ESP8266 SP01 - Nightmare

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
165
I'm quite dumbfounded at the chaotic information out there about these devices.

I cannot find where to by any that have very recent firmware already installed already.

I have some older ones but trying to fathom exactly how to re-FLASH them is insanely complicated.

There are numerous tools, (unofficial and official) the downloaded firmware is a folder tree with all kinds of files in it, there are addresses to enter and so on.

1607894785617.png

I must have read eight or more web articles each of which gives different advice about the tool to use, the files to upload, the addresses for each and so on and so forth.

The ones I have have very old firmware on:

1607894417208.png

All I want is something newer, ideally up to date - what to do? where to buy? how to update?

Any help appreciated.

PS - I'm no lightweight techy either - just absolutely exasperated by the lack of simplicity and order to this.
 

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Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
165
I'm quite dumbfounded at the chaotic information out there about these devices.

I cannot find where to by any that have very recent firmware already installed already.

I have some older ones but trying to fathom exactly how to re-FLASH them is insanely complicated.

There are numerous tools, (unofficial and official) the downloaded firmware is a folder tree with all kinds of files in it, there are addresses to enter and so on.

View attachment 224797

I must have read eight or more web articles each of which gives different advice about the tool to use, the files to upload, the addresses for each and so on and so forth.

The ones I have have very old firmware on:

View attachment 224794

All I want is something newer, ideally up to date - what to do? where to buy? how to update?

Any help appreciated.

PS - I'm no lightweight techy either - just absolutely exasperated by the lack of simplicity and order to this.
In reply to my own post - I have this sorted out but it was a very slow process. In the end I used an older version of the firmware loading tool but the latest version of the firmware files. The most recent firmware loader tool kept failing, it could not communicate with the device but older versions could.

Looking at the folder tree shown in my original post, these are the files and addresses I used to get the update done:


1607903801267.png

The update shows this for the device version info now:

1607904014528.png

The update means that getting free RAM space and getting/setting station name now all work, whereas they failed inexplicably before.
 

upand_at_them

Joined May 15, 2010
621
When I started with them when they first came out I found the esp8266.com forum helpful. Newer, better versions have come out, though, so you might not find many people still using the early versions.
 

Phil-S

Joined Dec 4, 2015
173
It shouldn't be surprising that there is a lot of confusion - these are people all trying to do their own thing.
If the number of e-mails are anything to judge by, a website called Random Nerds publishes quite a bit on the subject.
A good solid source of information are tutorials from companies like Adafruit.
I have tinkered with these devices and it is quite hard work.
I use then in finished products like Sonoff and there a articles on the web about reflashing them.
The community support for ESP's is early days, unlike the Arduino project.
For meshed radio projects, I always use XBee's - cost more, but easy to configure and reflash.
If I had tried the same thing with ESP, I would probably never got off the ground.
 

PhilTilson

Joined Nov 29, 2009
89
It rather depends on what your planned use is, and what it is you are trying to download to them.

If you're happy to program in C/C++, by far the simplest way is to use the Arduino IDE. In most cases there is not even a need to tell the device you are wanting to download to it - the IDE takes care of that. I have used these modules for all sorts of things and have found this far and away the simplest method.
 

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
165
Well I did get this sorted out but it was frustrating and as some of you say this all depends upon the usage of the device, tools etc.

I can confirm that this latest firmware installed as shown:

1608132167642.png

Onto these devices:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N98BTRH/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Using this device connected to your PC with the switch in the "prog" position - works absolutely fine.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07V556Q82/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

If you use the version of firmware tool as shown (3.4.4) and the version of the Non OS SDK shown (1.7.4).

I initially tried the newest version of the firmware tool and it refused to speak to the device, that seems to be due to the fact that device had some proprietary characteristics from some odd licensee that made the devices. That above version of the tool worked fine.
 

Phil-S

Joined Dec 4, 2015
173
Thanks for publishing your results and the links to the devices you used.
You are probably aware that the CH340 is a cheaper alternative to the FTDI chip.
It works just as well as the FTDI but catches people out if they use it in the Arduino IDE.
In the Bootloader menu, you have to select Old bootloader, just in case you want to try the ESP under Arduino.
 

Thread Starter

ApacheKid

Joined Jan 12, 2015
165
Thanks for publishing your results and the links to the devices you used.
You are probably aware that the CH340 is a cheaper alternative to the FTDI chip.
It works just as well as the FTDI but catches people out if they use it in the Arduino IDE.
In the Bootloader menu, you have to select Old bootloader, just in case you want to try the ESP under Arduino.
I've never even looked at Arduino, I am interested in the STM32 range of devices and evaluation boards, this is where I started getting into this MCU stuff about a year ago.

What is the FTDI? Not sure I've encountered this, I did use a CH340 USB board initially but found it had no programming option, so recently bought an alternative (red one) that is still CH340 but has a tiny switch making firmware loading trivial for me.
 

Phil-S

Joined Dec 4, 2015
173
Before embarking on anything to do with microcontrollers, have a look at the Arduino website.
Most chip manufacturers have an MCU family, Texas, ST, Atmel, Microchip etc.
What sets Arduino apart is the level of support you get, loads of examples, loads of supporting libraries.
ST and the others are more niche products and to a certain extent, you will be on your own.
The Arduino programming IDE is well developed and plenty of people program in lower level languages as well.
Another advantage of Arduino products is the wide range accessory boards called shields and as it is open source, there are plenty of copy or cloned boards available. You can get the flagship chip, the Atmega 32P in a 28 pin DIP package and by just adding a crystal, you can get up and running for less than $5.
FTDI is Future Devices Technology International and is the gold standard in USB to serial chips.
The CH340 chipped interface is fine, but tends to be fitted on cheaper Arduino board clones.
I don't have the time to start another development system and I probably wouldn't start out with ST if I did.
Arduino has some pretty powerful boards with Cortex ARM chips. Atmel has been taken over by Microchip (PIC MCUs).
I have a home automation/monitoring system set up around Arduino boards and XBee (Zigbee) meshed radios.
Again, a lot of people use the Espressif boards, as do commercial manufacturers like Sonoff.
Adafruit do Feather Huzza ESP8266 modules with a lot of information on using the Arduino IDE to flash them.
 
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