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Last pushed: 10 months ago
Short Description
A Dockerized build environment for building and flashing ESP8266 programs with esp-open-rtos
Full Description

esp-open-rtos Build Environment

This Dockerfile contains the dependencies necessary to create a toolchain for the ESP8266 chip.
It is based on esp-open-rtos and allows for easy building and flashing
to the ESP8266 chip for projects written with esp-open-rtos.


Quick Setup

  • docker pull bschwind/esp-open-rtos
  • cd to your esp-open-rtos project
  • Without USB flashing support: docker run --rm -it -e "ESPBAUD=921600" -v $(PWD):/home/esp/esp-open-rtos/examples/project bschwind/esp-open-rtos /bin/bash
  • With USB flashing support: docker run --rm -it --privileged -e "ESPBAUD=921600" -v /dev/bus/usb:/dev/bus/usb -v $(PWD):/home/esp/esp-open-rtos/examples/project bschwind/esp-open-rtos /bin/bash

Either step will put you in an interactive shell inside the container. If you have a Makefile in your project directory, you can immediately
run make and your source should get compiled. make flash will attempt to flash the code to /dev/ttyUSB0, assuming you're using the
Makefiles from esp-open-rtos examples.

Flashing Images from the Container

If you're on docker-machine (OS X or Windows), you need to forward your USB device within Virtualbox. This is best managed in the VirtualBox GUI.


  • Stop your docker virtual machine host, if applicable
  • Plug in the USB serial device you will use to flash to the ESP8266
  • Install virtualbox extensions to support USB (Ctrl-F "extension" on that page)
    • OS X -> Under "Virtualbox" -> Preferences, go to the Extensions tab
    • Windows -> Same thing?
    • Click the "Adds new package" button and select the extension pack you downloaded
  • Return to the main VirtualBox GUI
  • Right click on your docker VM and select "Settings"
  • Select "Ports" -> "USB"
  • Check the box "Enable USB Controller" and select "USB 2.0 (EHCI) Controller"
  • Under "USB Device Filters" click the USB icon with the green plus sign to add a USB device
  • Select your USB serial device (in my case it was "FTDI FT232R USB UART [0600]")
  • Click OK until you're back to the main Virtualbox GUI
  • At this point you can restart your virtual machine with docker-machine start <YOUR_DOCKER_VM_NAME>
  • Run docker as we did in Quick Setup: docker run --rm -it --privileged -v /dev/bus/usb:/dev/bus/usb -v $(PWD):/home/esp/esp-open-rtos/examples/project bschwind/esp-open-rtos /bin/bash
    • NOTE: With the -v /dev/bus/usb:/dev/bus/usb volume, the /dev/bus/usb on the lefthand side of the colon refers to docker VM's USB directory, not your host machine (you likely won't find that path on OS X)
  • /dev/ttyUSB0 should now be available
  • Run make and then make flash on an example project or your own

If you're on Linux, it should be sufficient to share your USB device either as a docker volume or with the --device flag. However, I have not yet tested Linux.

Serial Debugging

Picocom is installed in this image by default. Invoke it with picocom -b 115200 /dev/ttyUSB0 (change the baud rate and device path accordingly)

Stop it with Ctrl-A Ctrl-X


When running make flash from esp-open-rtos's Makefiles, it will print out the flashing command it uses, for example -p /dev/ttyUSB0 --baud 115200 write_flash -fs 16m -fm qio -ff 40m 0x0 ../../bootloader/firmware_prebuilt/rboot.bin 0x1000 ../../bootloader/firmware_prebuilt/blank_config.bin 0x2000 ./firmware/blink_timers.bin

See that --baud 115200? You can change it to higher values with the ESPBAUD environment variable which is passed into the docker run command and the ESP8266 should honor it (in most cases?). Valid values I've had success with are [230400, 460800, 921600]
with 921600 flashing in under 4 seconds (241,664 bytes). This can significantly speed up development time.

With any flashing baud rate, I have noticed more occasional errors with this setup than I have with the Arduino IDE or other environments, I'm not sure what the cause is.
The flash will sometimes get stuck at 99% with A fatal error occurred: Timed out waiting for packet header. I've found this actually happens less often on 921600 baud,
but it can still happen. If anyone knows what's up with that, please let me know!

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