I recently found myself helping with PDXNode’s freestyle Robot Talent Show hack night (notes) for NodeBots Day. We needed to set up a stack of Arduino Unos for use with Johnny-Five, so participants could integrate hardware into their laptop-based Node.js projects.
Unfortunately, the first step in related instructions is generally to flash the Standard Firmata Plus firmware from the Arduino IDE, and we were several full stack developers all using Linux, finding advice for uploading from Arduino IDE over USB ineffective. Despite installing different versions, running with different permissions and setting
dialout groups, programming this way was not progressing.
Fortunately, Firmata is available on PlatformIO, and thus in IDEs like Atom and Visual Studio Code. Once the right board-specific configurations were figured out, all our boards got uploads in 5 minutes.
- Create a PlaformIO project.
platformio lib install "Firmata"in the terminal. The firmware also depends on Servo for motor control.
- Add a platformio.ini configuration file, adjusted to your board - the following worked for Uno and Nano boards:
[env:nano] platform = atmelavr board = nanoatmega328 framework = arduino lib_deps = Firmata Servo [env:uno] platform = atmelavr board = uno framework = arduino lib_deps = Firmata Servo
- Copy StandardFirmataPlus.ino from the examples tab. In the case of VS Code, the IDE will complain less if the file is renamed to .cpp, no code changes required.
- Once the code is in order, connect Arduino to flash, then PlatformIO > Run Task > Upload (Uno) (or other environment matching the board).
A ready PlatformIO project is available for easy flashing in the firmata directory of my repository of code prepared for the NodeBots workshop. Good luck!