ESP8266 ($4 Wifi Module) Bring Up

Purchasing ESP8266 on the cheap

Found the ESP8266 module while browsing Arduino parts at  They sell for $3.48 for 1 and gets cheaper as you buy in quantity.

I didn’t want to wait the 3-4 week shipping from China so ordered my first one at Amazon with Amazon Prime here for a whopping $7.99:


One drawback of this module is that there is no documentation that comes with the module.  I was prepared for this and was ready to do a lot of Googling and forum hunting to get it working.

Getting first life – finally

I hooked up the ESP8266 to a FTDI TTL-232R-3V3 cable (just a USB to UART cable that has all the UART pins broken out on the end) based on a basic diagram I found here which showed only VDD, GND, TX and RX…. nothing worked.

Found another diagram with more pins and comment about needing to pull up CH_PD pin  here: … Basic AT commands started to work after connecting at 10K ohm pull to the CH_PD.  Here is the diagram…


Note 1: I am using my Arduino UNO R3 just for the 3.3V supply output at this point.  Eventually the ESP8266 will connect to the Arduino UNO R3 board.

Note 2: The Arduino 3.3V supply output current is not rated high enough to support the ESP8266.  I am taking my chances with it right now hoping that since my Wifi router is only about 5 feet away, it won’t take too much current.

I gave the AT+GMR command (command list I found here:  and received a response so have life.

Firmware version

The ESP8266 firmware version that came with my board doesn’t allow for change of baud rate.  Eventually I am going to use an Arduino SW UART so need to be able to set the baud to something like 9600.

I found a tool and instruction to update firmware here:

Ahhhh …. I bricked my ESP8266…. I thought…

After upgrading, I wouldn’t get any AT command responses.  I did notice that the ESP8266 would echo everything I typed, so I knew there had to be life.  After some Googl’ing, I stumbled on a forum post someplace that the new firmware requires a carriage return (CR) AND line feed (LF).  Previous versions only need the CR.  I went into menus in TeraTerm and found the setting in the menus under Setup -> Terminal….


… things started to work again.  Here is a screen capture of a boot.TeminalScreenGMRLifeCapture

Note: Not sure why, but getting junk characters at the start.  Maybe the module is sending out serial data before the oscillators are at the correct speeds?


3 thoughts on “ESP8266 ($4 Wifi Module) Bring Up

  1. Pingback: Mini Server on Arduino + ESP8266 | PetesTechProjects

  2. Finally! I found something that i am looking for!
    I just want to send data to TeraTerm via ESP8266 from arduino. How do i do that?


    • Aaron,

      Check out the rest of my blog posts. You will see that I do a step by step process of doing exactly what you are asking. I even used TeraTerm in my examples. Here are some highlight posts to get you going in the right direction.

      Connecting ESP8266 ($4 Wifi adapter) to Arduino”

      ESP8266 to Arduino IO matching

      LED’s Control through TTY

      There are other posts in between that explain some of the other parts of the circuit in the last post I reference above.

      You can also read through to later post with the tag ESP8266 to see how I took it to much more complex interactions. I was serving up a simple web page and controlling LEDs from a HTML form and eventually interfacing with a custom android app I created in AppInventor. Not sure how much you are trying to accomplish, but it is there all in my blog posts.

      Good Luck and have fun,



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