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Activate Your impExplorer

In this stage of the guide, we’ll configure your impExplorer™ Developer Kit for Internet access and activate it.

1. Get The Electric Imp App

You activate your impExplorer using the free Electric Imp mobile app. Download it now from the iTunes App Store or from Google Play.

When the app has installed, launch it and sign in using your account username and password:

Enter your username and password into the Electric Imp app

Make sure Amazon AWS is selected as your impCloud™ :

Make sure AWS is selected in the Electric Imp app

2. Select Your WiFi Network

Tap CONFIGURE A DEVICE then select WiFi on the SETUP page.

In the Electric Imp app, click Configure a Device to start activation    Select WiFi to activate a wireless device

On the ADD WIFI INFO page, enter your WiFi network’s details. The Network Name field will be pre-set to the network your phone is connected to .

If you’re connecting to an open network, leave the Password field blank.

Enter your wireless network's SSID and password

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

Tap the Save Network Settings switch. To retrieve your settings in future, tap the triangle in the Network Name field and select the network you want.

Now tap Next in the app.

3. Assemble Your impExplorer

If you haven’t yet done so, insert the white SD-style imp001 card into the impExplorer:

Push the imp001 card into the impExplorer's slot until it clicks

The app tells you to power up your impExplorer with the mini USB cable (connected to a USB AC adapter or to a USB port on your computer), or you can use batteries. The imp001’s status LED will now begin blinking orange:

Power up the impExplorer. The imp001's LED will blink amber

Tap Next in the app again.

4. Perform BlinkUp

Tap START BLINKUP .

Quickly lay the phone’s screen face down and flat on the upper surface of the impExplorer, like this:

Place your phone face down on the impExplorer

Always run 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. The app has a three-second countdown before BlinkUp starts, so you have time to place the phone and look away or close your eyes. The handset will vibrate when BlinkUp is done.

5. Watch Your impExplorer Connect

Your impExplorer will use the information it received during BlinkUp to get online and access the impCloud. Its progress is indicated by the imp001’s status 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 amber as the impExplorer connects to the network and then the impCloud. If the process went smoothly, you’ll see the LED slowly flash green to show that it’s ready to use:

The imp001's LED will blink green when the impExplorer is connected

When your impExplorer is connected, the Electric Imp will show you the URL of the device’s cloud-based ‘agent’. You’ll learn about agents in a later part of this guide, but for now the next step is to locate the impExplorer in the platform’s development and device management console, impCentral™ .

Note If the green light stays lit, an impOS™ update is in progress . This is normal.

You’re now ready to move on to the next stage: Program Your impExplorer.

Troubleshooting

If the LED doesn’t blink green, the impExplorer has not been able to connect. Make a note of the LED color and pattern . For example, a fast flashing red LED tells you that the impExplorer wasn’t able to read the BlinkUp transmission — perhaps you held it too far from the phone’s screen. Other codes indicate that an incorrect WiFi name or bad password was supplied.

Check your network details and try BlinkUp again. This short video has some further guidance to help you:

Connected or not, after a short time the imp001’s LED will turn off to save power. This is normal. BlinkUp is disabled at this point; if you need to configure your impExplorer again, just power-cycle it. A flashing LED tells you that your impExplorer is ready for BlinkUp.

Once your impExplorer has been activated, there is no need to reconfigure it unless you wish to change its WiFi settings or assign it to a different account.

Find Out More

Which impCloud Should I Choose?

An impCloud is an instance of Electric Imp’s highly secure, massively scalable public cloud.

Electric Imp provides two impClouds: one hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and one hosted on Microsoft Azure. Development devices are bound to specific impClouds, so you need to ensure you either create an account on the impCloud your impExplorer is tied to, or buy an impExplorer that’s tied to the impCloud hosting your account.

For example, if you create an account on the Azure impCloud, you will need to use development hardware marked as Azure compatible. An AWS account cannot access devices bound to the Azure impCloud, and vice versa.

Every impExplorer is bound to the AWS impCloud, so this guide assumes you will create your account on the AWS impCloud. If you wish to use the Azure impCloud, you will need to use other development hardware.

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WiFi Compatibility

The impExplorer uses the 2.4GHz 802.11n WiFi standard and is therefore compatible with older 2.4GHz 802.11b/g networks. It is not compatible with 5GHz 802.11n networks. If your phone is connected to a 5GHz network, this may be the one shown by the app. Consider re-configuring your network for 2.4GHz operation, or create a separate guest network if your router can host multiple networks simultaneously.

Just tap on the app’s Network Name field if you need to enter the 2.4GHz network’s SSID manually.

The imp doesn’t support enterprise-level WiFi authentication (802.11x), 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 a separate, consumer-grade network.

The imp doesn’t support ‘captive’ networks, ie. those which require login via a web page. Public WiFi hotspots are commonly captive networks.

You can read more about imp network requirements here.

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

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.

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 own guidelines.

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impCentral

impCentral is Electric Imp’s online development environment. It is used to create imp applications and the agent and device code they are constructed from. impCentral allows developers to switch development and factory devices to different device groups for development and testing, and to log information posted by those devices while they are running.

impCentral also provides access to production functionality for those users with a commercial relationship with Electric Imp, including production management, and factory code development and testing.

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impOS Updates

Electric Imp issues new versions of impOS on a regular basis. impOS updates typically add new features that developers can make use of in their applications, but they also incorporate fixes and, when required, important security updates. impOS updates are designed to be implemented transparently: a device’s owner needs do nothing to keep the unit up to date — it happens automatically, and usually takes just a few seconds.

impOS uses a smart upgrade process that won’t ‘brick’ the unit if the update fails. An imp 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.

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BlinkUp Status LED Patterns

The imp’s BlinkUp status LED indicates how connection and activation are proceeding by showing various patterns of colors and flashes. Connection typically occurs very quickly, so you won’t be able to spot all the patterns shown; the crucial pattern is the one the imp continues to show when either a connection has been made successfully or it did not do so and remained at an earlier stage of the process.

For example, if your impExplorer remains on the joining WiFi network pattern (long red flash followed by three short red flashes repeating), it indicates that the impExplorer has found the correct network but it cannot log on. This is typically because the network password was entered incorrectly, but it might also indicate that you are attempting to connect to an incompatible (ie. 5GHz) network.

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