First, thanks for the replies, I appreciate the support. Aircookie, I love the new 0.9.1 software segments feature. It works great!
FYI, I am using NodeMCU-PyFlasher-4.0-x64, but that does not matter if I do not see a serial port for it to use (in W10 device manager). I have connected and programmed three other ESP8266-12e chips with WLED successfully (and the serial port shows up without issues), so I do not think it is a device driver or baud rate issue. I’ve update two other ESP8266-12e from 0.8.6 (both wthout OTA passwords).
The problem ESP8266-12e has been running “WLED version 0.8.6” for the last month without problem, and continues to run the software without issues (other than the serial port not showing up).
I have tried the “wledota” password and any other password that I might have used (this was the first one that I programmed and I do believe that I changed the OTA password like is recommended, hum… old age?), without success.
I have some old JTAG serial to USB cables from the old days of using them configure cell phones. Could I bypass the built-in serial to usb chip for an external one? If so, can someone point me in the right direction for details with a ESP8266-12e (second serial port? or by pass console serial port chip?)? I do not have any experience with that yet, but I am not afraid to try it (time to google this topic).
Note that the ESP8266-12e is not that expensive, so I can easily replaced it (well I have already). But I am learning about the ESP’s and programming. I have a need to understand and learn from this issue.