Tag 1: Das NanoESP-Board
It’s the first of December and thus time to open the first door. Behind it is arguably the most important element of the calendar: the NanoESP board. This Arduino-compatible controller with WLAN function is at the centre of the 24 tests.
To s briefly, it can be said that the board is most likely a cross between a board similar to an Arduino Nano and a WLAN module with the name ESP8266. The communication between the two elements runs through a serial port generated via software, which is connected to Pins D11 and D12. You should thus avoid these pins with your own projects.
So that you can successfully program your board, you first need to install the driver. You’ll find it on the page:
There are versions for different operating systems there. In the Windows version, there is a setup.exe file in the ZIP folder that you have to execute. In the window that then appears, simply click on “Install”.
After the installation, you can now connect the board to the PC for the first time. The PC should automatically find the driver, while the two Power LEDS (D6 and D2) light up on the board. The third LED (D3) flashes first. If the LEDs light up but the PC does not recognise any new hardware, check whether you’re actually using a USB data cable. You see, there are also cables that are intended only for charging devices like smartphones but don’t enable data communication. You can also look in Device Manager to see whether the device has been correctly recognised and installed.
The driver is now installed, and in the meantime the third LED should also have stopped flashing and remain constantly lit. That’s the sign that the initialisation of the board was successful. Now you should also be able to spot something else, namely that a new open WLAN exists within your reach. The WLAN bears the name NanoESP. In today’s practical test, you should connect to this WLAN. If the PC asks about the type of connection, you should select the option “Home network.” In this way, the communication with other devices isn’t blocked. When you are connected to the WLAN, you can open a browser of your choice and enter the following in the address bar:
This is the IP address of your board. The page that now loads for you to see is a small website that is sent from the board to your PC. This is an Easter egg, which is a hidden function. The first test is a function test and at the same time offers a glance at a potential use of the board as a web server. But more on that later.