Troubleshooting your ESP8266

ESP8266 module is a great wireless module with some processing power and I/Os. Especially if you are new to it you may find some things not clear enough or struggle while programming, uploading firmware or simply configuring. Rui Santos have written a troubleshooting guide on how to avoid those common obstacles. He talks about where to download NodeMCU flasher, how to configure its settings. Other most common pitfalls also are covered that might frustrate you. Even unbricking of FTDI programmer is covered. If you find yourself in desperate situation when trying to run ESP8266 this troubleshooting list may save you tons of time. Continue reading

ESP8266 client-server based wireless weather station

If you ever tried to build weather station, you probably know that wired solution sucks. For something more serious always go with wireless – this way you are not limited by distance and setup looks clean. Rui Santos have been working on wireless weather station where he implements server-client solution with two ESP8266 modules. Client module takes care of reading temperature from DS18B20 sensor and reads ADC value on one pin. Server side module receives data and transfers to PC using serial interface using FTDI adapter. He used Things Gateway – software written by Roberto Valgolio. It allows reading and writing data from/to microcontroller using excel, csv, send emails and display charts. All you need is to configure Things Gateway to accepts serial data and point it to excel spreadsheet tabs. Once you have it working, you can start adding more sensors like barometric pressure, light, humidity, wind speed, rain and so on. Continue reading

ESP8266 based WiFi camera

WiFi camera can be handy in many areas where you don’t want tracing wires. They are not expensive if you are looking for complete solution. If your application isn’t critical then why not building one by yourself. Johan simply took two well known modules – arducam and ESP8266 module. He built a baseboard to fit hem both including power supply solution and couple other features like optional SPI flash, FTDI connector. He called his development esparducam – the combined name of both modules. He wrote a demo application where it is possible to get images by using HTTP GET method. If you would like to give it a try, follow his project Github page. Continue reading

Pulling information with weather widget

It is always nice to know current and future weather. There are tons of computer or android apps that allow constantly monitor weather data of any locations you selected. But not everyone likes these widgets being on screen. So why not building a physical weather widget that would display pretty same information on graphical LCD. deba168 has published his instructable where he builds a weather widget using ESP8266 serial WiFI transceiver that can also be programmed in arduino manner. He used 128×64 OLED display to show localized weather data along with time and date. He pulls weather data from wunderground by using free account. And finally he used 3D printed enclosure that blends in on any surface. Continue reading

Efficient GPU based embedded platform for intense computation

There are plenty of credit card size computer modules that usually are based on ARM or x86. They are great for general purpose tasks like running operating systems, playing games and running apps. But when you need to squeeze a bit more out of them they appear not very powerful. One group of intense tasks would be running deep learning algorithms by using neural nets or performing other machine learning tasks. Along with great performance we also are looking for low power solutions especially for portable applications like self aware robots. Nvidia recently launched great platform called Jetson TX1 that just fits this category. It is based on 1 TFLOP/s 256-core Maxwell GPU, 64-bit ARM A57 CPU featuring 4GB of DDR4 RAM and 16GB of eMMC flash. Along with great performance it only takes 10W. As we already may know GPU is great in image processing and classification so it outperforms general purpose CPUs in these tasks. When compared to Intel core i7-6700K and taking energy consumption in to account Jetson TX1 showed over 6 times better performance. Of course… Continue reading

ESPToy 1.2 for easier Easier start with ESP8266

It seems that ESP8266 WiFi module is successfully building a community around itself. And there are dozens of reasons for that. First of all – module is really cheap, then it can connect things to internet via WiFi and lastly it can be programmed as stand alone microcontroller by using Lua language. So it dives quite some opportunities. Ray recently discovered its potential. In the beginning he was playing with this module like with any other unit which accepts AT commands from host controller and does bring WiFi connectivity. But then he gave a try to its programming capability. Of course there is an initial hustle to flash it with Lua firmware that enables it to be programmed with scrips (there is even an Arduino IDE for scripting). Then he thought that this module could be wrapped with some hardware to make things much easier for starters, so he built ESPToy board which plugs ESP8266 module with programmed Lua firmware, then it carries USB to serial converter for easier interfacing to PC, additional there are button and RGB LED. Continue reading