Getting started with Compute module 1/3/3+ Flash Stick

The Nebra Flash Stick is a revolutionary tool designed to streamline the process of flashing a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 1/3/3+. This user-friendly device is specially tailored to make it quicker and easier to install operating systems or other software onto your Raspberry Pi CM1/3/3+.

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module is a powerful piece of hardware that offers an impressive level of computational power in a compact form factor. However, like any computer, it requires an operating system to make the most of its capabilities. Traditionally, flashing or installing an operating system onto a CM1/3/3+ could be a complex and time-consuming task, requiring a deep understanding of software installation processes and potentially lengthy periods of troubleshooting.

The Nebra Flash Stick simplifies this process dramatically. With this device, users can quickly and easily install a variety of different operating systems or software onto their Raspberry Pi Compute Module. Its intuitive design minimizes the complexity and technical knowledge required for the task, making it accessible to beginners and time-saving for experienced users.

What you will need

How to assemble your Flash Stick

The Nebra Flash Stick is simple to mount onto the flash stick. You must first insert it into the connector at a 45 degree angle.

Push the Compute Module down firmly until you hear both sides click into the place where the board connectors are.

Getting ready for flashing

Before you can flash your operating system or software to the Compute Module device you will need to prepare it for flashing by adding some software that can detect it as a flash device on your host computer.

First, ensure that the jumper on the Flash Stick is in the USB_BOOT position by sliding it to the correct side 2/3.

Windows Installer

For those who just want to enable the Compute Module eMMC as a mass storage device under Windows, the stand-alone installer is the recommended option. This installer has been tested on Windows 10 64-bit.

Please ensure you are not writing to any USB devices whilst the installer is running.

  1. Download and run the Windows installer to install the drivers and boot tool.

  2. Plug your host PC USB into the USB SLAVE port, making sure you have setup the board as described above.

  3. Apply power to the board; Windows should now find the hardware and install the driver.

  4. Once the driver installation is complete, run the RPiBoot.exe tool that was previously installed.

  5. After a few seconds, the Compute Module eMMC will pop up under Windows as a disk (USB mass storage device).


The first step is to download the Raspberry Pi usbboot repository, install the required USB library on your computer, and build the rpiboot executable, which you'll use to mount the storage on your computer. This can be done using the terminal  window in MAC or Linux.

First, make sure you have the libusb library installed:

  • On Mac, if Homebrew installed, run: brew install pkgconfig libusb
  • On Linux run: sudo apt install libusb-1.0-0-dev

Second, clone the usbboot repository to your computer:

$ git clone --depth=1

Third, cd into the usbboot directory and build rpiboot:

$ cd usbboot
$ make

Now there should be an rpiboot executable in the directory. To mount the eMMC storage, run:

$ sudo ./rpiboot

And a few seconds later, after it finishes doing its work, you should see the boot volume mounted on your Mac (or on whatever Linux computer you're using).

Flashing your CM1/3/3+ module

At this point, your module will work just like a flash drive. You can use whichever program you wish to flash your OS files to either in Balena Etcher or the official Raspberry Pi flash tool. 

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