Bela (embedded music-centric hardware)

I re-read the pinout for bela & edited my original reply to your post. BBB does have dedicated UART pins like any self-respecting microcontroller and don’t see any reason the same couple of uart->midi hacks I use on ‘bare’ BBB won’t work on top of bela.

Circuits & code to follow for a multi-midi setup without multiple usb-midi dongles hanging off a hub flapping in the wind without any obvious way to tell which is which…


umm yea no circuits or code drawn up yet, and be warned this is gonna be a little off-topic. But since it’s all dimly beaglebone black related I figure why not sound off in here. At some point in the not-too-distant a useable open source performance sequencer should emerge that runs on bbb and talks monome (probably powered by lisp)…

have been monkeying a bit with libmonome, wrote some bindings and now have my monome grid hooked up to common lisp inside linux. Need to have a little rethink how I’ll represent the different types of event flowing in/out of the whole system:

  • boomerang sysex
  • monome buttons 'n lights
  • aleph bees bangs
  • midi packets
  • buttons 'n lights hooked straight up to bbb i/o
  • sequencer control events

I can feel the latenight coding fever coming on!!! (not tonight, mind…)

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Finally ready to start moving sguenz software over to beaglebone - hurrah! (actually software is still a dogs dinner, but what the heck) So I had to hack a bit more on the output driver - some midi devices may not have the proper optocoupler input, so it’s not possible to use the BBB 3V outputs if input is actually 5V logic. Pretty sure this is the case with mfb522, as the 2-transistor output driver works with that device, where using the bbb output pins directly fails…

planning to start a tech blog with better instructions to deploy my lisp BBB controller framework eventually. But for now:

also, on arch linux for BBB I add the following string to /boot/uEnv.txt:
then I also have to perform this UNIX incantation to enable the 2 UARTs on pins 21, 22, 24 & 26 of P9:
echo BB-UART2 > /sys/devices/platform/bone_capemgr/slots
echo BB-UART1 > /sys/devices/platform/bone_capemgr/slots

The next eye-of-newt is:
sudo stty -F /dev/ttyS1 115200 sane -brkint -icrnl -opost -onlcr -isig -icanon -iexten -echo -echoe
sudo stty -F /dev/ttyS2 115200 sane -brkint -icrnl -opost -onlcr -isig -icanon -iexten -echo -echoe
then finally to write a midi packet to one or other of those devices on loop you can hack on this a bit:

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Bela are now ‘generally’ available, well for pre-order (December shipping)
(you can also order the audio and io expanders there too)

also they’ve also got an updated firmware (0.2.0), many improvements, but one I like alot is they have added supercollider support ‘out of the box’ , this includes not only low latency audio support but also digital and analogue io.

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Just saw someone link this on the c74 forum.

Interesting alternative to the lattepanda:

Hi all (especially @rick_monster)

I saw that you got your monome grid working on bela a while ago… I’m having difficulty getting everything installed

I got libmonome and serialosc compiled and installed (i think- followed the guide), but kindof stuck here as I can’t start running serialosc? it says command doesn’t exist.

I also suspect there’s something strange about the usb hotplugging on the bela currently. I have a powered hub with the monome going in… it flashes lights as if initializing but lsusb never detects anything new?

Also Bela’s suggested USB device detection method of powering on with the monome plugged in results in the bela hanging and never initializing. Maybe it’s trying to boot off of whatever is connected through USB? Unsure

Anyways, whatever help you can give to getting this running would be very appreciated. I just want to have fun controlling libpd from my grid, the Bela IDE makes it so easy to get sound coming out.


For the serialosc command, try running:

$ serialoscd

I can’t speak to the USB issues, I’ve never had a problem with audio interfaces or grid on my stock (non-Bela) beaglebone black

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Hi there - I don’t actually own the Bela cape, like @murray have been using the grid with a stock bbb. So can’t help much (if at all) with the issues you’re having, since I run arch linux on there. Never had any issue booting with the grid plugged in. Sounds like it may be specific to Bela’s OS?

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Ive got BBB + Bela, but not running a monome, but I dont really have any issues with USB device (other controllers)…

BUT … whilst using a powered hub is a good idea, make sure the device is plugged in before you power up - there is a bug in the kernel being used, that means it the hub doesn’t come out of power saving mode when devices are plugged in… and then gets into a ‘weird state’.

does libmonone/serialosc need any particular kernel version?
the bela one is quite old (so there are various kernel bugs) … but they are actively trying to upgrade to 4.4. (see here)

also… its worth posting on the bela forum (apologies if you have already) , the guys are really helpful.
(EDIT: sorry, just noticed your post there :slight_smile: )

what I would suggest, if you still have problems, is try running a stock BBB distro (doesn’t matter if the bela board is attached) , see if it runs with that, then you can narrow down your issue a bit.

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Finally getting around to reading this thread from last July:

Getting some crazy ideas…

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thx for the help guys

got serialoscd running

now the issue is that it leads to segmentation faults, probably due to the kernel issues that @TheTechnobear was mentioning

going to try updating the kernel

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Hi everyone,

Long-time lurker first-time poster here. I’m a PhD student in the Augmented Instruments Lab, and I wanted to share with you an update from the Bela project. I know some of you are familiar with Bela as you backed the original Kickstarter - thanks very much for helping us get off the ground.

Thanks to launching the PocketBeagle, we are today launching Bela Mini, which features the same software, chip and the key hardware at a smaller size and price:

For an idea of what people have been making with Bela since it launched, there’s our blog (please let us know about your projects!). There’s also lots of tips, tricks and support available on our forum, and hardware, software and wiki can be found on our github.

As people in this community have backed Bela (and hopefully it’s of interest to others as well), we wanted to drop by to say a big thanks and ask if you have any questions about Bela Mini or the project in general.



Hey this looks really cool. Do you have any product demonstrations using the Bela Mini? (110 Euros is a bit of an investment). I’ve never thought about turning a tennis ball into an instrument

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We will have more projects demonstrating Bela Mini specifically in the coming months, but as of yet we haven’t had much time to make them as we have been focusing on the launch.

What we can say is that most projects that run on Bela will run on Bela Mini, aside from the IO differences, so you can view Bela projects as a good demonstration of what Bela Mini can do. With Bela Mini you get the same processing power, ultra-low latency, synchronised sensor and audio processing, high-bandwidth inputs, browser-based IDE, and so on.

The main advantage with Bela Mini is the reduced size and weight, so we hope this means it will be easier to make for example hand-held instruments, and to embed Bela inside smaller objects (such as a tennis ball!) and spaces. We anticipate Bela Mini will be especially useful in wearable and robotic instruments where discreteness and weight are important.

There’s some more FAQs about Bela Mini here:


This is really great news, and exactly what I was hoping for once I heard about the PocketBeagle. Looking forward to picking one up :slight_smile:

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seeing this thread pop up again reminded me that i recently learned this very cool sampler is actually built from a PD patch running on the bela platform:

totally self taught with no prior programming experience. inspiring!


Can you stack Belas (mini or normal) to get 4x audio in and 4x audio out?

there is an audio expander that uses the bela (not mini) analog outs:

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Good supplemental info to @shellfritsch’s link:

As mentioned there is an audio expander “capelet” for the original Bela which turns the analog outputs into audio outputs.

Bela Mini will not feature analog outputs due to reduced device footprint (see comparison table in blogpost for full description of differences). We do expect to be able to design stackable extensions of Bela Mini eventually though (in the same way that PB is compatible with mikroBus Click Boards).

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