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ESP8266QuickStart
ThispageismeanttobeaquickintroductiontotheESP8266forthosewhoare
confusedbyalloftheinformationavailableonthevariousblogsandforumswhojust
wanttotryoutthisexcitingboardintheshortestpossibletime.Thisguideisfor
WindowsuserswhowanttousetheNodeMCUenvironment.
Notcountingwaitingforhardwaretoshiptoyou(110days),youshouldbeableto
useyourESP8266forsomethingusefulinlessthananhour.Ready?

WhatdoIneedtobuy?
YouwillneedanESP8266developmentboard.ThereareseveralESP8266boards
available,usuallynumberedESP01throughESP12.Checkthepinsoftheactual
boardyouorderwiththeinformationfromyoursourceastherapiddevelopmentof
theseproductshasledtoconfusionandduplicationofboardidentificationnumbers.
Thepricesvaryfromaround$2forasimpleESP01to$15foracompleteboard
withUSBtoserialand3.3voltregulator.TheESP01isasimpleboardtostartwith.
TheESP12ispopularbecauseofitssizeandthenumberofpinsbroughttotheside
oftheboard.Recently,moredevelopmentboardshavebecomeavailablewith
additionalsensors,relays,LEDsandvoltageregulatorsontheboard.
A3voltpowersupply.TheESP8266runsonanythingfrom2.8to3.5volts,soa
coupleofAAbatterieswillwork.Mostofususea3.3voltregulatedpowersource.
Maximumcurrentdrawis300mA,souseasupplythatcansupply500mAtobe
safe.Moreisbetter.Aweakorpoorqualitysupplywillcausetheboardtoreset
unexpectedlyandmakedebuggingdifficult.TheNodeMCUDevelopmentBoardhasa
USBto3.3Vpowersupplyontheboard.
AUSBtoserialadapter.Thisshouldbea3.3voltcompatiblemodel.Itis
possibletolevelconvertifyoualreadyhavea5voltadapter.TheNodeMCU
DevelopmentBoardhastheUSBtoserialinterfaceontheboard.Whenyoureceive
youradapter,verifythattheactualvoltageoutputis3.3voltsassomecheap
adaptershavebeenfoundtobemislabelled.Anyofthefollowingshould
work:FTDi,CH340,FT232RL.

WhatdoIneedtodownload?
TheESP8266boardyouboughtmayhaveoneofmanydifferentfirmwareversions
onit.ManycomewithATfirmwareforserialcommunications.Somecomewithno
userfirmwareatall.IrecommendtheNodeMCULuafirmwareasastartingpoint
becauseitgivesyouaninteractiveprogramminglanguagewhichallowsyouto
experimentandbuildsimpleworkingprogramswithoutalotofeffort.Ifyouarenot
familiarwithLua,youwillfindthatitisnothardtolearn,atleastforthesimple
tasksneededtogetstarted.
ThetoolyouwillusetoflashtheNodeMCUfirmwareonyourESP8266boardis
thenodemcuflasher.Itisopensourceongithub.Gotothenodemcuflasher
pageandchooseWin32orWin64dependingonyourcomputersystem.Clickon
ESP8266Flasher.exeandthenrightclickonViewRawandSaveLinkAs...to
downloadtheapplicationtoyourPC.Orusethedirectlinksbelow:
ESP8266Flasher.exeforWin32

ESP01boards
NodeMCUdevelopment
boards

Associations
NCDXF
URA
SLVARC
SCCARC
IARU
RAC
NCCC
CCO

ESP8266Flasher.exeforWin64

WhatdoIhavetoconnect?
TheactualconnectionswilldependontheboardyouhaveandtheUSBtoserial
adapteryouareusing.

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Power.
+3.3voltstoVcc
ground
Communications.
TxDontheboardtoRxDontheadapter
RxDontheboardtoTxDontheadapter
Ground
Jumpers.
ConnectVcctoCH_PDtoenablethechip
ConnectGPI0toGNDtoenableflashreprogramming

HowdoIinstallNodeMCUonmyESP8266?
PlugtheUSBtoserialadapterintoyourPC.Mostadaptersareautomatically
recognizedbyWindows7and8.UsersofXPorolderversionsofWindowsmayneed
adriverwhichshouldbesuppliedbythemanufactureroftheUSBadapter.The
adapterwillappearasanewCOMportonyoursystem.ChecktheDeviceManagerif
necessary.
RunESP8266Flasher.exe

IfyouonlyhaveoneCOMdevice,theportwillappearautomatically.Ifyouhave
morethanone,selectthecorrectonefromthedropdownmenu.
TheflasherprogramcomeswithdefaultNodeMCUfirmwareinmemory.Thisis
unlikelytobethelatestversion,buttogetstartedquickly,usethedefaultinternal
image.Later,youcandownloadthelatestfirmware,thenselectthe[Config]taband
choosethenew.binfile.Selectthe0x7C000defaultand0x7E000blanksections.
Unchecktheboxforthe0x10000IROMsection.
ClickonFlash(E)tostarttheprogrammingprocess.IftheMACaddressesdon't
appearwithinafewseconds,disconnectthepowertotheboardandreconnectit.If
itstilldoesn'twork,checkyourconnections.Makesurethatthejumperbetween
GNDandGPIO0istheresothattheboardisinreflashmode.
Reflashingthechipwilltakeacoupleofminutes.Whenthejobisdone,disconnect
powerfromtheboardandremovethejumperfromGNDtoGPIO0toleave
reflashmode.
YouarenowreadytoprogramtheESP8266foryourownapplication.

HowdoIcommunicatewiththeESP8266?
TheNodeMCULuafirmwareyouhavejustinstalledcommunicateswiththePCover

theseriallink.YoucanusePuTTY,SimpleTerm,oranyotherterminalprogramthat
youliketowriteLuaprogramsorenterdirectcommandstotheboard.Thedefault
speedis9600baud,butthatcanbechangedtoanyotherbaudrateonceyouhave
establishedcommunications.

LuaLoader
LuaLoaderisaWindowsprogramforuploadingfilestotheESP8266andworking
withtheLuaserialinterface.Aswellasbeingasimpleterminalprogram,ithasbuilt
inLuacommandbuttonsthatmakeiteasytointeractandexperimentwiththe
ESP8266board.
Download:LuaLoader.zip
LuaLoader.exeisasimpleWindowsapplicationthatrequiresnospecialinstallation.

FromtheSettingsmenu,selectCOMPortSettingsandchoosetheappropriate
COMportforyourUSBtoserialadapter.Don'tchangeanyothersetting.
ClickingbuttonsonLuaLoadersendscommandstotheboard.Poweryourboardand
watchfortheinitialmessage.Afterdisplayingsomefunnycharacters(theseare
firmwareresetparameterssentat74880baud),youshouldseetheversion
informationoftheNodeMCUbuild:
NodeMCU0.9.5build20150107poweredbyLua5.1.4
LuaLoaderwillwarnyouifalaterfirmwarebuildisavailable.
Afterbooting,NodeMCUwillattempttorunafilecalledinit.luainflashmemory.
Sinceyouhaven'tputitthere,itwillreportanerrorandshowthe>prompt.You
arenowreadytointeractwithLuaontheESP8266.
ClicktheHeapbuttontodisplaytheamountofRAM
available.LuaLoaderwilltypethecommand=
node.heap()andtheESP8266willrespondwith23016or
someothervalue,followedbythe>promptagain.

HowdoIconnecttoanAccessPoint?

EntertheSSIDandpasswordofyour
closestaccesspointintheappropriatetext
boxonLuaLoader.ClickSetAP.LuaLoader
willtypethecommandstosettheWiFi
modeandconnect.Thisinformationis
savedinflashmemoryandwillbe
remembereduntilchanged,evenifthe
boardispowereddown.
Clickthe

WiFibuttontochecktheconnectionstatus.

ClickGetIPtoconfirmthattheESP8266isconnectedtoyouraccesspoint.

ClicktheSurveybuttontolist
theavailableaccesspointsvisible
totheESP8266.TheSSID,
authenticationmode,signal
strength,MACaddressand
channelareshown.
AllofthecommandstypedbyLuaLoadercanbeenteredmanually,orsavedinafile
toberunautomatically.

HowdoIreadaGPIOinput?
TheLuafunctiongpio.read(pin)readsthevalueoftheinputspecifiedbypinifthe
GPIOhasbeensetupasaninput.
LuaLoadermakesthiseasytotest.
Selectpin3GPIO0fromtheGPIO
dropdownmenu,selectinputand
floatingfromthemodedropdown
menus.ClickSet.Then,clickRead.
Thecurrentpinvaluewillbe0or
1.Inthiscase,1asthatpinisheld
highnormally.
NotethatifGPIO0islowonreset,thechipwillenterreflashingmode,soyoumust
ensurethatanyuseofthatGPIO0foruserinputishighwhenthedeviceispowered
onorreset.
Toreadthevalueoftheinputpinrepeatedly,inLuaLoader,clickontheclockbeside
theReadbutton.Note,thatifyouareusingtheNodeMCUdevelopmentboard,the
buttonmarkedFLASHwillchangethevaluefrom1to0whenthebuttonispressed
asitisconnectedtoGPIO0andground.Thereadratecanbechangedinthe
Settingsmenu.

HowdoIsenddatatoaserver?
Thedemoscripthttpget.luaconnectstothiswebserverandsendsthetimeittook
toconnect(inmicroseconds)andtheamountofheap(RAM)availableatthattime.
Downloadthescripttoyourcomputer,thenuploadittoyourESP8266using
theUploadFilebutton.
testedonNodeMCU0.9.5build20141222...20150108
sendsconnectiontimeandheapsizetohttp://benlo.com/esp8266/test.php
print('httpget.luastarted')
Tstart=tmr.now()
conn=nil
conn=net.createConnection(net.TCP,0)
showtheretrievedwebpage
conn:on("receive",function(conn,payload)
success=true
print(payload)
end)
onceconnected,requestpage(sendparameterstoaphpscript)
conn:on("connection",function(conn,payload)
print('\nConnected')
conn:send("GET/esp8266/test.php?"
.."T="..(tmr.now()Tstart)
.."&heap="..node.heap()
.."HTTP/1.1\r\n"
.."Host:benlo.com\r\n"
.."Connection:close\r\n"
.."Accept:*/*\r\n"
.."UserAgent:Mozilla/4.0"
.."(compatible;esp8266Lua;"

.."WindowsNT5.1)\r\n"
.."\r\n")
end)
whendisconnected,letitbeknown
conn:on("disconnection",function(conn,payload)print('\nDisconnected')end)

conn:connect(80,'benlo.com')
ConnecttoyouraccesspointfirstusingtheSetAPbutton.Thisisnotnormally
necessaryifyouhavesetthecorrectAPsincethelasttimeyouflashednew
firmware.
Usethedofilebuttontorunthefileyouhavejustuploaded.
Thecontentsoftheretrievedpageshouldbedisplayed.

Feelfreetousemyserverforafewtests,butpleasechangetoyourownwebserver
orsignupforoneofthepublicinternetofthingsservers,suchasthingspeak.com.
Claudiuchiruhaspostedanexampleofsendingtemperature(usingan
inexpensiveBS18B20I2Csensor)tothingspeak.com.
ThissimplescriptisallittakestomakeusefulgadgetsfromthesimplestESP01
board.Theboardcanbeconnectedsothatitreceivespowerwhenadeviceison,a
buttonispressed,motionisdetected,amagnettripsareedswitch,etc.etc.
Thephpscriptwillreceivethesignalandcanbeprogrammedtosendanemail,
sendansms,pushanotificationtoyourphone,orsimplylogeventsforfuture
reference.
OurwellpumpisnowmonitoredbyanESP01runningasimplescriptonceevery
30secondswhenthepowerison.Aswellasloggingtheactivityandsendingadaily
emailreport,thescriptsendsoutemergencynotificationsifthepumprunsformore
than2hours,orhasn'trunformorethan36hours.
AmotiondetectorwitharelayturnsonanotherESP01whichrunsthesame
programbutcallsadifferentphpscripttoalertmewhenthereismotioninfrontof
thehouse.Myphonereceivesthealertbeforethedoorbellispressed.

HowdoImaketheprogramrunautomatically?
WhentheESP8266starts,itrunstheinit.luafile.Simplycreateafile
calledinit.luawhichrunsthefilewithyourprograminstructions.Itisalsoagood
placetoinitializeanyvariablesyouareusing,suchastheSSIDoftheaccesspoint.
Whiledebugging,itisagoodideatouseatimertocallyourfileafterafewseconds.
Ifyoumakeamistake,causingacrash,youwillhaveafewsecondstostopthe
timerwiththetmr.stopbuttonbeforetheprogramstartstorunagain.Forthe
exampleabove,onelinewilldo:
tmr.alarm(0,10000,0,function()dofile('httpget.lua')end)
Armtimernumber0toexecutethefunctiondofile('httpget.lua')in10seconds.

HowcanIlearnmore?
TheHelpmenuofLuaLoaderhasalargenumberoflinkstoESP8266andLua
resourcesforconvenientaccesswhileprogramming.Thereisalsoamenuitem
linkingfilesonyourcomputeryoumayhavedownloadedforreference.
UsefulLinks:
NodeMCULuaAPIReference
Theesp8266communityforum.Lotsofsamplescripts.
TechnicalOverviewoftheESP8266byNurdspace
Lua.org,homeoftheLualanguage.
NodeMCUgithubLuasourceandlatestbinaries
EspressifSystems,manufactureroftheESP8266