Photon: Unable to get out of safe mode after upgrade to 0.4.4


I have updated a Photon with an external antenna to the 0.4.4 firmware as described here, by first flashing the tinker for external antenna, then the two system parts. So far so good. Then I flashed a new user app, at which point the LED at some point changed to a solid white (or probably cyan?) and the device became unresponsive. While trying to get into safe mode, I accidentally erased the WiFi networks. After re-adding the Photon through the Particle app to re-connect it to the network, and finally getting it into safe mode (magenta breathing), I reflashed either the tinker app, or an updated user app. But in any case, ever since, the Photon does not get out of safe mode. No matter what app I flash (tinker with external antenna, my own app), the Photon always connects to the cloud and then breathes magenta. I even tried reflashing the whole firmware (parts 1 and 2, and the tinker app), but still breathing magenta.
I am a bit hazy on the exact steps that led up to the problem, but to the best of my knowledge it is more or less as described above.
Has anybody encountered this problem, and is there a known way to get the Photon out of safe mode after upgrading to v0.4.4? Furthermore, after flashing my own app, it would still be in safe mode, but disconnect and re-connect (or reset, I am not sure) to the cloud every 15 seconds to 2 minutes.


Sorry to hear that! You’re definitely using an external antenna and not the onboard chip antenna? I’ve noticed that poor reception can cause hiccups in the system update, so an expected but missing or mismatched external antenna could cause more issues.

The breathing magenta probably means that the system updates weren’t successful (despite appearing so) and now it’s got user firmware that’s a version or two ahead of the system firmware that’s on there. If you’re using the particle CLI (and you’ve updated recently) you should try particle update while it’s plugged in via USB


I am using an external antenna, yes.

Poor reception shouldn’t be an issue, as the wireless router indicates that it has 3 or 4 out of 4 bars. The Photon itself almost always only returns “2” when using WiFi.RSSI(), which I read means “time out” or something similar, although I am not sure why this call doesn’t seem to be working. The one time I have seen a proper value it was around -60dBm.

In any case, all this happened remotely, so I’ll have to wait until I get physical access to the Photon again, which should be in about a week. Then I’ll try updating it through USB and see if that solves the problem.