I've been working with various Arduinos for the last couple of years. Never had a COM problem before. But today, I gave my son an Esplora - brand new!
I've been through this setup several times, trying to troubleshoot it, so I have re-installed Arduino IDE 1.0.5 and 1.0.5-r2 several times. It's the same on both versions. To try to be consistent, I removed the program, deleted the driver in the Device Manager, rebooted the computer, re-installed Arduino IDE 1.0.5-r2, and then plugged in the Esplora. The board was recognized and driver installation began normally. First sign of trouble, the Driver installation has a red "X" - on one of two drivers???
I looked up the installation instructions on the Esplora "Getting Started" page (http://arduino.cc/en/Guide/ArduinoEsplora#.UxPwkYUXc3M) , and as instructed I tried to add driver:
However, it reports that the driver is unable to install (note, I DID try this with the previous Driver Install window closed as well, no difference):
The Bootloader seems to have installed, so I decided to try to upload. It can't upload, but it gives me the helpful "try the reset button after you hit upload" message:
So I did that, and EsploraBlink works after I hit reset:
My son want to try EsploraKart, so I figured we need serial communication back from the Esplora. But the COM port does not work for Serial Monitor. Here's how I determined that: Since I had uploaded EsploraBlink and it worked, I then uploaded EsploraAccelerometer, which should give me data on the Serial Monitor. But as you can see below, it does not; no matter what sketch I run, I get the same "COM7 not found" message:
So: I can load sketches on to the Esplora by hitting the reset button after starting the upload (compile) process. But I can't get anything out of the Esplora on the Serial Monitor, and Windows says the device was not installed, The Esplora Kart page says that the Esplora should work as a normal keyboard, so I opened up notepad to see if I could get any output from it. I get nothing.
All of the above is on a fairly new PC (Asus P8Z77v Pro with a 3770 processor, etc) running Windows 7 with all of the current updates.
When I plug the Esplora into my Mac laptop, it works fine. OSX (Mountain Lion) recognizes the Esplora as a keyboard (even before we loaded any program onto it) and we were able to get keyboard outputs from it.
I searched fora online today before posting here. I was able to troubleshoot this far after someone posted a suggestion to look into the "COM & LPT" on the Device Manager. There is none! But I found out that if you unplug the Esplora, wait a moment, and plug it back in, "COM & LPT" shows up for a moment before it reverts back to "Other Devices>Arduino Esplora". If you're quick, you can double-click on the "COM & LPT" icon and have it open up the properties for the port. It's Port 7, which matches the Esplora Bootloader seen in the first screenshot above. It's possible to change the COM port there, but when the Esplora is the only Arduino plugged in and Arduino IDE is run, the Tools>Serial Port menu is ghosted out. This is different from any other Arduino board I have; for the rest of them, the serial port is automatically selected, and the Tools>Serial Port menu only allows the selection of the COM port to which the Arduino is connected (it's the only one in the menu). But with the Esplora, the Tools>Serial Port menu greyed out.
It seems really odd that the "Beginner" programs, like EsploraAccelerometer are not able to work. I read about the problem when the Esplora has been put into what I interpret to be HID mode, but that should be resolved by uploading a different sketch by pressing the reset button. And I was able to do that and upload EsploraBlink and EsploraTone several times.
Any help would be truly appreciated. :)