Flashing nanoFramework onto ESP32: A Comprehensive Guide

Flashing nanoFramework onto ESP32: A Comprehensive Guide


The ability to run high-level programming languages on microcontrollers has been a game-changer.

The nanoFramework project, which allows the execution of C# code on microcontrollers, is a remarkable example.

This blog post is dedicated to guiding you through the process of flashing the nanoFramework onto an ESP32 chip. This powerful yet cost-effective microcontroller has gained immense popularity in the IoT community, making it easy to build IoT projects.

Why nanoFramework on ESP32?

The nanoFramework bridges the gap between the .NET world and embedded systems.

By flashing the nanoFramework onto an ESP32, developers can leverage the power of C# and the .NET ecosystem in their IoT projects, benefiting from its advanced features, strong type-checking, and extensive libraries.


Before you begin, ensure you have:

  1. An ESP32 Development Board: Any standard ESP32 board will suffice.
  2. A Micro USB Cable: To connect the ESP32 to your computer.
  3. nanoFramework Firmware: Download the latest nanoFramework firmware for ESP32 from the official website.
  4. Visual Studio: With the nanoFramework extension installed. This will be used to develop and deploy C# applications to the ESP32 once it’s flashed.

Flashing the nanoFramework onto ESP32

Flashing the nanoFramework firmware onto an ESP32 is a straightforward process. Here’s how you can do it:

Step 1: Connect the ESP32 Board

  • Connect the ESP32 board to your computer using a micro USB cable.

Step 2: Install nanoFramework Flashing Tool

Step 3: Flash the Firmware

  • Launch the nanoFramework flashing tool.
  • The tool should automatically detect the connected ESP32 board. If not, specify the COM port manually.
  • Select the downloaded firmware file for the ESP32.
  • Click on the ‘Flash’ button to start the flashing process. This will erase the existing firmware on the ESP32 and replace it with the nanoFramework firmware.

Step 4: Verify the Flashing Process

  • Once the flashing process is complete, the tool will display a success message.
  • You can now disconnect the ESP32 board from your computer.

Post-Flashing Steps

Testing the Installation

  • To ensure that the nanoFramework has been correctly installed, reconnect the ESP32 to your computer.
  • Open Visual Studio and create a new nanoFramework project (File > New > Project > nanoFramework).
  • Write a simple C# program, such as blinking an LED or printing a message to the console.
  • Select your ESP32 board from the list of target devices in Visual Studio.
  • Deploy the program to your ESP32. If the program runs successfully, your ESP32 is ready for development with the nanoFramework.

Best Practices and Troubleshooting

  1. Driver Installation: Ensure the necessary drivers for the ESP32 board are installed on your computer.
  2. Power Supply: Ensure your ESP32 is adequately powered during the flashing process.
  3. Firmware Updates: Regularly check for updates to the nanoFramework firmware for new features and bug fixes.
  4. Device Selection in Visual Studio: Always make sure you have selected the correct device in Visual Studio before deploying your application.
  5. Troubleshooting: If you encounter issues, consult the nanoFramework documentation and community forums for support.


Flashing the nanoFramework onto an ESP32 opens up a new world of possibilities for .NET developers in the IoT domain.

By following this guide, you can transform your ESP32 into a powerful tool capable of running C# code, combining the ease of .NET development with the versatility of the ESP32.

Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, this setup paves the way for innovative and efficient IoT solutions.


Hi, my name is Stephen Finchett. I have been a software engineer for over 30 years and worked on complex, business critical, multi-user systems for all of my career. For the last 15 years, I have been concentrating on web based solutions using the Microsoft Stack including ASP.Net, C#, TypeScript, SQL Server and running everything at scale within Kubernetes.