Setting up Edison/Explorer Board on a Mac

(This is testing a separate workflow for Mac only. Please refer to the main Edison setup guide as well for troubleshooting & full instructions for other computer setup processes.)

Hardware Assumptions for this page

  1. Using an explorer board and Edison
  2. Using an Apple computer
  3. Using a Loop-compatible Medtronic pump (note - OpenAPS can actually use an additional set of pumps, the x12 series, although it requires one small extra step. See this page in OpenAPS docs for all compatible pumps.)

Getting Physical: Build your rig/put the physical pieces together

The Explorer board is where all the communications are housed for the rig, as well as the battery charger. The Edison is the mini-computer where all the OpenAPS code will be sent and used. In order for this to work, first you have to screw and connect the Edison and Explorer Board together with the nuts and bolts you order.

The nuts and bolts are tiny, and the spaces are a little tight. I find it really helps to use a set of tweezers and a small Phillips head screwdriver.

It’s easiest to start with the Explorer board and put on 2 nuts and gold screws (nuts on the side with most of the wiring) inside the little outline where the Edison will eventually sit. Gold screws should be placed as shown, with nuts on the backside. Then, lay the Edison board on top, aligning the screw holes. Use a small Phillips head screwdriver to tighten the screws into the gold screws beneath them. The Edison board should not wobble, and should feel secure when you are done. Attach your battery into the explorer board plug. A single red light should appear and stay lit. During the course of your OpenAPS rig use, it’s good practice to periodically check that the nuts and screws stay tightened. If they come loose, the Edison can wobble off the connection to the Explorer board and you will either get looping failures (if it’s loose) or be unable to connect to the Edison (if it comes completely off).

Edison/Explorer Board rig with red light on

Software-build your rig

Building the software into your rig is comprised of three steps:

  1. Preparing the Edison (aka flashing the Edison)
  2. Installing the “looping” code (aka setup script for oref0)
  3. Customizing your loop

1. Preparing/flashing the Edison

The Edison comes with an operating system that doesn’t work easily with OpenAPS. The first step is to replace the operating system with a new one. This is called “flashing” the Edison.

Let’s start by downloading the updated operating system (it’s called Jubilinux) to your computer so that we can install it later onto the Edison. Go to Safari and download

Now we move to the Edison. You’ll see two microB USB ports on your explorer board. One is labeled OTG (that’s for flashing) and one is labeled UART (that’s for logging into the Edison from a computer). We will need to use both to flash. We’re going to plug both of those into our computer’s USB ports using the cables listed in the parts list (Dexcom’s charging cable will work too).

Explorer Board rig with two cables and red light on

Once you plug in the cables, you should see your Edison board in your Finder as a connected “device” (similar to what you would see if you plug in a USB thumb drive). If you don’t…try different cables. If your USB port is bad and not recognizing the device, you may need to reset your SMC first (it’s not hard to do, takes 2 minutes.)

Edison in Finder

The OpenAPS uses Terminal, kind of like Loop uses Xcode. It’s our interaction with the code that forms the basis of the loop. You may have never even used the Terminal app. Go to your Applications folder and find the Terminal App in the Utilities folder. Double click to open it.

Terminal example

Terminal app is an ugly, plain interface…but it does what we need to do, communicate with the Edison. Basically, the Edison is a computer that lacks a keyboard and display. By using a cable connected to the rig, we can login to the Edison and use Terminal as a way of interacting with the Edison.

When you first launch Terminal, you will probably see something rather plain like below. The important thing to know is that the Terminal helps show you WHERE you are in your computer or Edison. So, in the screenshot below, it’s telling me I am in my “iMac4K” user account. If you are ever a little confused where you are…you can look to the left of the $ prompt and get an idea.

A look inside terminal

If you’re like me, you don’t “speak linux” (or python or java or…) nor do you really know what linux is. So, you’ll be comforted to know that most of this setup is copy and paste commands into Terminal. You won’t need to suddenly learn linux…just will need to follow directions and be willing learn some basics.

IMPORTANT NOTE: STEPS 1-10 will be updated periodically, and also will likely be out of date. Since this is just a cheat sheet for Mac users, it may not have all the troubleshooting tips or updated info that the main OpenAPS docs have. If you get stuck and this guide’s set of instructions do not work at the moment, the place to look is the OpenAPS Walkthrough Phase 0, Setting up your Intel Edison for the full information on this part of the OpenAPS setup.

The next steps will be done in the Terminal app. If you see red colored text/code lines in a box, that’s what you want to copy and paste into Terminal, and then press enter. Don’t try typing it…you’ll likely miss a space or add a typo. So, let’s start…

1-1. Install homebrew

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

You will be prompted to enter “RETURN” to continue and then enter your passcode for the user account (your computer password). When you type the password, you will not see any letters appear in the Terminal screen..that is normal. Terminal does not show keystrokes for passwords.

Enter return example

It will take about 1-2 minutes for Homebrew to install. You’ll see a bunch of commands scrolling by in Terminal window. Just wait it out until you see the screen showing Installation successful and you’ll be returned to the $ Terminal prompt.

After Homebrew

1-2. Install a bunch of other stuff (dfu-util, coreutils, gnu-getopt)

brew install dfu-util coreutils gnu-getopt

After installing other stuff

1-3. Install lsusb

brew update && brew tap jlhonora/lsusb && brew install lsusb

After installing lsusb

1-4. Start Edison in screen mode

sudo screen /dev/tty.usbserial-* 115200

You’ll most likely be asked for your computer password again. Enter it. A blank screen will likely come up, then press enter to wake things up to show an Edison login prompt. Login with username “root” (no quotes) and no password will be needed. Leave this window alone for a bit as we proceed with next steps.

Example terminal screen

If you have a problem getting to the Edison login prompt, and possibly get a warning like “can’t find a PTY”, close that terminal window. Then unplug the usb cables from your computer (not from the Edison...leave those ones as is) and swap the USB ports they were plugged in. Open a new terminal window, use the sudo screen /dev/tty.usbserial-* 115200 command again. Usually just changing the USB ports for the cables will fix that “can’t find a PTY” error.

1-5. Flash the Edison

  • Open a new Terminal Window (leave the existing one from that last screenshot open…we need a second window) by selecting command-N or using menu bar Shell>New Window>New Window with Settings-Basic.
  • In the new window, enter cd ~/Downloads/jubilinux This will change your directory.

Change directories

  • Enter ./
  • You’ll get a prompt that asks you to “plug and reboot” the Edison board. You’re done with this screen for now. Just leave it alone (don’t close window) and go to next step.


1-6. Return to the other Terminal Window that we left off of in Step 4.

  • Enter reboot

1-7. Now we wait and watch.

You may see a message notification that the Edison “Disk Not Ejected Properly”. Don’t is rebooting. You will see some processes going on in the background.

Don't worry during Reboot

You should see:

Hit any key to stop autoboot:  0
Partitioning using GPT
Writing GPT: success!
Saving Environment to MMC...
Writing to redundant MMC(0)... done
Flashing already done...
GADGET DRIVER: usb_dnl_dfu
DFU complete CRC32: 0x77ccc805
Ctrl+C to exit ...

in the terminal window where you typed reboot, and

Using U-Boot target: edison-blankcdc
Now waiting for dfu device 8087:0a99
Please plug and reboot the board
Flashing IFWI
Download    [=========================] 100%      4194304 bytes
Download    [=========================] 100%      4194304 bytes
Flashing U-Boot
Download    [=========================] 100%       245760 bytes
Flashing U-Boot Environment
Download    [=========================] 100%        65536 bytes
Flashing U-Boot Environment Backup
Download    [=========================] 100%        65536 bytes
Rebooting to apply partition changes
Now waiting for dfu device 8087:0a99
Flashing boot partition (kernel)
Download    [=========================] 100%      5980160 bytes
Flashing rootfs, (it can take up to 10 minutes... Please be patient)

in the terminal window where you ran ./ As it says, this should take about 10 minutes. It may appear like nothing is happening for awhile, but wait it out. If it didn’t take long at all...chances are that the flash didn’t really work, in which case you should read through the [full docs] and try again, and/or check out the Troubleshooting section at the bottom.

OLDER JUBILINUX VERSIONS: After flashing is complete, watch the window as you should get asked to type control-D to continue. If so, go ahead and press (don’t type that out, just press the keys) control-D to keep going.

Control-D prompt for Jubilinux flash

NEWER JUBLINUX VERSIONS (0.1.0 and later): You probably won’t get asked to Control-D and that is fine.

After one of the reboots, you’ll probably see:

[**    ] A start job is running for /etc/rc.local Compatibili...14s / no limit)

for a few minutes: that’s fine. You can also expect to see an ugly red:

[FAILED] Failed to start Hostname Service.

That is also fine, and you can ignore it too.

Eventually, you should get a ubilinux login prompt (If you see Yocto instead of ubliniux, then you need to go back to Step 1-4 and start the flash process over again).

Login after successful Reboot

Use login root and password edison to login to your newly flashed Edison. After logging in, you will notice that the Terminal prompt says root@ubilinux:~#. This is the correct prompt for the jubilinux system. You will not see jubilinux in the prompt. If you bought a pre-flashed Edison, this is how your initial Terminal prompt will look.

Terminal Prompt for Jubilinux

CONGRATULATIONS! You just flashed the edison! Wahoo! Now, let’s keep going.

1-8. Wifi for Edison

Now that you’ve finished flashing, the Edison is going to need a couple things to finish setting it up; Hostname/passwords and Multiple WiFi networks

Hostname and password

  • From that same screen we just left off , enter these commands to rename your Edison’s hostname.

myedisonhostname=<thehostname-you-want> <—But replace the <> section with your chosen hostname. I used “edisonhost” as the name, as shown in screenshot below.

Then run each of these commands with no modifications, just copy and paste:

echo $myedisonhostname > /etc/hostname

sed -r -i"" "s/localhost( jubilinux)?$/localhost $myedisonhostname/" /etc/hosts

Now your Edison has a new hostname. (note: screenshot below is a little different than you will see on your screen. You will see root@ubilinux)

Edison hostname and password screen


  • To change the password for your Edison to a more secure password than “edison”, enter passwd root
  • Follow the commands to reset the password. Repeat for passwd edison
  • SAVE PASSWORDS somewhere, you’ll want them.

Changing password screen

1-9. Multiple wifi networks

A-1. Enter vi /etc/network/interfaces

A-2. A screen similar to the one below will appear. Type “i” to enter INSERT mode for editing on the file.

Wifi edit screen

.. note:: Helpful Tip for Insert Mode

If you are new to INSERT MODE, realize that INSERT MODE inserts characters at the highlighted cursor (it does not overwrite the character showing beneath the cursor). And, the default is that the cursor will be at the top left of the screen to start, so you will need to use the arrow keys to move the cursor to the area where you want to start typing. If you freak out that you’ve made a change that you don’t want to can simply press the ESC key and then type (no quotes) “:q!” to quit without saving any of your typing/changes.

A-3. Make the changes so they match the areas highlighted in yellow, above:

  • uncomment (remove the #) from the auto wlan0 line
  • add wpa-conf /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf right below the iface wlan0 line.
  • comment out (add #) to the wpa-ssid and wpa-psk lines as shown

A-4. Press ESC then type “:wq” (no quotes) and enter to write (save) and quit that screen. When you press ESC, you won’t initially see much different, but when you type ”:wq”, you will see the characters appear in the lower left of the screen.

B-1. Enter vi /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

B-2. Type “i” to enter INSERT mode for editing on the file.

B-3. Add the following for each wifi network you’d like to add.

    ssid="my network"
    psk="my wifi password"

The networks you enter here are the wifi networks that your rig will be able to use to stay connected to internet. Examples shown below. One is my home wifi, the other is my iphone’s personal hotspot.

Wifi edit screen

Phone wifi hotspot screen

  • Note: If you don’t know your personal hotspot’s information, you can find it under your iPhone’s Settings, Personal Hotspot as shown in the screenshot.
  • You should add your personal hotspot to the list of wifi networks as a backup if your BT-tethering to hotspot does not work. By toggling your hotspot off-on, it will generate a wifi-tether signal for approximately 90 seconds, so that your rig can find it and connect. Since wifi-tethers are similar to a regular wifi connection, your rig will not automatically hop off this connection when it gets to your home wifi network. You will need to remember to turn off your wifi-tether if you want your rig to connect back to your home wifi network. By contrast, a hotspot connection done by BT-tether does not require any toggling and your rig will connect/disconnect as it leaves/comes to a known wifi network in your wp_supplicant list.
  • If you haven’t done it, a good idea is to update the name of your iPhone to remove any apostrophes. Apple’s default is to name iPhones with an apostrophe such as “Katie’s iPhone”. This can cause some problems for wifi connections sometimes. You can rename your iPhone by going into your iPhone’s Settings, General, About, and then Name.

Some wifi networks require you to accept a terms and conditions prior to allowing access. For example, Starbucks coffee shops and many hotels. These networks are termed “captive” networks and connecting your rig to captive networks is currently not an option.

Other wifi networks may require you to enter a login name and password at an initial screen before allowing access (such as many school wifi networks). Some users have success in using the following wpa network settings for those types of networks:

   ssid="network name"
   password="wifi password"
   identity="wifi username"
   pairwise=CCMP TKIP
   group=CCMP TKIP WEP104 WEP40

B-4. Press ESC then type “:wq” to write (save) and quit that screen when you have finished adding the wifi networks. You can always come back and add more networks as needed, using the same process.

C Run ifup wlan0 to make sure you can connect to wifi. A successful connection should look similar (IP address numbers will be different than mine):

ifup wlan0 example

If you don’t see a message showing you are successfully connected, go back to the start of Step 1-9 and make sure that you don’t have any typos in those two files.

1-10. Installing packages, SSH keys, and other settings

ALRIGHTY...Your Edison is coming along. Now we are going to set aside the Edison “screen” terminal window (in case we can’t get in via ssh), reboot, and login using an “ssh” command from a new Terminal window.

  • Type reboot
  • Wait as many lines of action go by in the Terminal window...eventually you will get to a prompt that has your new edisonhost name login. We aren’t going to login right now. Just saving that window in case we need it later.
  • Open a new Terminal window by pressing Command-N
  • Login to your Edison by entering ssh root@edisonhost.local (changing edisonhost to the hostname you selected earlier above). If you see warnings about the authenticity of host can’t be established, you can say yes to continue and add the new edison to your known hosts list. This message typically appears when you’ve set-up multiple edisons on the same computer.
  • Enter your password that you set earlier

Login to your rig

  • Run ping to make sure your rig is online. If your rig shows up as online successfully, you can enter control-c to exit the ping. A successful ping should look like the screen below.

Ping success

If the rig isn’t online, go back and check your /etc/network/interfaces and /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf files above: you probably either missed a step or made a typo. Usually you will see ping: unknown host if you are not connected to the internet, as shown below.

Ping Unsuccessful

  • Enter these three lines, one-at-a-time (the first line will run fast, and the second and third lines may take several minutes to complete)

dpkg -P nodejs nodejs-dev

Nodejs install

apt-get update && apt-get -y dist-upgrade && apt-get -y autoremove

Apt-get install

apt-get install -y sudo strace tcpdump screen acpid vim python-pip locate

python and sudo install

  • Enter these three lines, one-at-a-time (the first two will be fast, the last line will take you to a screen for setting up your timezone. Screenshots are just for this case PST

adduser edison sudo

adduser edison dialout

dpkg-reconfigure tzdata # Set local time-zone

Time zone examples

  • Enter vi /etc/logrotate.conf then press “i” for INSERT mode, and make the following changes:
  • set the log rotation to daily from weekly
  • remove the # from the “#compress” line
  • Press ESC and then type “:wq” to save and quit

Log rotation examples

Congratulations you have successfully flashed your edison and configured some basic settings. Time to move onto OpenAPS install

2. Installing the looping script (

You’ll now want to move on to the Phase 1 instructions if you haven’t already set up Nightscout; and if you’ve already done that, onward to Phase 2 to install the closed loop!

3. Personalising your closed loop

See the phase 3 documentation for personalizing your closed loop.