Crowdsourcing Control with the ESP8266 Thing

General info for the workshop at the Hackaday SuperConference 2015.

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We'll be running through some demos on how you can crowd-source control of your project using IoT devices, and specifically, the ESP8266 Thing.

Materials provided (for you to take!):
-ESP8266 Thing
-USB cable

Materials required (YOU MUST BRING THIS):
-WiFi-enabled Laptop with two USB ports with Arduino 1.6.5+ IDE installed
-ESP8266 Add-on for Arduino installed (Find that here:

Materials recommended:
-WiFi-enabled smart device with Blynk app ( installed
-Blynk Arduino library installed (
-Phant Arduino library installed (

This workshop ran at the Hackaday SuperConference 2015.

You can check out the slides in the GitHub repository here:

If you have any questions, you can open issues on the GitHub repository or on here.

View all 6 components

  • 1
    Step 1

    Install Arduino IDE 1.6.5+. You must install version 1.6.5 or higher in order to participate in this workshop. You will need an internet connection for these steps!

  • 2
    Step 2

    Add the ESP8266 Arduino Add-on. Add the following text to your Additional Boards Manager URLs under File> Preferences:
  • 3
    Step 3

    Double check that you have properly installed the ESP8266 files by going to Tools>Board>Boards Manager. Search for ESP8266 and verify that the package shows as Installed.

View all 8 instructions

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fid wrote 12/05/2015 at 01:02 point

Hi @Toni Klopfenstein, and anyone else who wants to chime in, l was doing a bit of reading about programming this Thing.  When I could not get GNU Screen to work I tried Arduino's Serial screen. I got gibberish.  After more investigating I read about cutting the trace on the bottom side of the Thing. Then soldering on a header with two pins. When I want to upload a sketch to the Thing I'm to add a jumper (pin connector) to the pins.  Does this sound like a wise thing for me to do to my Thing?  Or, should I leave it alone and monkey with the ones I bought from the Hackaday store?  They are Hackaday ESP8266s made by Adafruit.  The bottoms are black with Hackaday Logo on them.  I couldn't resist.  ( R1=0 ohms)


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Toni Klopfenstein wrote 12/08/2015 at 17:54 point

I'm not sure which pins you're referring to, but that could potentially be one option for working around serial communication. If you're just looking to get serial data out, you could possibly stream it wirelessly, though that does take away the debugging capability.

I'm not familiar with the Hackaday ESP8266 boards, so you'd have to verify that circuit before modifying it at all. There's also options like the Dev Board version ( which has a built-in FTDI chip, allowing serial communication and debugging. 

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fid wrote 12/08/2015 at 22:06 point

Thank you so much for the Slides posted to GitHub.

I did a bunch of messing with the ESP8266 Thing and understand it a lot more.  Would never have gotten to this place without having attended your Workshop.

I ended up cutting the DTR trace on the ESP8266 Thing and soldering two pins in their stead.  It still works fine, so I didn't botch it all up.  I am going to attempt to connect to the Thing via a command prompt to see if I don't just get gibberish.  Done without the jumper on the DTR pins.

Thanks again for the Slides on GitHub.  I'll also check out the Dev Board.

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fid wrote 11/26/2015 at 07:12 point

This workshop was really educational for me. I ended up buying three more ESP8266 boards after I got home. I can't wait to get started on them.  Thanks @Toni Klopfenstein .  I am looking forward to reviewing the slides of the workshop, too

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Toni Klopfenstein wrote 12/08/2015 at 17:50 point

Hey - sorry for the delay on getting the slides up! They are now in the GitHub repository here:

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Kenneth Trussell wrote 11/17/2015 at 00:58 point

Hi @Toni Klopfenstein, are the slides posted somewhere yet? Not rushing but just don't want to miss them when you do post them. I'm looking forward to actually getting everything to work back here at home! Thanks for the great workshop!

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Toni Klopfenstein wrote 12/08/2015 at 17:50 point

Glad you liked the workshop! Apologies for the delays on getting the slides up. You can find them here:

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