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Programming an arduino with platformio

This post describes how to install and run platformio to compile and upload arduino code via a command line interface (CLI). This is a major breakthrough as it allows writing, compiling, and uploading arduino code on an ARM processor (e.g. Raspberry Pi) and on a Debian server. This allows me to program arduino(s) physically connected to headless machines and circumvents all sorts of silliness around the lack of an Arduino IDE for the ARM platform (shame on you arduino).

A major advancement here is that platformio comes preconfigured to talk to boards like the teensy, eps8266, and node mcu.

Running the Arduino IDE on a headless linux box was always a nuisance. I would always have to install, configure and run an X11 server (see this post) to pull up the graphic interface on a remote (host) machine.

Install platformio

Platformio is written in python, so all you need is

sudo pip install -U platformio

Make a new project directory and initialize an empty project

mkdir Sites/p5js_plot
cd Sites/p5js_plot
platformio init

This will create

Configure platformio.ini with boards

Populate platformio.ini with an uno board

platformio init --board=uno
platformio init --board=teensy31
platformio init --board nodemcuv2

platformio.ini looks something like this

; Project Configuration File
; Docs:

platform = atmelavr
framework = arduino
board = uno

platform = espressif
framework = arduino
board = nodemcu

platform = teensy
framework = arduino
board = teensy31

platform = timsp430
framework = energia
board = lpmsp430g2553
build_flags = -D LED_BUILTIN=RED_LED

Put some arduino code in src/main.cpp

Debugging is not as pretty as with a GUI. The whole arduino gui thing is just overkill in the first place. It is nice to simplify things by returning to a command line.

Remember, we are programming in C++, NOT the arduino language.

 * Blink
 * Turns on an LED on for one second,
 * then off for one second, repeatedly.
#include "Arduino.h"

void setup()
  // initialize LED digital pin as an output.

void loop()
  // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
  digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, HIGH);
  // wait for a second
  // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
  digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, LOW);
   // wait for a second

Upload code to arduino

platformio run --target upload

The first time this is run, platformio automatically downloads the necessary arduino libraries.

Additional info

Serial ports

# list serial ports
platformio serialports list
# a Miniterm style serial port monitor ('ctrl+]' to quit)
platformio serialports monitor

/dev/ttyACM0 #uno and teensy on debian
/dev/ttyUSB0 #node mcu on debian
/dev/cu.SLAB_USBtoUART #node mcu on osx

platformio.ini for nodemcu needs to know the serial port

platform = espressif
framework = arduino
board = nodemcuv2
upload_port = /dev/ttyUSB0
Tags: raspberry, linux, arduino

©2018. Robert Cudmore.