Parallella Quick Start Guide 40

 install1labelled   install2labelled

Models: P160x-xxxx                                                                              Models: A1010xx

Important: read steps 1-3 before applying power!


1. Ensure that you have the required accessories

  • A high quality 2000mA rated 5V DC power supply with 5.5mm OD / 2.1mm ID center positive polarity plug.
  • A micro HDMI to HDMI cable.
  • A USB male Micro-B to female Standard-A cable.
  • An ethernet cable
  • A fan (only required for boards sold before July 10th, 2014)


2. Create a bootable micro-SD card

Burn a fresh Micro-SD card using the latest distribution.

Note: Burn a fresh SD card even if you were shipped a pre-programmed micro-SD card!


3. Familiarize yourself with known issues

  • Like all electronics, the Parallella is sensitive to static discharge and must be handled appropriately.
  • The board does get hot so you have to take precautions to cool the board properly.
  • If you were shipped a board before March 1st 2014, then you must use a conforming powered USB hub.


4. Connect peripherals, fit the heatsink and apply power

  • Connect the cables as indicated by #1-4 in the picture above
  • Attach a heatsink to the Zynq device (#5 in right hand picture) OR install the new large heatsink onto the Parallella board
  • Make sure a fan is directed at the board if required:- A fan is required when using the small heatsink (right hand picture above). With the large heatsink (left hand picture above) the board will function in normal conditions without requiring a fan, depending on your usage. Monitor the temperature using a utility such as xtemp, and keep the board below 70 degrees F.
  • Apply power (#6 in picture)


5. Build and run a program

The system will boot and a login screen will appear.

Login with the username linaro and password linaro.

Bring your own code or grab one of the example projects from the open source repositories below:

Visit the Parallella forums to join the community and share your experiences!



  • You must use a 5V power supply of the correct specification to avoid immediate and permanent damage.
  • You must cool the board appropriately to avoid long term permanent damage.
  • The board is ESD sensitive, please take the necessary precautions.
  • Only use conforming USB powered hubs (applies only to boards shipped before March 1st, 2014)

Further reading

Leave a Reply

40 thoughts on “Parallella Quick Start Guide

  • Reply
    Robert Wlodarczyk
    1. Extract downloaded zip using keka (found on Mac App Store) 2. insert SD card in and run: diskutil list -- identify the disk of your SD card (for example: disk1 not disk1s1) 3. diskutil unmountDisk /dev/ -- for example: diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1 4. sudo dd bs=1m if=.img of=/dev/ -- for example: sudo dd bs=1m if=Parallella16_z7020wGPIO_xxxxxx.img of=/dev/disk1 (this took ~60 minutes on my MacBook Pro; press Ctrl-T if you want status) 5. sudo diskutil eject /dev/ -- for example: sudo diskutil eject /dev/disk1
    • Reply
      Barry Anderson
      Great writeup for Mac users - you left out one point and that is that command line unzip won't extract the need p7zip or similar.
  • Reply
    Brooks Moses
    I had an issue where Win32DiskImager corrupted my SD card such that Windows couldn't even reformat it. Turned out to be a problem with my USB SD-card reader, but that didn't solve the corruption problem. The solution to the corruption problem was to re-format the card with a program called "SD Formatter" from the official SD Association website. (You have to tell it to do a full format and reset the size information; a quick format won't do it.)
    • Reply
      Just had diskimager corrupt my SD Card, and now I can't reformat it. Bought a new 16GB SD card, but it is too small for the image! I'll try again with a 32G card when I get one. Real pain in the neck though!
  • Reply
    It would be nice to have MD5 hashes of the *.img files included in the README.txt on the FTP site. 3aae08f5d14bc238d799a0da1fceb01a Parallella16_z7020wGPIO_131220.img
    • Reply
      Neal McBurnett
      I agree that good checksums are important. Here is what I got: $ md5sum ubuntu-lxde-14.03.06-p16g1.img.gz b6b5d8ccd5b981f65947f7980275a516 ubuntu-lxde-14.03.06-p16g1.img.gz
  • Reply
    Paul Stone
    Anyone know how to get around "Not enough space on disk: Size: 31116288 sectors Available: 30703616 sectors Sector size:512" error from Win32DiskImager?
    • Reply
      I had the same problem. I ended up using a 32GB card instead. I've seen other people with the same problem. I guess some 16GB cards are smaller than others!
  • Reply
    Jin Lem
    (DO NOT USE A NON CONFORMING POWERED USB HUB), what is an example of a non-conforming powered usb hub? as in a hub powered by the usb port? or a externally powered usb hub?
  • Reply
    fluffy (@fluffy)
    Finally had a chance to unpack mine. I see it came with a heatsink, but no pictures show where it's supposed to go. Which chip is the heat sink supposed to go on? I don't want this thing to burn out...
    • Reply
      The Xilinx Zynq chip is the one that gets hot, it's the black square chip in the center of the board. If you move some air over the board with a fan then no heat sink is needed, but it's always a good idea.
  • Reply
    Define fan and if you prefer one over another. I would not want to buy a regular desk fan that is constantly turned on just to cool it, would defeat the whole purpose a tiny supercomputer.
    • Reply
      gceline Post author
      Here are a few example fans that we have used in the past: Tiny fan for one board. Large cluster fan. Desktop fan.
      • Reply
        Thanks! Now would you recommend me connecting it to the serial connector or power source jump port? And what is the max power the board can handle? Sorry for asking but the fan was never brought up when Kickstarter first got off and I rather use it than it frying on me.
          • Neal McBurnett
            I'm excited to get my parallella! But the new heat sink / fan issue is a pretty big hassle, so please give us more specific help than "check out the forums", or else this is not worth the name "quick-start guide"..... How do we "fit the heatsink"? Do we need that heat-sink paste? How do we keep it from falling off? How about a specific link to a tested guide for each fan option?
          • Neal McBurnett
            Will the heat sink and recommended small fan (25x25x6 mm, Sunon MC25060V2-000U-A99) fit in the provided enclosure? How should we mount it? How should we orient the heat sink? (I see it does have an adhesive pad on the back - that helps! :) ) Is there an alternative to soldering for powering the fan? Remember - many of us are software folks not at all experienced with the latest in embedded hardware design....
    • Reply
      Andrew Back
      A small fan on the heatsink should be fine and blowing into it would be best. Almost any fan will likely suffice in that only a small amount of airflow is required.
  • Reply
    Heinz-Bernd Eggenstein
    the qucik start guide should perhaps mention some steps that are necessary for users to configure for their locale. like keyboard layout and timezone (I did noit find any obvious tools for that in the preconfigured menus). I think running sudo dpkg-reconfigure tzdata and sudo dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration should do.
  • Reply
    Just saying
    So if it "Must" have a fan why is there not one in the accessory kit and why dose the box you get for it not have a place to mount a fan....
  • Reply
    works right out of the box with this usb hub! yay the fun can begin!
    • Reply
      Jin Lem
      You need a micro usb to usb cable so that you can plug in a keyboard/mouse or usb hub to the parallella.
  • Reply
    I swear there was mention of what type of sd card would be a good fit for the parallella. That name/model number suggested has disappeared, unless I saw it somewhere else perhaps, like in the forum or email. Can someone please suggest a good quality one to use, and what type, perhaps a model number? Thanks
    • Reply
      If you just got your board recently it was probably manufactured after March 1st. If you have a 7010-based board it is definitely newer. If you're still not sure, look for U13, just above the silver Epiphany chip and to the left of the USB and HDMI connectors. If there is an 8-pin chip in the U13 spot it's an older board, if instead there is no chip but a resistor connecting two pins together, then it's a newer board and powered hubs are OK.
    • Reply
      Fred H
      If you just got your board recently it was probably manufactured after March 1st. If you have a 7010-based board it is definitely newer. If you're still not sure, look for U13, just above the silver Epiphany chip and to the left of the USB and HDMI connectors. If there is an 8-pin chip in the U13 spot it's an older board, if instead there is no chip but a resistor connecting two pins together, then it's a newer board and powered hubs are OK.
  • Reply
    Help! I finally got my 4 parallela boards. I used the SD sypplied and could not boot the board. I installed the SD as instructed, I used the fpga 20 HTMI (I installed the heat sincs first so do not know the actual fpga version). I am using the Belinkin 7 port hub, a logitek K120 keyboard and mouse. I have not connected to the Eithernet. I have tested the monitor via HTMI to DVI connection on another machine. I used an old PC power supply and have a 12V fan hooked up. But still cannot boot. Any ideas? I am Steve Westfall (
  • Reply
    Hi, if i got paralella boards before 7th July, does a bigger heatsink work without a fan? If it works, I will install a big heat sink that is from old graphic card and I do not need external power for cooling fan.