In this section, you will learn how to upload code to an ESP8266-based microcontroller with a tool called ampy. The code in this section was written to turn the ESP8266-based microcontroller in a scrolling thermometer. The same upload method shown in this section can be used to upload MicroPython code you write to a ESP8266-based microcontroller.
Before MicroPython code is uploaded on the ESP8266-based microcontroller, MicroPython needs to be installed on the board. PuTTY also needs to be installed on you computer in order for the computer to communicate with the microcontroller over a serial connection.
A previous section in this chapter detailed how to install MicroPython on an ESP9266 microcontroller and how to install PuTTY on a Windows. The procedures in this section are specific to the Adafruit Feather Huzzah ESP8266 microcontroller and the MCP9808 temperature sensor, both of which were used in a previous section. Other ESP8266-based microcontrollers and I2C sensors could be used instead, but the specifics of the procedure may be different from what's shown in this section.
Summary of Steps
- Install ampy with pip
- Write MicroPython code
- Upload the MicroPython on code on the microcontroller with ampy
- Unplug and then power up the Feather Huzzah and watch the temperature scroll by
Install ampy with pip
Ampy is a Python package developed by Adafruit, a company that makes MicroPython compatible hardware. Ampy is used to push code stored on a computer onto a microcontroller running MicroPython. Ampy can be installed using the Anaconda Prompt. Alternatively, a terminal can be used to install ampy. If you are using a virtual environment, active the virtual environment first then proceed with ampy package installation.
> conda activate micropython (micropython) > pip install adafruit-ampy (micropython) > ampy --help
Write MicroPython Code
Now write the MicroPython code which you will uploaded on the microcontroller. The Adafruit Feather Huzzah ESP8266 microcontroller contains two main Python files: boot.py and main.py. But additional files can also be uploaded to the microcontroller. boot.py is the file that runs first when the board is powered up. First boot.py runs, then main.py runs. An additional .py file can be added to the board to provide main.py with a function to run.
Two different .py files will be constructed in this section. One .py file contains a function that reads the temperature off the temperature sensor. A second .py file calls the function in the first .py file and prints the temperature to the terminal window with a loop.
The first MCP9808.py file includes one function called
readtemp() function reads temperature recorded by the MCP9808 temperature sensor. The
readtemp() function parses out the temperature data from the I2C bus on the MCP9808 temperature sensor and outputs the temperature in degrees C as a float.
At the top of MCP9808.py we need to import the
machine module to use the I2C bus. The
machine module provides a class to create a new I2C object.
When the I2C object is instantiated, the
sda pins that the MCP9808 temperature sensor is connected to need to be specified.
scl is the I2C clock line and
sda is the I2C data line.
sda are pin 5 and pin 4 on the Adafruit Feather Huzzah ESP8266.
The next part of the
readtemp() function creates a byte array. Data from the MCP9808 temperature sensor will be stored in the byte array.
The next part of the
readtemp() function in the MCP9808.py file uses the
i2c.readfrom_mem_into() method to read the temperature off the sensor. The first argument passed to the
i2c.readfrom_mem_into() method is the I2C bus address of the sensor. On the MCP9808 temperature sensor, the I2C bus address is
24(if you type the line
>>> i2c.scan() into the MicroPython REPL, the I2C bus address is returned). The next parameter passed to the
i2c.readfrom_mem_into() method is the register on the MCP9808 temperature sensor where the measured temperature is stored. On the MCP9808, the temperature is stored in register
5. The third parameter passed to the
i2c.readfrom_mem_into() method is the variable we want to store the temperature data in. The
i2c.readfrom_mem_into() method changes the variable passed into the method as the third argument. Most Python methods modify the object the method operates on, but MicroPython's
i2c.readfrom_mem_into() method changes the third variable passed to it, in our case the variable
byte_data. That's why we created the
byte_data variable before we called the
The last part of the
readtemp() function includes post-processing needed to convert the byte array into a temperature in degrees C. The final temperature in degrees C is a float
The entire contents of the MCP9808.py file are below:
# MCP9808.py # Functions for the MCP9808 temperature sensor # learn.adafruit.com/micropython-hardware-i2c-devices/i2c-master def readtemp(): import machine i2c = machine.I2C(scl=machine.Pin(5), sda=machine.Pin(4)) byte_data = bytearray(2) i2c.readfrom_mem_into(24, 5, byte_data) value = byte_data << 8 | byte_data temp = (value & 0xFFF) / 16.0 if value & 0x1000: temp -= 256.0 return temp
Now construct a MicroPython script called main.py which will use the function
readtemp() stored in MCP9808.py.
The main.py script will import the MCP9808.py module and use the
readtemp() function to read the temperature from the MCP9808 temperature sensor.
Inside main.py will be a loop that runs for a total of 120 seconds. Each second the temperature is recorded. Inside the loop, the temperature is read off the MCP9808 temperature sensing using the
time.sleep(1) is inserted into the loop to wait one second between each measurement.
The complete main.py file is below.
# main.py import MCP9808 import time time.sleep(2) for i in range(120): data = MCP9808.readtemp() print(data) time.sleep(1)
Upload MicroPython Code to the ESP8266 Microcontroller with ampy
Once the MCP9808.py file and the main.py files are saved, both files can be uploaded on the Adafruit Feather Huzzah ESP8266 microcontroller.
Ensure the microcontroller is connected with a USB cable, and be aware of which serial port the microcontroller is connected to.
Upload the MCP9808.py file and the main.py file to the board using ampy. Make sure you are in the directory with the .py files and that you are working in a virtual environment that has
ampy installed in it. In the example code below, the
(micropython) virtual environment is active. The command
ampy --port COM4 ls lists the files stored on the microcontroller.
(micropython) > ampy --port COM4 put MCP9808.py (micropython) > ampy --port COM4 put main.py (micropython) > ampy --port COM4 ls boot.py MCP9808.py main.py
Unplug and then power up the Feather Huzzah and watch the temperature scroll by
The Feather Huzzah needs to be restarted to run the main.py file uploaded with ampy.
To restart the board, unplug and then replug in the board's power (the USB cable). Once power is restored, the board will run through the boot.py script then start the main.py script. When the board runs the main.py script, the board will read the temperature from the MCP9808 temperature sensor then print the temperature out to the terminal. After two minutes the program should end.
The output below demonstrates the results shown in a terminal window.
... 25.6875 25.75 25.6875 25.6875 25.75 25.6875 25.75 25.75 25.75 25.75 25.75 25.8125 25.8125 25.8125 25.75 25.75 25.8125 >>>