Setting up multiple Photons at the same time?

I’m going to be teaching a class of 20 students using Photon.

The first step is to connect the Photon to wifi. When all 20 students are following the instructions at the same time, we should see 20 PHOTON-… access points.

How can each student know which is their access point? Or is there an alternative way to perform this step?

For classes it might be easiest to set them up beforehand so they can get started right away. Using the CLI, you can set the credentials over Serial, which may me more convenient.

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Also, on the narrower side of the Photon box is a barcode and serial number that looks like: PHHMAB804PAKLJZ

The Wi-Fi network to configure that Photon is Photon-KLJZ. The last 4 characters of the serial number are the suffix on the Wi-Fi configuration network name.


There are more tips on the various options for configuring classroom Photons here:


I’m teaching classes with up to 50 students without problems. It’s actually much easier to let the students set them up using the unique number printed on each box that the Photon’s come in.

Be aware that if you are setting up this many units, you’re bound to run into one unit that does not setup correctly. It’s very useful to have read through the Device Modes carefully. The most useful tricks are:

  • If you hold down the setup button for more than 10 seconds, the RGB LED will blink intensely blue to show that any stored wifi credentials have been wiped.

  • If a student creates a program that crashes the device (just call the wrong thing in a constructor…) it’s very useful to know that if you boot it up in Safe Mode, it will just connect (and allow flashing) but not run the offending code.

Having Particle CLI installed is also very useful for debugging problems and reflashing Tinker.

Another tip - if the school wifi acts up, you can have them do the setup via and connect to their phone hotspots (can’t be done if you use the app on the phone to do setup).


Class completed successfully… 22 people, only 2 or 3 of which had any background in electronics.

Thanks especially for the pointer to the LED indicators, there were a couple units that needed to update their firmware and it was great to know what was going on.

Thanks again!