WeAct ESP32H2-N4: A Low-Cost Development Board with Bluetooth 5.2 LE, Zigbee 3.0, and Thread Connectivity

WeAct ESP32H2-N4: A Low-Cost Development Board with Bluetooth 5.2 LE, Zigbee 3.0, and Thread Connectivity

The WeAct ESP32H2-N4 is an affordable development board featuring the ESP32-H2 wireless microcontroller, offering Bluetooth 5.2 LE, Zigbee 3.0, and Thread connectivity. Priced at just $5.70 plus shipping, it provides a cost-effective solution for IoT (Internet of Things) projects requiring low-power nodes in short-range networks.

The ESP32-H2 is a variant of the ESP32-C6 microcontroller, minus the WiFi capability, making it suitable for applications where WiFi connectivity is not needed. It is designed to operate efficiently in low-power scenarios, making it ideal for IoT devices that require long battery life.

Although the ESP32-H2 has been utilized in Espressif Systems’ development boards like the ESP32-H2-DevKitM-1 and the ESP Thread Border Router, the WeAct ESP32H2-N4 marks its entry into the third-party board market. With its low cost and versatile connectivity options, the WeAct ESP32H2-N4 opens up opportunities for developers and hobbyists to explore and implement various IoT projects and applications.

WeAct ESP32H2-N4 specifications:

  • Wireless module: ESP32-H2-MINI-1
  • MCU: Espressif Systems ESP32-H2 32-bit RISC-V microcontroller at up to 96 MHz with 320 KB SRAM, 128 KB ROM, 4 KB LP memory, Bluetooth 5.2 LE/Mesh, and 802.15.4 (Zigbee/Thread/Matter) radios.
  • Storage: 4MB flash storage
  • Antenna: PCB antenna
  • Dimensions: 13.2×16.6×2.4 mm
  • USB:
    • 2x USB Type-C ports:
      • One USB 2.0 Full Speed (12 Mbps max)
      • The other for USB UART via CP2102 USB-to-TTL chip
  • I/Os:
    • 2x 15-pin headers with 19x programmable GPIOs
    • 1x UART, 3x SPI, I2C, I2S, 5x ADC, Remote Control Peripheral, LED PWM, Full-speed USB
    • Also includes 5V, 3.3V, VBatt, and GND power signals
  • Debugging:
    • USB-C UART
    • J5 for current measurement (Note: This feature is present on the ESP32-H2-DevKitM-1 board but not found on the WeAct board)
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Power LED
    • RGB LED
    • Boot and Reset buttons
  • Power Supply:
    • 5V via USB Type-C port
    • 5V to 3.3V LDO
  • Dimensions: 48.26 x 25.40 mm

These specifications outline the features and capabilities of the WeAct ESP32H2-N4, making it suitable for a wide range of IoT development projects requiring Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Thread connectivity in a compact form factor.

The WeAct ESP32H2-N4 board, being akin to the ESP32-H2-DevKitM-1, likely shares firmware support with Espressif’s ESP32-H2 series. Documentation available on Espressif’s website can serve as a reference for firmware details. Notably, both ESP32-C6 and ESP32-H2 are supported in the Arduino IDE, potentially influencing WeAct’s decision to launch the board now.

While Bluetooth LE functionality is expected to be operational, progress on the 802.15.4 radio for Zigbee and Thread connectivity is less certain. However, eventual compatibility for these protocols is anticipated. The WeAct ESP32-C6 may eventually serve as a WiFi<->Zigbee/Thread gateway, connecting multiple WeAct ESP32H2-N4 boards or other ESP32-H2 devices.

It’s essential to note that ESP32-H2 chips currently available may differ from those mass-produced in the future. Espressif Systems advises checking the ESP32-H2 Errata for any potential issues, particularly for products planned for mass production before March 2024. While experimentation may not be affected, early adopters planning product integration may need to adapt firmware accordingly.

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