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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.
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.
See all skill levels
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.
See all skill levels
Based on 16 ratings:
1 of 1 found this helpful:
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
1 of 1 found this helpful:
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…
4 of 4 found this helpful:
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:
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.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
“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
2 of 2 found this helpful:
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.
3 of 4 found this helpful:
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.
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.
The Photon is a nice device, easy to program and good for a product. Hope to get more soon.
I was able to setup the board, connect to the online service and make a LED blink in 10 minutes. very easy to use.
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.
Fun, interesting gadjet. I just need to find some practical applications for it. Possibilities are endless. You go.
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 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.