Well, I managed to flash the NodeMCU. I took quite some time but I figured it out. I have the NodeMCU ESP-12E (learned that during this quest) which I bought as an NodeMCU v3. It has a USB TTL on board (so the seperate USB UART I bought I do not need for this project).
I will not share all the things that I did but I will share the end result.
This is a Windows instruction. I use 64 bit Windows 8 but the instructions should work for other Windows versions too.
- Get a driver for the USB TTL. This turned out to be called CP2102 USB to UART Bridge VCP driver from Silicon labs. Download page:
and of course install it. It’s straight forward.
- Get the NodeMCU flasher:
or use the direct link:
ESP8266Flasher.exe for Windows 32 bit
ESP8266Flasher.exe for Windows 64 bit
- Connect GPIO0 (on the board it is called D3) to ground (GND) as you can see on the picture of my bread board.
- And now for the magic, connect your NodeMCU via a USB cable to your computer. I found out that not all cables connect nicely to the NodeMCU. It will power up but the serial communication won’t start. Try another cable if this is the case with you (I tried 3).
- A blue led light should blink (NodeMCU connected) and a red led light should light up (the software can be flashed).
- To make sure your NodeMCU is connected properly, you can check in device manager and in the section COM & LPT where you should see something similar to this:
In my case the NodeMCU is connected to COM3.
- Next you start the ESP8266Flasher. Your com port should show up correctly. If not select the correct com port and click Flash. Once it is done, your screen will look similar to this:
The green check means it flashed correctly.
On some other sites I read that if the flashing does not start correctly or stops early, press reset once or twice, restart the flash program and try again. (The reset button is the small button next to the USB connector labeled rst)
In my case I had to restart my computer after I installed the CP201x driver. This should not be the case but if your device manager does not show the Silicon Labs driver once you have connected the NodeMCU, you can try this.
Next up: actually installing new firmware on the NodeMCU. We just flashed it with a default firmware and I want to get the latest firmware on there.