April 26, 2021

A complete beginners guide to the ESP8266

I call this "ESP8266 - 101". I haven't touched one of my ESP8266 projects in several years (since 2017 or 2018) and as I get myself warmed up again, I thought I would throw together these notes as a sort of "executive guide" to working with the ESP8266.

Start with a NodeMCU board

There are many other ways to go, but this is what I recommend. You could go with some kind of ESP32 board, but frankly the ESP8266 is just fine for most projects. You get a board that you can just connect via a USB cable and work with -- it has on board USB to serial chips and voltage regulators and makes things easy. These sell for about $2 each on AliExpress. I recommend ordering a 10-pack.

esptool and a USB cable

Track down "esptool". The latest version, which works with python3 and is now supported by espressif, can be installed via "pip install esptool. On my system this got installed to /usr/local/bin/esptool.py.

Also track down a micro-USB cable, connect it to your ESP8266 and plug it in! My NodeMCU board has a CP2102 USB to UART chip and at the present time my linux system sets it up as /dev/ttyUSB1 when I plug it in (check messages in /var/log/messages to find out what happens on your system).

More to come !!