Getting started with Intel Edison

1. First connection to Edison

Procedure based on Yocto Complete Image 3.5 with Linux laptop, using non-Arduino Intel Edison Mini Breakout board model EDI1BB.AL.K

  1. add your username to the appropriate groups on your laptop
    adduser $(whoami) dialout
    adduser $(whoami) plugdev
  2. logout and login on your laptop (reboot not required).
  3. on laptop

    messages will stream to your laptop from Edison once it’s powered on.

  4. Connect to Intel Edison via two microUSB Type B cables. Micro-USB type B are the common connectors everyone uses for phones etc.

    Edison jack Purpose
    J16 (OTG) Powers the Edison, mounts 805MB FAT32 partition Edison
    J3 internal serial to USB converter
  5. Assuming Edison comes up on laptop as /dev/ttyUSB0 when both J16 and J3 are connected,
    screen /dev/ttyUSB0 115200

    Or use PuTTY.

  6. Press Enter for login prompt. Login as root. There’s no password unless you set one previously.

See notes at bottom of this page for connection troubleshooting.

2. Software Update

It’s handy to be connected with PuTTY to the Edison, to see a much more detailed progress report.

Note this procedure erases everything on the Edison including data and configuration settings

  1. On laptop, download latest Yocto Poky Complete Image.
  2. on laptop:

     apt install dfu-util
  3. extract the Poky Complete Image, and from the extracted directory:


    If you get a message

    otaupdate.scr not found

    upon Edison rebooting, the update is probably not going through. The process will take about five minutes (much longer than a normal reboot).

  4. Confirm the proper version is uploaded by typing on Edison

     cat /etc/version


    and at login you’d see with Yocto 3.5:

    Poky (Yocto Project Reference Distro) 1.7.3

The Edison used space upon Yocto install was 76%. 319 MB free of 1.4 GB on my 2 GB Edison.

df -h

3. Intel Edison Configuration on first startup

from PuTTY window connected to Edison:

configure_edison --setup

Intel Edison Wifi can connect to WPA2 Enterprise as well as typical home WPA2 access points.

4. Unofficial Intel Edison Repository

  1. on the Edison, add to /etc/opkg/base-feeds.conf
    src/gz all 
    src/gz edison 
    src/gz core2-32
  2. update repo cache
    opkg update 

    The core2-32 opkg directory holds programs commonly used.


  1. both (two) green LEDs on the breakout board must be on and steady. If they are cycling on and off every several seconds, your USB port may not be providing enough power to J16. Maybe that USB cable is bad.
    • Alternatively, the Edison eMMC flash memory could be corrupted, which requires reflashing
  2. On laptop, unplug and plugin both USB cables, then type

    you should see

    New USB device found, idVendor=8087, idProduct=0a99

    FTDI USB Serial Device converter detected Detected FT232RL FTDI USB Serial Device converter now attached to ttyUSB0

    if not, try being sure you are NOT plugged into a USB 3.0 port (has SS logo or blue colored inside). Try swapping cables at the Edison end–maybe one of them has the pins a little worn out. Poweroff and Power on your PC. Try another PC. If you don’t see these lines output by dmesg upon plugin, no other steps will work. You have to fix this first.

  3. type in your laptop

    you should see a line with

    ID 0403:6001 Future Technology Devices International, Ltd FT232 USB-Serial (UART) IC

  4. type in your laptop
    ls /dev/ttyUSB*

    you should see


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Written by Michael Hirsch, Ph.D. //