Retired Product

This product has been retired from our catalog and is no longer for sale. This page is made available for those looking for datasheets and the simply curious.

Creative Commons images are CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

Description: Particle’s IoT (Internet of Things) hardware development kit, the Photon, provides everything you need to build a connected project. Particle has combined a powerful 120Mhz ARM Cortex M3 micro-controller with a Broadcom Wi-Fi chip in a tiny thumbnail-sized module called the PØ (P-Zero). The Photon Kit includes a Photon with headers, a shiny white mini-breadboard, a USB-micro cable, and a couple of extra surprises to help you start building right away.

Prototyping is easy as the Photon plugs directly into standard breadboards and perfboards, and may also be mounted with 0.1" pitch female headers on a PCB. The Photon is not only powerful, but easy to use. The small form factor is ideal for IoT projects with cloud-connectivity. To get you started quickly, Particle has added a rock solid 3.3VDC SMPS power supply, RF and user interface components to the PØ all on a small single-sided PCB.

Your Photon comes with access to the Particle Cloud, a free cloud service. The Particle Cloud has some great features for building connected projects, including over-the-air firmware updates, an easy-to-use REST API, and firmware development supported by web and local IDEs.

This particular edition of the Photon comes in a kit with a few other parts. When combined together, the Photon can implement these parts to create simple experiments and help kindle ideas for different projects by adding parts of your own! Check the Kit Includes section below for a complete list of items included in the Photon Kit.

Kit Includes:

  • 1x Photon
  • 1x White Breadboard
  • 1x USB Micro B Cable
  • 1x Photo Resistor
  • 1x Red LED - 3mm
  • 2x Resistor - 220-Ohm 5% ¼ Watt

Features:

  • Particle PØ Wi-Fi module
    • Broadcom BCM43362 Wi-Fi chip
    • 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi
    • STM32F205 120Mhz ARM Cortex M3
    • 1MB flash, 128KB RAM
  • On-board RGB status LED (ext. drive provided)
  • 18 Mixed-signal GPIO and advanced peripherals
  • Open source design
  • Real-time operating system (FreeRTOS)
  • Soft AP setup
  • FCC, CE and IC certified

Documents:

Recommended Products

Customer Comments

  • Any update on the status of these?

  • What’s the development system for this? Editor, compiler, loader, debugger, etc.

    • Great question! The Photon is open source hardware and software, so you can grab all our firmware here ( github.com/spark/firmware ) if you like and compile locally, or you can use the particle-cli ( https://github.com/spark/particle-cli ) to compile online and flash locally, or remotely, or Dev ( https://github.com/spark/spark-dev/ ) our local IDE, or our web ide ( https://build.particle.io ). :)

      Lots of details in our docs here - http://docs.particle.io/photon/start/ – You can even control it from the default Tinker app / firmware without any programming at all. (if you can’t tell I work at Particle!)

    • There are a few options. They’ve got a cloud IDE and a similar local IDE (that compiles in the cloud). Or, since it’s open source and ARM-based, you can use ARM-gcc to set up your own environment; their README in this repo has a lot of good information on setting that up.

  • Which motor shield can I hook this up to?

    • The most common shields are for Arduino boards that connect to the Arduino footprint. Since this board does not have the Arduino footprint an Arduino shield will not fit on it. We do have a few shields designed for this board, but none are for motors. But a motor shield really is just a motor driver and which one works best depends more on the motor(s) you are using than the microcontroller. Figure out which type of motor(s) you want, how much current you need and what features you want and then take a look at different motor drivers available. If you still have questions feel free to email techsupport@sparkfun.com

  • What would be the best way to get multiple Photons to communicate with each other? I think setting up a web server that acts as home base for these guys to relay messages through would be the ideal or only route?

  • Experienced Arduino (and Teensy) user here. New to the Photon, though. I got a Photon free from Sparkfun (thanks guys!) as part of a competition. Sadly I had a pretty bad first-day user experience. IMO, new users on Windows should beware…

    When I arrived, I unboxed it. Very very attractive packaging. The packaging pointed me to www.spark.io/start, so I went there as instructed. After pointing out its physical features, it wanted me to connect to it via my iOS or Android device. It also offered for me to “Connect over USB” instead, so that’s what I selected. I’m a Windows 7 user, so I followed the specific instructions for Windows.

    First, I grabbed the latest node.js installation, as instructed. Later I learned that Photon might not be compatible with Node 4.0 (though I don’t think that this was my issue, yet), so I uninstalled 4.0 and re-installed an older version. Annoying, but easy enough. I restarted my computer, as instructed. Also annoying, but easy.

    The instructions then say to download the latest Photon driver. I did so. I plugged in the Photon, as instructed. It showed up as a Teensy. Unexpected, but OK. I did “Update Driver”, as instructed by the Photon instructions and pointed Windows to the new Photon drivers. It seemed to work fine. It might make my Teensy experience annoying later, but let’s not worry about that now.

    Continuing with the instructions, I opened a command prompt. I issued “npm install -g particle-cli” to install the photon’s command line interface. It bombed out. :(

    The problem appeared to be with serialport@1.7.4. The error messages say that it couldn’t find VCBuild.exe. There was no mention of this possibility in the getting started docs.

    To solve the issue, the command line error suggested that I either install .NET Framework 2.0 SDK (hello 2006) or to install Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 (um, hello 2005). I foolishly tried to install .NET Framework 2.0 (not the SDK), but Windows wouldn’t allow it. I then realized my error and went to install the SDK. I saw that the SDK was 354MB and figured that something wasn’t right with this whole installation process.

    I then pawed through their website a bit to find some help. It’s beautiful and heavy on the self promotion, but not a lot of info on the setup troubleshooting. Finally, I ended up on their github for the command line interface, where it said this:

    “Version 1.4.0 of Spark CLI includes Photon setup support for OS X only at the moment. Windows and Linux support are imminent.”

    Yeah. Thanks. There was no mention of this is the “Windows” section of “Getting Started”. Might have been a relevant thing to say? I think so. My vote is that Photon is not ready for prime time. Sorry, guys.

  • The windows drivers are not digitally signed. To install in Win 8 or higher you have to disable the security settings that prevent unsigned drivers from installing. This is a serious security issue that particle could have and should have fixed before releasing the software.

  • is the male presenter in the video healed yet? I had my jaw wired once. Not fun.

  • Is it possible to buy any of these without the breadboard and other accessories?

  • Will you be doing all of this for the electron when it comes out?

  • Can this device be setup in wireless AP mode and act as a webserver?

  • I just got my hands on one of these through some other gracious channels, and I can say that it is quite the cool! I want another!

    One question I have is have you considered making a usb host shield for this device? I have a scenario that could take advantage of that.

  • Bueller, Bueller, anyone? Can we please get an update on the status of these? Thanks!

    • Sorry, I believe Particle ran into an issue with one of the ICs slowing down production. I believe it is all taken care, and we should have these available around mid August.

  • Where is the documentation?

  • The biggest problem of photon is its availability; you cannot get one without long-time-waiting.

    • Hopefully that will be fixed soon. The basically haven’t been released yet. I believe we are planning on shipping this month though.

  • Where is the documentation for pin outs, etc.

    • Not yet, since this is still preorder. Once we have these in stock and they are ready to go we will. Until they you can try Particle’s site directly but I don’t know if they’ve been released yet.

  • Can the photon be programmed over the wifi rather than usb (assuming some other power source)?

  • Will you be selling the Photon as a stand-alone part, or do I need to go directly to Spark/Particle?

  • From halfway down at https://www.particle.io/prototype, it looks like an “online” Arduino IDE like setup. Guess you write the code in your browser and it updates it into the Photon over the internet?!?

  • Is there an offline IDE/development method? The description says “The Particle Cloud has some great features for building connected projects, including over-the-air firmware updates, an easy-to-use REST API, and firmware development supported by web and local IDEs.” I’d rather not be tied to a cloud-based development platform. I do see “and firmware development supported by web and local IDEs.” but I’m not sure if that’s referring to local development of firmware or userspace code. Thanks in advance for any clarification!

    • There’s an offline IDE called Particle Dev. And the Photon has a DFU bootloader, so you can load code over USB if you prefer that to OTA. Plus everything’s open source - so you can download and re-compile any of the firmware.

  • Nice touch adding a photon emitter and detector to the Photon Kit!

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5

Based on 16 ratings:

5 star
9
4 star
2
3 star
4
2 star
0
1 star
1

4 of 4 found this helpful:

Should have bought another Core

This photon keeps disconnecting. It tries to reconnect but usually fails. If I hit the Reset button it will cycle and connect, but that is not an acceptable solution. I thought the connection loss could be due to a noisy AC supply so I ran it off a Power Bank but it was no better. I see that other users have the same problem and I’m going through their posts now to try and resolve the issue. I’ve been running a Core for over a year with no problems.

update: I contacted Particle support. We couldn’t determine the firmware version installed because “Some versions of the firmware have disabled the v response” (connect to the photon over USB with a terminal program at 115200,n,8,1 then send the command “v” should return the version). Upgraded the firmware to 0.4.5 over wifi and all is well. My rating stands at 3 because they shipped product with unstable firmware.

Please contact our support team at – https://www.sparkfun.com/returns


3 of 3 found this helpful:

Good, but limited

The API is way too constrained. I just want to write some C and do standard wifi scanning.

It’s a great toy for drop-dead simple IoT applications, but junk if you want bare-metal access.


2 of 2 found this helpful:

Great little ioT board

If your looking for a small internet connected control device, this is the board for you. I love it. I can control a multitude of sensors from the convenience of my smartphone. How cool is that. A powerful tiny board that packs a lot of punch for it’s size. Hat’s off too Particle.io.


1 of 1 found this helpful:

Bad experience

“Connecting to Photon …” when I am using the android application that’s all I see or “detecting device” when I am configuring it through cmd!! In one way or another it never connects, you never know with these things anything can happen.

Please contact our support team. They can help you trouble shoot your issue. Thanks


1 of 1 found this helpful:

An Excellent Idea Generator

I am a EE, but I have not been super active in the prototyping area. I got the photon because I was intrigued with the size, functionality, and price point. I was also interested to look beyond the couple of small things I had done with my Arduino boards. This kit makes things quite easy and is great to cause one to think about “things you could do”.

I would have liked to get better documentation…


1 of 1 found this helpful:

Still Learning about IOT...start here

I received this Particle Photon Kit last week, I have been busy working on other projects. Last night after reading the survey request email, I decided to open my box. The kit was as described. There was setup confusion, as to what software needed to be installed on my 64 bit Windows 7 computer first and what account information was needed on the Particle website. After downloading and installing “Node and NPM”, a reboot and then a test. I downloaded the Windows Particle Driver and local environment software. It wasn’t clear to me when to plug in Photon but I waited until after software installed. I also installed the Particle-CLI software. after another reboot, I plugged in the Photon. Windows initially had an issue loading the driver (actually to get it to start) but another reboot and manual pointing updating the driver got it detected on com19. I verified the com port setup (baud rate, etc.). I next created an account (again) on the Particle website. I apparently had an OLD SPARK account (I didn’t realize I had a SPARK device…time to look into my box of tiny boards). I next downloaded the Android Particle App for my Samsung S4. (Guess what, I had an OLD SPARK app there as well)…needless to say, not remembering that OLD password caused an issue….my email address had been used by me previously but no device registered. To make this review/story/feedback short—I was able to detect my Photon via the Android App–although Tinker was not detected? and I was able to detect the Photon was the Android App connection was done, via the Particle.IO web app and the local Particle.IO desktop environment. I was not able to connect my Photon to my network via the Particle-CLI even after multiple attempts. After 3 hours….past midnight…time for bed….and another day. So I haven’t experimented with it yet….Still Learning about IOT…starting here


3 of 4 found this helpful:

Needs more work

I don’t want to access or rely on the cloud for my project, but need P2P or WiFi Direct functionality. Doesn’t look like that functionality is exposed at this time.


Slick device, excellent support

I purchased two of these. One worked effortlessly out of the box, the other was flashing all kinds of weird mode/statuses. I spent 4 days reading and searching the forums. I finally broke down and posted my symptoms, and in one reply the particle folks solved the problem. Broken keys. I bought some more of them.


Nice product!

The Photon is a nice device, easy to program and good for a product. Hope to get more soon.


Solar Heating Control

I am porting Arduino code for a differential temperature control for a solar heat collector. Controls recirculation pumps, monitors supply return temperature, flow rate, etc. to calculate btu gain.

The Photon programs so similarly to Arduino that the majority of code is just cut and paste. I am using the Partical Dev software on my computer. It still compiles in their cloud. I have the above programs basic working on Photon in under a week.

I had day of head scratching when I put over 10 Particle.variables in my program. Max is 10. The compiler gave up trying to compile, once the program was loaded, I had to load the blink program to get it to recompile my program.

I downloaded the Particle app for Android from the play store. Had no problem setting up with my home router. Played with tinker for a few minutes. Then on to porting my old program.

Not sure if its Particle or windows, but the serial monitor in ParticleDev is a bit flakey. The Show Cloud Variable function is a great trouble shoot aid!

I am using MCP23S08 port expanders, no existing library found, wrote my own inline code for them. Also using MCP3008 analog port expanders, have 14 analogs to monitor, no library for them either, roll your own. I am adding SD card as well, see how that goes next week. There is a library. The built in Time is great, syncs with the internet. Have read thru stuff about the CLI, command line interface, but seems a bit daunting for me. I also intend to write an app for the control in Android, have set up the SDK link in Android Studio. There seems to be links into Visual Studio to build apps as well.


so simple to setup & use

I was able to setup the board, connect to the online service and make a LED blink in 10 minutes. very easy to use.


Clever and tiny

The form factor means that the small breadboard it came with has plenty of extra room to prototype. The device is simple to set up and comes with a few pieces and code examples to get you going. The cloud platform for coding means I can work on it with any computer connected to the web, and even my tablet!


I like it

Fun, interesting gadjet. I just need to find some practical applications for it. Possibilities are endless. You go.


3.3 Volt hard to interface with 5.5 Volt but interesting

I am serioulsy working on a bloodless glucose meter and this was my first choice at trying to instrument that. I needed a transimpedance amplifier to convert a very small current into a voltage that would fit into the range the A to D input could read. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of information on this, but an EDN article suggested an instrument class Op-Amp with its built-in etched resistors would have the precision, further I found a programmable Instrument class Op-Amp that ‘might’ work. This is my after Xmas project before work resumes. Digital and Analog circuitry is not my forte.. I have a bachelors in engineering but not electrical engineering. The Photon makes a lot of the startup problems trivial and it looks like the stripped down headerless board could go into my final production device.. the SMD possibilities are also interesting. IoT so far has been a lot of fun.. just not the voltage dividers with very low voltage.


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