Newbie - which product to buy to flash my ESP8266

Hi guys - just getting into a HASS.IO setup and need (want) to begin reflashing some gadgets using ESP8266 chips with Tasmota firmware.

There’s plenty of read-ups about the buggering around with touching wires to the necessary GIO/RX/TX pins… and I’m sort of comfortable with that (but if you sell some sort of teenie tiny connectors/wires with probes I can touch to chip pins I will buy them), but equally I need to find the right kind of FTDI to program the chip.

I’m not familiar with all the terms yet, and understand I’ll use a Micro/Mini USB to my PC, with wires run from the FTDI to the ESP8266 gadget, and my current gadgets are 5v… but will I likely also end up with 3v ones in future? So does what I buy need to support both 3.3v/5v? Please halp.


Hi Ryan,

What you’re after by the sounds of it is a USB to FTDI converter (I assume that this board is using TTL) to be able to communicate with that microcontroller on your board to be able to flash it. The adapter that I’ve attached below runs a FT232RL (which you can switch from 5V to 3.3V with a small connection across two pins on the board) to convert your USB to Serial which you can then hookup to the side of that board with some jumpers and headers (or pogo pins if you don’t need something permanent)

For those curious about what FTDI is, and what their chips primarily do, I’ve attached a wiki page below:

Make sure to let us know how you go with the project Ryan! I’m curious to see what you use this board for in home automation.


Are you sure you can handle flashing without damaging your device?

Thanks Bryce,

The kit arrived yesterday and I’ve successfully flashed two of the little guys, bit fiddly as mine don’t seem to allow for flash mode via the buttons and I needed to solder GIO01 to GND to put it into flash mode plus the RX/TX pins which aren’t exposed on the breakout pins at the PCB edge. From there it was all good.

These are being used to talk to my Home Assistant automation running on a RPI4 over MQTT. So far it works well… “Hey Google, open the deck (roller) door” etc, next step is to wire a reed sensor/switch onto the ESP8266 to get feedback on door open/close status. At the moment it’s just “cycle the door button” basically. Just the start of a very deep rabbit hole!

Glad to have found Core Electronics just up the road (in comparison to Amazon/Ebay/China).


Hey Ryan,

Oh man, that’s commitment! Maybe you could fab up your own little breakout board for these in the future? I’ll keep plugging the Kicad Zero to Hero series for as long as I live, as it took me to the point where I felt a simple board was totally doable.

Once you polish up your project, you might want to submit it to our project page for some store credit!