#Tutorial: Getting started with MicroPython
Another quick tutorial, this time for MicroPython on ESP32/ESP8266. You can find all the information that I'm writing in this post in different articles on the Internet but I've not found anything that summarizes all the topics. That is why I am writting this post. I included some links at the end of each topic to extend the info. Feel free to visit them if you want more info, or write a comment I will try to respond it.
MicroPython & Board
Quoting the official micropython page results in the following
MicroPython is a lean and efficient implementation of the Python 3 programming language that includes a small subset of the Python standard library and is optimised to run on microcontrollers and in constrained environments.
As you see, in my last posts (
sorry about the link, I need some pagekit taxonomy!), I have been programming the Wipy 2.0. This board is a tiny MicroPython enabled WiFi & Bluetooth IoT development platform.
Other development boards/kits, that support MicroPython are the following:
|ESP32 DevTool (WROOM) includes a slot for a battery.||x 1|
|ESP32 DevkitC V4/V1 (WROOM)||x 1|
|ESP32 TTGO (WROOM) includes a SX1276 (LoRa) and a SSD1306 (display)||x 1|
|ESP32 (WROVER)||x 1|
|WiPy 3.0||x 1|
The cheapest boards are the ESP8266. The have only 160kb RAM which could be a problem (you usually get a memory error exception, when you import 3 or 4 libraries). The ESP32 WROOM has about 512kb RAM and the WROVER about 4MB. There is also a new WROVER-B that has 8MB RAM.
To download the firmware to the ESP32 microcontroller, you have to install Python. You can use either Python 2.7 or Python 3.6. Then, you need to install
pip. A tutorial for installing
pip on Windows can be found here.
pip can be downloaded from get-pip. After that, you need to install the
esptools using the following command
pip install esptool # or usually on windows python -m pip install esptool
You should get something like the Fig 1 (I typed
python3 because I've the two versions (2.7 & 3.6) on Windows, so I changed the name of the executable file to
python3.exe). Remember to include the Python directory to the Windows path in the Environment Variables.
|Fig. 1: Installing
You should also install
ampy. This tool is useful for uploading files to the ESP32 via serial interface. To do that, you need to type the following on a command prompt
python3 -m pip install adafruit-ampy
Firmware Download & Installation
Download the MicroPython firmware from here. You have to download the image under
Firmware for ESP32 boards. Do not try another firmware; it is not going to work.
Connect the Wemos to the PC using an USB cable, and check the serial interface number where the CP201x is connected (turn the board on, if it is not). On Windows open the
Device Manager and look under
Ports (COM & LPT). In my case, the port is
COM17. On Linux, it should be under
x to the corresponding port number). Using
dmesg you should look for something like this:
usb 5-3: cp210x converter now attached to ttyUSB0.
|Fig. 2: Windows Device Manager.|
First, open a cmd/terminal. The flash of the ESP32 need to be erased. To do so, just give the command bellow on the command line:
# for Windows python -m esptool --port COM17 erase_flash # for Linux python -m esptool --port /dev/ttyUSB0 erase_flash
You need to change the
/dev/ttyUSB0 to the serial port where your ESP32 is connected.
After this, we can upload the firmare (
.bin file) to the ESP32 with the command bellow.
# for Windows python -m esptool --port COM17 --baud 460800 write_flash --flash_mode dio --flash_size=detect 0x1000 <firmware_name>.bin # for Linux python -m esptool --port /dev/ttyUSB0 --baud 460800 write_flash --flash_mode dio --flash_size=detect 0x1000 <firmware_name>.bin
Again, you need to replace the port with your ESP32 COM port. In addition, you need to change the
<firmware_name>.bin with the path where your firmware file is located and the name of the file. If you get an error like Fig. 3, you should close all open connections to the board (e.g. putty, serial console etc.).
|Fig. 3: Error by uploading MicroPython firmware|
If everything goes right, you get some results as the one on Fig. 4.
|Fig. 4: Uploading MicroPython Firmware|
Programming using Atom and PyMakr plugin
Download Atom.io from here and install it. Then, search for the plugin
pymakr. To do so, go to
Packages, and then
Settings View and
Install Packages/Themes (see Fig. 5).
|Fig. 5: Install Packages on Atom.io|
pymakr to search the plugin, wait a second, and then when it comes in the plugin list, install it using the
install button (Fig. 6) -version 1.2.0 is available.
If everything goes right, you get a console on Atom (lower side of the right panel), that can be configured to connect to the ESP32. The console should look like Fig. 7.
|Fig. 7: Atom
It is usually closed at the beginning; you need to click on the
open button on the right. Before that, you should click on
Settings to configure again the port on which the Wemos board is connected. You can set a
Global settings (Fig. 8) for all your projects or a
Project settings if you have more than one board connected to your PC and different projects running on these boards.
- Note for Windows users:
COMXXshould be written in uppercase, otherwise
pymakrdoesn't find the port and asks the DNS for that address, which usually does not exist.
Pymakr size problem - Atom 1.30:
If your console size is too small and you cannot resize it, like this one:
you need to disable the
atom-ide-ui package (
Settings View >
It is a bug.
Uploading files using adafruit-ampy
The MicroPython firmware for ESP32 doesn't have a FTP server as standard function as the version for the Wipy2.0. Then, you have to upload the files using the serial interface.
The (Update: Uploading the files using the PyMakr console works - read next section)
sync button of the
pymark plugin on Atom doesn't work with this firmware (with the Wipy 2.0, it works).
Write the following code in a file called
boot.py changing the
<wpa2_pass values to the right ones of your WiFi configuration
# boot.py ssid_ = <ssid> wp2_pass = <wpa2_pass> def do_connect(): import network sta_if = network.WLAN(network.STA_IF) if not sta_if.isconnected(): print('connecting to network...') sta_if.active(True) sta_if.connect(ssid_, wp2_pass) while not sta_if.isconnected(): pass print('network config:', sta_if.ifconfig()) do_connect()
You can upload the
boot.py file to the Wemos board using
ampy with the following command line
# for Windows ampy --port COM17 put /pathToFile/boot.py # for Linux ampy --port /dev/ttyUSB0 put /pathToFile/boot.py
You can upload a simple FTP server to upload files using e.g. Filezilla. You will find the FTP Python file on my GitHub repository, together with a
boot.py to connect to the WIFI Router.
Uploading files using PyMakr console in Atom
With the PyMakr plugin version newer than 1.30, it is possible to upload files not only to the WiPy2.0/3.0 but also to the ESP32/ESP8266 modules. You need to open your project, configure the
Settings as described above and click on the
Upload button (see Fig. 11). The files are uploaded and after that the board is rebooted.
If you have a
main routine with a
while True: and you want to stop it, you can press
CTRL+C after clicking inside the console. The
while will be breaked and you can type your commands on it. This could be helpfull when the microcontroller is doing too many task, and the
Upload file action fails.
If you have further questions, please don't hesitate to comment this article.
Installing MicroPython dependencies
You can find info about this topic here !
Tutorial Part 2: Connecting Sensors to MicroPython!
You can find info about this topic here !