What you need to get started with the balenaFin. All the components required to get started with the balenaFin are available in our Developer Kit.
Any storage variant (8GB, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB) will work for this tutorial. If you don’t have one available, you can order now from the balenaFin Store.
To flash your Fin with an OS, you will need to connect it to your computer with a USB to Micro-USB cable.
The balenaFin supports the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 and 3+ Lite (CM3L/CM3+L). “Lite” means that the module itself has the eMMC socket unpopulated and the traces are exposed via SODIMM-200. This is very important since the standard CM3 has a fixed 4GB eMMC. Instead, with the CM3L/CM3+L, the balenaFin can expose variable storage sizes via its embedded eMMC wired to the CM3L/CM3+L via the SODIMM-200 pins.
The balenaFin Developer kit includes a 5.5/2.1mm Barrel Jack Power supply that can be connected to the Barrel connector on the Fin (see BARREL_JACK on Top Mapping). Any other compatible power supply can also be connected with a Phoenix connector (see PHOENIX on Top Mapping). The negative polarity of the Phoenix connector is labeled on the PCB with a “-” symbol. If using a different power supply from the one included in the Developer Kit, please make sure it can provide 6-24V and at least 12.5W. You can also power the balenaFin from the 5V pins exposed by the HAT connector, 2.5A are required as per the HAT specification.
Place the SODIMM-200 Raspberry Pi Compute Module in the dedicated socket on the rear of the board (see CM3L/CM3+L_SOCKET on Bottom Mapping). Make sure the two side clips are gripping the module on its dedicated half-circular holes.
Place the coin-cell battery in its socket (see RTC_CELL on Top Mapping) with the positive polarity side facing upwards. This step can be skipped if you don’t have a coin-cell available. Keep in mind that any RTC examples will not work properly.
In order to flash an OS to the balenaFin, the Fin must be placed into a USB Mass Storage Mode to allow the eMMC storage to be written to. The following proceedure will place the Fin into this boot mode:
NOTE: Make sure that you are running the latest version of balenaEtcher.
NOTE: If you are using a Linux platform, make sure you are running etcher using
This tutorial will be focused on the standalone version of balenaOS 2.x. For more information on balenaOS see “Variants of balenaOS” in the documentation.
After successfully flashing the Fin, remove the microUSB cable from the PRG port then power it on by either using the Phoenix or Barrel connector (Do not connect power to both!). The Fin should now boot normally, booting into the newly flashed OS.
NOTE: Ensure that your power supply is rated between 6-24V DC and at least 12.5W.
NOTE: Any other recent OS distribution (2018+) for the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B should be compatible with the balenaFin, including Raspbian. we also maintain a preconfigured Raspbian set of images that you can download from here.
The best way to get started is to connect the Fin to your wireless network and deploy a sample container.
If you are not sure how to do that, head over to the balenaOS documentation on the balenaFin for a complete guide: https://balena.io/os/docs/fincm3/getting-started/
Now that you are familiar with loading application containers, let's try using the modules available on the Fin. We put together a repository to get you started with some examples.