Last night was another BuildBrighton nerd-meet-up and, luckily, we had a couple of these new fangled ESP8266 wifi modules to try out. In case you’ve been living in a cave with a tin can tied to the end of piece of string as an internet connection, you’ll probably know that these are the ultra-cheap wifi modules currently flooding out of Chinese factories and onto “hacker benches” all over the world.
The reason they’ve created such a stir is that a) they’re cheap and b) the firmware can be (relatively) easily upgraded. So hackers and makers all over the world have been busy trying to access the onboad microcontroller and utilise the extra GPIO pins, to create a single-chip, all-in-one wifi controller.
Our interests are less adventurous – the modules are sold as UART-to-wifi plugin devices, and that’s exactly how we’re going to use them.
Getting an ESP8266 wifi module to work with Arduino – [Link]
Access Dallas 1-wire bus on your PC with simple and cheap hardware.
This project is based on Maxim’s application note: Using a UART to Implement a 1-Wire Bus Master
Onewire over UART – [Link]
This minimalistic board is packed with features and comes with an extensive ecosystem of documentation and firmware.
For the student (we are never too old) that wants to fast track his career as a professional firmware developer there is:
- a detailed getting started guide
- an Atmel AVR quick start guide, with tutorials and examples
- Recommend best practices
For the developer that wants to improve his game there is:
- A header to quickly connect different kinds of peripherals (GPIO, A/D, UART, SPI & I2C). Notice that each interface has it’s own +3V3 and GND pins to make wiring easier and also improves EMC.
- A full-featured CLI application to experiment with the connected device and verify that it works, before committing to a single line of C code.
- A firmware framework that lays the foundation so that you can quickly develop a new application.
- A Temp&Pressure Logger and Analog voltage Logger application that demonstrates how you can quickly develop your own custom logging application using the onboard AT45D DataFlash.
Atmel ATmega328P Scorpion Board – [Link]
Bob Alexander of Galactic Studios made this bluetooth serial monitor for embedded microcontroller projects, the Blueprintf:
One way of debugging microcontroller-based projects is to send messages out the UART serial port. Then, a UART-to-USB interface can feed the messages into your PC for display. But I wanted a small, portable device for viewing serial data without a PC, and I wanted it to use my cell phone or tablet for its display.
There are a few advantages to this. First, I don’t always have my PC nearby; maybe the project worked fine on my workbench, but doesn’t work “in the field” where I don’t have a PC handy. Second, the UART-to-USB interface sometimes hangs, especially if there are glitches from the system under test (SUT). Finally, sometimes I just don’t want to string the wires from the embedded system to my PC
Blueprintf – a bluetooth serial monitor – [Link]
Serial camera module that captures time-lapse and stop-motion videos plus images to uSD card. Use with any micro like mbed and Arduino.
ALCAM allows any embedded system with a serial interface (UART, SPI or I2C) to capture JPG/BMP images and also to record them right onto an SD card. Also, ALCAM gives you the ability to create time-lapse and stop-motion AVI videos and save them directly to the SD card. All done through a set of simple and well documented serial commands. ALCAM can also capture images and videos though a special pin, without the need to send any commands.
ALCAM-OEM – Serial camera module – [Link]
Hey, sorry everyone, I know it’s been a while. But I hope this post will make up for that! Anyone who has done embedded programming knows that an easy way for microcontrollers (like arduino) to connect to a PC is through a serial connection. Unfortunately, not many computers have a serial port these days, and while are a lot of chips that will act like a usb-serial converter, they tend to be somewhere in the $3-5 range. However, I found one chip, the CH340G, that only costs 40 cents!
CH340G – alternative USB to serial IC – [Link]
Limpkin has build a development board for the ESP8266-03:
The ESP8266 modules come with a pre-loaded firmware that will accept some commands through their UART interface (connect to wifi, open udp socket, send data to this IP…). Moreover, since Espressif recently released their SDK you can now load your own custom programs using the existing bootloader. To launch this bootloader you just have to connect some IOs to GND in a specific order.
However, anyone wanting to develop a project involving dozens of Wifi nodes has to start from somewhere, eg make a prototype of their future platform. That is why I developed this development board, so the prototyping stage is as simple as possible.
As you can see in the picture below the dev board breaks out all the ESP8266-03 IOs, includes a 3.3V LDO, a USB to UART converter, some logic and a button to automatically start the bootloader.
A development board for the ESP8266-03 – [Link]
by marc2203 @ importhack.wordpress.com:
I’m not going to explain in detail what is ESP8266 because if you have found this post I’m sure you already know it. But just in case, it is an awesome cheap board (less than 4$) with built-in wifi communication (802.11 b/g/n), and SPI, UART. You can also use its processor to run your code.
How to use ESP8266 ESP-01 as a SENSOR web client – [Link]
With the rapid development of GPS (Global Positioning System) techniques, GPS gets wider application in many fields. GPS has features such as high precision, global coverage, convenience, high quality, and low cost. Recently, the use of GPS extends speedily from military to civilian applications such as automobile navigation systems which combine the GPS system, e-map, and wireless network. GPS is getting popular, and the market for GPS techniques is extending continuously.
UARTs provide serial asynchronous receive data synchronization, parallel-to-serial and serial-to-parallel data conversion for both the transmitter and receiver sections. These functions are necessary for converting the serial data stream into parallel data that is required with digital systems. Synchronization for the serial data stream is accomplished by adding start and stop bits to the transmit data to form a data character. Data integrity is ensured by attaching a parity bit to the data character. The parity bit is checked by the receiver for any transmission bit errors.
The circuit describes how to combine GPS into a navigation system by using a Philips 2-channel UART, the SC16C2552B. The SC16C2552B is a two channel Universal Asynchronous Receiver and Transmitter (UART) used for serial data communications. Its principal function is to convert parallel data into serial data, and vice versa. The UART can handle serial data rates up to 5 Mbit/s.
UART in GPS navigation system – [Link]
Microkite is a DTX module built to utilise the great potential of the new PIC32MX1xx/2xx microcontrollers. It integrates a power supply able to provide power to the external user circuit as well, a microSD connector for data storage and a USB-UART bridge for easy communication with a PC terminal.
The module is intended for inclusion in various control systems and follows the DTX standard pinout which opens the possibility for a trouble-free upgrade with newer models in future. The module fits into a standard PLCC-68 socket and significantly optimises the end user circuit and the later software development process.
Microkite DTX module – [Link]