Getting Started with Pycom

Manage your Pycom Helium hotspot remotely using Nebra Cloud.

In this guide, we will show you a step-by-step overview of how to download and flash the Nebra Firmware to your Pycom hotspot. 

What you will need

  • microSD card reader for laptop/computer
  • OS image file specifically of your Pycom Hotspot (follow the steps)
  • Computer or Laptop (Windows or MAC)
  • Pycom Hotspot 
  • Philips screwdriver

Do not follow this guide if you have a different manufacturer of Hotspot.

Flashing your Helium Hotspot

Step 1 - First, you will need to remove the current microSD card inserted into your Pycom hotspot. You will need to follow the instructions from Pycom to see how to do this.

Step 1-A Remove the four screws underneath the Hotspot

Step 1-B Remove the Lid and serpent the two halves of the enclosure (You may need to flip it over first).

Step 1-C Remove the Pycom modules from the enclosure by lifting up the board

Step 1-D Locate the SD card inserted into the Pycom Hotspot (You may need to title the board on its side)

Step 1-E Push in the microSD card firmly until it ejects (Springs out) and remove the microSD card

Step 2 - Insert the microSD card either into an SD adaptor or if your memory card reader takes microSD directly, then insert that and connect it to your computer or laptop.

Step 3 - On your computer, download and install Balena Etcher from -

Once downloaded, open up the balenaEtcher program on your computer or laptop.

Step 4 - Before we move to the next step, you will need to download the latest OpenFleet software for your Hotspot, which you can find here -

Click on the link "Pycom" in the side menu

Click the latest .Zip file to download the file

Step 5 - Click on the Flash from File button in balenaEtcher and navigate to where you save your downloaded Firmware file. Select it to be installed.

In the middle button of balenaEtcher, click select target to select your SD card to install the OS (It may be selected automatically).

Finally, click on the Flash! button to begin installing the Firmware to your microSD card (you may need to type your login password here).

Step 6 - Once it has finished, you can now remove the SD card from its adaptor and card reader and then insert it back into the Pycom hotspot.

Step 7 - Finally, connect your power cable to the Pycom hotspot and also allow it to boot up. The hotspot should now boot up with your new Firmware installed. It may take up to 30 minutes to do all the updates if there are any.

To login to the local diagnostic page you will need the Ethernet MAC address of the Pycom Hotspot. Since the Pycom does not have a physical ethernet adaptor you will need to obtain it by other means. The Raspberry Pi CM4 module will still distribute an Ethernet MAC address which is 1 digit less than the Wi-Fi MAC address (Hexadecimal). For Example, if the Wi-Fi MAC address is  00:14:78:EE:19:F8 then the Ethernet MAC would be 00:14:78:EE:19:F7. If the last two digits is 8C then the Ethernet last two digits will be 8B according to hexadecimal rules.


Why is my Pycom still showing offline after flashing?

It could be that the EEPROM on the CM4 module is out of date and will need updating. This can be confirmed with a solid green light on the board. We have seen this behaviour in some older units. You will need to update the CM4 EEPROM with the latest file:

  • Install libusb in the appropriate way for your OS (apt, homebrew etc)
  • git clone --depth=1
  • navigate to the usbboot folder cd usbboot then make
  • Ensure your CM4 is connected to your computer using a carrier board that it set up to bypass EMMC boot (if you have a CM4 Lite you still need to put the board in this mode) - instructions vary by board, sometimes you have to jump two pins, others have a switch. You can use our Nebra CM4 Flashstick
  • now run./rpiboot -d recovery on Mac OS you may have to run it with sudo like this: sudo ./rpiboot -d recovery

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