Son of YAESPK (Yet Another ESP Killer)

Seeed Studio have just announced another module based on the Winner Micro W600 ARM SOC.  This one is slightly more expensive than the previous two offerings, but does seem to be a much more sensible design for hobbyists and, with Seeed touting CE/FCC certification for it, attractive to those looking to produce WiFi enabled commercial products, too.W600 module. Picture courtesy of Seeed Studio.  It looks very similar to the ESP12 series modules, with an on-board, PCB antenna and castellated GPIO connectors on three sides of the board.  The metal RFI shield completely covers all of the components, with only the antenna showing externally.  On the version shown on the Seeed pre-order page, the silk-screen pin numbers are only on the bottom of the module and, given the size of the RFI shield, I wouldn’t expect that to change.

The pin-out also looks very similar to the ESP12, with two UARTs, I2C, H-SPI and I2S interfaces. W600 bottom, courtesy of Seeed Studio. Most of the pins share multiple functions and can also be used as standard GPIO or PWM outputs.  As noted with the previous offerings based on the W600, the processor is a single-core Cortex-M3 with 288KB of RAM and 1MB of on-board flash.  The SOC also features an on-board hardware cryptographic accelerator and an ISO/IEC “Smart-Card” 7816 interface.

In yet another echo of an ESP-based past, there is mention of an AT interface mode for communication between an external microprocessor and the W600.  The documentation available on the Winner Micro site does include a Linux based install guide for the GCC toolchain and an SDK User’s guide, along with several other useful PDF manuals, though.

W600 module pinout, courtesy of Seeed Studio.

The module is scheduled to be available for shipping from Seeed on May 22nd at $3.79 per unit, or $3.59 in quantities larger than 20.


YAESPK (Yet Another ESP Killer)

Seeed Studios is currently advertising the Air602 WiFi module at a price of $1.90 for single unit quantities.  The Air602 is tiny (smaller than a postage stamp and smaller than the ESP8266), but before you whip out your credit card to order half a dozen, you need to realize that one reason it’s so small is that there is no on-board antenna and no antenna socket, just a normal, edge connect pin on the board.

Block Diagram of WinnerMicro W600This thing in not an ESP of any variety.  It is based on the WinnerMicro W600 SOC, which has a Cortex M3 core.  The block diagram looks very impressive (although at the moment, the WinnerMicro web site is much less impressive and is doing an excellent impression of a honey-pot/tar-pit trap for unwary browsers), with dual UARTs, I2C, SPI and I2S interfaces, an RTC and hardware crypto all baked in.

The Air602 module has a limited number of pinouts (more than the ESP-01, though), so the available interfaces are fairly limited.  There are 12 pins available, but with two ground pins, one 3v3, one antenna and one (input only) reset, that leaves only 7 pins available for I/O and those seem to be split between the two UARTs as primary (with the SPI bus as alternate use) and the single GPIO-8 available as unassigned.  I’m guessing that the reason for the two pins being assigned to GND is an attempt to make it easier to add a micro antenna socket (the grounds are either side of the antenna pin).

The SDK zip is available from Seeed’s site and, given the current, sloooo-o-o-w state of the WinnerMicro web site, that’s where I’d advise you to go for more info.  The module itself seems to ship with LUA and an AT command set implementation as standard (again, shades of the original ESP-01).  Seeed also have a WiFi development board, based on the Air602 module, for only $2.90, which is a give and take proposition.  It has an antenna (big plus) and the PCB is made to plug directly into a USB socket, but only 5 of the W600’s IO pins are available as through-hole connections.