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Setting Up ADB

Table of Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Host Computer Setup
    1. ADB Installation
    2. Basic Interfacing
    3. ModalAToTip: Aliases
  3. Appendix
    1. Run Something Once
    2. Wait for Device
    3. Copying Files
    4. Reboot VOXL 2


The next step after powering on your VOXL is to set up a communication channel between your host computer and your device for things like file transfers and running programs. The following section will be focused on setting up the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) which is a command-line tool which allows you to accomplish this task. Note that Ubuntu >18.04 is the only supported operating system and all tutorials henceforth assume its usage as the “host machine”.

Note: From this section onwards work will be done in both the user’s terminal and in the adb shell. When possible, code blocks will start with either me@mylaptop:~$ or voxl2:/$ respectively to denote this difference.

Host Computer Setup

The following section will help you configure ADB on your host machine.

Note: Using USB C to USB type A cables has worked well, we’ve seen some computers where USB C to USB C cables are not working well. If you have having issues with connections, please try a USB C to USB type A cable.

ADB Installation

To start, install the Android Debug Bridge (ADB):

me@mylaptop:~$ sudo apt install android-tools-adb android-tools-fastboot

Basic Interfacing

To check for attached devices, you can use the adb devices command:

me@mylaptop:~$ adb devices
List of devices attached
73a05d48	device

To access the ADB Shell, you can use the adb shell command:

me@mylaptop:~$ adb shell

To test your setup to this point, you can run a command like voxl-version as such:

voxl2:/$ voxl-version
system-image: 1.6.2-M0054-14.1a-perf-20230612
kernel:       #1 SMP PREEMPT Tue Jun 13 03:27:14 UTC 2023 4.19.125
hw version:   M0054
voxl-suite:   1.0.0
Repo: qrb5165 SDK-1.0
Last Updated: 2023-03-02 12:58:29

To exit the shell you can use the exit command:

me@mylaptop:~$ adb shell
voxl2:/$ echo "I am inside VOXL 2!"
I am inside VOXL 2!
voxl2:/$ exit

Note: If you are using VOXL and not VOXL 2, the adb shell command will start an sh shell. Generally you want to use a bash shell instead, so we recommend starting bash right away. Running adb shell followed by starting bash will look like this:

me@mylaptop:~$ adb shell
/ # bash

To confirm, you can also look at the SHELL variable:

voxl2:/$ echo $SHELL

With this you should be done and ready to move on to the WiFi Guide !

ModalAToTip: Aliases

For frequent VOXL usage it may be convenient to set up aliases in the ~/.bashrc file on your host machine. We recommend adding the following aliases:

alias voxl="adb wait-for-device && adb shell"
alias sshh='sshpass -p oelinux123 ssh -o StrictHostKeyChecking=no -o UserKnownHostsFile=/dev/null root@${VOXL_IP}'

The former alias allows the user to wait for a device to be ready for connection and then immediately connect when possible. The latter alias allows for a shortening of the ssh command to your device. You will learn how to get the IP address for your device in the next section.

To use the sshh alias, made sure you have sshpass installed on your host machine: sudo apt install sshpass


Listed here for convenience are some other common ADB commands and tips we recommend to the user.

Run Something Once

This can be done with adb shell <command>. If you don’t want to start an interactive shell, but just want to run one command on VOXL 2, you can pass the command directly to adb shell.

me@mylaptop:~$ adb shell echo "I am inside VOXL 2"
I am inside VOXL 2

Wait for Device

A useful command for creating scripts for host-to-target communications is this one that sits and waits until a device is connected:

me@mylaptop:~$  adb wait-for-device

Copying Files

You can copy files to/from VOXL 2 (similar to scp) using the adb push and adb pull commands.

For example, to copy /temp/test.dat to the VOXL 2 at /:

me@mylaptop:~$ adb push /tmp/test.dat /
/tmp/test.dat: 1 file pushed.

To copy it back from the VOXL 2 at /test.dat to /temp

me@mylaptop:~$ adb pull /test.dat /tmp
/test.dat: 1 file pulled

Reboot VOXL 2

You can reboot VOXL with a single adb command adb reboot. This is often followed by adb wait-for-device which returns when VOXL has finished rebooting.

me@mylaptop:~$  adb reboot

Next: WiFi Guide