I’m excited to see if I can connect to the Sparkfun’s esp8266 shield with the FTDI “thingy” I got yesterday.  I’m also hoping to hear back from Sparkfun…could this be the day I figure out what is stopping the esp8266 wifi shield from not working…..could it…the answer is…maybe.

I also want to make progress on the Grow Chamber housing.

Debugging Sparkfun’s ESP8266 WiFi Shield

I soldered on headers to the esp8266 FTDI pinouts and connected the Shield to the FTDI board/cable:


set up CoolTerm:

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and it worked!  


I played around with the commands Sparkfun had laid out in the wifi shield tutorial.

So the wiFi shield works as expected when not mounted onto an Arduino Uno.  This leads me to believe the challenge is with the connection between the Arduino Uno and the (software) serial ports.  Most likely this is a software issue.

  • step 1: check that I have the right version of the Arduino IDE.  It has to be at least 1.6.4.  The version I have installed is 1.6.11. OK
  • step 2: check that I have the right library installed for the esp8266 shield.  See the link on Sparkfun’s hookup guide under installing the AT Library. OK
I found this dialog box highlighting the Sparkfun esp8266 AT library for Arduino was installed:
hmmm….no updates since 2 years ago….whoa…no bugs in two years?  I wonder how much this shield has been used/tested.
  • step 3: check out if the software serial port is working with this configuration.
Checking YET AGAIN to make sure the UART switch is set to SW:
code can upload to the Arduino Uno from the IDE…so all is fine here.  Load and run ESP8266_Shield_Demo.ino.  The serial monitor shows:

Before test()
Error talking to ESP8266.
Error: 0
Looping forever.

Frustrated FAIL

 Looking at the header file (SparkFunESP8266WiFi.h):


// Pin Definitions //


#define ESP8266_SW_RX9// ESP8266 UART0 RXI goes to Arduino pin 9

#define ESP8266_SW_TX8// ESP8266 UART0 TXO goes to Arduino pin 8


bool begin(unsigned long baudRate = 9600, esp8266_serial_port serialPort = ESP8266_SOFTWARE_SERIAL);

Since the code fails in the test() function (see SparkFunESP8266WiFi.cpp) sends:


and ESP8266_TEST is defined as:

const char ESP8266_TEST[] = “”;// Test AT startup

in ESP8266_AT.h, I changed this to:

const char ESP8266_TEST[] = “AT”;

No luck. Waiting for Sparkfun support…sigh…

I’m going to do an early publish so Sparkfun support has access to what I’ve done.