So, I just bought a couple of ESP8266 boards with ESP-12E chips on them (link to exact model on Amazon), but the directions on the Amazon description didn’t quite work for me. My Arduino IDE didn’t detect the board. Here are the directions (for Windows 10), modified with the added step I had to perform (in bold):
1. Download the Arduino IDE, the latest version.
2. Install the IDE
3. Set up your Arduino IDE as: Go to File->Preferences and copy the URL below to get the ESP board manager extensions: http://arduino.esp8266.com/stable/package_esp8266com_index.json Placing the http:// before the URL lets the Arduino IDE use it…otherwise it gives you a protocol error.
4. Go to Tools > Board > Board Manager> Type “esp8266” and download the Community esp8266 and install.
4.5: Install Windows 10 Driver for CP2102 UART Bridge: https://www.silabs.com/products/development-tools/software/usb-to-uart-bridge-vcp-drivers
5. Set up your chip as:
Tools -> Board -> NodeMCU 1.0 (ESP-12E Module)
Tools -> Flash Size -> 4M (3M SPIFFS)
Tools -> CPU Frequency -> 80 Mhz
Tools -> Upload Speed -> 921600
Tools–>Port–> (whatever it is)
6. Download and run the 32 bit flasher exe at Github(Search for nodemcu/nodemcu-flasher/tree/master/ at Github) github.com/nodemcu/nodemcu-flasher/tree/master/Win32/Release Or download and run the 64 bit flasher exe at: github.com/nodemcu/nodemcu-flasher/tree/master/Win64/Release
7. In Arduino IDE, look for the old fashioned Blink program. Load, compile and upload.
8. Go to FILE> EXAMPLES> ESP8266> BLINK, it will start blinking.