Getting started

Welcome developer! This section describes how to get your development environment set-up so that you can build the BADGE.TEAM ESP32 platform firmware for any of the supported targets.


Our firmware has been set-up as an ESP-IDF project. The ESP-IDF is the development framework or SDK released by Espressif. Espressif is improving and updating the ESP-IDF constantly. Unfortunately these updates often introduce breaking changes. Because of this we have included the exact version of the ESP-IDF that we use as a submodule in our firmware GIT repository.

Downloading the project

You can clone the project by running git clone --recursive. Git will then create a folder called “ESP32-platform-firmware” containing the project files.

Installing required packages (Linux only)

Debian / Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install make unzip git libncurses5-dev flex bison gperf python-serial libffi-dev libsdl2-dev libmbedtls-dev perl

Installing the toolchain

Currently we’re using ESP-IDF version 3.2 to build the firmware. After cloning our repository you will find the exact version of the ESP-IDF used in the ESP32-platform-firmware/esp-idf folder. You don’t need to download or install a version of the ESP-IDF yourself.

The toolchain is another story: the newest ESP-IDF version (v4.x and newer) uses a different toolchain than the older (v3.3 / stable) version of the IDF. Because of this you can’t simply download the “latest greatest” ESP32 toolchain, instead you need to use a specific version.

You can download the correct version of the toolchain directly from Espressif using the following URLs:

Operating system Architecture Download link
Linux AMD64 (64-bit)
Linux I386 (32-bit)
Apple Mac OS OSX
Microsoft Windows WIN32

You can find the official toolchain installation instructions here:

The very, very short version of these instructions for Linux is as follows:

  • Extract the archive
  • Add the path to the bin folder in the archive, containing the toolchain executables, to your path export PATH="$PATH:/path/to/my/toolchain/xtensa-esp32-elf/bin"

Configuring the firmware

The firmware can be built for many different targets. Because of this the firmware has to be configured before it can be built. By default a “generic” configuration is used. Building the firmware using the generic configuration will get you to a Python shell on any ESP32 based device. However: almost all hardware support will be missing.

To apply the configuration for a specific badge navigate to the firmware/configs folder and overwrite (/create) the file firmware/sdkconfig with the configuration relevant to your badge.

(Note that running make clean to remove the build output is a bit broken / insufficient at the moment. Please remove the firmware/build folder manually after switching configurations to make sure the firmware is built correctly.)

Manually changing the configuration of the firmware is explained in the menuconfig section.

Building the firmware

After you’ve downloaded the firmware, applied the correct configuration and installed the correct toolchain you have to build the Micropython cross compiler. This extra compiler converts Python scripts into a Micropython specific binary format so that these Python scripts can be integrated inside the firmware image.

Building the Micropython cross compiler can be done by running bash from inside the firmware folder.

After you’ve built the Micropython cross compiler you can build the firmware by navigating to the firmware folder and running make. On multi-core systems compilation speeds can be improved by adding the number of threads to be used: make -j 4.