Considering switching to Photon, opinions wanted

I’ve been building a project with an Oak that I got via a Kickstarter, and ultimately I’m pretty disappointed. In short, I’ve found it to be unreliable with respect to flashing new code. About half the time there is an error in pushing new code to it, and I’ve had to reboot it into safe mode (ie: reset to factory defaults) at least a dozen times in the past 2 days. So, at the core, it’s unreliable and frustrating.

I’m considering switching to a Photon. It’s annoying as I’ve been soldering together a protoboard that fits perfectly with the Oak (a DIY shield, basically) and I’ll have to redo all that work, but I’m willing to do it if the underlying platform turns out to be more stable.

So, my basic question is: HONESTLY - How reliable is the Photon? I’m not looking for fanboy gushing here. Just honestly think about how often you have trouble with it, or you have to reboot it, or it won’t accept code, or other “WTF!?!” kind of situations you get into. For example, my Arduino Uno is rock solid. How does the Photon compare with that?

I have had very good luck with the Photons and the help here is very good. The Particle team also supply help when needed along with the community members.

As far as the proto board you may want to look at, They have some boards that provide level shifted I2C connection (<$2.00) and jumper pin connection as well as screw terminal boards (<$10.00) and well as several hundred different sensors and relay boards.

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I’ve been using Particle products for many years now, back when they were called “Spark” and they only had one product the “Core”. Things were rocky at the beginning, but have stabilized a lot since then. Now I have 3 Photons running some home monitoring, and they run 24/7 continuously for months with no supervision. Occasionally I flash some code updates into them over the air, never with any problems. Once caveat here is that the code I run watchdogs itself and reboots if things get hung up for whatever reason. And that does happen occasionally. It doesn’t matter so much for my application if the Photon reboots every week or so, it might matter to you. I can’t blame these occurrences on the Photon itself, it might be my sensors. I was never able to figure it out.

I’m just getting started with the Electron, and so far things have been going well. No glitches that weren’t my own fault.

Also consider this: there is tons of great and committed experts on this forum who will help you, and Particle engineers themselves also participate here.


@micahwedemeyer, in fairness to Erik at Digistump, the Oak firmware is still not mature and I know he has had many personal challenges. I believe, however, that the platform will become solid, or at least as solid as any ESP8266 platform can be. That said, the Particle platform has been maturing for several years and I believe their use of an onboard RTOS does improve reliability, especially with OTA. The next release of the firmware (0.6.0) will further improve reliability. These devices and the firmware are very specifically aimed at product developers so reliability is one of their key goals. You may want to invest in a Photon to experience it yourself. This community is an amazing source for ideas and help. :smile:


Yeah, I don’t want to criticize Erik or the Oak too much, especially since I’m a noob at a lot of this, but the crux of my problem is that it’s just not working out for me. I need a platform that is forgiving for a beginner and “just works” without a lot of futzing.

I ordered 2 photons and I’ll give them a try.

And thanks for the tip about They don’t have exactly what I need but it’s good to know it’s there.


I bought a photon in January of this year, my first time ever doing anything with a proto board. In my opinion it is extremely forgiving to a newbie, I’ve yet to brick a board, even though my firmware has been really messed up at times, and the people here on the forums have been great in helping me out. As for OTA connection and flashing, I’ve only had an issue with one board and I’m pretty sure it had something to do with lightning in my area, aside from that, 2 other photons and an electronic have been great for me.