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And today, we’re gon na, be talking about how to get started with the ESP8266 development board. We’re gon na be using the Arduino IDE to write custom firmware that is gon na, be downloaded onto the board and execute. The Materials that we’re gon na need for this tutorial are the development board itself., It’s optional, but nice to have a solderless breadboard and just a Micro B, USB cable. We’ve taken the ESP 12E module mounted it on our development board. In order to make things even easier., We include a few additional components like a USB to Serial UART translator, chip by Silicon Labs. And a few other, like a voltage regulator, a few other components so that you can just plug it into your computer, use the Arduino Ide and just get started with developing software or firmware that would run on the ESP8266 itself.. There are a few different options that you can use for developing firmware. That would run on the ESP8266. And we’re gon na be using today the Arduino IDE, but I wanted to mention the two more popular ones are using AT commands.. This is where you hook up the ESP8266 to a micro controller typically.. That micro controller will send these AT commands via serial aserial UART interface. And again, you can read a little bit more in the links included in the description., But then the ESP8266 device is just listening to AT commands and you tell it using an AT sequence: quotHey Connect to Wi Fiquot quotthis is my SSID etc.

etc.quot.. We are not gon na be using that we are going to write custom firmware that will get uploaded to the ESP8266 and the ESP8266 is just going to run that custom firmware., The other one. That is really really popular. Is the Node MCU firmware. That’s a little bit similar to the AT commands.? You can actually use it a few different ways, but for the most part, you end up using the Lua programing language to have this sort of live interaction with the ESP8266 itself.. You can read more about it again in the links included in the description, but in order to get started with the Arduino IDE we’re gon na jump to the website. And we are gon na go to the download section., And this is in case you don’t – Have the Arduino IDE already installed., For those of you who are not familiar? Ide stands for Integrated Development Environment., So we are gon na look for the latest version, which is at the day of this recording 1.6.7. I’m gon na be using a Mac, so I’m gon na click on the link for Mac OSX., And then you know, I encourage You to contribute to the project. They are really. They are doing really great work. I’m, just for now gon na click just download., And it should take a few a couple of minutes to download, depending on your internet connection.. The second piece of software that we gon na need is actually the drivers for talking to the IEC, that is on our development board, that does the USB to Serial UART translation.

And for that we’re gon na go to the link from silabs Silicon Labs included in The description of this video and for me again, I am running this on a Mac.. I am running OSX, so I’m gon na scroll down and I’m gon na download the VCP drivers for Mac OSX., Depending on your operating system, you’ll need to download the corresponding drivers. Once you’ve downloaded the VCP drivers from the Silicon Labs website go ahead and double click On the file. Then go to the mounted image and double click on the package file to go through the installation, process. Go ahead and click ‘Continue’.. If you want to read the software license agreement once you agree with it, then click ‘Agree’, if you agree. And then just click on the ‘Install’. It’ll, ask you to enter your password as you are going through the process.. This is again just installing the drivers that you’ll need in order to communicate with the development board., And it takes a few seconds to install.. At the same time, we can go through the process of installing the Arduino Development Environment., So I’m gon na go back to my downloads, which is where I downloaded the file. I’m gon na go ahead and unzip it., And that process should take a little bit.. Once the application is unzipped, go ahead and drag it to your Applications. Folder. I had a previous installation. I’m just gon na go ahead and replace that one.

. Once the VCP drivers are installed, you are pretty much ready to go.. You can go ahead and open the Arduino IDE.. Then we want to go through the file menu for Windows users and through the Preferences menu for Mac users. There’s gon na be an ‘Additional Boards Manager, URL’s’ entry. Go ahead and enter the URL included in the description of this video. And if you already have URLs In there then just go ahead and add a comma and a space before adding the one for the ESP8266 family of boards.. You click OK.. The reason we did that is in order to have the board recognized automatically by the IDE. Without installing anything additional., Then we can go through the ‘Tools’ menu. Go to Boards and ‘Boards Manager’. We wan na search for ESP8266. Click on the entry and click on ‘Install’. It’ll download a few things and install a few others. So it’ll take some time. Once that’s completed. We want to close down the Arduino App or the Arduino IDE App and restart it.. Once all of this is done, you can go ahead and connect your development board. Your ESP8266 development board to the USB port of your computer. From the ‘Tools’ menu we are going to select Board and the Node MCU 1.0 entry., And for the port we’re going to select for Mac. It looks like the one I’m showing on screen is forward. Slash dev forward slash cu, dot, SLAB for Silicon Labs, USB to UART.

On Windows. It would be COM and a number., So you just go ahead and select the entry and then finally, we can go through the file, menu. Examples, Basics and we’re gon na open the program. ‘Blink’. Then we’re gon na make a few modifications so that it works with the ESP8266 board.. Instead of the number 13 for the pin that we’re going to be using we’re gon na be changing it to pin number 16., Then we can go ahead and click the ‘Upload’ button. And your board should start blinking once the program is uploaded to the ESP8266.. So that’s it., You are ready to get started. Writing your own firmware to the ESP8266..


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Originally posted 2015-11-07 09:31:25.

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Comment (49)

  1. Thank you for the video.  However, I cannot upload my sketch.  I receive the following error:warning: espcomm_sync failed
    error: espcomm_open failedI followed the instructions very carefully.  Any ideas?

    1. +Pedro Santos +Thomas North We noticed this problem if the wrong board is selected on the Arduino IDE. Make sure you have “NodeMCU v1.0 (ESP-12E Module)” selected.

    2. +Thomas North
      I had the exact same issue. I’m using windows 10. Make sure that the usb cable you’re using is a sync cable and not just a power cable. After this make sure that your pc detects the esp8266 when it’s plugged in. Check this under device manager and install the drivers manually if it’s not recognized. After this, it should work. This worked for me.

  2. I would pull this video and redo it since so many people are having problems with the instructions. I too could not see the Board in the com port and spent 3 hours trying to figure out if it was a hardware issue or driver issue. In the end I gave up until I read the comments section and saw there was something missing

    1. Thanks for the feedback, I’m glad you got it working! The video works for its intended audience: people who have this board and Operating System. You’re right that I could make a video that’s more general, and it’s on my to-do list, but I’m trying to cover other topics that seem to have a higher demand. Thanks for stopping by the channel, and sharing your thoughts.

  3. I got this error:

    Arduino: 1.8.7 Hourly Build 2018/09/28 12:01 (Mac OS X), Board: “NodeMCU 1.0 (ESP-12E Module), 80 MHz, Flash, 4M (1M SPIFFS), v2 Lower Memory, Disabled, None, Only Sketch, 115200”

    Sketch uses 247876 bytes (23%) of program storage space. Maximum is 1044464 bytes.
    Global variables use 28012 bytes (34%) of dynamic memory, leaving 53908 bytes for local variables. Maximum is 81920 bytes.
    warning: espcomm_sync failed
    An error occurred while uploading the sketch
    error: espcomm_open failed
    error: espcomm_upload_mem failed

    This report would have more information with
    “Show verbose output during compilation”
    option enabled in File -> Preferences.

    1. Hi! This is a common problem (your computer can’t communicate with the board), but unfortunately there’s more than one solution and we have no easy way of knowing, which one applies to your specific case. Start by following the steps in the pinned comment of this video. Good luck, and please let me know how it goes!

    2. This narrows it down a bit. It shows that the USB driver isn’t installed correctly, thus you get the error because the computer can’t communicate over USB with the board. In the pinned comment, there’s a mention of installing a different USB driver as your board isn’t exactly the same as the one in the video.

  4. Unfortunately it is not showing me the right port (/dev/cu.SLAB_USBtoUART). That can I do to change that?
    Thanks in advance!

    1. You might need to install different USB drivers (they vary with the type of board you use). Check the video description for tips on how to go about it!

  5. Hey, I got the ESP8266 ESP-12E from your Amazon affiliate and can’t seem to be able to install the driver so that my computer recognizes it in Ports within the Arduino IDE. Im running High Sierra OSX, do you know of any updated drivers that work for sure? I have installed several drivers and still see no options under System info->Harware->USB or any ports in arduino besides bluetooth. I made sure to allow 3rd party applications from system preferences

    1. Hey, Joseph! Thanks for using the link 🙂

      Any reason why you’re running it in Ports? My bet is that the driver is already working, but you need to configure Ports to let the VM handle the USB interface. I can help trying to run it natively first, so that we can then move on to running it through Ports. If email is easier, you can reach me via

  6. Thanks so much for your video. I was having comm problems for an hour or two with my setup (mac, the USB driver, Arduino IDE). Then watched your video and when I set to the correct NodeMCU 12E board, all was groovy. Also it looks (from comments below) like you are a helpful/knowledgeable guy so you have a new subscriber. Thanks again!

  7. Thank you, great article. I’m working with a new board (MakerFocus ESP8266 WiFi Development Board) and the code doesn’t work. I do understand it’s a different configuration. Is there another place I can find documentation for the board?

    1. Hey, Bob. It should work with your board. What problems are you having? The main difference might be the USB driver, and perhaps selecting a different board from the menu option. Everything else should work the same.

    2. @ACROBOTIC – I am! I’ve been a developer for decades and am relearning micro-controller development allover again. When I was very young I worked on networking development for embedded systems and the VM386 OS. It’s kind of like riding a bike, things are slowly coming back.

      Once I got this working, I then moved on to Blynk and easily got that running; turning a light on and off. I’m not a big fan of Blynk because of security. I’m looking into building a Philips Hue hub as its a bit more secure.

      Thank you again for these great videos!

    1. The LED pin number varies depending on what board you have. If you don’t have the same one as on this video, double-check the docs for the one you have!

    2. @Kyle Cooper, okay, the best way to tell is by seeing the bottom of the Arduino IDE window after you hit upload. It shows you the progress, and if it gets all the way to 100% without reporting any errors it means that firmware is on it.

  8. thanks! i am still a little confused, i dont have to flash anything to use arduino ide (c+ ?) instead of ‘lua’?

    1. No, the only firmware on the chip when you use Arduino is the one you write. It’s different than Lua, MicroPython, or JavaScript (espruino).

  9. Hi. Good video. How would I go about deploying the code I test on the programmer’s board, on an ESP8266-01 ?

  10. Hey guys I’m very very green to all this .. will this video help me to set it up fully … or half way ..

  11. For the people that have the espcomm_sync error, this is really easy to fix. You just have to put the board in flash mode, so you can actually upload the program. You just have to hold the flash button while powering up the board and you should be good to go. NodeMCU dev kits do this automatically, hence why not everyone has to do this.

    1. Thanks for the info, there’s actually a bunch of reasons why you’d receive the pesky “espcomm_sync” error, and one solution is the one you propose. In general, however, you don’t need to put the board in flash mode as can be seen in this and all of my other videos.


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