Frequently Asked Questions

Tips for using ESPHome

  1. ESPHome supports (most of) Home Assistant’s YAML configuration directives like !include and !secret. So you can store all your secret WiFi passwords and so on in a file called secrets.yaml within the directory where the configuration file is.

    For even more configuration templating, take a look at Substitutions.

  2. If you want to see how ESPHome interprets your configuration, run

    esphome config livingroom.yaml
    
  3. To view the logs from your node without uploading, run

    esphome logs livingroom.yaml
    
  4. You can always find the source ESPHome generates under <NODE_NAME>/src/.

  5. You can view the full list of command line interface options here: Command Line Interface

  6. Use substitutions to reduce repetition in your configuration files.

I can’t get flashing over USB to work.

ESPHome depends on the operating system the tool is running on to recognize the ESP. This can sometimes fail. Common causes are that you did not install the drivers (see note below) or you are trying to upload from a Docker container and did not mount the ESP device into your container using --device=/dev/ttyUSB0.

Starting with ESPHome 1.9.0, the ESPHome suite provides esphome-flasher, a tool to flash ESPs over USB.

First, you need to get the firmware file to flash. For the Home Assistant add-on based installs you can use the COMPILE button (click the overflow icon with the three dots) and then press Download Binary. For command line based installs you can access the file under <CONFIG_DIR>/<NODE_NAME>/.pioenvs/<NODE_NAME>/firmware.bin.

Then, install esphome-flasher by going to the releases page and downloading one of the pre-compiled binaries. Open up the application and select the serial port you want to flash to (on windows you can use the “device manager” to check if it’s the right one).

../_images/esphomeflasher-ui.png

Select the firmware binary and finally press “Flash ESP”.

Note

If the serial port is not showing up, you might not have the required drivers installed. ESPs usually ship with one of these two UART chips:

Note

If you’re just seeing Connecting....____.... on the screen and the flashing fails, that might be a sign that the ESP is defect or cannot be programmed. Please double check the UART wires are connected correctly if flashing using a USB to UART bridge. For some devices you need to keep pressing the BOOT button until flashing has begun (ie. Geekcreit DOIT ESP32 DEVKIT V1).

Help! Something’s not working!!

That’s no good. Here are some steps that resolve some problems:

How to submit an issue report

First of all, thank you very much to everybody submitting issue reports! While we try to test ESPHome/YAML as much as we can using our available hardware, we don’t own every single device type and rely on testing done by the community and the contributors. When doing some changes in the core, it can quickly happen that something somewhere breaks. Issue reports are a great way for us to track and (hopefully) fix issues, so thank you!

For us to fix the issue quickly, there are some things that would be really helpful:

  1. Just writing “X doesn’t work” or “X gives bug” is not helpful!!! Seriously, how do you expect help given just that information?

  2. A snippet of the code/configuration file used is always great to reproduce this issue. Please read How to create a Minimal, Complete, and Verifiable example.

  3. If it’s an I²C or hardware communication issue please also try setting the log level to VERY_VERBOSE as it provides helpful information about what is going on.

  4. Please also include what you’ve already tried and didn’t work as that can help us track down the issue.

You can find the issue tracker here https://github.com/esphome/issues

How do I update to the latest version?

It’s simple. Run:

pip3 install -U esphome
# From docker:
docker pull esphome/esphome:latest

And in Home Assistant, there’s a simple UPDATE button when there’s an update available as with all add-ons.

How do I update to the latest beta release?

ESPHome has a beta release cycle so that new releases can easily be tested before the changes are deployed to the stable channel. You can help test ESPHome (and use new features) by installing the tested beta:

# For pip-based installs
pip3 install --pre -U esphome

# For docker-based installs
docker run [...] -it esphome/esphome:beta run livingroom.yaml

For Home Assistant supervised installs add the community addons beta repository by adding https://github.com/hassio-addons/repository-beta in Add-on store -> Repositories.

The beta docs are available at beta.esphome.io

How do I use the latest bleeding edge version?

First, a fair warning that the latest bleeding edge version is not always stable and might have issues. If you find some, please do however report them.

To install the dev version of ESPHome:

  • In Home Assistant: Add the ESPHome repository https://github.com/esphome/hassio in Add-on store -> Repositories. Then install the add-on ESPHome Dev

  • From pip: Run pip3 install https://github.com/esphome/esphome/archive/dev.zip

  • From docker, use the esphome/esphome:dev image

    docker run [...] -it esphome:dev livingroom.yaml compile
    

The latest dev docs are here: next.esphome.io

How do I use my Home Assistant secrets.yaml?

If you want to keep all your secrets in one place, make a secrets.yaml file in the esphome directory with these contents (so it pulls in the contents of your main Home Assistant secrets.yaml file from one directory higher):

<<: !include ../secrets.yaml

Does ESPHome support [this device/feature]?

If it’s not in the docs, it’s probably not supported. However, we are always trying to add support for new features, so feel free to create a feature request in the ESPHome feature request tracker. Thanks!

I have a question… How can I contact you?

Sure! We are happy to help :) You can contact us here:

My node keeps reconnecting randomly

Jep, that’s a known issue. However, it seems to be very low-level and we don’t really know how to solve it. We are working on possible workarounds for the issue, but currently we do not have a real solution.

Some steps that can help with the issue:

  • If you’re using a hidden WiFi network, make sure to enable fast_connect mode in the WiFi configuration (also sometimes helps with non-hidden networks)

  • Give your ESP a static IP.

  • Set the power_save_mode to light in the wifi: config (only helps in some cases, in other it can make things worse). See Power Save Mode.

  • The issue seems to happen with cheap boards more frequently. Especially the “cheap” NodeMCU boards from eBay which sometimes have quite bad antennas.

  • ESPHome reboots on purpose when something is not going right, e.g. wifi connection cannot be made or api connection is lost or mqtt connection is lost. So if you are facing this problem you’ll need to explicitly set the reboot_timeout option to 0s on the components being used.

  • If you see Error: Disconnecting <NODE_NAME> in your logs, ESPHome is actively closing the native API client connection. Connect a serial console to inspect the reason, which is only logged via serial. If you see ack timeout 4 right before a disconnect, this might be because of a bug in the AsyncTCP library, for which a fix was included in ESPHome version 1.18.0. If you are running an ESPHome version, prior to 1.18.0, then upgrade ESPHome and build fresh firmware for your devices.

  • We have seen an increase in disconnects while the log level was set to VERY_VERBOSE, especially on single-core devices, where the logging code might be interfering with the operation of the networking code. For this reason, we advise using a lower log level for production purposes.

  • Related to this, seems to be the number of clients that are simultaneously connected to the native API server on the device. These might for example be Home Assistant (via the ESPHome integration) and the log viewer on the web dashboard. In production, you will likely only have a single connection from Home Assistant, making this less of an issue. But beware that attaching a log viewer might have impact.

Docker Reference

Install versions:

# Stable Release
docker pull esphome/esphome
# Beta
docker pull esphome/esphome:beta
# Dev version
docker pull esphome/esphome:dev

Command reference:

# Start a new file wizard for file livingroom.yaml
docker run --rm -v "${PWD}":/config -it esphome/esphome wizard livingroom.yaml

# Compile and upload livingroom.yaml
docker run --rm -v "${PWD}":/config -it esphome/esphome run livingroom.yaml

# View logs
docker run --rm -v "${PWD}":/config -it esphome/esphome logs livingroom.yaml

# Map /dev/ttyUSB0 into container
docker run --rm -v "${PWD}":/config --device=/dev/ttyUSB0 -it esphome/esphome ...

# Start dashboard on port 6052 (general command)
# Warning: this command is currently not working with Docker on MacOS. (see note below)
docker run --rm -v "${PWD}":/config --net=host -it esphome/esphome

# Start dashboard on port 6052 (MacOS specific command)
docker run --rm -p 6052:6052 -e ESPHOME_DASHBOARD_USE_PING=true -v "${PWD}":/config -it esphome/esphome

# Setup a bash alias:
alias esphome='docker run --rm -v "${PWD}":/config --net=host -it esphome/esphome'

And a docker compose file looks like this:

version: '3'

services:
  esphome:
    image: esphome/esphome
    volumes:
      - ./:/config:rw
      # Use local time for logging timestamps
      - /etc/localtime:/etc/localtime:ro
    network_mode: host
    restart: always

Note

By default ESPHome uses mDNS to show online/offline state in the dashboard view. So for that feature to work you need to enable host networking mode

On MacOS the networking mode (“-net=host” option) doesn’t work as expected. You have to use another way to launch the dashboard with a port mapping option and use alternative to mDNS to have the online/offline stat (see below)

mDNS might not work if your Home Assistant server and your ESPHome nodes are on different subnets. If your router supports Avahi, you are able to get mDNS working over different subnets.

Just follow the next steps:

  1. Enable Avahi on both subnets.

  2. Enable UDP traffic from ESPHome node’s subnet to 224.0.0.251/32 on port 5353.

Alternatively, you can make esphome use ICMP pings to check the status of the device with the Home Assistant add-on "status_use_ping": true, option or with Docker -e ESPHOME_DASHBOARD_USE_PING=true. See also https://github.com/esphome/issues/issues/641#issuecomment-534156628.

Notes on disabling mDNS

Some of ESPHome’s functionalities rely on mDNS, so naturally disabling it will cause these features to stop working. Generally speaking, disabling mDNS without setting a static IP address (or a static DHCP lease) is bound to cause problems. This is due to the fact that mDNS is used to find the IP address of each ESPHome nodes.

  • You will not be able to use the node’s hostname to ping, find it’s IP address or connect to it.

  • Automatic discovery in Home Assistant when using native API relies on mDNS broadcast messages to detect presence of new ESPHome nodes. If you need to use the native API with mDNS disabled, then you will have to use a static IP address and manually add the ESPHome integration with the fixed IP address.

  • Online status detection in ESPHome’s dashboard by default uses mDNS, so disabling mDNS will cause the ESPHome dashboard to show the status of the nodes created without mDNS support to be always offline. Currently, this does not affect any functionality, however if you want to see the online/offline status you could configure ESPHome to ping each node instead. See the notes in the Docker Reference section for more information.

Can Configuration Files Be Recovered From The Device?

If you lost your ESPHome YAML configuration files, there’s no way to recover them. The configuration is not stored on the device directly - only the generated firmware is on the device itself (technically, the configuration can be reverse-engineered from that, but only with a lot of work).

Always back up all your files!

See Also