Hardware information for Intel Edison-based setups

Note: The Edison/Explorer Block combination is the rig setup recommended by the community for size, range, and portability reasons. The high level parts list (see below for more details, and links):

  • Explorer Block
  • Edison
  • Nuts and Bolts to attach the Edison to the Explorer Block
  • At least one Lithium battery
  • 2 USB cables

Explorer Block

The recommended board to use is the Explorer Block, which was co-designed by this community. It also has the benefits of a built-in radio. It’s only available from Hamshield/Enhanced Radio Devices.


Intel Edison Compute Module

  • Option A (likely no longer available - see Option B instructions instead)): Buy an Edison that is already flashed with jublinux - see here. If you get a pre-flashed Edison, you can start installing and setup OpenAPS. (You would not need to “flash” the Edison).
  • Option B (Probably what you’ll have to do as the stock of Edisons is dwindling): Get it out of the box from Amazon, Adafruit, Sparkfun or your nearest provider - and follow the instructions to flash it. Be aware that there are four versions: 1-EDI2.LPON, 2-EDI2.SPON, 3-EDI2.LPOF, and 4-EDI2.SPOF. (Versions 3 and 4 require an external antenna - try to avoid those).

You may need to hunt for an Edison as supplies of them are dwindling - if you get it as part of a “kit” (i.e. breakoutboard + Edison), keep in mind you’ll still need to get the Explorer Board from Hamshield.

Note: If you are doing Option B (an Edison from wherever you can find it) - you are getting an UNFLASHED Edison. Not a big deal - flashing it with jubilinux is just a few more steps (~15 minutes) - but remember you’ll need to start with the flashing instructions. Follow the steps for flashing on (a) all-computers page (with the most comprehensive troubleshooting section); b) the Mac-specific flashing page; or c) the Windows-specific flashing page), but stop before installing wifi and other steps and instead jump over to the “Install OpenAPS” page from there.

Lithium-ion polymer (LiPo) battery or other battery supply

Use a LiPo battery because the Explorer boards have battery charger circuitry on board for these batteries. The example setup uses a 2000mah LiPo battery. This battery lasts approximately 16+ hours, though you could get more or less time. This battery uses a 2mm 2 pin JST connector to match the Explorer boards’ power plugs. It’s best to buy from a reputable supplier, because if the internal two cells are mismatched the Explorer board cannot charge them seperately and they are prone to catching fire. Make sure that it includes a protection circuit to protect over-discharge. NEVER connect the battery to an Explorer board the wrong way round. There is no manufacturing standard so never assume correct polarity. The connector JP1 on the Explorer Block has two terminals. The left side is positive, the right side is negative. The side with the JP1 label is the positive side. Typically a battery’s red wire is the positive wire. Ideally you want a battery that has a 10k ohm thermistor for temperature protection by the Edison too.

You can use any charger with a USB plug, including a wall power charger. The Explorer boards have pass through charging, so this is also how you will charge the LiPo battery.

The following link is to a LiPo battery that is currently most commonly being used with the Explorer board rigs: Lithium Ion Battery - 3.7v 2000mAh. (If it is out of stock on Adafruit, it can be purchased from various sellers on Amazon here: Adafruit Battery Packs Lithium Ion Battery 3.7v 2000mAh.)

Alternative, but common, higher capacity batteries include the Adafruit Lithium Ion Polymer Battery - 3.7v 2500mAh (PRODUCT ID: 328) and the Adafruit Lithium Ion Cylindrical Battery - 3.7v 2200mAh (PRODUCT ID: 1781). They can be viewed here: POWER / LIION & LIPOLY / BATTERIES and comparables can be easily located with an Internet search.

For people in the UK, you may find you have to shop around to find the correct battery, as shipping restrictions appears to have reduced the supply somewhat. Pimoroni appear to stock the same Adafruit 2000mAh battery as mentioned above. Another source looks to be Cool Components, but you may find shipping costs expensive. CAUTION: RS Online sell a similar battery, but unfortunately it comes with the wrong JST connector (it comes with a 2.5mm JST XHP-2, and you need a 2mm JST PH). It is possible, however, to buy the right connectors and fit them yourself (numerous ‘how to’ videos on YouTube).

For people in Australia you can find 2000mAh, 2200mAh and 2500mAh batteries from Little bird electronics, prices are very competitive and shipping is quick. These are the same Adafruit batteries that can be obtained from the US above.

Battery safety

You should monitor the rig periodically - especially the battery, checking for swelling or damage. Immediately discontinue use of any battery that shows sign of swelling or damage.

Explorer Block antenna tuning (optional)

The antenna on the Explorer Block is a strip of copper underneath the green outer coating. The antenna is labeled A1. It will have its maximum power at 868 MHz. The antenna has a line across it at one point with a label that says “915”. The antenna defaults to the 868 MHz range, which is what WW pumps use. If you have a US pump, mmtune will run and tune to something near 916MHz. Even with the 868 MHz antenna, you should get half a dozen feet or more of range on average. If you (optionally) want to boost the range of your antenna by a couple more feet, then you cut through the outer coating and the copper on that line with an X-ACTO knife. A single clean cut is sufficient, but if the cut doesn’t look clean you could make two cuts and then dig out the circumscribed piece and then reseal the copper with nail polish. With that cut, the antenna will have maximum power near 915 MHz.

If you’re unsure whether you need to cut your Explorer Block’s antenna, you probably don’t. And if you decide you need slightly more range after using the Edison+Explorer rig for a few weeks, you can always come back later and do so then.

Image of Antenna

Optional: You can also add an external antenna to the Explorer boards such as this from mouser.com. (Note: specific range improvement length has not been confirmed.)

Image of Antenna

Radio stick (only if not using Explorer board)

We recommend an Explorer board with a built-in radio (see above), because if you get an Explorer board, you don’t need an additional radio stick or CC-Debugger.

If you don’t use an Explorer board, you can use a number of radio sticks: a TI-USB-Sticks, running subg_rfspy; Wireless Things ERF; Wireless Things Slice of Radio a Slice of Radio; or a Rileylink. For details about setup with these other stick and board options, the best instructions will be found in the mmeowlink wiki for setting up your board and stick. Note you may also need a CC debugger for these. Then, come back to Phase 1 of the docs once you complete that.

USB Cables

You will need two micro USB cables - with a micro connector on one end and a standard (Type A) connector on the other. Most cables will work fine, but some prefer to select lengths. You may already have one for charging a Dexcom receiver, or an Android phone, lying around at home. If you don’t, here’s an example of one that will work: Monoprice Premium USB to Micro USB Charge, Sync Cable - 3ft.

Warning: bad cables cause a lot of headaches during the Edison flashing process, so it may be worth verifying before you start if you have good cables that can transfer data.

Micro USB to Micro USB OTG Cable

You may need to connect your Dexcom Receiver to your Explorer Block for offline looping. For this you will need to use a micro USB to micro USB OTG cable (or an OTG adapter). Here is an example of a cable that will work: BestGameSetups Micro USB to Micro USB OTG (On-The-Go) 12” (30cm) Data Cable.

Nuts and Bolts

You will likely want to screw your Edison onto the Explorer Block to stabilize the rig. There are two methods to do this. The simplest is to order a kit like the Sparkfun Intel Edison Hardware Pack, which provides standoffs, screws, and nuts specifically designed for the Edison. Alternatively, you can use (2) M2 screws and (2) M2 nuts and (4) M3 nuts (M3 or a bit larger to used as spacers). In this configuration, the screws should be just long enough to fit through the spacer nuts and screw into the M2 nuts on the other side.


There are a few 3D-printed cases that are being designed, so check back here for more links in the future. A few options that we know will work with an Explorer Block/Edison rig and a standard 2000 mAh battery (as well as some 2500 mAh options):

Soft Cases

  • TallyGear soft case - these are the soft cases Dana uses (see this example). The OpenAPS-sized case can be made any any pattern/fabric she uses elsewhere on the site.
  • JD Burrows SD card case - this is a hard / soft case which fits the rig with a 2500mAh battery perfectly, can also fit a spare AAA pump battery (Australia)

Hard cases

Warning: be careful if you select a hard case. Some may be designed for a certain size/shape battery; and attempting to jam a rig in may harm the board and/or the battery.

Also: a hard case may make you less likely to look at your rig directly. You should monitor the rig periodically - especially the battery, checking for swelling or damage. Immediately discontinue use of any battery that shows sign of swelling or damage.

Other non-case protection options