Meet the $8 ESP32-S2-Saola-1 Development Board from Espressif

Meet the $8 ESP32-S2-Saola-1 Development Board from Espressif

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Following the recent move by Espressif Systems to start mass production of the ESP32-S2 WiFi SoC despite the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are glad to inform you that the company has taken the production to the next level as an ESP32-S2 based development board recently started showing up for sale in stores.

Before, we started seeing samples of the ESP32 SoC being sold on sites like Digikey for $1 while the ESP32-S2 WROOM and ESP32-S2 WROVER modules for as low as $2 upwards but there have not really been any sales of the ESP32-S2 based development board. The ESP32-S2-Saola-1 development board is now available on resellers on Digikey and Mouser for $8 with a lead time of 8 to 12 weeks.

The ESP32-S2-Saola-1 among other features supports the ESP32-S2 WROVER and ESP32-S2 WROOM modules that come with a 4MB external SPI flash, PCB antenna and a 2MB PSRAM for the WROVER only. It has a micro USB port that serves as a communication interface between the ESP32 chip and a computer as well as a power supply interface to the board. It also has an addressable RGB LED driven by GPIO18, boot and reset buttons, 3.3V power-on LED and a single USB-UART bridge chip that provides up to 3Mbps transfer rates. The power supply can be supplied to the board in three mutually exclusive ways: the default Micro USB port, 3V3, and GND header pins or 5V and GND header pins.

For easy-interfacing, the small-sized ESP32-S2-Saola-1 has most of its I/O pins broken out to the pin headers on both sides of the board; developers can either mount the ESP32-S2-Saola-1 on a breadboard or connect peripherals with jumper wires. The ESP32-S2 chip can also be programmed to enable multiple functions like SPI, UART, 12C, 12S, PWM, etc.

A few downsides though, the ESP32-S2-Saola-1 development board does not support the use of the ESP32-S2 LCD and camera interfaces, users might have to wait a little longer for the ESP-32 based multimedia development board ESP32-S2-Kaluga-1 expected to come with a touch screen display and camera.

The ESP32-S2-Saola-1 development board is however expected to come down in price over time with many other board variants becoming readily available in stores. It should be noted that the ESP32-S2 supports only the ESP-1DF master or a version v4.2 and higher. More details on getting started with it as well as the schematics can be found on their website, here.

About Emmanuel Odunlade

Hardware Design Engineer | #IoT Consultant |All things #ML | Entrepreneur | Serial Writer | Passionate about Innovation and technology as tools for solving problems in developing countries. Spare time is spent around writing and advocacy for the growth of the Maker/DIY Culture in Africa.

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