This TTGO Board Combines ESP32, LoRa Radio, and OLED Display for just $10

Just one year ago, it would cost around $15 to $20+ to get an ESP32 board, that is if you were lucky/fast enough to order one one before it went out of stock. Since then, availability is no longer an issue, and you now can get an ESP32 development board for as low as about $7, or even around $4 during promotions.

Today, I was made aware of another board sold under the “TTGO” brand, that includes not only ESP32 WiFi and Bluetooth SoC, but also a (433 MHz) LoRa radio, and an OLED display. Price? Just $10 plus shipping ($1.75 here).

Battery not Included – Click to Enlarge

TTGO ESP32/LoRa board specifications:

  • WiSoC – Espressif ESP32
  • Storage – 32MB on-board flash (or maybe just 16MB?)
  • LoRa
    • Semtech SX1278 with u.FL connector + 433MHz antenna (N.B.: Antenna must be connected during use or the Semtech chip could be damaged)
    • Sensitivity” ~ -148dBm; output power: +20dBm
  • Display – 0.96″ blue OLED display
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for debugging (CP2102) and power
  • Expansion – 2x 18-pin headers with GPIOs, UART, ADC, Touch, SPI, power signals… (See pinout diagram)
  • Misc – Charging Status LED
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port, 2-pin battery header, 5V Pin. (Operating voltage: 3.3V to 7V)

The board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE after downloading and installing the TTGO folder in arduino/hardware. After selecting “WiFi_LoRa_32” board, you should be able to load various samples to play with the board.

Click to Enlarge

The board is sold with a 433MHz antenna, and two male headers. You’ll save a little bit on shipping if you purchase two kits instead.  The board can also be found on eBay and Banggood.

Thanks to Mpampis for the tip.

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bob
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bob

Nice esp32 LORA board!
Looklike an improvement of LOLIN board… cheaper well done chineses!
Hope the battery management is good…

Jan de Boer
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Jan de Boer

Re flash storage: it’s not 32MB, it’s 32Mb (megabits) = 4MB (megabyte). Same as most other ESP32 boards.

Sander
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Sander

What can you with the “LoRa Semtech SX1278”? Is that peer-2-peer communication, or can you talk a public LoRa provider?

Catalin
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It is nice board. Looking for 868Mhz version foe Europe. Still not clear for me the memory size and the battery since esp32 consume more battery then esp8266.

Jan de Boer
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Jan de Boer

@cnxsoft
Assuming flash is SOIC-8-200 chip on the back side, this is likely 25Qxx, which in theory be up to 128mbit part (positively not 256mbit, those don’t exist in this package). But at ~ $1/piece, I seriously doubt a low-cost board would go with 25Q128. One step down, 25Q64 are not very common, and not particularly attractive price/MB-wize. Which leaves 25Q32 as most likely.

Jan de Boer
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Jan de Boer

@Catalin
ESP32 has ULP (ultra-low-power) processor core, which consumes microampers, but is smart enough to handle simple bit-banged protocols all by itself (see [1] for example). Which means that during long LoRa transaction, main CPU could be completely powered down, and only wake after that, and not being tied to slow protocol, very quickly go back to sleep. So I would expect a well-designed ESP32-LoRa combination to be much more power-efficient than ESP8266-LoRa.

[1] https://github.com/tomtor/ulp-i2c

Catalin
Guest

Thanks for clarifying this. I need to read more about ULP on ESP32.

Deets
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Deets

Uses the dreaded 26mhz Crystal and 2.4ghz rf layout is not great. When will they make a 868/915mhz version?

Paul
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Paul

If only 1 band available, 433MHz seems an odd choice. In the locations I am interested, the public gateway providers only work with 868/915 MHz
Does it allow for recharging a backup LiPo? (looking at the white connector on reverse side)

KarlP
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@Deets
“dreaded 26Mhz” crystal you mean this? https://www.esp32.com/viewtopic.php?t=2742#p13328 It seems like it’s fixed in software. was there something else you meant?

Praveen
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Praveen

Can someone give me a link where I can download the “TTGO folder”? It seems almost impossible to create an account with Baidu since they ask for a phone number verification. If someone is kind enough to download this folder and share it in any sharing sites (or dropbox or google drive), it is helpful to all. Hope someone does.

Praveen
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Praveen

Thanks. It did not work on the desktop as the (下载) took me to login page. However, when tried on the mobile, it worked. Now I have the folder and will start working on it. Thanks again.

Elochukwu Ifediora
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Elochukwu Ifediora

Please could you share <just like you requested earlier) the download folder with Google Drive link or dropbox? I believe this would save a great deal of time for others with same challenge. Thanks in advance

RomainR
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RomainR

Some code resources with demos are available there: https://github.com/osresearch/esp32-ttgo

Member

I am also confused about Lora. Is it possible to build a 20 node private network out of Lora without a $50 gateway chip in the center of the network? Lets say I wanted to send data from 20 temperature sensors back to a RaspPi. Does the RaspPi have to have a Lora gateway chip?

Sfinx
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Sfinx

It can be done with own Lora MAC layer. I’ve implemented such – the RPi with lora hat has the gateway/app server build as one app with custom Murata STM32 Lora chip fw.

KarlP
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KarlP

@Jon Smirl nope, you need a lora gateway/basestation, either your own or a commercial one. it’s an overhyped scam.

dekip
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dekip

Can someone tell me for what TTGO stands for.

relmes
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relmes

Note the pin out diagram linked about has the pins shown on the wrong side. i.e. The ones on the left of the diagram are actually on the right and vice versa. The order of the pins seems correct though.