The SparkFun Photon RedBoard, to put it simply, is a WiFi/Microcontroller development board in the Arduino form-factor for the Photon. It’s easy to use, it’s powerful, and it’s connected to the cloud. With the best support, potential, and performance the Photon RedBoard provides you with an IoT device with a powerful 120MHz ARM Cortex M3 and built-in WiFi connectivity. Imagine blowing up a Photon into the shape of an Arduino and while keeping its wireless and ARM Cortex M3 capabilities, the result is this board!
The SparkFun Photon RedBoard has been based around the P1 Particle Module. Each P1 comes pre-loaded with Particle OS firmware and includes their basic cloud service. With a built-in antenna and a uFL connector, the P1 makes it so you don’t have to stress over the optimization of RF designs.
The Photon RedBoard has all of the hardware peripherals you know and love: 8 Digital I/O pins, 6 Analog Inputs, UART, SPI and ARM JTAG hook-ups. We’ve also broken out the SDA, SCL, SCK, MISO, MOSI, SS, DAC, and WKP pins as well. You can power the Photon RedBoard over USB or through the barrel jack. The on-board power regulator can handle anything from 4.5 to 15VDC. It is important to keep in mind that the Photon RedBoard utilizes the Arduino form factor, meaning you can attach many different Arduino shields to this board. Please be sure to check your pin-outs and voltage levels first.
If you need to know what TCP ports the Photon uses, (so you can allow those through a firewall) so far we’ve found 53 for DNS, 80 for HTTP and 5683 for the “Spark Server Port.”
To flash the latest firmware (or unbrick) to a Photon RedBoard using Windows follow these directions => http://blog.jongallant.com/2015/08/particle-photon-firmware-flash-windows.html. Make sure that you download the drivers for the Photon RedBoard. Here’s one driver to download and install => https://docs.particle.io/guide/getting-started/connect/core/#installing-the-particle-driver . The second driver for the “Photon DFU Mode” can be found in the tutorial above by Jon. Just make sure that you follow step 4 and 5 and click on the BIG “Install” button in the Zadig software. To add the “win32-mingw32” folder to the PATH environment variables, go to your environment variables >system variables and edit the Path by adding a “;” and appending the directory that the folder is in => http://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch000549.htm .
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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Based on 12 ratings:
2 of 2 found this helpful:
The Photon RedBoard makes using the Photon a snap. I’ve got two of them and I likely will order more in the future. They are very high quality.
2 of 2 found this helpful:
The phone app only worked half way and should not be advertised until it works %100.
It is a very cool product. Now you need a 5V version.
7 of 7 found this helpful:
So, this gets 5 stars because it actually works. I suppose a lot of the credit actually goes to Particle for that happening, but I’ll speak in vague assignments here.
But it works, and that counts for A LOT. Getting code onto it does not require fiddling with any CH430g or FTDI drivers or anything like that. No screwing around with the poorly documented pinouts of NodeMCU’s or budget bin WeMos boards. No random resets like the ESP8266. No random burn-outs like the CC3000.
The Particle devs appear to be quite responsive, and they read and address issues on the forums. I wanted to do UDP, found a forum post about UDP not working, and then found the followup where a dev had sorted it out, and now UDP worked. Super.
And it’s ARM, so finally we are moving away from the horrific legacy of AVR, with really limited peripherals and system resources. Anyone ever tried to use one of those 32K flash CC3000 boards? Just basic functionality like NTP takes 90% of the whole system flash.
This board is a touch on the expensive side, given that it is just a build-out of a Photon equivalent. Considering the cost of the newer Arduino boards, though, this really isn’t too bad. And the only other thing that I would knock if for it is the somewhat simplistic online IDE. Double edged sword: agin, it ‘just works’, but then it is missing a few little functions here and there.
Lastly, the online documentation is a little meh and terse. For me, that’s not a huge issue since I know a lot of coding. For others, it might be a barrier.
2 of 2 found this helpful:
A 3 volt (coil) relay (shield) would be uber handy.
3 of 3 found this helpful:
I’m a huge fan of Particle (formerly Spark) and was an initial backer for the Spark Core which uses a cc3000, instead of the much better Broadcom solution used by the Photon. The Particle team is ultra responsive and very fast to fix problems. The Photon and Electron, along with the particle cloud is a great platform for makers. This board is great if you are transitioning from Arduino and want to do more advanced things in a much easier way. However, I like the actual Photon board from Particle better, especially considering its half the price. Still, Sparkfun did an excellent job with this board and I hope it brings more people to the Particle community.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
Great if you want to work within the Arduino Form factor and reuse other shields etc
3 of 3 found this helpful:
Clearly, one of the best boards to work with for IoT or other WiFi enabled projects. Although these are essentially the Spark Photon in a Arduino size, I get much better performance than a standard Photon. Maybe it’s the antenna layout, maybe it’s magic, but the Wifi range is more than doubled in my applications compared to a Photon.
If your not familiar with the Spark Photon, it’s an Arduino on steroids with WiFi. Spark provides a web-based IDE or a local dev environment, cloud functions that provide IoT connectivity, coupled with a 120MHz ARM Cortex M3. I particularly like the ability to download my program (sketch) over WiFi. I can have this board in a remote location and still modify the code.
The only issues I have is during the first setup. Spark provides an app for your phone to connect the Photon RedBoard to your WiFi, but I seem to have trouble getting it to work reliably. I found it easiest to setup the WiFi using the USB interface and a simple serial terminal. Just hit ‘w’ with it connected (no lf/cr) in WiFi discovery mode (LED blinking blue), and you’ll be prompted for your WiFi info (cr/lf needed).
This is now my board of choice for most projects that don’t require the smaller size of the Photon. Just add power and your sensors, and you have a simple way to collect data. Works great with Sparkfun’s phant to store and retrieve your data.
0 of 1 found this helpful:
I wanted to like the Sparkfun Photon Redboard. My first board had to be replaced by Sparkfun (kudos to them for sending me a new one quickly.) I then ordered an additional one. Both are unreliable. Now that I have 8 Particle Photons to compare the Redboards to (not an apples-to-apples comparison) I see where the Photon Redboard is too unstable to rely on. As an example, I was having problems with anything plugged into analog pin 1. Sparkfun’s response was essentially, “Oh yeah, that’s a known problem.” I asked where it was posted that there was in issue with A1 and the response I got was, “I asked another guy and he told me.” In my experience, you are generally better off ordering a Photon with headers and sticking it into a breadboard than buying a Photon Redboard.
The Photon is NOT an Arduino; but, is a powerful critter that has considerably more capability than the Arduino. The big thing is that it will send/receive data with an internet function….the issue is that it can be a bit challenging to figure how how to do this. The Redboard is a good starting place as it has an LED on board to help in working with the simplest applications.
Because it is not an Arduino, there is a significant learning period….but well worth it. The little baby photon is, in my mind, a better choice. $19 with the same power….just missing the LED.
I am not an incredibly savvy user, but the Photon Redboard was super easy to get started with and set-up. Getting the Redboard connected to my home wifi was easy, using the Particle App and IFTTT together was really easy to get some simple projects working. I got a moisture sensor and it was super easy to connect and use (with the provided support documents). I have used LEDs and been learning using an Arduino guide as well. Honestly really fun to use. Looking forward to more complex build with time.
This is my first experience with the Arduino platform, and what a great way to get introduced to it! The board is easy to use. All the following features worked great right out of the box: 1. Powered up with both barrel jack adapter, and USB adapter 2. Serial terminal connected at 9600 baud 3. WiFi configured (more on this below), and communicated with Particle iOS app 4. Sample c++ code downloaded for blinking LEDs.
Having worked as an embedded programmer before, I was pleasantly surprised to find a $30 device be up and running so quickly. The only problem I briefly encountered was wifi configuration. I’d seen some blogs recommend just using serial terminal / CLI to configure wifi, but I used the ios app anyways. Turns out the board wasn’t able to properly detect my wifi router because both the 2.5Ghz radio and the 5.0Ghz radio on the router had the same SSID. So I created a separate 2.5Ghz guest SSID on the router, and the board connected in no time.
Going forwards though, for almost all hobby projects I’d probably use the cheaper board sans wifi: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13975, which offers more GPIO pins. Unless of course, the hobby project requires internet access. I imagine without wifi, I can prolong battery life, connect more sensors and control more output devices.
Final review note, on customer service: It has been impeccable. Once I placed my first order, it was shipped within a few hours, on the same day, and the box arrived 2 days later. Shipping is a bit pricey ($12 for a box just a few inches long), but when all the electronics is so cheap, and customer service so good, I don’t mind paying. I placed my second order a week later, and had to revise the order because I forgot to add a few items. Annabel from customer service stepped in within a few hours, updated my order, and still shipped it on the same day. Perfect, pleasant experience from start to finish. Good work, folks!
I’ve used Photons for several projects. I needed an Arduino sheild form for this project. Since the particle folks have discontinued their shield, I decided to try this.
The redboard is about the same price as a particle plus the photon Arduino board. So, this is a fair substitution. It seems to work, so I’m a happy camper.