebox.bin
    rm /media/boot/MLO

  2. Copy the new images to the SD Card:

    cp barebox.bin /media/boot/; sync
    cp MLO /media/boot/; sync

Boot Configurations

Selecting Boot Modes

The bootloader, one of the key software components included in the BSP, completes the required hardware initialization to download and run operating system images. The boot mode, selected from the S5 dipswitch on the Carrier Board, determines the location of the primary bootloader. Set the S5 dipswitch correspondingly:





SD Card


Basic Settings

After application of power, approximately three seconds are allotted for the user to hit any key which will halt autoboot and enter Barebox.

help is a useful tool in Barebox to show available commands and usage.

Expansion Board Settings

This BSP supports enabling and disabling various expansion boards that may be used along with the carrier board via the bootloader. This functionality allows for certain pin configurations to be added or removed from the device tree without needing to recompile the kernel. Please note that not all of these will be compatible with your specific board.

Enable an expansion board by adding it to /env/config-expansions:

edit /env/config-expansions

The 3.12 kernel used by this BSP does not support device tree overlays.

Network Settings

You can check the target's network settings by running the following:

devinfo eth0

The ethaddr variable is the MAC id of the target. This is a pre-programmed value which is read from the EEPROM and matches the sticker on the SOM. To modify any of the network settings, type:

edit /env/network/eth0

You should see something similar to the following, modify the variables to specify your network configuration for ETH0:


Saving Configurations

From any of the Barebox scripts, return to the Barebox prompt by pressing CTL+D to apply changes or CTL+C to cancel. To retain changes, at the Barebox prompt save the environment.


Boot Options

 The target can be booted from on-board media or from a development host via network. In our standard configuration, this BSP release loads the kernel and root filesystem from the bootsource selected in the hardware.

For booting via network, the development host is connected to the phyCORE-AM335x RDK with a serial cable and via Ethernet; the embedded board boots into the bootloader, then issues a TFTP request on the network and boots the kernel from the TFTP server on the host. Then, after decompressing the kernel into RAM and starting it, the kernel mounts its root filesystem via the NFS server on the host. This method is especially useful for development purposes as it provides a quick turnaround while testing the kernel and root filesystem.

Stand-Alone NAND Boot

To use the target stand-alone, the kernel and root filesystem have to be made persistent in the on-board media of the device. This is done by default in the kit, however if the kernel and root filesystem are not available in the on-board media or you would like to update them, refer to the Flashing Images section for information on flashing images.

When set in the dipswitch (Selecting Boot Modes section), the device is configured by default to boot the kernel and mount the root filesystem from flash. By simply resetting or power cycling the board the target will boot into Linux.

The nand boot entry can also be run from the Barebox shell:

boot nand

Remote Boot

The network-remote boot variant is intended to be used during development because of the frequent need to rebuild the Linux kernel and root filesystem. TFTP and NFS accelerate the development process. Reflashing the newest kernel and root file system to the SOM after every new build would be very cumbersome and time consuming. All that is needed is an Ethernet connection and a network aware bootloader which can fetch the kernel from a TFTP server.

Restart the board and stop autoboot to go into the Barebox shell. Edit the net boot configurations to match the NFS and TFTP set up in the Development Host Setup section. 

edit env/boot/net

Modify the following variables:

Save the environment and run the command:

boot net

Stand-Alone SD/MMC Card Boot

The SD/MMC card boot variant is an alternative stand-alone boot option. All that is needed is a properly formatted (see the Creating a Bootable SD Card section of the Quickstart) SD/MMC card.

Restart the board and stop autoboot to go into the Barebox shell. Run the command:

boot mmc

Custom Boot

You may have custom boot requirements that are not covered by the four available boot files (nand, net, mmc, spi). If this is the case you can create your own custom boot entry specifying the kernel and root filesystem location.

Once complete with file modifications exit the editor using CTRL+D. Save the environment:


To run your custom boot entry from the Barebox shell:

boot custom

 Default Boot

The device is configured by default to boot the kernel and mount the root filesystem from the bootsource set for Barebox in the dipswitch (Selecting Boot Modes). This default setting can be changed by adding or modifying the global.boot.default environment variable.

edit /env/init/bootsource

Comment out the if else statements which set the boot sequence depending on the Barebox bootsource, and add the global.boot.default variable to set to the desired boot source. This variable can be set to any of the entries in /env/boot. For example, to set the default boot configuration to net, global.boot.default should be set in the following way:


Exit the editor by CTRL+D and save the environment (saveenv). On a reset or power cycle the new default boot source will take affect. Similarly it will be used in the Barebox shell when executing the following:




Flashing Images

The board Development Kit is delivered with a pre-flashed bootloader. The following instructions for flashing images from TFTP or SD card will be useful if you want to:

The images to be flashed will need to be copied to the exported TFTP directory or the /boot partition of a properly formatted SD card as described in the Creating a Bootable SD Card section of the Quickstart.

After making all required connections, power on the board and enter Barebox:

If booting the bootloader from a source other than MMC, the /boot partition of the SD/MMC card will not automatically mount. To mount, execute the following commands each time you stop autoboot from Barebox or add them to /env/init/automount so this is done automatically:

mkdir -p boot
mount /dev/mmc0.0 boot

If flashing from TFTP, additional setup to configure the Barebox environment variables to meet your network environment and development host settings is required. The current network settings can be checked in /env/network/eth0.

If you need to change you network configuration, type:

edit /env/network/eth0

Edit the settings as described in the Network Settings section of the Quickstart. Save the environment and reboot the board, this will automount your tftp server at boot to /mnt/tftp.


If you would like to upgrade, have custom Barebox requirements, or are interested in seeing the version you built in action, follow the steps below: 

barebox.bin should be copied to your TFTP exported directory or the /boot partition of the SD card depending on your chosen flashing procedure.

If something goes wrong and you don’t have a bootloader anymore on your module you need to boot from an SD card into Barebox (set the DIP-switch as stated in Boot Configurations) and then do the flashing. See the Creating a Bootable SD Card section of this Quickstart for a description of how to create a bootable SD card.


Placing the kernel into NAND Flash allows booting the system without the need for the TFTP hosted kernel image. This is the most common place to put the kernel in a stand-alone application. Normally development is done using a TFTP hosted kernel image until the configuration has become more stable and is unlikely to change frequently. Once stable, the kernel image can be moved to NAND Flash. This section assumes a Linux kernel with file name linuximage is available on the exported TFTP directory or /boot partition of the SD card depending on your chosen flashing procedure.


Root Filesystem

Similar to the Linux kernel, placing the root filesystem into NAND Flash allows booting the system without the need for a remote connection to the NFS server. This section assumes a root filesystem of the form root.ubifs available on the exported TFTP directory or /boot partition of the SD card depending on your chosen flashing procedure. Note that you should not flash Linux’s root filesystem into NAND the same way as you did with Linux kernel.