First impressions of the Argon kit

Congratulations on shipping! I received mine yesterday. Here are my first impressions.

  • Love the packaging
  • Really appreciate that an input and an output that work together are included in the box
  • USB cable molding seems less likely to come apart than the cable included with the Photon


  1. Setup was a chore. I had to move into very bright light before my camera could focus on the tiny bar code and then was disappointed that the first task was system update. Surely the code on the device was recent enough to not have to make the user sit through an upgrade process? Ah, it’s supposed to be quick and easy you say… well, due to foolishly connecting my Argon to an external USB battery pack that kept shutting down I had to go through setup 4x before I finally connected VUSB to GND through the 220 ohm resistor to keep the battery on. Mostly my fault, I know. Each aborted setup required frustrating attempts to get the Pixel 1 camera to focus on the small barcode, moving it slowly closer and farther. Kudos for a bullet-proof firmware update process though – I’m very happy that I didn’t have to do any lower level fixing with all that power cutting while updating.

  2. I found registering my Boron and Xenon confusing. Particle Mesh 102 helped. I think something in the phone app mistakenly called my Argon a Xenon while setting up the mesh, but I don’t have specifics anymore.

  3. My kits came with white LEDs whose forward voltage appears to be > 3.3 V, which makes them useless unless one buffers VUSB through a transistor. I can’t get it to light up directly from a digital pin (yes, it’s hooked up the right way 'round and current limited). The LED works fine when given 5 V.

  4. I wish there was a GND pin on both sides of the board, but I understand why this wasn’t possible and I’ll just run a wire across the breadboard like I would have anyway to make two ground rails.

More Praise

So good. Really nice. The reference documentation has improved a lot since the Core days, and it’s great to see all the new DeviceOS functionality. I love the phototransistor in the box. The silk screen on side of the pin header is awesome.

Looking forward to more BLE DeviceOS functions. Thanks, and keep up the great work.


I wholeheartedly agree. I really liked the packaging as well. For one thing, the whole thing has an eco-friendly feel to it. You know what’s annoying? Those little mylar anti-static bags that you have to rip open, then you have no way to reseal them. So the resealable lined paper pouches are greatly appreciated. I also liked that there are separate bags for the processor itself, the antenna, and the other components (with the leds, resistors, etc in their own resealable plastic baggie).

The only glitch I hit was that I was going along on the web page, which directed me to continue setup on my phone with the Particle app. It indicated that I should hit the ‘Continue’ button (or ‘Next’, or whatever it said) once my device was registered. But that button never became enabled. However, it didn’t seem to stop me from getting everything going, and I registered an Argon and Xenon together in a mesh network. It just made me scratch my head a little.

Oh, and definitely agree that the side-labeling of the pins is great! With my 51-year-old eyes, it’s sometimes hard to tell if I’ve got components or jumper wires lined up with the correct header pin, but those side labels actually help a lot with that, because I can look at the connections from the side and see the line-up better than I can when looking down at that grid of breadboard holes from above.


Here are my first impressions.

Two things from my perspective…I would have preferred white lettering for the pins instead of blue. Blue lettering on almost a black background is hard for my older eyes to see.

The other thing I saw on a couple of devices was a sort of white haze around sections of pins, like the traces weren’t cleaned properly either before or after being soldered. In a case or two it actually obscured the lettering.

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