rBoot is a second-stage bootloader that allows booting application images from several pre-configured flash memory addresses, called “slots”. Sming supports up to three slots.


With Sming 4.3 partitions are used to manage flash storage. A “slot” refers to a specific application partition, typically rom0, rom1 or rom2.

The location or size of these partitions is determined by the Hardware configuration.

The bootloader has been modified to use the partition table as reference, identifying slots by the partition sub-type.

Where systems are to be updated Over the Air (OTA) at least two application partitions are required. The bootloader identifies these by their partition subtype: slot #0 -> App/Ota_0, slot #1 -> App/Ota_1, etc.

Fixed applications without OTA capability use a single application image. This must be the App/Factory partition type, and corresponds to slot #0.

At startup, the bootloader will use the partition table to locate the application image. It will also ensure that the ROM slot information in the boot configuration is consistent, and update it if necessary.


Make sure that your slots do not extend beyond a 1MB boundary and do not overlap with each other, the file system (if enabled) or the RFcal/system parameters area! Sming currently has no means of detecting a misconfigured memory layout.

Slot 0

This is the default slot (rom0, the primary application partition) which is always used.



This is the start address for slot 0.

Except for the use case described in Slot2 below, you should not need to change this.

Slot 1


[read-only] default: disabled

The start address of slot 1.

If your application includes any kind of Over-the-Air (OTA) firmware update functionality, you will need a second memory slot to store the received update image while the update routines execute from the first slot.


The spiffs-two-roms configuration can be used for this purpose.

Upon successful completion of the update, the second slot is activated, such that on next reset rBoot boots into the uploaded application. While now running from slot 1, the next update will be stored to slot 0 again, i.e. the roles of slot 0 and slot 1 are flipped with every update.

For devices with more than 1MB of flash memory, it is advisable to choose an address for rom1 with the same offset within its 1MB block as rom0.

Slot 2 (GPIO slot)

rBoot supports booting into a third slot upon explicit user request, e.g. by pressing a button during reset/power up. This is especially useful for implementing some sort of recovery mechanism.

To enable slot 2, set these values:


Disabled by default. Set to 1 to enable slot 2.



Address for slot 2. You must create a custom Hardware configuration for your project with a definition for rom2.

   "partitions": {
      "rom2": {
         "address": "0x100000",
         "size": "512K",
         "type": "app",
         "subtype": "ota_2"


At present, this will only configure rBoot. Sming will not create an application image for slot 2.

You can, however, use a second Sming project to build a recovery application image as follows:

  • Create a new Sming project for your recovery application. This will be a simple single-slot project. Create a new Hardware configuration and configure the rom0 start address and size to the same as the rom2 partition of the main project.

option (a)

  • Build and flash the recovery project as usual by typing make flash. This will install the recovery ROM (into slot 2 of the main project) and a temporary bootloader, which will be overwritten in the next step.

  • Go back to your main project. Build and flash it with make flash. This will install the main application (into slot 0) and the final bootloader. You are now all set for booting into the recovery image if the need arises.

option (b)

  • Run a normal make for your recovery project

  • Locate the firmware image file, typically out/Esp8266/release/firmware/rom0.bin (adjust accordingly if using a debug build). Copy this image file as rom2.bin into your main project directory.

  • Add an additional property to the rom2 partition entry in your main project:

    "filename": "rom2.bin"

    When you run make flash in this will get written along with the other partitions.

Automatically derived settings

The RBOOT_BIG_FLASH and RBOOT_TWO_ROMS settings are now read-only as their values are derived automatically.

In earlier versions of Sming these had to be set manually.

Big Flash Mode

The ESP8266 can map only 1MB of flash memory into its internal address space at a time. As you might expect, the first megabyte is mapped by default. This is fine if your image(s) reside(s) in this range. Otherwise, rBoot has to inject a piece of code into the application startup routine to set up the flash controller with the correct mapping.



See also Big flash support.

Single vs. Dual ROMs

Since every 1MB range of flash memory is mapped to an identical internal address range, the same ROM image can be used for slots 0 and 1 if (and only if!) both slots have the same address offsets within their 1MB blocks, i.e. (RBOOT_ROM0_ADDR & 0xFFFFF) == (RBOOT_ROM1_ADDR & 0xFFFFF).

Consequently, for such configurations, the Sming build system generates only one ROM image.

In all other cases, two distinct application images must be linked with different addresses for the ‘irom0_0_seg’ memory region. You should use the two-rom-mode Hardware configuration for this. The Sming build system will handle everything else, including linker script generation.


READONLY Determines if rBoot needs to generate distinct firmware images.

Further Configuration Settings


Default: 0 (verbose)

At system restart rBoot outputs debug information to the serial port. Set to 1 to disable.


Path to the linker script template. The actual script is output to the application build directory (e.g. rom0.ld), replacing the irom0_0_seg entry according to the configured build settings.


Base name for firmware image #0. Default is rom0.


Base name for firmware image #1. Default is rom1.


READONLY Defines the path to the esptool2 tool which rBoot uses to manipulate ROM images. Use $(ESPTOOL2) if you need it within your own projects.

API Documentation


Used by

Environment Variables

SoC support

  • esp8266

  • host

Submodule: rboot