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Prototyping with the ESP8266

Off the shelf, cheap and availble

Jon Paterson

Lab Engineer, Barclays

09/11/2018

Creating Minimum Viable Products or Prototypes is what we help out with here in the labs and knowledge of quick win chips and boards is one of the reasons lots of people come to us.

In this post I am going to talk you though one of the great chips I have in my arsenal to help people out. The ESP8266 is what we call a System on a Chip, manufactured by the Chinese company Espressif. It consists of a Tensilica L106 32-bit micro controller unit & a Wi-Fi transceiver. It has 11 General Purpose Input/Output pins, and an analog input as well. This means that we can program it like any normal Arduino through the IDE. And on top of it all we get Wi-Fi communication, so you can use it to connect to your Wi-Fi network, connect to the Internet, host a web server with real web pages, let your smartphone connect to it, etc ... The possibilities are endless!

The ESP8266 is an Internet of Things (IoT) ready development, It includes such examples of application development as Smart Lights and Smart Plugs as well as 100’s of other uses, creating hotspots to allow people to join the device onto there own wifi and is able to be hooked up with IBM’s IOT platform so you can you use NODERED to control and pul data from it.

There are many different modules available, standalone modules like the ESP-## series by AI Thinker, or complete development boards like the NodeMCU DevKit or the WeMos D1. Different boards may have different pins broken out, have different Wi-Fi antennas, or a different amount of flash memory on board.

In our Brighton Lab we are happy to offer training sessions on the ESP8266 to get you started and within the wider lab network the engineers are here to help you create that next new idea.

ESP8266 is all about Wi-Fi. If you are eager to get started and you can’t make it to one of our sessions you can connect your new ESP8266 module to Wi-Fi network to start sending and receiving data. If you are looking for more in depth details of how to program specific Wi-Fi networking functionality check out esp8266.com.

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