Control ESP8266 GPIOs with Android

android esp8266

ESP8266 is a great small WiFi module that carries a microcontroller programmed to do basic IO controls. Having WiFi functionality gives several possibilities to access modules remotely to control things within reach of your network coverage. Rui Santos suggests building a simple Android app used as a control panel for the ESP module. In his tutorial, he goes through the necessary steps of programming the ESP8266 module with LUA script and building an Android application with MIT App Inventor. App Inventor is very easy to use, and you can create simple applications within an hour. The app-building consists of GUI designed and visual code blocks (similar to scratch on Raspberry Pi). In his example, he demonstrates how to control two LEDs from the Android app. The code can be easily expanded for more functionality if necessary. Continue reading

Speed up ESP8266 flashing to 5 secs

WiFi Serial Transceiver Module ESP8266

If you are dealing with ESP8266 WiFi module you’ve probably noticed, that flashing its 512K firmware takes quite some time. Actually esptool takes about 53 seconds with all its bells and whistles. Deomid Ryabkov decided to look at transfer baud rates and experiment with it in order to find fastest doable flashing option. He started to go up gradually with baud rates and with 460k he was able to achieve over 17s flashing time. But he still wasn’t satisfied with the result. Various serial to USB adapters (FT232R) can support high baud rates like 3000000 and even higher (PL2303). The problem was how to make ESP USART to pick higher baud rates than 921600. He ended up by writing his custom flasher stub snippet which reads and writes flash contents via serial interface. By setting baud to 4000000 he was able to squeeze into 5 second limit. He modified esptool which handles all operations including MD5 digest. He says that with write optimization instead writing whole image time could be reduced to just 2 seconds. Anyway this is a hack… Continue reading

Scraping website for health related information with ESP8266

ESP8266 LED blinking circuit

If you like to have climate information always accessible, then you should suck in to some data stream and try to get the latest news out of it. For instance produces pretty accurate weather forecasts around the globe. Interesting thing is that along weather data they are forecasting migraine, . Philip Burgess from adafruit thought it would be great idea to build a device, that would follow the migraine forecast and give early warnings about higher migraine probability. Of course you should keep in mind, that forecasting is relative to weather data, so you shouldn’t take this too serious. In other hand this is really interesting project from technical perspective. The device is built around adafruit’s HUZZAH ESP8266 breakout board. He attached power supply plug and LED which is used to indicate bad news. Continue reading

Setting up ESP8266 based DS18B20 sensor temperature monitoring with Emoncms

esp8266 ds18b20 emoncms

If you are looking for ways of measuring and logging temperature data online, then you can try this one. Jhon_Control describes his setup in this instructable where uses ESP8266 module as microcontroller platform where DS18B20 probe is attached. As you may already know, ESP8266 has two programmable GPIO where one was used for reading temperature using 1-wire protocol. The temperature data is sent via wireless interface, but additionally it can be read via serial interface where other debugging information is present. The other part of project is where temperature data goes. He has chosen OpenEnergyMonitor (Emoncms) – the web platform which can be freely installed on your local host computer and even Raspberry Pi. Here you can have nice representation of data including graphs, history, calculations, and other fancy stuff. You can start with single sensor, then expand to multiple and even join data from different sources and locations. Continue reading

Develop easier with PlatformIO ecosystem

Different microcontrollers normally have different developing tools. For instance Arduino rely on Arduino IDE. Few more advanced users set up different graphical interfaces like Eclipse for better project management. Sometimes it may be hard to keep up with different microcontrollers and tools. You probably thought that single unified development tool could be great. Well this is what Platform IO open source ecosystem is for. This is cross platform code builder and library manager with platforms like Arduino or MBED support. They took care of toolchains, debuggers, frameworks that work on most popular platforms like Windows, Mac and Linux. It supports more than 200 development boards along with more than 15 development platforms and 10 frameworks. So most of popular boards are covered. They’ve done hard work in organizing and managing hundreds of libraries that can be included in to your project. Also lots of examples allow you to start developing quickly. Platform IO initially was developed with Command line philosophy. It’s been successfully used with other IDE’s like Eclipse or Visual Studio. Recently they’ve released a version with built in… Continue reading

Wireless energy monitor using ESP8266 module

Most of us are concern about energy usage. This helps to reduce bills, have a little impact on saving planet and be conscious about things you never thought being important. For the right task you need right tools. Brian Dorey have been successful on building energy metering. His previous Raspberry Pi based solar data logger gave him enough experience to move on with new idea of mains energy meter. This time he decided to use ESP8266 wireless module to do the main load. It has enough processing power to deal with sensor data also there are plenty of Arduino based libraries to make development easier. His energy meter was designed to do three measurements: mains current, mains electric usage and gas usage. All three data streams had to be gathered in three different ways. First of all mains current. He used iSnail current sensor which simply outputs 0-5V for 0-100A current range. All he had to do is to read sensor output voltage with ADS1115 16-bit ADC from Texas Instruments. The data could be read using I2C interface. Continue reading