Appendix: Connecting Cables

Explore when and how to use all the cable ports on the mini breakout board for the Intel® Edison compute module.

While plugging in every cable is not required all the time, a cable setup for initial development purposes with the Intel® Edison mini breakout board would look like the photo below:

A photographic cable diagram with numbered callouts

USB Device Mode vs USB Host Mode

Before connecting USB cables to an Intel® Edison breakout board, you should know the difference between USB device mode and USB host mode.

When the Intel® Edison board is in host mode, the board acts like a computer. A USB peripheral (such as a mouse, keyboard, or webcam) can be plugged into the Intel® Edison board.

When the Intel® Edison board is in device mode, the board acts as a computer peripheral to your computer. Connect the Intel® Edison board to your computer while in device mode in order to:

  • Supply 5V power to the Intel® Edison board.
  • Read/write to the onboard flash memory from your computer like a disk drive.
  • Program the Intel® Edison board over USB using the Arduino* IDE.
  • Program the Intel® Edison board via Ethernet over USB (instead of Wi-Fi*), using for example Intel® XDK IDE.

Setting the USB Mode on the Mini Breakout Board

The Intel® Edison mini breakout board has a single USB 2.0 interface. Plug in a USB cable with either a micro-B or micro-A type connector to automatically switch between device and host mode.

Device Mode

Plug in a USB cable with a micro-B type connector, and plug the other end into your computer.

Example of micro-B USB cable used for device mode

Host Mode

Plug in a USB peripheral with a micro-A USB connector, or use a micro USB OTG to USB adapter. In addition, you must supply 7-15 VDC external power via the J21 pin on the front of board (noted in the photo below) or the J22 solder pads on the back of the board (not displayed).

Example of micro-A USB cable used for host mode with additional callout for J22 power pin

UART/Serial

Connect to the shell on your Intel® Edison board using a serial connection via Terminal or PuTTY. Use these commands to flash firmware, configure Wi-Fi*, or identify the board’s IP address.

Plug a USB cable with a micro-B type connector into the top micro USB port, and the other end to your computer.

A USB cable connected to the UART/serial port of the mini breakout board

Supplying External Power

The Intel® Edison board can be powered via the device mode micro USB port, an external power supply, or both.

This is especially important to note since the USB ports on some computers do not reliably supply 5V power. An external 7-15 V DC power supply is the most stable and reliable way of powering the Intel® Edison board.

If you are going to use more power intensive features such as Wi-Fi*, a servo motor, or an Arduino shield, use a DC power supply. You must always use an external power supply when using USB peripherals in host mode.

7-15 Volt DC Power

Supply 7-15 V DC external power via the J21 pin on the front of board (noted in the photo below) or the J22 solder pads on the back of the board (not displayed).

Pin J21 on the mini breakout board for external power

Rechargeable Battery Power

A rechargeable lithium-ion battery can be attached to J2 on the front of the board. The breakout board will recharge the battery whenever power is applied via J21 or J22, or via J3 (when the board is attached to a USB host).

Pin J2 on the mini breakout board for external battery power

Next Steps

You should now have a better understanding of the USB modes and cables required for development. Use your browser's back button to return to the previous page.

If you have not finished assembling your mini breakout board, go to Assemble Mini Breakout Board. Otherwise, continue to Step 2: Run Setup Tool.

Would you like to know more about the mini breakout board?
Refer to the Intel® Edison Breakout Board Hardware Guide (PDF) for technical specifications and detailed diagrams.

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