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Flash Debian Bullseye on your BeagleBone Black

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Debian 11 (Bullseye) was released on August 14th. My BeagleBone Black was working very well with Buster, but I wanted to get the native Wireguard support.

Few words about the BeagleBone Black. It’s a single board computer with a single core 1ghz Cortex-A8 processor, 512Mb of memory and depending of the version 2gb or 4gb of EMMC. I’m usually extending its storage with a microSD card and an USB Key.

Before flashing our BeagleBone Black, we need:

  • A cable to connect the BeagleBone Black to the network
  • A micro SD card
  • A computer with a card reader, connected to the same network
  • A terminal, to access to the system

Prepare your Debian Bullseye Card

Download the latest bone image from Robert Nelson’s website, in my case bone-debian-11-iot-armhf-2021-08-25-4gb.img.xz.

Plug your card in your computer, it will be erased. You can create the card using balenaEtcher or the command line, don’t forget to adapt the command to your case.

xzcat bone-debian-11-iot-armhf-2021-08-25-4gb.img.xz | dd of=/dev/sdb

Boot from the micro SD card

Plug your microSD card into your Beaglebone Black. Press the Boot button (S2) and plug your card to the electricity. When the 4 lights are on, wait 1s and release the button. The board will start using the micro SD card.

Connect to the board

You can connect to your Beaglebone using its hostname and the default credentials.
User: debian
Password: temppwd

ssh debian@beaglebone.local

If it doesn’t work, you can try to scan your local network using nmap.

nmap -sS -P -p  22

You will see something similar

Nmap scan report for
Host is up (0.0039s latency).

22/tcp open  ssh
MAC Address: XX:XX:XX:XX:XX:XX (Texas Instruments)

Connect using the displayed IP

ssh debian@

Flash to the eMMc

The embedded eMMc is faster and more reliable than the micro SD card. We will copy the content of the card to the eMMc.

sudo -i
git clone scripts
cd scripts/tools/eMMC

Boot again from the micro SD card. Now we need to enable ssh and clean a bit, for that we will use the chroot feature to enter in the new system.

sudo -i
mount /dev/mmcblk1p1 /mnt/
chroot /mnt/ /bin/bash
systemctl enable ssh
rm -rf /root/scripts /root/

Remove the card and restart the Beaglebone Black


The board is now running Debian Bullseye from the eMMc. The next step is to change the default credentials and install fail2ban to protect it from brute-force attacks.

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