I’m using a laptop running Ubuntu for this experiment but all the software mentioned here is cross platform so you should be able to get it working on Windows / Mac.
- You’ll need to download the Arduino IDE from https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software which will also install the necessary drivers if you’re on Windows / Mac so you can detect the device when you plug it in via a USB cable.
Your desktop / laptop can program and communicate with the device via a USB cable which works as a virtual serial port. On Ubuntu, when you plug in the USB cable, you get a new serial device appear as /dev/ttyUSB0
- My desktop user didn’t have the necessary privileges to access this file so I couldn’t write any programs until I ran the following in a console:
sudo adduser yourusername dialout
- Replace yourusername with whatever user you’re logged in as and then restart with
sudo shutdown -r now
Next, load the Arduino IDE and you should see a code window as shown below (left):
The template code contains two functions: setup and loop
Any code you write inside the loop function will keep looping repeatedly until the device powers off.
The device I’ve got is based on a ESP-8266 chipset which has WiFi connectivity built in but you need to download some additional files before the Arduino IDE will recognise it.
- Click on File > Preferences and enter this URL into the Additional Board Manager URLs setting: http://arduino.esp8266.com/stable/package_esp8266com_index.json
- Now you should be able to click on Tools > Board > Board Manager and search for esp8266 so you can install the community plugin that lets you program ESP8266 devices (shown right). The version that worked best for me was 2.4.0-rc2
- Use Tools > Board to select whichever device you’ve got. After a little trial and error, these settings worked for me:
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Board: WeMos D1 R2 & mini
Flash Size: 4M (3M SPIFFS)
CPU Frequency: 80MHz
Upload speed: 921600
Port: /dev/ttyUSB0 (this will be something like COM3 if you’re in Windows)