Quick Start Guide

Follow this short guide step-by-step to bring up your Brain-1 for the first time. You can take a deeper dive into the documentation as you feel comfortable.

USB Serial Console (optional)

Connect your host computer to the serial console if you want to watch as Linux boots for the first time. It’s riveting entertainment.

A USB mini-B connector at the top-left of the Brain-1 provides a serial console connection to the Zynq ARM processor. The interface is provided an FTDI serial interface chip compatible with most operating systems. Use your favorite terminal program to communicate with the processor through this console. Note that the FTDI chip is powered from the USB interface so you can see LED activity even if the Brain-1 is otherwise unpowered.

Baud Rate115200
Stop Bits1

Network the Brain-1 (optional)

Connect the Brain-1 to your network using a CAT-5 cable to your router or a USB cable to your computer.

The Brain-1 Linux image supports two easy ways to network with your computer. Either one can be used to quickly get started. Depending on your setup, one or the other may be better suited to how you work with the Brain-1.

USB Ethernet Gadget

As a USB OTG device, if Linux detects that the USB-C connector on the Brain-1 is operating as a USB device (rather than host), it will appear as an “RNDIS/USB ethernet gadget” to the host computer. This will allow your host to connect directly to Linux over this interface. In this case, the IP address of the Brain-1 is static and set to

RJ-45 Ethernet

When Linux boots, it will use DHCP to determine its IP address on your local network. You will be able to access the Brain-1 via SSH or through a browser. In this case, the IP address of the Brain-1 is determined by your local network.


The Brain-1 supports networking through USB Wi-Fi devices connected through the USB-C port. The Edimax EW-7811Un has been tested with the Brain-1 through a USB-C to USB-A host adapter.

The following commands will add a wireless network, connect to it, and request an IP address through DHCP:

# Replace [SSID] and [WPA Passphrase] in the below command with the 
# correct settings for your network
wpa_passphrase [SSID] [WPA Passphrase] >> /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
wpa_supplicant -B -iwlan0 -c/etc/wpa_supplicant.conf
udhcpc -iwlan0Code language: PHP (php)

Power the Brain-1

Attach a suitable power supply to the DC barrel jack and turn it on.

Your Brain-1 is designed to operate from a single supply voltage connected to the DC barrel jack at the top-left of the Brain-1. Details of this jack follow.

Connector Type2.1mm i.d., 5.5mm o.d.
Outer ring is DGND
Supply Range+5 VDC to +18 VDC
CurrentApplication-dependent. We recommend 3A or more.
Idle current is approximately 160 mA @ 12-v.

Linux Login

Observe Linux booting through the serial console.

Once the process completes, you should see a command line similar to the one in the screenshot. At this point, you can login through the console. If you have the Brain-1 attached to a network connection, you can also login to the machine via SSH.

Password(none set – just hit enter)

Powering Down the Brain-1

The SD card is a live-mounted filesystem to Linux. To prevent filesystem corruption, you should run the poweroff command before removing power from the Brain-1.


By default, the boot image we provide configures the FPGA with a simple “Hello World” application that displays a counter on the LEDs. This bitfile is loaded during the uboot sequence. The actual bitfile loaded by uboot is stored in a FAT32 partition on the SD card. A copy of this file is stored in the Linux filesystem here:


You can reconfigure the FPGA with this bitfile using the following command:

cat /home/root/brain-fs/helloworld/syzygy-helloworld.bit >/dev/xdevcfgCode language: JavaScript (javascript)

Brain-1 Website

Throughout this documentation, we’ll assume the IP address is Substitute your Brain-1’s IP address, as appropriate.

The boot image also configures a simple website served by lighttpd. This website hosts some static content, but can also do some cool things if you have SYZYGY peripherals. To visit the website, you’ll need to know your Brain-1’s IP address. There are at least a few ways to determine this:

  1. If you’ve connected your Brain-1 to a host computer in the USB ethernet gadget mode, the IP address is
  2. Visit the website of your local network router and find the IP address issued to the Brain-1 via DHCP.
  3. Login via the serial console and type “ip addr” at the command line.

Once you have your Brain-1’s IP address, point your browser to its URL:


For this example, the camera peripheral must be connected to SYZYGY PORT A.

The website automatically refreshes with image captures from the CMOS image sensor.

  1. Visit the camera demo URL:
  2. Click on the “Setup the camera” link
  3. Click on the “Capture a single image” link


For this example, the DAC peripheral must be connected to SYZYGY PORT A.

  1. Visit the DAC demo URL:
  2. Click on the “Setup the DAC waveform generator” link
  3. Select a waveform and frequency and the DAC will generate the signal.


For this example, the ADC peripheral must be connected to SYZYGY PORT D.

  1. Visit the ADC demo URL:
  2. Click on the “Setup the ADC simple scope” link
  3. Click on the “Capture a waveform” link

Next Steps

That’s it for our quick start guide. There’s a lot you can do from here to continue your exploration.