Skip to main content

Connect your Developer Kit with BlinkUp

In this part of the Getting Started Guide, we’ll step through the process of setting up your Developer Kit. To proceed, you’ll need a Developer Kit and an Electric Imp account. If you haven’t created an account yet, you should do so now — the Guide covers account setup here.

Setting up any development device involves connecting it to your local wireless network and associating it with your account. Both of these tasks are accomplished using Electric Imp’s BlinkUp™ technology.

What is BlinkUp?

If you’ve never used BlinkUp before, this short video will show this unique optical configuration technology in action:

Now you’ve seen what BlinkUp does, let’s use it to get your Developer Kit online.

Note This guide only applies to development devices. Commercial imp-enabled products have their own configuration apps, and you should follow the product manufacturer’s guidelines.

1. Download the Electric Imp App

You configure your Developer Kit with the free Electric Imp app. Download it now from either the iTunes App Store or Google Play, depending on what kind of mobile device you use.

When the app has downloaded, launch it and sign in using your username and password. Make sure Amazon AWS is selected as your impCloud™.

2. Select Your WiFi Network

The Electric Imp app walks you through the process of configuring your Developer Kit. Tap Configure a Device’ then Wireless and enter your WiFi network’s details. Its name (SSID) may be pre-set to the network your phone is connected to.

Hint Tap on the eye icon in the Password field to view the password’s characters as you enter it.


 

You can save your network settings for future use. To retrieve them, tap on the triangle in the Network Name field: you’ll be presented with a list of stored networks — just tap the one you want to use.

The imp001 in your Developer Kit is capable of determining what kind of security — WEP, WPA or WPA2 — your network uses, so all you need to do is enter your WiFi password. If you’re connecting to an unsecured network, leave the password field blank.

The imp doesn’t support enterprise-level WiFi authentication, which requires that you log in with a username as well as the customary SSID and password. If you’re setting up your development device in such an environment, you’ll still be able to configure it to connect to another, consumer-grade network elsewhere — just enter the correct network name.

The Dev Kit’s imp001 uses the 2.4GHz 802.11n standard, compatible with older 2.4GHz 802.11b/g networks. If your 802.11n network runs in the 5GHz band, however, the imp001 won’t be able to connect to it. Consider re-configuring your network for 2.4GHz operation, or create a separate guest network if your router can host multiple networks simultaneously. For more details on imp network requirements, look here.

3. Perform BlinkUp

Tap Next in the app. It will tell you to power up your Developer Kit with the mini USB cable and either a USB AC adapter or a USB port on your computer. The imp001’s status LED will now begin blinking orange if you have a brand new Kit, or red if it has been used before:


 

Tap Next again and then Send BlinkUp. You should now quickly lay the phone’s screen face down and flat on the upper surface of the Developer Kit. There’s a three-second countdown to give you time to do this:


 

Because BlinkUp transmits data optically, it can be adversely affected by unusual lighting conditions, especially very bright lighting such as direct sunlight. For best results, we recommend that you:

  • Try to block out any direct bright lights, or perform a BlinkUp in the shade.
  • Hold the device still during the process.

Always run a BlinkUp with the screen facing away from you and towards the device being configured, especially if you suffer from a medical condition that makes you susceptible to strobing light. In the app there are audio prompts both at the start and end, so you can close your eyes during the process.

4. Watch the Developer Kit Connect

Your Developer Kit will use the data it received during BlinkUp to get online and contact the Electric Imp impCloud™. Its progress is indicated by the LED. You’ll see green first, either three seconds solid or a rapid flash — both signal that BlinkUp was successful. Next you’ll see a mix of red and yellow as the Kit connects. If the process went smoothly, you’ll see the LED eventually slowly flash green — it’s connected and ready to use.


 

The next step is to locate the Developer Kit in impCentral on you computer — we’ll do this in the next section.

You may see the LED flash green and then keep the green light on. This indicates an impOS™ update is in progress. Don’t worry if you interrupt this process: impOS uses a smart upgrade process that won’t ‘brick’ the unit if the update fails in some way. The imp001 will continue to run and simply re-download the update next time it’s power-cycled. When the update has been installed, the device will restart — you’ll see the LED flash red, then orange and finally green when it’s connected.

If the LED doesn’t flash green, the device is having a problem getting connected, and you should check out the troubleshooting tips below.

Connected or not, ater a short time the LED will turn off to save power. This is normal, and the device is still running.

Device IDs and Agent URLs

Your Developer Kit’s progress getting online is also displayed by the Electric Imp app. If the configuration process is successful, the app will tell you the device’s unique ID code by which it is initially listed in the IDE. The app also displays the URL of the device’s cloud-based ‘agent’. You’ll learn more about agents in a later section of this Guide.

Troubleshooting

Just as the LED will tell you if your Developer Kit has successfully connected to the Internet, it will also tell you if the connection was unable to be made. A fast flashing red LED, for example, tells you that the device wasn’t able to read the BlinkUp transmission — perhaps you held it too far from the phone’s screen.

If this happens, try BlinkUp a second time. Keep an eye on the LED: the pattern of colors and flashes it shows will tell you where the problem is occurring. Here is a list of the imp LED connection color codes which you can use to track down the cause of the issue, and some further advice to help you get connected.