Know The Board Series #01. Particle Photon

About the Board:

The Particle Photon board is a fully integrated Wi-Fi IoT solution containing an STM32 ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller with 1MB of flash and 128KB of RAM. With support for 802.11 b/g/n and fully FCC and CE certified, the Photon is both powerful and small, making it ideal for prototyping IoT projects. Since the Particle Photon comes either with pin headers or no pin headers, mounting it to breadboards and PCBs alike is very easy.

While the Photon does not have the same shield support as the Arduino range of microcontrollers, the 120MHz ARM core provides superior processing power and plenty of program space. The Photon also comes with all the standard peripherals including I2C, SPI, UART, PMW, USB, CAN, ADC, and DAC.

The Photon is only 1.44 x 0.8 inch in size, which means it’s smaller than a matchstick.

The Particle Photon, unlike other microcontrollers, is cloud-based with the IDE and compiler being accessed over the cloud. But the compilation of program code is not the only cloud-based service; even the Photon is programmed remotely! This remote program capability allows for the Photon to be built into a remote system and code changes easily sent to it via the cloud.

The cloud-based IDE also allows for debug messages to be read. This acts as a local serial port used to print the value of variables and the IDE also provides a console that shows the status of the Photon. While this may put some engineers off (as some would like everything about their design offline) having remote program capabilities is incredibly handy with the lack of an expensive programmer or even a precious USB slot!

My Experience

I would rate 8 out of 10 from my experience. The photon is a hassle-free board if you're using it for IoT-based products/projects. But see to it that you have a very good WiFi and internet facility! The webhook facility makes it even more powerful so that it's easy for you to send the data to multiple systems. If you haven't tried this board, I suggest you give it a try!

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