Photon Troubleshooting Guide (as of Firmware v0.4.6)

Sometimes your Photon can get into an unexpected state and it won’t behave the way you expect. This can often be diagnosed by different LED states. Please read on for a description of those states, and what to do to resolve your issue!

We expect that many of these issues will be resolved in upcoming releases, but for now here his some info.

###Step One: Firmware Update

First try to update your Photon to our newest firmware:

If you do not have a Mac/Apple computer then you should not read the instructions below for a firmware upgrade. These are specifically for users who have MAC machines.

For Windows If you have a Windows machine, please follow these instructions.

Since your device is offline, I recommend using our dfu-util method. If you want more info on this, the local DFU-UTIL method is roughly explained here.

To upgrade your Photon, follow the instructions below:

  • Download the proper firmware binaries for the Photon linked below:

  • Install dfu-util on your Mac using: brew install dfu-util
    If you don’t have brew or homebrew installed, install it here:

  • Put photon into DFU MODE, instructions here.

  • Flash part1:
    dfu-util -d 2b04:d006 -a 0 -s 0x8020000 -D system-part1-0.4.6-photon.bin

  • Flash part2, unit should still be blinking yellow:
    dfu-util -d 2b04:d006 -a 0 -s 0x8060000:leave -D system-part2-0.4.6-photon.bin

  • Wait… Your device should eventually restart and start blinking blue, breathing cyan, or flashing green – all dependent on if you’ve setup the device before.

###Step Two: Public Key Reset

Sometimes, a firmware upgrade will not be enough to solve your Photon’s problem. If your are still having an issue, and particularly if your photon is flashing cyan and sometimes orange/red without connecting, It’s time to try resetting the public key.

  • If you haven’t ever claimed the device before:
    You will need dfu-util. Install it, then download the this file.
    Use the command line to navigate to that file.
    Run the following command:
    dfu-util -d 2b04:d006 -a 1 -s 2082 -D cloud_public.der
    This should reset your public key.

  • If you claimed the device previously:
    You need the CLI. Once it is installed, run:
    particle keys server cloud_public.der
    particle keys new photon
    particle keys load photon.der
    particle keys send
    This should reset your public key.


Hi again. I just tried using my photon after I got it working about a week ago however the photon could not connect to the internet. Instead it remained in a cycle of blinking cyan and rapidly flashing green. I was not sure if I needed to update the firmware so I followed step one of this guide using the files and instructions on after which my photon was still blinking cyan and rapidly flashing green. I then tried to change my keys using the instructions at however my photon just continues to blink cyan for some time then rapidly flash green. Any ideas? As always much appreciated.

Not sure if related, but I had a similar problem which might have been in connection with a bug that was fixed in 0.4.6 where WiFi credentials could have got corrupted if there were stored more than two sets.
After clearing the credentials (press & hold SETUP till rapid flashing blue) and entering them again, my one Photon that always took ages to connect, now connects a lot quicker.

Yup, that worked. Thanks a ton.

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Hello I spent hours yesterday to try the connection. Flash and reflash versions etc…
Connection trial by App on Android or USB, nothing would make it connect.

I found out that without the crypto (WIFI router open) it was connecting.
Finally found out that Photon accept a WAP2 connection and I was using WEP.
Working fine for me now, but the version was not the problem. Running now 0.4.5.

I have updated this post with 0.4.6 firmware links.

Despite the fact that WEP is more like a placebo encryption and you should move to WPA2 anyway, there was a thread that outlines how to do it properly (not that sraight forward)
How to setup WEP secured network on the Photon

Thank you ScruffR, you are right and I did move to WPA2. I did not see before this info (the link you suggested).
The problem I have now with photon is information “everywhere” but I am sure this will be settled with the time.

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And meanwhile we have to spread our tribal knowledge of all that scattered info as good as we can :sunglasses:


I’ve received my photon yesterday. very nice packaging, I was eager to play with it but it ended up in two hours of configuration troubles :(( Now i’m between the the flashing cyan problem and the red sos mode.
It started with the Photon Setup Failed at “Verify Product Ownership” problem. I’v tried with the node.js particle setup but same problem. I’ve then did the firmware upgrade in DFU mode, and also the Public key reset.
Now my photon is blinking red (SOS mode), then white, then fast green, then cyan the red again…
My wifi router is in WPA2 mode, channel 6, 2,4Ghz. I can see that the photon is connected on my router web interface (WICEDDHCPClient is connected to wifi).
Long press on the setup button doesn’t work.
Reset button works but it restart the white /green/cyan/Red blinking mode.
I’m a bit lost…
Thanks in advance for any help

I’ve ordered two photons, the second have the same problem :

  • “setup failed at claiming your particle device”=> flashing cyan mode
  • npm update -g particle-cli && particle update => flashing red - white - flashing green, flashing cyan mode
  • dfu-util -d 2b04:d006 -a 1 -s 2082 -D cloud_public.der => same red/white/red /mode

Still lost …

@robderon Have you tried applying the firmware update manually rather than using particle update? Also, please ensure that your WiFi is compatible according to this guide.

@christine thanks for your help.
my wifi router complies with the sepcs ( channel 6, no entreprise network, no captive portal, no complex network, 802.11 n retro compatible). I can see my photon is online on my router web page : it has been given an ip.
I’ve tried both firmware upgrades mode : manual and particle update.
If I understand well the led codes ( ) , it seems that my photon is crashing during an OTA.
the cycle is white (startup), flashing green (connecting to wifi), flashing cyan (connecting to particle cloud), then flashing magenta (receiving new firmware OTA), then white again.

I think it can communicate with particle cloud, but it crashes during the OTA.

How many magenta phases have you seen before you touched your device again?

A system firmware update consists of three to four cycles of the type you described and may take up to 15 minutes - even if everything works well.
If interrupted it might take even longer.

New Photon Updates: Magenta for 5-12 Minutes, DO NOT UNPLUG

Hello @ScruffR
thanks for helping me.

I let the photon on for a very long time (more than 1h) , this cycle keeps going on and on. it seems to me that the red flash is indicating SOS mode ( ) with 3 short, 3 long 3 short, and then 1 flash, and then again 3 short, 3 long, 3 short and then 1 flash, indicating error code 1 : # Hard

So it seems that the application firmware is causing some trouble.

To get around this, put your Photon into Safe Mode and wait till it connects to the cloud (breathing magenta).
After that just flash a very simple code (e.g. Blink an LED) via Web IDE.

If that involves more than one phase of magenta flashing you’ll get auto-updated and let the procedure finish for about 15min.

After this your Photon should be running your simple sketch.

The problem is that i’ve never seen my devices on the web IDE. When i put it in safe mode it goes back in setup mode (blinking blue). I then do the “particle setup wifi” process. then it goes into a cyan / orange mode. I’ve tried the “particle keys doctor” process to update my keys, but both photons came back into cyan/orange after this operation.

Discouragement is not far on my side… it may be one of the poorest techie experience i’ve never had, something between windows Me and Vista…

Windows me ? , surely not that bad !!!

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I’m stuck with two failed photon and will probably have to ask for a refund. What a poor experience !

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