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Today I finally got custom firmware loaded and functioning on an ESP8266 board.  This time I was using the SMD (Wi07-3) version.  I should post some pictures, but I haven't programmed a ckeditor plugin to make doing that easy.  I can upload the picture, but then I have to copy and paste the file name... oops... tangent.

Anyway, I followed these instructions to get the toolchain setup.

You might want to add:

export PATH=$PWD/builds/xtensa-lx106-elf/bin:$PATH

to your .bashrc or .profile... whatever it is. 

I used the newest Espressif SDK at the time (Espressif SDK 0.9.4) so I didn't have to do any of the patch stuff.

I had to install the ESP image tool from source.  The tar had a pre-compiled version that seemed to run on my machine though.

Then I installed the ESP upload tool (different tool... same name ... grr)  sudo python2 setup.py install

I got the blinky example working, I had issues with pins being too loose in my breadboard... it's getting pretty old, it's well worn.

I wanted to try esp-httpd ever since reading about it.  I had issues with make flash and make htmlflash.

I ended up editing the make file and using these instead:

esptool.py --port $(ESPPORT) write_flash 0x00000 firmware/0x00000.bin 0x40000 firmware/0x40000.bin

esptool.py --port $(ESPPORT) write_flash 0x12000 webpages.espfs

and after that it worked!  I was able to toggle a GPIO from a CGI script running on the ESP8266 itself, and it was able to scan for nearby wifi networks and also connect.