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Beginner’s Guide to Get Started w/ ESP8266 WiFi Module on Arduino IDE

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Overview

In this tutorial, you’ll learn about the ESP8266 module, and how to control a LED with your cellphone and web page using a WIFI connection (you can replace LED with components like buzzer or relay).

What You Will Learn

  • How to use the ESP8266 module.
  • How to control objects with this module using a WIFI connection.

What is the ESP8266 Module?

ESP8266 is one of the most practical modules for wireless connection (WIFI). These modules can be used in both server and client operating modes.

You can use this module easily using AT Command.

Here are some of its most important commands:

Command Response Description
AT OK Test
AT+RST OK Reset module
AT+GMR OK View version info
AT+CIOBAUD = 9600 OK Change baud rate to 9600
AT+CWMODE +CWMODE:( value scope of ) OK WIFI mode
AT+CWSAP? +CWSAP:,,, Configuration of softAP mode
AT+CWSAP=,,, +CWSAP:,,, Set configuration of softAP mode
AT+CIPMUX OK or ERROR The configuration of the softAP mode
AT+CIPSERVER OK Configure as server

You can check the modules datasheet for more AT Commands.

Use the code below to test AT Commands and change the modules setups (such as changing the SSID name, changing the password, and changing the baud rate).

#include <SoftwareSerial.h> 
SoftwareSerial mySerial(2, 3);  //RX,TX 
 
//  Arduino pin 2 (RX) to ESP8266 TX 
//  Arduino pin 3 to voltage divider then to ESP8266 RX 
//  Connect GND from the Arduiono to GND on the ESP8266 
//  Pull ESP8266 CH_PD HIGH 
  
void setup()  
{ 
    pinMode(LEDPIN, OUTPUT); 
    Serial.begin(9600);     // communication with the host computer 
    // Start the software serial for communication with the ESP8266 
    mySerial.begin(9600);   
  
    Serial.println(""); 
    Serial.println("Remember to to set Both NL & CR in the serial monitor."); 
    Serial.println("Ready"); 
    Serial.println("");     
} 
  
void loop()  
{ 
    // listen for communication from the ESP8266 and then write it to the serial monitor 
    if ( mySerial.available() )   {  Serial.write( mySerial.read() );  } 
    // listen for user input and send it to the ESP8266 
    if ( Serial.available() )       {  mySerial.write( Serial.read() );  } 
}
After uploading the code on your Arduino, you can send AT Commands and observe the received answers using serial monitor.

Project 1: Controlling a LED over Network Using ESP8266 Module

Using this module is so simple. Just follow these steps:

Circuit

Code

Note
I have changed my module name to “Electropeak” and change its baud rate to 9600, before running this code, using the mentioned code.
#include <SoftwareSerial.h>
SoftwareSerial esp8266(2, 3);

It is simpler to use software serial to connect the module.

#define led_pin 13

Determining pin 13 as the connected pin to LCD

String esp8266Serial(String command, const int timeout)
{
  String response = ""; // a String to hold incoming data
  esp8266.print(command);
  long int time = millis();
  while ( (time + timeout) > millis())
  {
    while (esp8266.available())
    {
      char c = esp8266.read(); // Read the answer of ESP8266 character by character
      response += c;
    }
  }
    Serial.print(response);

  return response;
}	

Defining a function called esp8266serial with two inputs.
Command: a string of AT Commands
Timeout: the time after sending AT Command that the code execution stops and waits for the response from the ESP8266.
The output of this function is the received response from the ESP8266.
Note: millis() command gives you the elapsed time code execution. For more information check this link

void setup()
{
  pinMode(led_pin, OUTPUT);
  digitalWrite(led_pin, LOW);	
  Serial.begin(9600);
  esp8266.begin(9600); //Baud rate for communicating with ESP8266. Your's might be different.
  esp8266Serial("AT+CWMODE=3\r\n", 1000); 
  esp8266Serial("AT+CIPMUX=1\r\n", 1000);
  esp8266Serial("AT+CIPSERVER=1,8888\r\n", 1000);
}

In the setup part, first, define the pin which is connected to LED as output and set it LOW.

Set the hardware serial baud rate at 9600.

Then place the module in server mode with the next three commands.

void loop() 
{ 
  if (esp8266.available()) 
  { 
    if (esp8266.find("+IPD,")) 
    { 
      String msg; 
      msg = esp8266.readStringUntil('.'); 
      String command1 = msg.substring(0, 3); 
      String command2 = msg.substring(4); 
 
      if (command2 == "ON") 
      { 
        Serial.println("LED Turn ON"); 
        digitalWrite(led_pin, HIGH); 
      } 
      else if (command2 == "LED Turn OFF") 
      { 
        Serial.println("OFF"); 
        digitalWrite(led_pin, LOW); 
      } 
    } 
  } 
} 
In the loop part, the data received from the module is read. When there is “.IPD+” in read data, it means the data has sent from the client to ESP8266. If the received data is “ON”, turn the LED ON and if it’s “OFF”, turn the LED OFF.

Project2: Controlling a LED by Connecting to WIFI & a HTTP Page

Warning
In this project, due to programming the module directly, firmware will be erased and won’t support AT Commands anymore. If you need to use AT commands, you should upload the modules firmware again.

Circuit

You need a  Serial to USB converter to program the module directly. The following table shows the order of the connection of the pins:
SERIAL TO USB CONVERTER ESP8266
3.3v 3.3V
GND GND
RX TX
TX RX
3.3v CH_PD

Installing the ESP8266 Library and Boards

Follow these steps:

Step 1– Go to file>preferences

Step 2: Enter the following address in Additional Board Manager URLs

http://arduino.esp8266.com/stable/package_esp8266com_index.json

Step 3: Go to Tools>Boards> Boards Manager and search for ESP8266, then install it.

Code

#include <ESP8266WiFi.h> 
#include <WiFiClient.h> 
#include <ESP8266WebServer.h> 
 
/* Set these to your desired credentials. */ 
const char *ssid = "*****"; //Enter your WIFI ssid 
const char *password = "*****"; //Enter your WIFI password 
 
ESP8266WebServer server(80); 
 
 
void handleRoot() { 
  server.send(200, "text/html", "<form action=\"/LED_BUILTIN_on\" method=\"get\" id=\"form1\"></form><button type=\"submit\" form=\"form1\" value=\"On\">On</button><form action=\"/LED_BUILTIN_off\" method=\"get\" id=\"form2\"></form><button type=\"submit\" form=\"form2\" value=\"Off\">Off</button>"); 
} 
void handleSave() { 
  if (server.arg("pass") != "") { 
    Serial.println(server.arg("pass")); 
  } 
} 
 
void setup() { 
  pinMode(LED_BUILTIN, OUTPUT); 
  delay(3000); 
  Serial.begin(115200); 
  Serial.println(); 
  Serial.print("Configuring access point..."); 
  WiFi.begin(ssid, password); 
  while (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED) { 
    delay(500); 
    Serial.print("."); 
  } 
  Serial.println(""); 
  Serial.println("WiFi connected"); 
  Serial.println("IP address: "); 
  Serial.println(WiFi.localIP()); 
  server.on ( "/", handleRoot ); 
  server.on ("/save", handleSave); 
  server.begin(); 
  Serial.println ( "HTTP server started" ); 
  server.on("/LED_BUILTIN_on", []() { 
    digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, 1); 
    Serial.println("on"); 
    handleRoot(); 
  }); 
  server.on("/LED_BUILTIN_off", []() { 
    digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, 0); 
    Serial.println("off"); 
    handleRoot(); 
  }); 
} 
 
void loop() { 
  server.handleClient(); 
}

You should upload the code on the module after defining your WIFI SSID and PASSword.

Follow these steps to upload the code and execute it:

  1. Connect the module to the converter and then connect the converter to the computer
  2. Connect the GPIO0 pin of the module to ground. Then connect the RESET pin to ground for a moment. Then return both pins to their initial state. (you can also leave them without connecting.)
  3. Choose Generic ESP8266 Module in Arduino software for your board model. (make sure that upload speed is on 115200)

  4. Choose the port and click upload to upload the code on the module.

  5. Open serial monitor after uploading is done, and wait for the IP address of your HTTP page to be shown.

  6. Enter IP in your browser to see the following page:

7. The LED turns on by clicking on ON and turns off by clicking on

Buy an ESP8266 Wifi Module

What’s Next?

  • Try to control two relays with your phone using WIFI connection.
  • Try to control a robot with your phone using WIFI connection

Further Reading & Resources

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