Live debugging ESP8266 with open-source tools
The ESP8266 is a low-cost Wi-Fi chip with full TCP/IP stack and MCU (Micro Controller Unit) capability produced by Shanghai-based Chinese manufacturer, Espressif Systems.
Since 2014, when first came in the attention of the western makers, the documentation became quite available, together with couple of SDKs and firmwares for various programming langauges like Lua, together with the low price, made reasonable easy to develop applications hosted on this tiny chip. Some of this little chip’s features:
- 32-bit RISC CPU: Tensilica Xtensa LX106 running at 80 MHz (can be overclocked)
- 64 KiB of instruction RAM, 96 KiB of data RAM
- External QSPI flash – 512 KiB to 4 MiB (up to 16 MiB is supported)
- IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Integrated TR switch, balun, LNA, power amplifier and matching network
- WEP or WPA/WPA2 authentication, or open networks
- 16 GPIO pins
- SPI, I²C,
- I²S interfaces with DMA (sharing pins with GPIO)
- UART on dedicated pins, plus a transmit-only UART can be enabled on GPIO2
- 1 10-bit ADC
Although developing software to be hosted on it isn’t such a big challenge like it used to be due to the plenty of information available on the internet, debugging the code running on the MCU is a different story. Luckily, at the Attachix blog there is a series of articles about writing software for this MCU, and in the 4th article the owner was nice enough to describe how to set up step-by-step debugging of the code either by command line or even from Eclipse IDE. Please follow this link for the entire article.