In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to install the Ubuntu operating system on your pcDuino3. Our aim is to describe in detail each of the steps required to install Ubuntu on your new machine so that you have no problem doing the same.

Necessary equipment for installing Ubuntu on your pcDuino3

Before beginning, let’s take a look at everything we’ll need for this tutorial:

The pcDuino3 can act as a high-performance mini-pc

A micro USB canle will help to power your pcDuino3

  • A microSD card and its adapter. Here we’ve chosen an 8 GB card but, since the kernel image is less than 2 GB, a smaller SD card may very well do the trick

MicroSD card 32GB with USB and SD adapters for saving Ubuntu images

  • A USB flash drive of at least 2 GB

  • An HDMI connection cable to check on a display that the installation is going smoothly

HDMI connection cable

Now that we’ve had a look at the hardware, let’s move on to the software. To install Ubuntu on our pcDuino3 cleanly, we first need to download the kernel image and the desktop image available online here:

For Linux/Mac users

We’ll begin by flashing our SD card with the kernel image. Here’s how:

  • Open a terminal after inserting your SD card and type df -h
  • You should see your SD card appear

Flash of the SD card with the kernel image of Ubuntu on the pcDuino3

First remove the partitions if they’re mounted, for example here:

sudo umount /dev/sdd1
sudo umount /dev/sdd2

Then navigate to the place where you’re storing the already downloaded kernel image and type the following command:

Image Kernel installation of Ubuntu on the pcDuino3

After a few minutes, your SD card should be flashed. Then type:

sudo sync

You can now remove your SD card from your PC.

For Windows users:

You’ll find an article detailing the installation on Windows here:

Now that the image has been flashed on our SD card, let’s install it on the USB stick.

For this, nothing could be simpler, just save the already downloaded files to the root of your USB stick.

Files to install the kernel image for the pcDuino3 on the USB stick

You’re now ready to tackle the serious stuff! We’ll start by installing the kernel on our pcDuino3. To do this, we’ll insert the SD card already flashed with the kernel in the connector provided for this purpose.

The pcDuino3 has a very handy slot for SD card

Then power your board. The RX LED should light up and flash.

Leave the kernel enough time to flash (a few minutes). Once the LED has gone off, the procedure is completed. At this point, if you plug your pcDuino3 into your display you should see the following instructions appear on the screen:

Instructions appear on screen to give you the status of the pcDuino3

This means that your pcDuino3 is waiting for your USB stick containing the Ubuntu image and the script.

Insert your USB stick into your pcDuino’s connector. The following instructions should appear on your screen:

Instructions to install Ubuntu on the pcDuino3

Perfect – all you have to do now is leave the system alone to flash. Once done, restart your pcDuino3. Now say hello to your new PC!

The pcDuino3 board’s computing power and its compatibility with the shields Arduino make it a potentially very useful board for creating robotics platforms. You can for example use it for simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM).