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This is the page where you will find all of the learning materials for our kits. All of our current kits center around the ESP8266 microcontroller chipset. Our particular microcontroller is called the NodeMCU 1.0 (ESP-12E Module). There are many useful sites which provide more detailed information about our microcontroller. The Arduino community is open and dynamic. UnoKits wants to help our customers learn as much as they can about programming microcontrollers and help them build amazing IoT projects. Here are some of our favorites sites to help them learn more about ESP8266 NodeMCU and Arduino:

  • c-sharpcorner.com provides lots of information about the NodeMCU, how to configure Arduino to work, and some sample code
  • cnx-software provides more technical details on the NodeMCU platform

Our UnoKits can be programmed by any computer which runs the Arduino IDE. We develop the software and document our kits on single board computers, like the Raspberry Pi running Linux. Some users will need to install USB drivers compatible with the ESP8266 NodeMCU platform. You can find the driver downloads here. Typically, only Windows users need to download and install the drivers.

Configuring the Arduino IDE Desktop for UnoKits

The programming development environment we recommend is the Arduino IDE (desktop version). There are lots of other ways to program our microcontrollers, but let’s start with Arduino.

You can download the latest Arduino IDE athttps://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software, and you can learn more about Arduino at https://www.arduino.cc. You can study about the Arduino IDE desktop and web versions here: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Guide/HomePage.

In order to develop on UnoKits microcontrollers, we must first install the ESP8266 board manager. This tells the Arduino IDE how to compile and install our software on our microcontroller. Here is how you download the ESP8266 board information.

 

Plug in the UnoKits ESP8266 to your computer

To run a basic test of the UnoKits ESP8266 microcontroller, simply grab any micro-USB cable you have. Plug one end of it into your computer, and the other end into the micro-USB port on your ESP8266. If your computer is turned on, you should see an LED quickly flash on the ESP8266. It should look something like this (we even left the protective foam backing on the ESP8266):

Tell Arduino where it can find more information about UnoKits microcontroller boards
  • Start the Arduino desktop IDE
  • From the Arduino IDE menu, choose File -> Preferences
  • In the Settings tab, there is a text box near the bottom labeled “Additional Boards Manager URLs”. Enter this URL into that box  http://arduino.esp8266.com/stable/package_esp8266com_index.json
  • Click on the “OK” button to save and exit Preferences
Install the ESP8266 package
  • From the Arduino IDE menu, choose Tools -> Board -> Board Manager
  • In the “Filter your serach” box, type ESP8266
  • Click on the result that says “esp8266 by ESP8266 Community”
  • Click on the “Install” button
Select the UnoKits board from the list of available boards
  • From the Arduino IDE menu, choose Tools -> Board -> NodeMCU 1.0 (ESP-12E Module)
  • There is a long list of boards to choose from, and our board will be listed towards the end of the list in the ESP8266 section
Select the correct USB port and other serial parameters for your device
  • From the Arduino IDE menu, choose Tools -> Port -> select the correct USB port
  • You will need to determine the correct USB port before selecting it from the list
  • Here are all of the other parameters configured in our Arduino IDE, which should be the defaults:
  • Flash Size: “4M (1M SPIFFS)”
  • Debug port: “Disabled”
  • Debug Level: “None”
  • iwIP Variant: “V2 Prebuilt (MSS=536)”
  • CPU Frequency: “80 Mhz”
  • Upload Speed: “115200”

Blinky.. AKA “Hello World”

In the world of computer programming, the first program we write is usually called “Hello World”, because it simply displays “Hello World” as evidence that you can code a simple program, compile, and run it. The corresponding “simple first program” in the world of Arduino is one that makes an LED blink. Sometimes, that involves carefully wiring up the microcontroller to an LED and a resistor. Since the UnoKits ESP8266 has a built-in LED, we are going to use a simple program (originally found here). If you copy/paste the code below into the Arduino IDE, you should be able to compile, upload the compiled program to the ESP8266, and run it. If it works, a blue light should flash on for 1 second, and then be off for 2 seconds, and then flash again.

Let’s see how that runs 🙂

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