To begin with …a non-event. This week we were treated to yet another “ESP8266 Killer!” shock-horror headline. I suspect that the headline was very much tongue-in-cheek, because the publication in question, Hackaday, certainly knows better. The article referred to the ESP8285, which was actually announced by Espressif way back in March and, as the press release makes clear in the heading, the ESP8285 is nothing more than an ESP8266 with on-chip flash memory of 1MB. For most of us, this was a big yawn item. The currently available modules generally have more flash on board nowadays and generally, as hobby users, we rarely buy the chips themselves (mainly because it’s more expensive than buying the pre-built modules). If you are itching to get your hands on an ESP8285 though, there are details below on where you can grab a brand-spanking-new breakout board.
On a lighter note …have you ever seen a crowdfunding campaign which reached 384,900% (yes, that’s three-hundred and eighty-four-thousand and nine-hundred percent!) of the funding target? Well, here you go! Of course, it’s an ESP8266 product.
For this weeks recommended reads, we touch on a few hardware items which look quite interesting:-
- Here’s a slightly different take on the Sonoff. Tinkerman bought some non-RF units and then discovered that he needed RF control after all …so he hacked in an RF board to suit his existing remote control unit.
- Kris Winer at Pesky Products has a nice ESP8285 adapter board for sale on Tindie. It’s a wee bit on the expensive side (compared to the el-cheapo 8266 modules we’re all used to), but has a lot on-board, with a LDO regulator, LiPo battery charger, USB-to-Serial, a USB micro-connector, reset and programming buttons, four LEDs and, of course, a breadboard friendly size and layout. There are also pads available for an optional BME280 temp/humidity/pressure sensor and an optional VEML6040 light sensor (Kris can supply boards with these two sensor already populated for an extra $10). Anyone who regularly browses OSH Park’s “Shared Projects” pages will know that Kris is constantly refining and updating his designs; he has a lot of design experience under his belt, so it’s a good bet that there aren’t going to be any nasty surprises with this module.
- At the other end of the breakout board scale, Spence Konde (aka Dr Azzy) has a bare board for the ESP8266 which sells on Tindie for only $3.50. It certainly isn’t as polished as the Pesky Products board, but it does have the advantage of having a good chunk of available prototyping space, along with a very basic power-supply area and break-outs for all of the ESP pins. Either an ESP-07 or ESP-12 module can be used on the board and there are a couple of nice touches — there are different versions of the voltage regulator on the top and bottom of the board (so you use the pads on the bottom of the board for centre-ground versions and the pads on the top for centre-v-out versions), there are both SMD pads and through-hole pads available for some of the components, there are pads for FET drivers on the back of the board (SMD), as well as a couple of positions for WS2812 LED packages.
- If you’re looking for a vertical, solderless-breadboard friendly adapter with the ESP8266 already attached at a competitive price, check this offering from Aerial.net (Greece), who also seem to have very reasonable postage rates.
No apologies (but an explanation) for the number of Tindie links this week. A couple of weeks ago I had started writing a short piece on how disappointing the state of ESP8266 offerings were on Tindie (at that stage there were a fairly large number of vendors simply re-selling the bog-standard AI-Thinker modules and a large number of those were the el-crapo ESP-01 modules, at that). That article was shelved (who want’s to read what’s not available?!), but I’ve been checking back in with Tindie since then to see if the situation is improving any and, as you can see, slowly but surely it is …but my take-away opinion on this is that you could still make a name for yourself in the ESP8266 world (and, perhaps, a killing) on Tindie if you have a useful, well-priced product aimed at the hobby market right now.