Posted by: cmtalbert | October 12, 2011

Pandaboard Status

We’re looking at updating our Android support with these PandaBoard cards.  We already run with Tegras in our automation, but the Tegra 250’s are discontinued, and we can’t update to newer versions of Android with them, so introducing Pandaboards.

Well, PandaBoards come with nothing, not even a power supply.  They can be powered off USB, but it’s pretty difficult to get adb working in that state (if you have steps, I’d love to hear them).  So, here are the steps to getting something usable working (See the official getting started too):

  1. Order power cord, specifically the adapter and the cord
  2. Order 8-16Gb SDCard
  3. Ensure you have a mini USB cord
  4. Ensure you have a CAT 5 network cable.

Once you have this, you can build or download a build onto your SDCard.  Oh yeah, you’ll need an SDCard writer/reader.  Most computers have them by default these days, thankfully.

Then, plug it all in, and it should work.  I’ve noticed a few oddities:

  • Our SUTAgent had some difficulties at first, but now it seems to be working fine.  Still debugging this.
  • ADB won’t work if the card is plugged in when it boots.  I think this is due to the build, as I seem to recall seeing an issue on it earlier.  I’ll keep researching and will try some different builds to find something more stable.  In the mean time, unplug when you reboot the card, plug in after the card is up and running.  Also, you won’t see the “USB” notification that you usually see in Android.  So, don’t expect that.
  • There is something going on with the package manager.  I installed Fennec, but the pm doesn’t list it, and claims that it is not installed.  However, it runs fine, appears in the applications, and can’t be re-installed.  I just can’t uninstall it.  Still investigating that too, and like the other OS level issues, I’m wondering about this downloaded build.


  1. What’s the issue with USB power and adb? I’ve seen some hardware that, for some reason, supports using USB for power _or_ data — but not both… Is that it?

  2. You could try the 11-10 linaro builds, in case that makes a difference (since now we’re in october 🙂 )

    You plugged the HDMI output, I’m surprised. Do you get anything at all on it? It reportedly doesn’t work (and doesn’t work for me), only the DVI output works.

    What revision of the board do you have ?

    • Panda Board Rev A3. Yeah, the HDMI worked right out of the box. I do need to try the new builds. That’s the next step.

      @Dolske, I don’t know what the actual issue with USB and adb was. But we hypothesized that the board could only use USB for power or for adb, and considering it started working like a charm once I booted the board on auxiliary power, I’m thinking we may have been right.

  3. So, maybe this is a stupid question, but does anyone (besides us) actually do automated testing of anything on Android?

  4. Kyle: Linaro does, and most probably Google as well.

  5. […] experimenting with getting a Pandaboard running Android 4.0, continuing the work that Clint Talbert started in the fall to get these boards for use as a replacement for the Tegra in Mozilla’s android automation. […]

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