Getting Your Board Ready for AppShed IoT

Introduction: Getting Your Board Ready for AppShed IoT

About: Appshed is an educational platform where students and teachers can learn App Building, Game Making and IoT/Robotics.

In this quick lesson, we are going to take a look at how to get your NodeMCU flashed with AppShed IoT firmware allowing it to be used with the AppShed IoT platform and collection of Apps.

The AppShed IoT platform is a platform that allows users to quickly and easily create their own custom app and program that app to interact with the NodeMCU IoT board. Users can build apps at any skill level on appshed.com. The focus of this lesson is not on the app-building side but rather setting up your board to work with AppShed IoT platform.

Step 1: What Hardware You Will Need

To get your board flashed with the firmware you will need the following tools and services:

  • NodeMCU (which can be found here)
  • Windows/Mac computer
  • USB Cable
  • An internet connection

We also have a firmware tester app that can check if the firmware was uploaded correctly. If you would like to use this you will also need a mobile device.

Step 2: The Software You Will Need

As soon as your NodeMCU board is flashed with the AppShed firmware all you will need is the AppShed website to create apps for it, however, to upload the firmware to the board you will need the following software:

  • Arduino IDE Download (Here)
  • AppShed IoT Firmware Sketch (Here)

If you are using a Mac or an older version of Windows you will also need to install a USB driver (This allows your computer to communicate with the NodeMCU allowing the firmware to be uploaded). This driver can be found and downloaded from Here

Step 3: Setup

Now that we have all the hardware and software we need we can begin installing it all and getting it ready to flash our board.

First things first go ahead and install the Arduino IDE onto your computer. Once you open the executable file you should be guided on the installation process which is quite simple.

Once the Arduino IDE is installed we will need to add some libraries to it to allow it to upload the AppShed firmware.

  • Open the Arduino IDE
  • Click on File
  • Click on Preferences
  • In the box labeled - additional boards manager URLs paste the following link:

http://arduino.esp8266.com/stable/package_esp8266com_index.json

  • Click the tick box next to Display Line Numbers
  • Click Ok
  • Click Tools followed by Board and lastly Board Manager
  • Search for Esp8266
  • Click install on the option created by the Esp8266 Community
  • Click Close
  • Click Sketch followed by Include Libary and lastly Manage Libraries
  • Search for arest
  • Click install on the option created by Marco Schwartz
  • Click Close

With all of that done our Arduino IDE is now ready to upload the AppShed IoT sketch to the NodeMCU.

Step 4: Upload the Firmware

We can now begin uploading the AppShed firmware, the first thing we will need to do is open the AppShed firmware sketch we downloaded earlier.

  • Open the file named AppShedAPFree

This file should open the Arduino IDE and ask you if you would like to add it to a file, click yes.

By default the AppShed firmware will set the WIFI SSID and Password to the following:

SSID - AppShedIoT
Password - appshedrocks

If you would like to change this you can by changing the variable on lines 21 and 22 of the firmware. Ensure that the password and SSID are longer than 8 characters.

Now with the firmware configured, we can plug our NodeMCU into our computer with the USB cable, to begin uploading we will need to do the following:

  • Click Tools
  • Click Board
  • Scroll until you see NodeMCU 1.0 and click it
  • Click Tools
  • Click Port
  • Click Com(Number) (For windows)
  • Click USBtoUART

Finally, we can upload the firmware

  • Click Upload (The blue arrow)

The upload should take about 1 - 2 minutes. Once it says upload complete you're board is ready!

Step 5: Test the Firmware/conclusion

Once the firmware is uploaded the quickest way to test and see if its working is to go onto your mobile device and see if your WIFI SSID is showing up, this can take up to 5 minutes.


If you want to perform a full test on your device you can use our firmware tester app which tests a few pins around the board showing you that everything is working as it should. Here's how to do that:

  • Ensure your AppShed IoT Board is powered on (Via USB or Battery)
  • Before connecting to the board open the following link on your mobile device

http://apps.appshed.com/firmwaretester

  • Connect your mobile device to your AppShed IoT Board
  • Click the Test button in the app and follow the onscreen instructions

If you had any problems or questions during this process please feel free to join our AppShed IoT Discord where we have multiple channels for Questions, project showcases and even some hardware giveaways. You've got the AppShed IoT Board now so join the community!

Discord - https://discord.gg/asGVKpe

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