ESP32-EVB our new board for IoT first prototypes are ready

esp32-evbesp32-evb-2

ESP32-EVB is our new board with ESP32-WROOM32 module. It has:

  • ESP32-WROOM32 module
  • two relays 10A/250VAC
  • Ethernet 100Mb interface
  • LiPo charger and step up converter allowing ESP32-EVB to run from LiPo battery
  • microSD card connector
  • two user buttons
  • UEXT connector to attach different sensors and modules
  • 40 pin GPIO 0.1″ step connector with all resources of ESP32
  • 5V power jack
  • three mount holes

Now time to write some examples and if everything works to launch production.

The sale price will be EUR 22.00

Bitcoin price tracker with MOD-WIFI-ESP8266-DEV on Indiegogo

ticrthing

We got note that one of our boards MOD-WIFI-ESP8266-DEV is in the newly developed open source hardware product – Bitcoin price tracker

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They are running now Indiegogo crowdfunding campain. We wish them success!

As being open source this product could be easily re-programmed to track price trends of other goods as well, like gold, silver, tin, why not DDR memory and Flash memory prices, and to give you alterts when the price go above or below given price point?

ESP32-CoreBoard V2 is in stock

esp32-coreboard

So anticipated ESP32-CoreBoard is now in stock!

We expect next week some quantity of just the modules ESP32-WROOM-32, they will be on web for sale for EUR 6.00/ea

OpenFest 2015 is 7 and 8th of November in Sofia

Screenshot from 2015-10-29 12-05-59

Next weekend in Sofia will be held the biggest event for Free/Open Source technologies in Bulgaria – OpenFest which is run every year since 2003.

Olimex is approved for talk and workshop yay!

The lecture is in Saturday at 17.00 o’clock and we will show what we have been working mainly this year:

“Physical computing and IoT with Open Source Software and Hardware”.

We will demonstrate how easy is to connect physical objects to Internet with our new ESP8266 boards, and our plug and play firmware which recognizes the UEXT modules connected to ESP8266 like: electricity metering, LED displays, Fingerprint sensors, door locks, relays, buttons. etc. We will shop how to display Twitter messages on LED matrix display, how to make door lock with fingerprint sensor, how to implement DO button for IFTTT directly with ESP8266 by secure connection with 2048bit encryption, and how to connect and switch loads and measure what energy they consume.

Specially for Open Fest we made our new WiFi enabled LED 8×8 badge. It contains ESP8266 and can be programmed to do lot of stuff, like to display all tweets with hashtag #openfest2015 or to display what are the lectures which run now and in which rooms by connecting to Open Fest program web page and extracting the necessary info.

WiFi-BADGE

Needless to say WiFi Badge is OSHW and all software project sources will be on GitHub (sorry still work on the software and can’t upload yet, we will do this early next week keeping the good developer’s traditions everything to be complete and debugged in the last minute 😉 ).

WiFi-BADGE-3

As you can see all ESP8266 GPIOs are exposed on this badge so it is good also for development board, power supply is done with single 1.5V AA battery only!

The workshop will be about SMD component soldering, we will bring some Binary Watch Kits with us and teach you how to solder your own Binary Watch. These who already have been at TuxCon do remember these watches:

binary

Looking forward to see you there 🙂

Qualcomm with new dual band Low Power WIFI Solution QCA4004

qualcomm

The Low Cost WiFi revolution made by Texas Instruments CC3xxx and Esspressif ESP8266 is not escaped unnoticed by the big boys in the wireless business.

Qualcomm has new product QCA4004 which targets same market but has lot more to offer:

  • Dual-band 2.4 GHz/5 GHz
  • Low energy
  • IPv4/IPv6 Networking
  • SSL Client with AES encryption
  • RTOS and Toolchain for code on chip
  • USB 2.0,  SPI/SDIO, UART, HS-UART, I2C, 2xI2S, GPIOs
  • Commercial: 0 to 85˚ C (case) Industrial: -40 to 85˚ C (ambient) temperature grades

Here is the flyer and the datasheet.

So far the official quotes for the chip through the official distributors are high, but we know Qualcomm is leader in the wireless solutions and can manufacture efficiently, so once these get in main stream production the prices may drop below ESP8266 prices 🙂

 

Do button for IFTTT with ESP8266-EVB now you have endless opportunities to make receipts with the IFTTT tools

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IFTTT is a web platform that facilitates connections between other big platforms under the form of recipes giving a great degree of flexibility in creating mashups. You can interact with almost  every social platform on the web like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. For this purpose you make receipts like: If I get e-mail with picture on my Gmail account store the picture in my Dropbox and share it on Twitter, or etc.

Just a few days ago IFTTT launched a channel for makers.This was a highly awaited feature since until now it was impossible to connect prototypes to the recipes and only a few approved devices were available from large producers that were accepted in the platform. The Maker channel changes all that. It allows both making web requests to the channel to send events to other platforms from devices and from other platforms to the devices.

Constantin Craciun almost immediately add “DO” button with ESP8266-EVB and here is his tutorial.

You can see on this video how he uses ESP8266 to switch ON and OFF lamp via his phone:

Now you can think of endless apps for this DO button, like sending SMS “I’m home” to parents phones when the kid arrive from school and press the button.

Or button at the reception desk of hotel which send message to taxi company “go to hotel xxx to pickup customer”, etc. etc.

We are working on the small cloud broker for our ESP8266 IoT Firmware, and this IFTTT API will be definitely among the first implemented!

ESP8266 has now lot of followers but they do not offer anything better

EMW3165

ESP8266 took the developers hearts for no time. To have WIFI stack and processor resources in tiny chip with only 4 external components necessary to operate was great success story by Espressif.

Needless to say this didn’t remain unspotted by others and now we are going to see boom of similar modules.

IMO they are doomed to not gain such success though. Why? It’s simple – nobody can make simplier device.

ESP8266 is already simple and well optimized. If you buy it in reel price for 5000 pcs is $1.50/each, if you can buy in volume I’ve heard you can buy it for less than $1.

Espressif sells about 1 million of these chips now per month. Their sales warned me that if I want to order more than 500K pcs I have to warn them 4 weeks in advance, small orders like 5-10K they ship same day from stock.

So whoever decide to beat ESP8266 should make something better which cost less $1 which is quite steep goal.

We saw now next competitor MXCHIP it’s nothing fancy STM32+MarvelWIFI chip and TCP-IP stack. it’s sold for about x2 end user price, but we are not impressed at all from it. Why? Because it’s in the same league like ESP8266.

We develop IoT Firmware for more than 4 months now and we work extensively with ESP8266 so we learned his good and weak sides.

Good side: incredible simplicity as hardware – you have everything in the chip. High integration, reliable work. Most of the problems are due to the not so good software implementation, although Espressif now rised their bug bounty award to $2000 for reported bug i.e. they are confident the bugs in their firmware are fixed.

Weak side: their RTOS is binary blobs which make hard to contribute, we see lot of missed events when you enable more timers etc, but we can’t see where these comes from as the software is closed. We do workarounds on higher level to make sure IoT Firmware works reliable though for end user who do not have to worry about what happens at low level. Another issues is lack of memory to run normal TCP-IP stack. https? forget it no memory, once one https connection is made there is no resources to handle other, so in practice is not usable. SSL? forget it, no memory for more than 512 bit encryption which is assumed compromised already, so basically with ESP we do not advice you to connect to anywhere else than your local WIFI net, as WIFI is encrypted, it provides you with good security, but if you want to make your “IoT” available to outside, you have to put between ESP and Internet something with real TCP-IP stack and good security, like RT5350-OLinuXino running real Linux, where you can install SSL with 2048 bit key, and hide well your devices which otherwise could be hacked from outside. We already work on such ‘broker’ which to allow access to ESP8266 IoT Firmware from outside.

So whatever comes next as ESP competitor will be in the same league unless have at least few megabytes of RAM to may handle properly https and ssl encryption, and I highly doubt one could make such for less than $1 to compete with ESP.

ESP8266 already deeply penetrated the low cost low security market. Good luck to the others trying to compete them!

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