AI Thinker Ai-WB2 modules feature BL602 RISC-V MCU with WiFi and BLE connectivity

AI Thinker has just introduced a new family of wireless IoT modules with the Ai-WB2 equipped with Bouffalo Lab BL602 RISC-V microcontroller offering both 2.4 GHz WiFi 4 and Bluetooth 5.0 LE connectivity.

There are ten different modules to choose from, probably to keep mechanical and electrical compatibility with ESP8266 and ESP32 modules, and the company expects customers to integrate those into Internet of Things (IoT) products, mobile devices, wearables, Smart Home appliances, and more.

Ai WB2 WiFi BLE modules
Ai-WB2-01M (top) and Ai-WB2-13U (bottom)

Ai-WB2 modules share the following specifications:

  • Wireless MCU – Bouffalo Lab BL602 32-bit RISC-V microcontroller @ up to 192 MHz with 276KB SRAM, 2.4 GHz WiFi 4 and Bluetooth 5.0 LE connectivity
  • Storage – 2MB or 4MB SPI flash
  • WiFi range – Up to about 500 meters (typical)
  • I/Os – SDIO, SPI, UART, I2C, IR receiver, PWM, ADC, DAC, and GPIO  (except Ai-WB2-01S with just UART/PWM/GPIO/ADC)
  • Power Supply – 2.7V to 3.6V > 500mA
  • Power Consumption – 12μA in deep sleep mode
  • Temperature Range – Operating: -40°C to 85°C; storage: -40°C to 125°C

The AI-WB2 are available in various packages from DIP-8 to SMD-61, and with PCB antennas or IPEX antenna connectors.

Ai-WB2 BL602 IoT modules

The company uploaded an SDK for the new modules and development kits on GitHub. That SDK is based on the official Bouffalo Lab bl_iot_sdk working on Windows and Linux, but it’s unclear what they’ve changed if anything. The documentation also reveals three development kits: Ai-WB2-12F-Kit, Ai-WB2-13-Kit, and Ai-WB2-32S-Kit for the modules of the same names.

Ai-WB2-32S-Kit development board
Ai-WB2-32S-Kit “NodeMCU” development board

The Ai-WB2 modules are sold for $1.xx per unit in quantities of 100 pieces or more, while the development boards go for about $2.6 each for 10 pieces on Alibaba. If the prices on Alibaba are correct those module are price competitive against similar ESP8266/ESP32 modules, but I haven’t seen that many designs or projects based on Bouffalo Lab BL602, probably because Espressif has an advantage when it comes to software and the community.

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7 Replies to “AI Thinker Ai-WB2 modules feature BL602 RISC-V MCU with WiFi and BLE connectivity”

  1. I think they should have compared these modules with the ESP8266 equivalent, for example the ESP12F against the WB2-12F to make it more obvious what these modules gained (power draw in idle/operation, available RAM, number of ADC, PWM frequency etc).

    1. If you would have been nice, but as a customer of Espressif, I don’t think they would have been able to do that. I can’t go into details, but let’s say I’m speaking from experience… 😉

  2. …Espressif has an advantage when it comes to software and the community.

    That’s a huge understatement. They took feedback from the hobbiest and small commercial people when designing the ESP32. They listened to their fans–not just the huge commercial users. They actively participate in the communities for their products, too. That’s a big benefit for those looking to use their products.

  3. It’s sad that not BL604 once again.
    I noticed there is new chip BL606 and it looks promising, going to wait boards with it.

  4. wifi+BLE and other combo module truly seems more attractive than single wifi module with the price show. Whether the new generation of products can become a popular trend of future IoT home products is still waiting to be seen

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