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Generic Developer Hardware Set-up Guide

Instructions For Activating imp Development Kit

This guide is intended to help you quickly get any item of imp-based development hardware online and running code. It refers to all such imp-enabled development products as ‘imp kits’.

Look out for the symbol — click it to drill down into more detailed information about the current topic.

We have a number of product-specific Getting Started Guides too. You can find them listed here.

When you have your imp kit, you are ready to begin.

1. Optional: Assemble The imp Kit

Some imp kits ship with a separate imp module or card. Fit the card into its slot, or the module into its connector, now. imp kits with cellular imps will also require the connection of the supplied antenna.

2. Create Your Free Electric Imp Developer Account

If you already have an Electric Imp account, skip to Stage 3.

An Electric Imp account gives you access to impCentral™ Click to find out more, which you will use to program your imp kit. New and updated application code is deployed from impCentral to imps via the Internet.

  1. In your web browser, visit impCentral.
  2. Enter your email address in the Sign Up section and then click the Sign Up button:

  1. You will shortly receive an email message which asks you to verify your email address:

  1. Click Complete Signup in the Welcome to impCentral email. You’ll be taken back to impCentral to choose an account username and password, and to enter some basic information about yourself:

  1. Enter your chosen username and password. Your password must contain between eight and 20 characters. Your username must also contain 8-20 characters, and must not be your email address.
  2. Review the Electric Imp terms of service and privacy policy then check the By creating this account... box.
  3. Click Set to apply your choices.
  4. Leave impCentral open in your browser.

3. Activate Your imp Kit

In order to program your imp kit, you need to add it to your account. This process is called activation and is accomplished using Electric Imp’s BlinkUp™ technology Click to find out more.

  1. On your mobile device, download the Electric Imp App from the iTunes App Store or from Google Play.
  2. Launch the app and enter your account username and password:

  1. Optional Enter your verification key if you have Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) set up for your account. MFA is not enabled by default on new accounts.

In the Electric Imp app, click Configure a Device to start activation

  1. At the SETUP screen, tap on your imp kit’s connection mode. All imps support WiFi Click to find out more, but only the imp005 supports Ethernet and only the impC001 supports cellular.

  1. Power up the imp kit using a mini USB cable connected to a USB AC adapter or to a USB port on your computer. The kit’s BlinkUp status LED should be flashing orange. Now tap NEXT.
  2. At the BLINKUP screen, tap START BLINKUP:

  1. Quickly lay the mobile’s screen face down over the kit’s status LED. After a three-second countdown, BlinkUp commences; when BlinkUp is complete, the mobile device will signal this with a beep and a vibration:

Always run a BlinkUp with the mobile’s screen facing away from you and towards the imp kit being configured, especially if you suffer from a medical condition that makes you susceptible to strobing light. In the iOS app there are audio prompts both at the start and end, so you can close your eyes during the process. The Android app vibrates the handset after BlinkUp is done.

The imp kit will signal a successful BlinkUp by keeping the status LED lit green for three seconds. After that, various color combinations may be seen as the kit connects to the network and activates, culminating in a steady green blinking:

If your imp kit has connected, proceed to Stage 4.

If the LED doesn’t eventually blink green, the device has not been able to connect — you should check out Getting BlinkUp Right before proceeding.

If your imp kit connects to the server (green flash) but then flashes orange only, you’re experiencing an impCloud clash — see impCloud Selection Issues for assistance.

If the imp kit’s LED stays lit green for some time (no flashing), it is receiving an impOS™Click to find out more update. This is normal; just wait a moment it will reconnect and you will be ready for the next stage.

Connected or not, after a short time the impC001 Breakout Board’s LED will turn off to save power. This is normal, and the device is still running.

4. Program Your imp Kit

Your imp kit is online and activated.

  1. When you first log in, impCentral presents a convenient quick start wizard:

  1. Click Create Your First Product.
  2. A new panel will appear in which you can enter the name of your first Product and your first Device Group:

  1. Enter Connected Product as the Product’s name, Hello World as the Device Group’s name, and then click Create. impCentral will now present its code editor:

  1. Click the Assign Devices button.
  2. A panel will appear listing your devices. You should see just one: your imp kit, identified by its unique Device ID:

  1. Make sure the box by alongside the device listing is checked, then click the Assign button to add your imp kit to the group shown in the code editor.
  2. impCentral will now return to the code editor. Click on the Device Code pane (on the right) and type in the following:
server.log("Hello from your imp development device");
  1. Click Build and Force Restart (above the Agent Code pane). The imp kit will now restart, and the code editor log should show:
[Device] Hello from your imp development device

5. Next Steps

Your imp kit is ready for use and you have run your first (short) program. Here are the next steps you should take:

  1. Learn more about Squirrel, the language in which you write your agent and device code, using the Squirrel Programming Guide.
  2. Review the imp API which is the primary framework your code will use to interact with its host imp, locally connected hardware and remotely access resources on the Internet.
  3. Take advantage of Electric Imp’s free, ready-to-use Libraries — code your application can load to interface with key hardware components and cloud services.
  4. Kick-start your application with sample code, including the imp API cookbook: a series of recipes for common imp application tasks. Not all of the examples have been written for the impC001 Breakout Board, but imps are software compatible. Use the imp pin mux pages to help you adapt code to the impC001.
  5. Explore the features offered by impCentral, and learn how it organizes your project, with the impCentral User Guide.

Find Out More

What Is 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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What Is BlinkUp?

BlinkUp uses a mobile device’s display to transmit activation data to the imp kit. You use the Electric Imp app to activate development devices. BlinkUp is also used to activate commercial devices based on the Electric Imp platform, but using their own mobile apps. By default, commercial products can’t be used for development.

This video shows BlinkUp in action:

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Getting BlinkUp Right

If the impC001 Breakout Board still shows a slow flashing orange LED after BlinkUp, it wasn’t able to read the BlinkUp transmission — perhaps you held it too far from the phone’s screen. BlinkUp can also 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.

The pattern of colors and flashes presented by the status LED will tell you where any problem is occurring. Our troubleshooting guide can help you further.

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WiFi Compatibility

All imps use 2.4GHz 802.11n WiFi. The imp005 can also connect 802.11n networks in the 5GHz band. The Electric Imp app defaults to the WiFi network your mobile device is connected to. This may not be a network that is compatible with your imp kit, but you can change the target network in the app by tapping the Network Name field.

If your imp kit was purchased in the US, it will only be able to connect to certain WiFi channels, eg. 2.4GHz channels 1-11, for regulatory reasons. Make sure your wireless router or access point is operating on a compatible channel. This is especially important if it chooses channels automatically.

All imps are able to detect what kind of security — WEP, WPA or WPA2 — a WiFi network uses, so just enter the correct password. However, the imp doesn’t support enterprise-level authentication (802.11x), which requires that you log in with a username as well as the customary SSID and password, or networks which require login via a web page. If you’re connecting to an unsecured network, leave the Password field blank.

  • You can read more about imp network requirements here.

Hint You can save your network settings in the Electric Imp app for future use. To retrieve them, tap 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.

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impOS is the device-side operating system which manages the imp kit’s Internet connectivity and mediates communication between the virtual machine-hosted Squirrel application code and external peripherals connected via GPIO and/or standard buses.

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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