Updating my Photons and Electrons

I was having trouble getting my Photons to connect, and stay connected, to my local hackspace Wifi, and an experienced electrical engineer sitting next to me, very familiar with Particle, hooked one of my Photons up via USB.

He started finding all sort of firmware and tools that were out of date.

I had thought I was keeping things updated, via the IDE – everything’s 0.7.0.

But he said there were all sorts of firmware and tools that should be updated via the CLI.

My question: what should I be monitoring, to keep my growing fleet of Particle devices – some out in the field – updated so that everything working optimally?

0.7.0 is indeed the latest ‘default’ firmware. There are several 0.8.0-RC versions out there that have additional functions and/or bugfixes that you might be able to benefit from. Whether or not you need them depends on your application. If it’s running just fine the way it is, there shouldn’t be a need to update. Should you require additional features, or are noticing performance issues, it might be worthwhile checking out the RC versions.

Mind you, they’re RC for a reason, and might not be as stable as the following release version should be, so using those comes with its own ‘risks’.

Regardless of keeping your devices updated, problems might not be related to that. Code, and environment can make a big difference as well.

Hey DC!
he might have mentioned the Particle CLI? this one here.
If you are building on the Build web interface, I think you are not using it at all.
Now if you do some USB experiments, then yes you’ll want to keep it to latest.

For your growing fleet, here’s what I’d do:

  • For the devices close to me: I’d update them with to latest prerelease firmware (0.8.0-rc.11 or latest version) since that one has a new device vitals feature that is pretty interesting (see panel at the right):

    Psst: see the value already of the vitals? It’s telling me the device has some connectivity issues, which are real, since it’s the one farthest away from the router at home.

  • for the devices on the field: I’d leave them at latest stable (today 0.7.0) unless I’m sure updating them to 0.8.0 will not break anything, since I also want them to have the device vitals to show in the particle console.


Thanks Gustavo and Moors7. This is really helpful.

One thing we discovered, for example, was that the Node.js version was a year and a half old. I thought, “Oh man, why have I let that get so out of date!”

But that’s probably the version that’s happily running in 0.7.0. Maybe it gets updated in an 0.8.x version. But it’s not like it’s an immediate, major performance/security problem.

Hey DC, this is from my understanding. which may differ from reality (so many times!):

  • 0.7.0 or 0.8.0 is the version of the Device OS that runs in your photon.
  • nodeJS is a “utility” (or tool, or a JavaScript runtime) used to run the particle CLI on your computer.

Moral of my story? nodeJS versions have nothing to do with the Device OS versions.

Hope it helps!


In addition to that, sometimes using too new NodeJS versions might even “break” CLI.

Not sure what @dcdenison is using as host OS for running CLI, but if it should happen to be Windows, it’s best to use the Particle Windows installer which ensures the best suitable combination of NodeJS “framework” and CLI version - updating CLI is easiest via particle update-cli (Windows only IIRC).

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Thanks ScruffR

I’m on a Mac. I followed these instructions: Particle CLI Install on Mac