Can Argon operate as a controller like Photon?

Hi guys and gals, I am very new to electronics. I want to build a level sensing device and saw one that was built with a Photon. When I went to purchase a Photon kit the Particle website suggested I get an Argon. I have placed an order.

Can you confirm that it has the same functionality that I am seeking as the Photon?

Thanks!

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Welcome!
For my use cases and experience, they operate the same way except the Argon has more functionality (Wifi and Bluetooth) so I don’t think you should have an issue. Overall I’m really happy with the Argon so I hope you will be too.

There are a couple differences in pins, and I have occasionally encountered some timing issues that causes minor differences in the libraries for Argon vs. Photon (I’m sure others could offer more technical details if you are interested).

Have fun!

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Thanks rob7!

I’ve been able to swap code back and forth to both. The argon had some issues with libraries but that was cleared up eventually on data timing frequency I believe. Looks like your project idea will go smoothly. The argon has more pins than photon.

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Thanks so much! It is great to have such good support!

Hi @Motley -

Welcome to Particle products and the forum, I am sure you will be extremely happy with your purchase. I relate to what @rob7 said, for most use cases they are very similar, with the benefit of added functionality on the Argon. Or to put it simple, I have not come across anything possible on Photon that cannot be achieved using Argon, and then some :slight_smile:

I basically use Photon when;

  • Smaller footprint is required
  • Price sensitivity

If these two aren’t requirements, I use Argon or Boron (Boron when Cellular is required). Of course the other benefit of Argon (3rd gen devices) used to be the Mesh capabilities, but this has recently been deprecated.

Hope this helps, good luck and keep building stuff!!

Regards, Friedl.

Hi Friedl,

Thanks for your comments!

Can you explain to me what you mean by the Mesh capabilities being deprecated? They are no longer relevant? Are they replaced by similar functionality or just lost?

Cheers

Motley

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Mesh Network is when you can connect through another device that is mesh compatible. Your devices can talk to each other directly basically. Rather than talk to particle cloud in between I believe or something like that… I’m not sure about mesh not being needed, I think it’s important, but mostly they aren’t focusing on one particular board the Xenon. The Xenon was a “middle man” board that couldn’t talk to internet through wifi or cellular. But Xenon could be connected with other devices to have internet connections. Particle at first I believe made the board to drive price down if that is all you needed. Why put wifi or cellular parts on a board when you don’t need it. It isn’t that much cheaper though. I assume people wasn’t really buying them and they said why make them. People most likely just chose to spend the extra funds and purchase boards with more options just Incase they wanted it later. So they only want to make argon and boron…

I personally think they should make a board with cellular and wifi. And they could have a alternate cellular data plan also that cost less If needed that needs less data. The cellular part could be a backup for Incase wifi goes down… People just opt for two boards one for wifi and one for cellular for the time being. There’s a guy on YouTube who built a chicken coop feeder with that in mind so his chickens can get fed no matter what…

I’m sure there’s a need for projects that go into a wifi zone and could use wifi while in wifi and then be moved away from wifi to then use cellular seamlessly without missing a beat.

Heh anyways I went on an idea rant but hope that helps in some sort of way.

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HI @Motley

First, my apologies, deprecated might have been wrong choice of words… discontinued as @MyDayOfPlay correctly pointed out may be more suited. Refer to this article:

I personally enjoyed the Xenon boards they were very cost effective and a great board to use where simply put, only connectivity between end point device and a gateway was needed. You would have i.e. Multiple Xenon boards sending data (bouncing data off one another like stepping stones) to the gateway (Argon for WiFi and Boron for cellular) which would then in turn send data to the cloud. I was sad to see it discontinued, but understand their reasoning behind it.

You will now rely on BLE to make this sort of communication possible I assume, or an open source Blue Tooth mesh. Not sure how well it well it functions on Particle, I only used it in once my pre-Particle days. Had some success but not great. Xenon and Mesh will still be available for some time, however I will suggest not developing any new products based on the board and the technology as it has been discontinued.

Depending on your current needs, either one of the currently available boards will work well. Major factor for me to keep in mind is your prefered method of connectivity. If you want cellular, I go with Boron, if Wifi, you have to option of Photon or Argon.

So to answer your question in short; As far as I know Mesh will be lost soon and you will have to get similar functional using BLE in some way… at least for now

Hope this helps.
Regards, Friedl.

Does Argon require an external antenna for WiFi? It is optional on Photon.

Hi @Muskie -

It has onboard PCB Antenna similar to Photon. Please see blow;

External antenna is much more effective though. Just make sure you stipulate in your code if you are using external antenna. By default, as far as I know, PCB Antenna is used.

Hope this helps,
Friedl.

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Actually no, the Argon requires an external WiFi antenna.
They planned to have an on-board WiFi antenna but that didn’t play well with the on-board mesh/BLE antenna, so it had to go.

BTW, the statement in the docs is not wrong, as there is an on-board PCB antenna, but not for WiFi.

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My apologies!!! :flushed:

Thanks @ScruffR for pointing that out.

Regards,

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Lack of on-board WiFi antenna makes Argon a non-starter for many of my projects. I hope Particle is committed to Photon for the long term.

@Muskie Argon ships with a WIFI antenna in kit…

My concern is more related to limited space in my enclosures. I prefer the Photon and hope that Particle continues to manufacture them.

Thanks a lot for the explanation MyDayOfPlay!

Cheers

Chris

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The antenna wire folds and bends while the rectangle part of the antenna itself is stiff yet is the same size as the board length in which you can sneak it close to the board while it’s only most likely 2mm/16th inch thick/tall and about 1/4 inch wide… So I don’t see the antenna taking up your room where it would create a situation where you run out of space in your enclosure. Sure I don’t know your enclosure or the other stuff going in it…, but the Argon itself is a little larger than the Photon. So with that in mind I agree that the Argon itself will create a lack of space in your project enclosure…