SparkFun Blocks for Intel® Edison - Base Block a tutorial

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The Base Block is a great foundation to any Edison stack. The Base is useful for mounting an Edison as a file system on a host computer or accessing the console port. The Base Block provides the same functionality as the Intel® Edison and Mini Breakout board with the added capability of powering the Edison through the Console port, freeing the OTG port for device usage. Use this block to load new OS images or firmware.

base block

Base Block

Suggested Reading

If you are unfamiliar with Blocks, take a look at the General Guide to Sparkfun Blocks for Intel Edison.

Other tutorials that may help you on your Edison adventure include:

Board Overview

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Base Block Functional Diagram

Using the Base Block

To use the Base Block, attach an Intel Edison to the back of the board, or add it to your current stack. Blocks can be stacked without hardware, but it leaves the expansion connectors unprotected from mechanical stress.

Edison screwed to the Base Block

Base Block Installed

We have a nice Hardware Pack available that gives enough hardware to secure three blocks and an Edison.

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Intel Edison Hardware Pack

Connecting to the Console

Once you have connected your hardware, plug the Micro USB cable into the Block. If you do not have FTDI drivers currently installed, you'll need to download and install them before using your Edison. Visit our tutorial for instructions on how to install the drivers. After you have ensured that the drivers are installed and your device is running, open your favorite terminal program and point it to the USB-serial connection. We have another tutorial to explain terminal programs and how to use them.

The standard Baud Rate is 115200bps.

After you've opened up the serial port, try hitting enter a couple times. If all goes well, the Edison should respond with a login prompt.

The default Edison login is root. There is no password...yet. You can run passwd, if you want to set one now, but it will be wiped out when/if you update the firmware image. (See the Edison Getting Started Guide for more info.)

Once you've logged in you are ready to explore!

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Using the OTG port

Intel has done a great job at making the OTG port functionality seamless. If you wish to access the Edison as a mass file storage device or network device, plug a USB Micro B cable into the OTG port from a host computer. The device should automatically appear.

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You can also load new OS images to the Edison over the OTG port. See the Loading Debian Ubilinux on the Edison tutorial for more details.

To use a USB device on the Edison, use our USB OTG Cable and plug in your device. The Edison will supply the necessary power for small USB devices. To find your connected device enter the following command into a console session.


This should list any available USB devices installed.

Using the Power Button

The power button on the Edison brings a unique feature commonly not found on single board computers. The power button behaves much like the power buttons on desktop and laptop computers.

Resources and Going Further

Now that you have had a brief overview of the Base Block, take a look at some of these other tutorials. These tutorials cover programming, Block stacking, and interfacing with the Intel Edison ecosystems.

Edison General Topics:

Block Specific Topics:

Check out these other Edison related tutorials from SparkFun:

SparkFun Blocks for Intel® Edison - OLED Block

A quick overview of the features of the OLED Block for the Edison.

SparkFun Blocks for Intel® Edison - Battery Block

A quick overview of the features of the Battery Block.

Programming the Intel® Edison: Beyond the Arduino IDE

Intel's Edison module goes beyond being just another Arduino clone. Check this tutorial for advice on how to get the most out of your Edison by writing code in C++!

Installing libmraa on Ubilinux for Edison

libmraa is a tool kit for interacting with various Intel single board computers. | CC BY-SA 3.0 | SparkFun Electronics | Niwot, Colorado