I want to use a ESP8266 (ESP12) to receive data from a counter at 9600 baud via SotwareSerial. But my program does not receive any data. I broke it down to the code i attach here. I tried it using different libraries (Arduino SoftwareSerial and also espsoftwareserial) i found. I connected and tested RX and TX in different combinations of the available pins 4/5/12/13/14. But no combination is receiving data at all. I only can send data - checked by oscilloscope. Running my test program attached i connected the RX and TX pin together so i should loop back the data from tx.

I hopefully find somebody in the community who can give me a helpful hint. Thank you in advance!

#include <SoftwareSerial.h>
SoftwareSerial mySerial1(14, 12, false, 256);  // RX, TX

void setup() {
mySerial1.begin(9600);   //  Kommunikation mit Zähler

Serial.print(__DATE__);Serial.print(" ");Serial.println(__TIME__);

char ch;
  Serial.println("\nSoftware serial test started");
  Serial.print("Data sent: ");
  for (byte i = 32; i < 128; i++) { mySerial1.write(i);             
  Serial.print(char(i)); }
  Serial.print("Data recv: ");
  if(mySerial1.available()) {
      ch = mySerial1.read();

void loop() {}
  • Dear @fhpa, before answering, I suggest you to remove while(1) from setup() function and move content of while(1) inside loop() function. Loop() function, as suggested by its name, loops consecutively. arduino.cc/en/Reference/Loop?setlang=en
    – leoc7
    Jan 2, 2019 at 18:42
  • Please, be more precise, provide the schematic. Are you sure that connection are correct?
    – leoc7
    Jan 2, 2019 at 18:56
  • Thank you commenting. Yes, the connections have been correct. In the meantime my question was answered and the problem is solved: SoftwareSerial cannot send and receive at the same time.
    – fhpa
    Jan 2, 2019 at 22:57

1 Answer 1


If the ESP8266's software serial is anything like the Arduino's software serial, it cannot receive data while it's transmitting. It's strictly half-duplex.

To test your system you will need to test the transmission and reception completely separately, and that means having some external device sending data for you to attempt to receive.

  • Thank you Majenko for your answer solving the problem. You are right saying the SoftwareSerial is working strictly half duplex. I tested it with a second esp only sending data and receiving with the second ESP. BTW i only need to receive data. I think you saved me a lot of my time!
    – fhpa
    Jan 2, 2019 at 23:01

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