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It appears to me that there must be some sort of prepackaged firmware on ESP8266 modules that allows user firmware to be loaded via the Rx/Tx pins on the ESP8266. If that firmware is corrupted, the ESP8266 is dead. I see the typical MISO/MOSI/SCK pins on the ESP8266, and I assume that they would be used to flash the bootloader itself. Does anybody know how to do that? Thank you.

  • what has SPI to do with bootloader (or application) flashing? classic AVR used the same pins for ISP (in system programming), but even new AVR MCU models don't use SPI pins to flash the bootloader (or application) – Juraj May 2 at 14:56
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    Possible duplicate of Wiring when burning the bootloader of esp8266 – Juraj May 2 at 15:02
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It appears to me that there must be some sort of prepackaged firmware on ESP8266 modules that allows user firmware to be loaded via the Rx/Tx pins on the ESP8266.

Indeed there is.

If that firmware is corrupted, the ESP8266 is dead.

Well, if that firmware gets corrupted, then yes indeed the chip is dead. That's because the firmware is in ROM, not flash - and the only way it can get corrupted is for the chip to be physically damaged internally.

I see the typical MISO/MOSI/SCK pins on the ESP8266, and I assume that they would be used to flash the bootloader itself.

No. They are SPI. SPI has nothing to do with flashing firmware. It just happens that AVR chips share the same pins as SPI for their debug protocol.

You cannot replace the bootloader on an ESP8266. It is in ROM. It's unchangeable - except as mentioned earlier by physical trauma to the silicon itself.

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