Adding ESP8266 support to Arduino IDE

This will help you to add hardware support for programming devices that use the ESP8266 WiFi connected micro controllers.

  1. Ensure that you have the latest version of the Arduino IDE installed*.
  2. Open the Arduino IDE.
  3. Go to File then click Preferences.
  4. Look for the Additional Boards Manager URLs field and enter the following:
    • http://arduino.esp8266.com/stable/package_esp8266com_index.json
    • Note: Use a comma to separate additional URLs if needed.
  5. Click the OK button to save and close the Preferences window.
  6. Next, go to the Tools menu.
  7. Select Board: … and click on Boards Manager…
  8. Type ESP into the search bar at the top of the Boards Manager window.
  9. Click on the entry for esp8266, then click the Install button.
    • This can take a few minutes to download the support files from the ESP8266 Community site.
  10. Once finished, click the Close button for the Boards Manager window.

Test the connection

Now lets test out the connection. Some of this may be different, but for the most part just select the ESP8266 development board that you are using. For this tutorial, we will be connecting the NodeMCU from Amica

  1. First, go to the Tools menu.
  2. Select Board: … and click on NodeMCU 1.0 (ESP-12E Module)
  3. Connect your NodeMCU microcontroller to the computer using a micro USB cable.
  4. It may take a moment to install drivers if you have never connected before.
  5. Go back to the Tools menu.
  6. Select Port and click on the new COM port that appears.
  7. Open a new Sketch.
  8. Click the Upload button.
  9. After a few seconds you should see the blue LED on the NodeMCU blink very fast. This means that it is uploading the code. You should also see a bunch of orange dots filling up the bottom panel of your Sketch window.
  10. If all was successful, you should see the Done uploading message near the bottom of your code window.

If things are not working…

You may need to install a driver or script to allow your computer to recognize the microcontroller.

NodeMCU Drivers

*This guide was tested using Arduino version 1.8.1

The tutorial is a based on information provided by Todd Treece and lady ada from their Adafruit IO Basics: ESP8266 + Arduino guide.

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