Connect to wifi


I used a vanilla pi image on the fin, and it seems that I cant access the wifi module. Is there documentation on how I can connect to it?



Is there a reason why you want to use a RPi image instead of a Fin image?

You can download from the dashboard a Fin image and select in NETWORK CONNECTION field the WiFi + Ethernet option. You will type there the WiFi credentials that will be added to your image.

After flashing this image, your board will automatically connect to WiFi and the dashboard.


We are migrating our system from Pi3 to Balena and we are checking if it can be ported easily to the new board. So far all the peripherals are working except for the wifi module.

Hi @pao,

To take advantage of all the hardware features of the Fin board you will need to use an OS image tailored for Fin.

Is there a reason why you want to flash the RPi3 images on the Fin?

Because you could flash the Fin boards with their specific images and then push the same application that you had on RPis on the Fin board.


So the BalenaOS runs on top of the raspbian image and can be disabled? Do i need a monitor and keyboard to set this up?

Hey @pao

I think I misunderstood what you need.

Let’s clarify a little bit.

You are running Raspbian on RPi3 and you want to run Raspbian on Fin also?

BalenaOS doesn’t sit on top of Raspbian and it’s a separate OS.

Hi there, we are targeting to maintain a raspbian version already configured for the Fin, that you can find more about here:

Also, you could still just enable the balena-fin mainline device tree overlay ( in config.txt: dtoverlay=balena-fin ) in a standard raspbian and have access to all the hw specifics, whith a note on the wifi/BT driver that would be the opensource one instead of the Marvell propetary that in our experience has proven to be more reliable.

What we do on our Fin-configured rasbian image from the vanilla one:

  • add dtoverlay=balena-fin to /boot/config.txt
  • disable opensource wifi/bt driver
  • install Marvell wifi/bt driver and corresponding fw binary for the chip
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@curcuz Thanks! that did the trick.

@pao awesome, glad to hear!

Any chance you would be willing to post directions on how to enable and use the wifi with a garden variety Raspbian distro? My motivation is this: I have quite a bit of development to do that would be great to temporarily bypass the whole container thing while in the lab. I code in GO and typically SSH in and SCP over the cross compiled binaries. I love the balena eco-system and how it has empowered me to securely deploy for production. I just want to move fast for developing some very hardware intensive things. I have two balenaFins for dev. I want one to have the Raspbian distro on it where I can move fast, and the other one I will push over my app in a container the proper way on a regular basis to make sure I am still good.

You gave general directions:

  • add dtoverlay=balena-fin to /boot/config.txt
  • disable opensource wifi/bt driver
  • install Marvell wifi/bt driver and corresponding fw binary for the chip

the dtoverlay part is easy. Could you please explain howto “disable opensource wifi/bt driver” and also howto “install Marvell wifi/bt driver and corresponding fw binary for the chip”. Thanks very much.

Hi @chetferry,

We provide a Raspbian image with all those changes included. Will that work for you? Link is here:


I downloaded the image and was able to do the wifi thing no problem. I am taken care of now. For anyone else who may be reading this… I followed the directions at the link below to get the wifi setup.

I am using a Mac and was able to just double click the .img file in a finder window to mount it. Then I was able to add the wpa_supplicant.conf and ssh file in the boot folder. Then I ejected the the .img file and flashed into balenaFin using etcher. It connected to my wifi at boot and I am up and running. Thanks very much for your great help.


Hey Chet, glad to hear you got this working. Thanks a lot for contributing the link and a detailed description :slight_smile:

so i do have the image from this link installed, but iwconfig doesn’t even list a wireless device, only eth0 and lo

config.txt got dtoverlay=balena-fin-updated in it

any ideas?

Hi @markusk

Can you change the dtoverlay to dtoverlay=balena-fin

I’m not sure where the -updated comes from…


thanks @zubairlk - still the same with dtoverlay=balena-fin

@markusk have you rebooted after updating the config.txt file? What is the output of ifconfig -a ?

of course i did reboot @zvin

ttn@openiot-balenafin:~ $ ifconfig -a
eth0: flags=4163<UP,BROADCAST,RUNNING,MULTICAST>  mtu 1500
        inet  netmask  broadcast
        inet6 fe80::36e6:55ad:bb35:316f  prefixlen 64  scopeid 0x20<link>
        ether b8:27:eb:1f:2d:7d  txqueuelen 1000  (Ethernet)
        RX packets 29501  bytes 3257477 (3.1 MiB)
        RX errors 0  dropped 43  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 4998  bytes 558652 (545.5 KiB)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0

lo: flags=73<UP,LOOPBACK,RUNNING>  mtu 65536
        inet  netmask
        inet6 ::1  prefixlen 128  scopeid 0x10<host>
        loop  txqueuelen 1000  (Lokale Schleife)
        RX packets 9  bytes 612 (612.0 B)
        RX errors 0  dropped 0  overruns 0  frame 0
        TX packets 9  bytes 612 (612.0 B)
        TX errors 0  dropped 0 overruns 0  carrier 0  collisions 0

I’ve just tried flashing the from on a fin. I can see wlan0 in ifconfig -a on the first boot. Which image did you used?

I have the same problem. After flashing WiFi work.
After apt-get update and apt-get upgrade WiFi don’t work and I can’t find wlan0.