Retired - Electric Imp Breakout Hookup Guide v2

This Tutorial is Retired!

This tutorial covers concepts or technologies that are no longer current. It's still here for you to read and enjoy, but may not be as useful as our newest tutorials.

Contributors: jimblom
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Blink Codes

The imp has an internal red/green LED, which is used to tell the world what state it's currently in. If you've just plugged the imp in, and haven't told it how to get on your WiFi network, it should be blinking orange (red/green simultaneously). Here are the rest of the codes to look out for:

imp blink codes (from the imp dev wiki)
ColorSpeedimp State
Orange1 HzNo WiFi settings
GreenSingle PulseSuccessfully received configuration via Blinkup.
RedTriple-pulseFailed to receive configuration via Blinkup.
Red1 HzAttempting to connect to WiFi.
Red, Orange, Off1 HzGetting IP address (via DHCP).
Orange, Red, Off1 HzGot IP address, connecting to server.
Green0.5 HzConnected to cloud (turns off after 60 seconds).
Red2 HzConnection lost, attempting to reconnect.
NoneNormal operation

Let's make that LED blink green! Time to send a BlinkUp.


To get your imp connected to your WiFi network as well as the online imp servers, you need to go through the process electric imp calls commissioning. There's a great write-up on the commissioning process over on electric imp's wiki page. Here's the gist of it, as well as a few tips.

Before you begin, you'll need to make an Electric Imp account, by visiting the planner page.

Updating the imp with your WiFi credentials is a unique process. The imp card has a built-in light-sensor, looking out of the little window on the short, flat edge of the imp. The light-sensor can be used to process small amounts of precisely modulated data in the form of a blinking light.

The edge of the imp card where the light sensor window is

To generate this blinking light, you need the electric imp app installed on your smartphone (iOS or android). Go download that app if you haven't already!

Follow the directions in the app, and prepare to update the imp with your WiFi network. Then, when your settings all look correct hit the Send BlinkUp button. Then quickly place the screen of the phone as close to the imp's light sensor as possible.

BlinkUp in action

Avert your eyes! Unless you enjoy staring into bright, white strobing lights.

If all goes well, there should be a very short green blip of the LED, followed by a few blinks of red and orange. When the imp starts blinking green once a second, you know you've got your imp commissioned yay!


If you're imp isn't yet in the blinky green phase, use the LED blink codes to find out where it's failing. Here are some recommended steps, depending on the failure point:

  • Connecting to the server (orange, red, off) - Make sure there's no firewall blocking the imp's way to the Internet (and make sure your WiFi network has an Internet connection in the first place).
  • Getting IP address via DHCP (red, orange, off) - Double check your WiFi password.
  • Attempting WiFI connection (red) - Double check your WiFi network name (SSID).

If all of the above are set correctly, try sending the BlinkUp one more time. We've found that it helps to close out all other app, or even try resetting your phone if it continues to fail.

You can also try turning off the room lights for a moment. Pinching the imp, just above and below the light-sensor window can help as well.