A couple weeks ago, I did my bi-annual workshop using Photon with my students. This year it was especially challenging since they all study from home and we did the workshop using Zoom. Having used the Photon with great success for 5 years, I was really surprised to see a brand new bug pop up. Several (but not all) of the students had problems getting their Photons to accept code. I just pulled out a Photon to do some prototyping and this is indeed a bug that can affect all users.
Symptoms: you unpack a brand new Photon, plug it in, set it up via App, upload the Blink example using the Web IDE and it starts it’s normal exchange with the Particle servers. This is about two minutes of flashing/blinking purple and after this, the Photon should run the firmware you just uploaded. This no longer happens. Now you’ll instead get a Photon in Safe mode breathing purple.
Problem: new Photon’s ship with version 0.5.5. It’s currently impossible to flash a Photon with device OS 0.5.5 with the cloud solutions. These Photon’s were purchased as a batch of 20 from Digikey March 11th 2020, so this applies to current stock.
Solution: doing a “particle update” via command line as this guy also found. This is however not a solution, but rather a bug-fix.
Given that my students are tech-savvy, it wasn’t too hard to get them up and running via CLI, but it took an extra hour to solve the problem for all students. It won’t be like this for new users on the Particle platform. If they cannot get “Hello World” to work without first installing the app and then Node.js, I am certain that many of them will just give up and go for a solution that just works.
This should be fixed very quickly given that Particle Photon is the currently most recent Wifi-product now that the Argon/Boron/Xenon is discontinued.