Explore Labs ESP8266 WiFi Internet of Things (IoT) Breakout is based on the widely popular ESP8266EX SoC from Espressif. ESP8266 is a low power chip designed for mobile, wearable and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. ESP8266EX integrates Tensilica L106 32-bit micro controller (MCU) which features extra low power consumption and 16-bit RISC.
There are different modules available like the ESP-01, ESP-12E but either they are not breadboard friendly, or lack the pins made available to the end user. We solved this problem by designing our board from scratch using the IC itself.
This breakout gives you all the standard features of Serial-to-WiFi functionality for which ESP8266 is known for with added advantages of more GPIO pins made accessible to user which can be used to take benefits from ESP8266’s integrated 32-bit 80MHz microcontroller CPU.
Unlike other low-cost modules, Explore Labs ESP8266 WiFi Internet of Things (IoT) Breakout is breadboard friendly, supports input voltage from 3.3V to 5V and its level-shifted Tx, Rx pins are 5V compatible.
Explore Labs ESP8266 WiFi Internet of Things (IoT) Breakout has the following features:
- Based on Espressif’s ESP8266EX Chipset
- 8 Mb (1 MB) of Flash Memory. Useful for Over the Air (OTA) Firmware Upgrade
- All the pins of ESP8266EX broken out to be used on breadboard compatible headers or perfboards.
- Level shifting on the Tx, Rx (UART) pins making them easy to use with 3.3V or 5V devices.
- 9 x GPIOs available (3.3V logic only)
- FTDI compatible pinout
- Reset Button
- User Button that can also put the chip into bootloader mode. [Connected to IO0 pin of the ESP8266EX. Labelled as IO0 on board]
- Red LED which you can blink. [Connected to IO0 pin of the ESP8266EX. Labelled as WiFi on board]
- 3.3V out pin capable of providing 250mA to 300mA. [Labelled as 3Vo on board]
- Four Layer PC Board
- Onboard PCB Antenna
- Layout guidelines according to the official Hardware Guide
- Use of decoupling capacitors on important power pins
- Breadboard friendly design provides two rows of free headers on each side of the board when mounted on a standard breadboard.
- Only 33.3 mm x 20.3 mm
ESP8266 is a very interesting WiFi SoC with on-board TCP/IP protocol stack at very low-cost providing unlimited possibilities. It can give WiFi network access to any of your microcontroller based projects. It can be used to host any network application or off-load any networking from your existing application.
At first impression, it looks like a normal Serial-to-WiFi adapter which can be used with AT-command sets. But what most of the people are missing here is that it is a highly integrated SoC with a fully programmable microcontroller which is capable of doing general processing alongside WiFi connectivity and networking communication
Its power saving architecture works in 3 modes - Active mode, Sleep mode and Deep Sleep mode.
There is a 2.4 GHz PCB Antenna which has better range than chip antenna. EAGLE File for this antenna is made available in the Explore Labs EAGLE Library.
FTDI compatible pinout so you can plug in an FTDI or console cable to upload firmware and read/write debugging information via the UART.
Explore Labs ESP8266 WiFi Internet of Things (IoT) Breakout comes pre-loaded with a stable release of NodeMCU Lua based firmware [stable v0.9.6] which enables you to use Nodemcu LUA based commands to easily use various features of the chip like GPIO interfacing and connecting to a WiFi access point. More resources available here at: Wi-Fi, GPIO.
It is possible to upload Arduino compatible programs into the flash memory of ESP8266 but, the nodemcu firmware image will get overwritten and nodemcu lua will stop working as it will be replaced with the Arduino code in the flash memory. However, it is possible to reflash the chip with nodemcu firmware again using ESP Flasher tool under windows or esptool.py python utility under Linux or MAC OS X.
Input Voltage Pin: 3.3V to 5.0V
This is the output pin of the onboard 3.3V Voltage Regulator. It provides a clean and regulated 3.3V output to the ESP8266EX chipset. It can also be used by the user to provide power to external devices or sensors. Maximum current that can be sourced easily would be approximately 250mA to 300mA after leaving enough for the on board chip and LEDs.
GPIO0, SPI_CS2, CLK_OUT [Also connected to user controlled button and Red LED which shows Wi-Fi working state.]
MTDI, I2SI_DATA, HSPIQ_MISO, GPIO12, UART0_DTR (U0DTR). [Can also be used as a link (signal) light to indicate communication status between the device and the server.]
MTMS, I2SI_WS, HSPI_CLK, GPIO14, UART0_DSR (U0DSR)
TOUT, ADC (Analog Input). Can be used as an Analog to Digital Converter. Or, to check the power voltage of VDD3P3 pins - Amplifier Pins. This pin is 1.0V only! Take care in using this pin for measuring analog voltages. You can use it with a resistor divider network.
XPD_DCDC, RTC_GPIO0, EXT_WAKEUP, DEEPSLEEP, BT_XTAL_EN. Deep-Sleep Wakeup.
CHIP_PU, CH_PD. Chip Enable. Default: Pulled High to enable ESP8266. Connect to Ground to turn off ESP8266 chipset.
UART0_TXD (U0TXD), SPI_CS1, GPIO1, CLK_RTC. UART Tx during flash programming. This pin is 5V tolerant.
UART0_RXD (U0RXD), I2SO_DATA, GPIO3, CLK_XTAL. UART Rx during flash programming. This pin is 5V tolerant.
EXT_RSTB. External reset input signal (Low voltage level: Active). This pin is 3.3V only!
GPIO2, I2SO_WS, UART1_TXD (U1TXD), UART0_TXD (U0TXD). UART_Tx during Flash Programming
MTDO, I2SO_BCK, HSPI_CS, GPIO15, UART0_RTS (U0RTS)
MTCK, I2SI_BCK, HSPID_MOSI, GPIO13, UART0_CTS (U0CTS)
Connected to Reset pin of ESP8266 with a 1 uF capacitor
UART Tx during flash programming; GPIO1. This pin is 5V tolerant.
UART Rx during flash programming; GPIO3. This pin is 5V tolerant.
FTDI Vin. Can also be used as an input to the board. Input Voltage Pin: 3.3V to 5.0V
SPICLK, GPIO6, UART1_CTS (U1CTS)
SPIQ, GPIO7, UART1_TXD (U1TXD)
SPID, GPIO8, UART1_RXD (U1RXD)
SPIHD, GPIO9, HSPI_HD
SPIWP, GPIO10, HSPI_WP
SPICS0, GPIO11, UART1_RTS (U1RTS)
UTXD, CH_PD, RST, VCC, GND, GPIO2, GPIO0, URXD - These pins are also present on an ESP-01 module.
DTR, TX, RX, VIN NC, GND - FTDI Cable Compatible pins.
GPIO6, GPIO7, GPIO8, GPIO9, GPIO10 and GPIO11 - These pins are not available as they are connected to the SPI Flash Memory on the board.
- Datasheet - ESP8266EX
- Schematic - Explore Labs ESP 8266 WiFi Internet of Things (IoT)
- Design Files - GitHub
- NodeMCU Commands - Link
- Firmware Over The Air (FOTA) - Link
Note: Header pins are not included and not soldered.
- Additional Information
Processor No Architecture No Clock Speed No Digital Pins No Analog Pins No PWM Pins No Hardware UART No Programming Interface No Flash Memory No Operating Voltage No Power Output No Antenna No Range (Indoor/Urban) No Range (Outdoor/RF Line of Sight) No Channel Capacity No Frequency No Transmit Current @ 3.3V No