IoT Wi-Fi Modules Comparison Table – ESP8266 vs CC3000 vs RN131 vs HDG204

We now have several options to add WiFi to IoT / embedded projects at relatively low cost, and ESP8266 based solutions clearly wins on costs, but are there some advantages to other higher priced modules? To help us find out, Mike Barela has put up a comparison table with some Wi-FI modules based on Espressif ESP8266, Texas Instruments CC3000, Microchip RN131, and H&D Wireless HDG204 processors. Note 1 – Also comes in Arduino Shield size with SD card slot for $39.95 Note 2 & 3 – Adafruit and Sparkfun sell tested units with AT Firmware for $6.95. lower prices are available on eBay, but quality may vary. Note 4 – Currents are probably somewhat higher than stock ESP-12 due to onboard LED and regulator. The comparison is not exhaustive, but it still appears to show ESP8266 solutions support most features than pricer competing modules. There are however case where competing solutions have an edge, for example if you need an […]

ESP8266 SDK 1.1.0 is Now Released Under an MIT License

ESP8266 is the now famous dirt-cheap Wi-Fi SoC used for IoT applications. It can be used by hobbyists and companies alike. But for the later, there was a licensing issue as Espressif ESP8266 SDK was initially released under the GPLv3 license. GPL code is great and lots of open source projects are released under the most common open source license. But since proprietary, closed source software has still its place in the market place, some other more permissive licenses such as LGPL are used for library, and Android for example has an Apache License 2.0. So previously, if you developed an application using ESP8266 SDK, you’re code would have to be GPL too, since the license is viral. It would also cause issues if you had released your application under an Apache or MIT license. But now, all is well, as Espressif released ESP8266 SDK 1.10 under an MIT license, and also fixed various bugs in the process. That means […]

$10 Digistump Oak ESP8266EX Board is Arduino Compatible, Connects to the Cloud, and More (Crowdfunding)

A few years ago, I wondered why adding Wi-Fi to Arduino had to be rather expensive ($40+), and why there weren’t any low cost and small form factor Wi-Fi boards for embedded applications. But we’re now in 2015, embedded is “dead” giving rise to IoT, and I’m left wondering how it’s possible to make IoT Wi-Fi modules that cheap, and whether people will ever stop churning out cheap Wi-Fi boards, as I’m flooded with such news weekly… So when I saw yet another ESP8266 board on Kickstarter I was about to dismiss it, but since it was made by Digistump, that has an active community with their other products like DigiSpark Pro or DigiX, I decided to have a closer look. Digistump Oak hardware specifications: MCU – Espressif ESP8266EX 32-bit microprocessor @ 80MHz (overclockable up to 160MHz)  with 1MB ROM (~300KB available for user code), 64KB RAM, 512 bytes EEPROM Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi radio USB – micro USB […]

NodeMCU is both a Breadboard-Friendly ESP8266 Wi-Fi Board and a LUA based Firmware

NodeMCU is a LUA based interactive firmware for Expressif ESP8622 Wi-Fi SoC, as well as an open source hardware board that contrary to the $3 ESP8266 Wi-Fi modules includes a CP2102 TTL to USB chip for programming and debugging, is breadboard-friendly, and can simply be powered via its micro USB port. Let’s checkout the hardware first. The latest version of the board (V1.0) has the following specifications and features: Wi-Fi Module – ESP-12E module similar to ESP-12 module but with 6 extra GPIOs. USB – micro USB port for power, programming and debugging Headers – 2x 2.54mm 15-pin header with access to GPIOs, SPI, UART, ADC, and power pins Misc – Reset and Flash buttons Power – 5V via micro USB port Dimensions – 49 x 24.5 x 13mm The hardware documentation for the board can be found on nodemcu-devkit repo, including schematics and PCB layout designed with Altium Designer, but they should also be compatible with the cheaper Altium […]

ESP8266 Wi-Fi Module is Now Supported in Arduino IDE

ESP8266 revolutionized the IoT world by offering an ultra low cost Wi-Fi solution either standalone or connected to a micro-controller board via SPI or UART. There are plenty of tutorials on the web to play with the Wi-Fi module, but it’s only recently an Arduino IDE has added support for ESP8266. If you want to try it, you can download the binary for Linux, Windows, or Mac OS X. Since my computer is running Ubuntu 14.04, I download and extracted arduino-1.6.1-linux64.tar.xz to install it in my PC. Now simply run the arduino script to start the IDE, and select to Tools->Board->Generic ESP8266 board. I don’t own an ESP8266 module myself, but Olimex tried it on their ESP8266-EVB: They connected a serial debug board and selected Tools->Port->/dev/ttyUSB0 in the IDE Selected Tools-> Programmer->esptool Loaded Blink example, and modified it to turn on and off the relay on their evaluation board. If you don’t find turning on/off an LED or a relay, […]

Freetronics Introduces an Arduino Shield for ESP8266 ESP-01 Wi-Fi Module

ESP8622 has drastically brought down the price of adding Wi-Fi to MCU boards such as Arduino UNO,  but you need to add some cables, and take care of 3.3V to 5V conversion for the UART pins either with a divider made of 2 resistors, or a FET level shifter, and you may not be able to access all I/O of ESP8622 on the popular ESP-01 version of the module. For a neater solution, Freetronics had designed ESP-01 WiFi Module Shield that takes care of all these small issues. Key features of the shield: 3.3V regulator dedicated to the module Logic level shifters on TX/RX lines: compatible with both 3.3V and 5V Arduino models Selectable TX/RX pins: use D0/D1 for hardware serial, or D2 – D7 for software serial CH_PD pin on ESP-01 module pre-biased for correct operation mode Extra ESP-01 pins broken out for your own connections Prototyping area with 5V and GND rails All Arduino headers broken out for […]

Olimex ESP8266-EVB Wi-Fi Evaluation Board Includes a Relay, an UEXT Connector

Olimex announced open source hardware ESP8266 modules last month, and the company has just announced the availability of ESP8266-EVB board with an ESP8266 module, a relay, an UEXT connector for other compatible Olimex modules, and headers for access to GPIOs. ESP8266 evaluation board specifications: MOD-WIFI-ESP8266-DEV Wi-Fi module with soldered connectors Female connectors for MOD-WIFI-ESP8266-DEV 10A/250VAC Relay Expansions 16-pin header (CON3) with access to some GPIOs, ADC, SDIO, RESET, and power signals. UEXT connector to connect modules and sensors from Olimex, or access I2C, UART, SPI, and extra GPIOs Misc – User Button which can also be pressed at boot time to enter bootloader mode for firmware upgrade. Power Supply – 5V/1A recommended; DCDC power converter to 3.3V to supply ESP8266 and UEXT modules with up to 1.5A current Dimensions – 57x50mm (4 mounting holes) You’ll also need 5V power supply, and a USB to serial board (3.3V) in order to load the code, and which are not included with the […]

Top 10 Posts of 2014 and Stats on CNX Software

Wow! After a slow start of the year, 2014 has been a busy year as new devices based on newer processor from Amlogic started to flood the market in Q2, soon followed by even more Rockchip RK3288 based media players, and then some more Amlogic S805 and Allwinner A80 boards and devices. It’s now the last day of the year, so just like in 2013, it’s time to look back on the main trends of the year, and based on the list of the top 10 most visited posts below, the new generation of ARM Android media players were the most important story of the year on CNX Software, but we also saw more IoT devices and board like Vidonn X5 or LinkIT One, lots of new Wi-Fi modules, and by the end of the year ESP8266 seemed to have won that fight, but being found in $3 Wi-Fi modules. Low cost Intel based mini PCs generated a lot of […]