It looks like one has work dedicatedly with Arduino and decided to sit down on a Sunday afternoon to write his wish list to tooth fairy with everything he wanted to see in the next generation Micro Controller Unit, but instead of sending that wish list to Fairyland, it was sent to China, where the brilliant minds of Espressif materialized ESP2866, which come at a ridiculous price point of $3 – $6.
Compared to the cost of Arduino’s Wi-Fi shield model, which cost you approximately $30!!!
Now, lets talk about what is ESP8266? Well it is a tiny self-continued, low power and high performance system on chip (SoC) with the ability to communicate over TCP/IP network via antenna that’s etched on its circuit board (PCB). It comes with its own board processor, so it can actually function in complete autonomy, without an additional Arduino board. In the essence, it’s the Philosopher’s holy grail of the ‘Internet of Things’ age.
In this article, I’ll explain the various factors for selection of variants available in the market and various factors required
How to choose your ESP8266 Model?
I know there many variations available in the market and it is very easy to get confused between all the choices. . I have listed few widely used variants and its capabilities.
1. ESP-01 Module
The first one we will discuss is ESP-01 Module: It is one of the most popular boards that have on-board printed antenna and header block for easy access to pin-outs.
GPIOs: 2 GPIO Pins (GPIO 0 and GPIO 2)
Wi-Fi Range: 360m
Dimensions: 14.3 x 24.8mm
Antenna: PCB trace
2. ESP-03 Module
For more advanced user ESP-03 is the most popular choice as this version has the most GPIOS, it means you can connect more number of sensors or more complicated sensors with you ESP module.
GPIOs : 7 GPIO Pins(GPIO0/2/12/13/14/15/16)
Dimensions: 17.3 × 12.1mm
3. ESP-05 Module
ESP-05 Module: In ESP-05 a fifth pin is added carrying reset pin, but this module doesn’t consist of on board antenna.
Dimensions: 14.2 x 14.2mm
Antenna: External (U-FL connector)
4. ESP-07 Module
ESP-07 Module: Best part of ESP-07 is that it has its own on board Ceramic antenna and you can also connect external antenna.
Dimensions: 22 x 16mm and Antenna: Both Internal and External, but ESP-07 is not FCC approved.
5. ESP-12 Module
ESP-12 Module: One of the newest and popular members of ESP family, consisting of lots of computational power.
GPIOs: 9 GPIOs + ADC
Antenna: PCB antenna
You now know all the variations available and what you do next with it depends on your imagination!!! One of the things I tried was to directly upload my code in ESP8266, which is not possible. You have to use Program loader or FTDI (USB to serial converter).
One example for Program Loader can be Arduinos, but it is a 5v power board whereas ESP is 3.3v, therefore if you directly connect your ESP with Arduino TX/RX it will kill the ESP, the solution is to use a level converter or FTDI, which provide both 5v and 3.3v TX/RX as shown in the below figure.
ESP-01 Connection with PIR sensor and FTDI(for programming)
ESP to FTDI direct Connection for Programming
If you are trying to buy an ESP8266, be sure you know the exact version of chip because specifications change from chip to chip.
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