I bought 10 ESP32 dev boards off AliExpress.

And now I need to work out what to do with them. Aliexpress link here.


I have been playing around with a board I bought a while ago which has an ESP8266 and Arduino UNO on it. Getting the thing working has been a bit of a pain but a really good learning experience, even if the ESP8266 has been around since 2014. A couple of post on it in this series.

In the process of getting it working, I had a couple of mind-altering moments, in no particular order:

  1. The ES8266 connected to the internet (serving a little website)
  2. I could make the Arduino talk to the ESP8266 using the AT protocol: Arduino does the I/O and ESP8266 does the Wifi.
  3. The ESP8266 in itself offers similar I/O functionality as ‘Arduino’ MC products. In other words, you can play with it just like you do with an Arduino, with C++ or even MicroPython. You kind of don’t need the Arduino.

ESP8266 a little long in the tooth now (7 years!). The ESP32 was the new kid on the block in 2016 (there are a few variants now) and beats the ESP8266 in…well everything. See below from makeradvisor.com.

Why 10 of them?

Because each of them costs less than the price of a cup of coffee.

What arrived?

The ‘variant’ I have is the ESP32-VROOM-32U (link to Expressif PDF). Below is a snip from the manual. Some interesting stuff on there. On-chip Hall sensor kind of weird?

BTW: ‘D’ vs ‘U’

Somewhere in the process I selected ‘U’, as opposed to ‘D’. They are identical except ‘U’ has a connector for an external antenna….and need an external antenna. No biggie, though I would have preferred the ‘D’. I suppose have the ‘U’ version means I have the option of a bit more range, so not a bad thing.

The IPEX antenna things are two-a-penny.

What next?

Well. I have been squirrelling away on my gardening_for_dummies project using the UNO+ESP8266 combo I mentioned before. I am in a fairly good place with it and it is fairly simple so once it’s done I would not expect to have to upgrade code on the Arduino. But I might upgrade to an ESP32 only approach, except this would means I am stuck with the weird combo board.

But I am looking around other stuff I can smart-up. Watch this space.

Series Navigation

ESP32 meet Science Journal. Science Journal, meet ESP32 >>