If you have just purchased your phyCORE-i.MX7 development kit and want to know how to get started, this guide will help you.

This guide is specifically written to boot PHYTEC's Embedded Linux Board Support Package (BSP) on the phyCORE-i.MX7 Development Kit. The Linux BSP utilizes Yocto and OpenEmbedded as well as NXP's Linux Processor SDK. Follow the guide below to learn how to set up your host machine, connect to the device, and get started with your development.


All PHYTEC America development kits ship with the necessary cables to get started. For this kit you should have received:

Power Supply

Not included when ordered from PHYTEC subsidiaries outside of the USA.

Only the Phoenix connector will be provided and a power supply will need to be sourced independently.

5V 2A (or higher) 

SD Card

Prebuilt with phyCORE-i.MX7-LINUX

Ethernet cableStandard CAT5e or CAT6

Micro USB cableUSB A-Male to Micro-B 

2x DB-sub 9 cables2x5 header to DB-sub 9

You will also need a host/development machine to communicate with the hardware. The requirements for your machine depend on your use case and a couple recommendations are provided below.

For Basic Evaluation 

If you simply want to turn the kit on, communicate over a serial shell, and run basic commands on the device, your host system can vary. In this environment it's understood that you are not compiling code on your host machine to run on the target, therefore requirements are minimal.

Tested operating system versionWindows 10Ubuntu 16.04Mojave
Machine RAM>4GB>4GB>4GB
Machine CPU>2 cores>2 cores>2 cores
Free disk space >5GB>5GB>5GB

For BSP or Application Development

If you are designing a custom carrier board and need to make boot-loader and kernel level changes, the host machine must meet the criteria below. In this environment you will be able to build the software BSP and develop custom Yocto meta layers.

Tested operating system versionUbuntu 16.04 64-bit
Machine RAM>8GB
Machine CPU>4 cores
Free disk space >50GB

Virtual machine platforms such as Virtual BOX, VMWare, and Docker can be used to host your development environment. Certain SD-card readers, USB serial adapters, and other peripherals have proven to be unstable when working with Virtual Machines. Please keep this in mind or contact PHYTEC Support for a recommendation.

Use the following images as a reference for the connector interfaces on the phyBOARD-i.MX7 that will be used in this Quickstart and the peripheral guides.

Prepare the Hardware

  • Insert the SD card (phyCORE-i.MX7 Linux BSP) included with your kit by pushing gently until it clicks into place.

Your development kit comes with this SD card. If your kit does not have an SD card or your existing card has been corrupted you can follow the instructions for how to make a new SD card here: Create a Bootable SD card

  • Development kits are by default set to boot from SD Card. Locate the boot switches on the Carrier Board and verify the switches are set as follows:

Connect the Peripherals

You only need to make a few connections to get up and running with your development kit. First you will make all the connections between the development kit and your computer, then in following steps, we will guide you on how to set up your serial terminal and establish a console session with the phyCORE-i.MX7 SOM.

CableDevelopment Kit ConnectionConnect To
Ethernet CableConnect to X8 ETH1

An Ethernet switch that is connected to the same network as your host/development machine. Ensure your network has DHCP enabled. See the diagram to the right.

USB Connect to X6Your host/development machine's USB A port
Power AdapterConnect to X15Wall power outlet

Set up a Serial Terminal

If you don't already have a terminal application set up on your host machine, we have provided a few different methods below depending on your host operating system.

Windows 10

Determine the COM port associated with the development kit:

  • Open Device Manager
  • Expand Ports (COM & LPT)
  • You should see two "USB Serial Port" devices that correspond to UART1 and UART2 on the development kit.

  • The lowest number COM, of the two associated with your development kit, is the correct choice when setting up your terminal session in the steps below. Remember this port number.
  • If you are having trouble determining which COM port to use:
    • Unplug/re-plug the USB cable from your computer and see what disappears/reappears in Device Manager.
    • Check Other Devices 

Configure your Terminal Session:

  • Download or open the terminal emulator of your preference. There are many options such as PuTTY and TeraTerm.
  • Configuration of your terminal will vary slightly depending on the terminal emulator software you are using.
  • Specify that you will connect using "Serial" to the COM port (found in the previous step)
  • Other parameters include: 115200 Baud, 8 bit data, no parity bits, 1 stop bit and no flow control.

You might not see anything in your serial terminal once it opens. That is OK, if the board was powered on for more than a minute while setting up the terminal session, then it has already booted. Simply press 'enter' in the terminal to get a new line OR press the reset button (RST). Otherwise, make sure your hardware is plugged in and powered on and the correct COM port has been selected.

MacOS Mojave

 Click here to expand...

On your host machine open up a Terminal and type the following command to list all of the USB serial devices

Host (Linux)

ls -ltl /dev/cu.usb*

Verify the output is similar to:

Start a serial terminal session using screen. From the list choose the USB device that ends in 'A'. In this case, that will be /dev/cu.usbserial-00002014A. 

Now type the following command: 

Host (Linux)

screen /dev/cu.usbserial-00002014A 115200 

The '115200' is the default baud rate. 

You might not see anything in your serial terminal once it opens. That is OK, if the board was powered on for more than a minute while setting up the terminal session, then it has already booted. Simply press 'enter' in the terminal to get a new line OR press the reset button (RST). Otherwise, make sure your hardware is plugged in and powered on and the correct COM port has been selected.

Boot the Board

  • If you have not already powered on the development kit, you can do this now.
  • The board will begin booting and output will look similar to the below:

  • If you are not getting any output and have already plugged in power, you might need to reset the board. You can press the reset button (RST) to reset the board:

  • On your serial console you should reach a login prompt.

    Expected Output

    NXP i.MX Release Distro 4.9.11-1.0.0 imx7d-phyboard-zeta-004 ttymxc0
    imx7d-phyboard-zeta-004_greengrass login:
  • Login using 'root' (no password is required). 

That is it, now you are at a Linux prompt and can start working with the development kit. Check out Using Peripherals articles for ideas of what to do next. 

You may find that commands and text wrap over themselves if they extend too far on a single line in your Terminal Window. To improve usability and to prevent text from wrapping over itself use the following command: 

Target (Linux)

shopt -s checkwinsize && resize

Turn Off the Device

Before removing power from the development kit, you must make sure that the operating system has safely shutdown.

  • To initiate a shutdown run the following command: 

    Target (Linux)

  • Once you have seen Reached target Shutdown it is safe to remove the power from the development kit: 

    Expected Output

    Reached target Shutdown.
  • Completely remove power from the board by unplugging the power cable.

What's Next