ESP32Thing only loads with Reset-Boot on OS/X? Try a new USB driver!

the sparkfun esp32thing really does require a recent USB driver

Working with the ESP32Thing from sparkfun is exciting, but the frustrating bit was that in order to flash it, you had to

  • push down the reset button (tiny)
  • push down the boot button (tiny)
  • release the reset button
  • release the boot button

ESP32Thing Buttons
Sparkfun ESP32Thing Reset and Boot Buttons

Then, after the flash, it needs another reset to boot from the newly loaded code.

Those buttons are fine if you have tweezers for hands or if your fingernails are not too long and not too short. Many online docs mention that some boards just need that sometimes, so I never thought much of it and just got used to it (also: OTA updates and things like Mongoose OS do not need them once they are configured).

Then, while I was evaluating Whitecatboard and Lua RTOS for ESP32, I ran into some issues I hoped would go away if I updated the OS/X VCP (usb serial) driver. I took a chance hoping that it would not break my working Arduino/ESP-IDF/Espruino setup.

Turned out that the (Nov 2017) whitecatboard iDE is promising but still very much alpha, HOWEVER: my ESP32Thing now flashes without the tiny button dance! Every time.