ESP-12 Programmer Kick Start Guide (English)

This Startup Guide will show you the way to kick start the use of ESP-12 Programmer.


Prepare the hardware

ESP-12 Programmer, you may fix it on a breadboard.

A ESP-12F or ESP-12E module.

A Micro-USB cable, most moblie phone cable is suitable.

A computer. This guide is base of Windows envirnment. For other environment, you may need different software.


Prepare the software

USB to UART Bridge VCP Driver

You need to install the VCP Driver when first time connect the ESP-12 Programmer.



This is a IDE for ESP8266 development, good for LUA (NodeMCU) development. Download it from the following link.

ESPlorer require JAVA (SE version 7 and above). If you don't have it, download and install it from Oracle.


NodeMCU Flasher

You need to wirte the NodeMCU firmware to the ESP-12 module in order to developing LUA scripts. On Windows, NodeMCU Flasher is most simple way. Download it from the following link.


NodeMCU firmware

NodeMCU firmware is a LUA script system. It provide a prompt for you to upload, run your scripts on the module. It is good for general application development with ESP-12 module.

The firmware is open source at Git.

There is a cloud build service, so you can build your own firmware base on your need.

Here is the firmware ready to use.(module include ADC, file, GPIO, net, node, timer, UART, WiFi)
Download integer-only firmware
Donwload floating point supported firmware


Setup of ESP-12 Programmer

1) Open the handle of the programmer.

nodemcu 1

2) Place the ESP-12E or ESP-12F module to the programmer.

nodemcu 2

3) Close the handle.

nodemcu 3

4) Connec the programmer to the computer via USB cable.

nodemcu 4

5) After that, install the VCP driver if it is your first time use. Then go to the Device Manager to check the COM port is ready for use.

nodemcu 5

6) Run the NodeMCU Flasher (ESP8266Flasher.exe). Then go to Config Tab and select the firmware binary file.

nodemcu 6

7) Go back to Operation Tab, select the correct COM Port and click [Flash] to start update the firmware to ESP-12 module.
      If you face a error, it maybe the ESP-12 module is not place properly. Try place the ESP-12 module again.

nodemcu 7

8) Close the NodeMCU Flasher and open the ESPlorer. Select the correct COM Port and click [Open].

nodemcu 8

9) Turn on and then turn off RTS once to reset the ESP-12 module. You should see the NodeMCU bootup message.

nodemcu 9


First program

On most ESP-12 module, there is a LED on it. It is a good to test your first program. However, different vendor use different GPIO. You need to find out the GPIO number and map it to NodeMCU pin number. On my ESP-12F module, the LED is connected to GPIO02 that is D4 of NodeMCU. Therefore, I set the on_board_led = 4.

Copy and place the following code to ESPlorer or download and open the led_test.lua file.

-- Variables
on_board_led = 4
state = 1

-- Init GPIO
gpio.mode (on_board_led,gpio.OUTPUT)
gpio.write (on_board_led,gpio.HIGH)

-- Timer Function
mytimer = tmr.create()
mytimer:register(500, tmr.ALARM_AUTO, function()
    if (state == 0) then
        state = 1
        gpio.write (on_board_led,gpio.HIGH)
        state = 0
        gpio.write (on_board_led,gpio.LOW)

-- Start
print ("timer started")


After that, click the [Save to ESP] to send the file to ESP-12 Module. The script will complile and run on the module. Then the on-board LED will blinking.

nodemcu 10


Next step

To know more about NodeMCU, you can visit their document website.