IoT Projects, Adafruit, Arduino

How to upgrade the firmware of the Adafruit CC3000 Wi-Fi Shield

The CC3000 WiFi module from Texas Instruments is one of the most popular Wi-Fi modules in the market. It is widely used in Arduino projects but it can also be used in any microcontroller project, through its SPI communication interface.

As one of the first modules to become popular in the maker world, it quickly caused the hardware community to suggest bug fixes and improvements, helping the manufacturers come up with new and more stable firmware versions. So, in order to get the most out of your CC3000, we really suggest performing a firmware upgrade!

In this post, we’ll explain how to upgrade the firmware of the CC3000 Wi-Fi module. Before this, keep in mind the following:

  • Do not power your Arduino & CC3000 from a computer/laptop USB port during a firmware upgrade! You MUST use an external power supply with at least 1 amp of current capacity. This is to ensure the Arduino and CC3000 have enough power to operate during the firmware upgrade.
  • Make sure to run firmware updates using Arduino IDE version 1.0.6 and NOT the later beta versions 1.5.7, 1.5.8, or 1.6. The newer toolchain in the beta versions causes problems with the firmware update process.
  • To upgrade to a specific version first make sure you have the most recent Adafruit CC3000 Arduino library installed. If you installed the CC3000 library some time ago make sure to download and install it again as fixes and new firmware versions are added periodically
  • Read the latest release note of Adafruit firmware here.


Steps to Upgrade

  1. Download Arduino version 1.0.6 here.
  2. Download Adafruit CC3000 Arduino library.
  3. Open your Arduino IDE, click on Sketch -> Include Library -> Add .ZIP Library.
  4. Next, make sure your CC3000 is wired to your Arduino and can successfully run CC3000 sketches like buildtest.
  5. Now in the Arduino IDE load one of the driverpatch_X_XX CC3000 examples.
  6. Adjust any of the pins to communicate with your Arduino just like you would to run buildtest.
  7. Compile and load the sketch on your Arduino UNO.
  8. Open the serial monitor at 115200 baud and you should see a message such as:

Hello CC3000!

Hit any key & return to start

Enter some text and press any key to start the firmware upgrade process. The upgrade will happen fairly quickly and should be done in a minute or two.

Verifying the Upgrade

After the CC3000 upgrade finishes, load the buildtest example contained in the Adafruit library and run it. If the test runs well, then you have successfully upgraded the firmware of your CC3000 shield!

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About Mateo Velez