If you're using Windows 7 (or 8 or 8.1), you'll need to install drivers. See the Windows 7 and 8.1 Drivers page for details. You will not need to install drivers on Mac, Linux or Windows 10.
You are strongly encouraged to upgrade to Windows 10 if you are still using Windows 7 or Windows 8 or 8.1. Windows 7 has reached end-of-life and no longer receives security updates. A free upgrade to Windows 10 is still available.
First, you'll want to find out which serial port your board is using. When you plug your board in to USB on your computer, it connects to a serial port. The port is like a door through which your board can communicate with your computer using USB.
You'll use Windows Device Manager to determine which port the board is using. The easiest way to determine which port the board is using is to first check without the board plugged in. Open Device Manager. Click on Ports (COM & LPT). You should find something already in that list with (COM#) after it where # is a number.
Now plug in your board. The Device Manager list will refresh and a new item will appear under Ports (COM & LPT). You'll find a different (COM#) after this item in the list.
Sometimes the item will refer to the name of the board. Other times it may be called something like USB Serial Device, as seen in the image above. Either way, there is a new (COM#) following the name. This is the port your board is using.
If you're using Windows, you'll need to download a terminal program. You're going to use PuTTY.
The first thing to do is download the latest version of PuTTY. You'll want to download the Windows installer file. It is most likely that you'll need the 64-bit version. Download the file and install the program on your machine. If you run into issues, you can try downloading the 32-bit version instead. However, the 64-bit version will work on most PCs.
Now you need to open PuTTY.
- Under Connection type: choose the button next to Serial.
- In the box under Serial line, enter the serial port you found that your board is using.
- In the box under Speed, enter 115200. This called the baud rate, which is the speed in bits per second that data is sent over the serial connection. For boards with built in USB it doesn't matter so much but for ESP8266 and other board with a separate chip, the speed required by the board is 115200 bits per second. So you might as well just use 115200!
If you want to save those settings for later, use the options under Load, save or delete a stored session. Enter a name in the box under Saved Sessions, and click the Save button on the right.
Once your settings are entered, you're ready to connect to the serial console. Click "Open" at the bottom of the window. A new window will open.
If no code is running, the window will either be blank or will look like the window above. Now you're ready to see the results of your code.
Great job! You've connected to the serial console!