ESP8266 wifi module


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  1. #1
    RayEllam
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    Default ESP8266 wifi module

    Hi All,
    I was not sure where to post this so im here. Iv been playing around with the ESP-01 wifi module for a couple of months now. These Little chaps are indeed pretty cool and DIRT CHEAP ($3.50 inc shipping). I will be using a variant of the ESP-01 which is the ESP-12 (
    FCC + CE approval) in a cloud based energy meter i am developing, . I am at a point now in my project where i need to implement a web interface that resides on the ESP so that users of the product can configure various parameters over a TCP wifi connection, the interface will be similar to a wireless router set up. Now, network + HTML stuff is a little out of my depth so i looked around at what others had done in this respect with the ESP..........and bobs your uncle i came up with esp-link that among other things does the following.
    • transparent bridge between Wifi and serial, useful for debugging or inputting into a uC
    • flash-programming attached Arduino/AVR microcontrollers as well as LPC800-series and other ARM microcontrollers via Wifi
    • outbound TCP (and thus HTTP) connections from the attached micro-controller to the internet
    • outbound REST HTTP requests from the attached micro-controller to the internet, protocol based on espduino and compatible with tuanpmt/espduinI
    One nice to have function of the web interface will be the ability to upload new firmware to the PIC. At the moment esp-link only supports bootloading to AVR's + Arduino + LPC800 + other ARM controllers. I would like to use the UMC code on the PIC as it can be modified as needed. The c code is available for the existing esp-link bootloader (open source) so im thinking it should be possible to modify this to work with the PIC side UMC firmware? I have been in touch with the guy who wrote this application and he has a few pointers that may help. If anyone is interested in collaborating with me on this then im all ears :-)

    Once finished then the code + instructions etc etc can be made available on wiki for other PIC users.

    Thanks
    Ray

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  • #2
    Prolific Poster charliecoultas's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    Hi Ray

    I got an ESP8266 a few weeks ago and have just made a little board with the ESP and a 24HJ128GP502 PIC. They are amazing little devices and the price is unbelievable. So yes, I am very interested and your post was timely. But I'm not too well up on WiFi protocols so I'm not sure I can contribute very much just yet. But there is plenty to explore....

    Charlie

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  • #3
    RayEllam
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    Hi Charlie,
    What about c?

    Ray

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  • #4
    Prolific Poster charliecoultas's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    Ha! I have written tons of stuff in machine code and assembler, and quite a lot using Proton. But never, ever, anything in c. Sorry.

    Charlie
    Last edited by charliecoultas; 15th September 2015 at 09:48.

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  • #5
    RayEllam
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    Hi Charlie,
    Here is a detailed overview of esp-link
    http://jeelabs.org/2015/06/24/ftdi-o...fi-esp-bridge/

    Here is a link to gti hub repository where the code lives
    https://github.com/jeelabs/esp-link

    I will provide links to the esp SDK once i know the version we need to use so we can modify files from GTI hub and do our own custom builds. To use the V2 esp-link the ESP module must have at least 1mbytes of flash available. ESP-01's only have 512k available and will only run V1 of esp-link.

    Im all very new to this (1 day in so far) so im NO EXPERT. I am awaiting delivery of ESP-07's at the moment (1mb). I have a functional ESP-01 but have not yet flashed it with esp-link as im testing it out on thingspeak at the moment.

    Regards
    Ray

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  • #6
    Prolific Poster charliecoultas's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    Ray (and anybody playing with the ESP8266)

    I have just spent the entire morning trying to talk to my ESP module. I will give my findings here, in the hope that eventually we will get a Wiki article for it. But if I don't write this down now I'm likely to forget it. Hopefully this will be useful to members who try these devices. They look very promising.

    I hooked it up to a 24HJ128GP502, on UART1. I had an RS232 monitor on UART2. Try as I might I couldn't seem to get the baud rate right (I was told it should be 115200, 8 data, no parity). The tiny blue led on the ESP board flashes when IT transmits. So I put the scope on and saw loads of data coming from the ESP when I reset it (RESET line low=reset, high=run). After much head-scratching I got to the bottom of the problem. It is 115200 bits/second but there is a lot of odd looking characters when it resets.

    This data was causing my UART1 to over-run. Clearing the overrun error allowed data to come through but it was garbage. I tried different baud rates, no joy. Then I watched the data more carefully and after the garbage came:

    MEM CHECK FAIL!!!
    s$;
    Ai-Thinker Technology Co. Ltd.
    ready

    Hooray! But what is this MEM CHECK FAIL all about? But it seems to work, although not quite as the datasheet I have suggests. I managed to get it connected to my WiFi so that's not bad. When I do a AT+RST command I get:

    ets Jan 8 2013,rst causeHz
    SPI Mode : QIO
    SPI Flash Size & Map: 8Mbit(512KB+512KB)
    jump to run user1 @ 1000


    MEM CHECK FAIL!!!
    ;d;
    Ai-Thinker Technology Co. Ltd.
    ready

    Do you know what version of the software this is please Ray?

    Charlie

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  • #7
    RayEllam
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    Using the standard AT firmware on the ESP, when the ESP restarts it throws out a load of chars at some silly baud rate like ~71200 (not sure what it is but its SILLY). Once it is running and you can talk to it you can change the baud with AT+CIOBAUD=9600 or whatever. Check out this link for a details of the AT command set and some examples of how to connect in different modes. https://github.com/espressif/esp8266...ple_0020000903

    To check your firmware version do AT+GMR, this is what i get back from the ESP
    AT version:0.23.0.0(Apr 24 2015 21:11:01)
    SDK version:1.0.1
    Ai-Thinker Technology Co. Ltd.
    Apr 27 2015 13:55:14

    I got my ESP-12E last night and just got it working. Strangely cool term, the serial terminal app had troubles talking with it (cool term has worked well with my ESP-01) so i switched to Hercules which is actually a better terminal because you can TCP/UDP as well as serial with the ESP. Also i have noticed that the current drawn in significantly LESS than the ESP-01. I have the thing in AP+Station mode, connected to my network and send/receive data and its drawing around 80mA as opposed to around 140mA on the ESP-01. I need to investigate this further?

    I will try and upload esp-link firmware today then i can paly with the web interface and try to get the TCP PIC bootloader working????????????? I got a feeling im going to break something today :-/

    Ray
    Last edited by RayEllam; 19th September 2015 at 02:05.

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  • #8
    RayEllam
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    OK. I flashed the ESP-12E with esp-link and im totally blown away with it's functionality, forget AT commands and having to select your network programmatcally, esp-link gives you a web interface to set all this up, exactly like you configure a router.

    To do list...............
    1. how to send receive data to thingspeak (IOT)?
    2. How to bootload PIC firmware via TCP?
    3. Modify web front end to fit my need's (java script)?

    Here is the flash method i used, thanks to tve, one of the authors of esp-link.
    • - leave reset/rest unconnected (and don't attach any wire), it has an internal pull-up
      - use ch_pd (chip enable) as reset (active low)
      - connect gpio0&gpio15 to ground and gpio2 to vcc (best using a pull-up, ~10k). GPIO15 is permanently tied to ground.
      -when done flashing, switch gpio0 to vcc (best using a pull-up, ~10k)
    You can flash either the 512KB or the 4MB version of esp-link onto a 1MB flash chip. The address for blank.bin will be incorrect in the esp-link release notes, it should be 0xFE000 instead of 0x7E000 or 0x3FE000.

    The esp-link firmware is here scroll down to releases. I have 1m byte of flash so im using V2. If you have 512K then use V1. To test out comms with the PIC use Hercules terminal, TCP client and open up port 23 with your connected IP address. you then have a transparent bridge between the PIC and terminal done over your network :-)

    The tools i use are......................
    1. NodeMCU flasher used to flash the ESP with whatever firmware. You are flashing 3 pieces of code so make sure the check boxes are checked in the relative 3 flash locations.
    2. Hercules terminal this is a TCP/UDP/Serial terminal for communicating with the PIC

    Anyways, ill get back to making this do what i need it to but so far so good (and painless :-)
    Ray



    Last edited by RayEllam; 19th September 2015 at 05:42.

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  • #9
    Prolific Poster charliecoultas's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    Hi Ray

    This is what I get with AT+GMR

    ready
    WIFI CONNECTED
    WIFI GOT IP
    AT+GMR
    AT version:0.25.0.0(Jun 5 2015 16:27:16)
    SDK version:1.1.1
    Ai-Thinker Technology Co. Ltd.
    Jun 23 2015 23:23:50

    OK


    You seem to be getting on very well, congratulations! You are way ahead of me so I probably can't bring much to the party. I'm not even sure what I am going to do with it, but the idea of connecting virtually anything to the Internet for almost no cost is somehow very appealing.

    Two questions:

    1) Where did you get your newer ESP boards?
    2) Exactly how do you"flash" the new software? Is the ESP connected to a USB/RS232 converter, plugged into a PC, running software that you've downloaded?

    [Edit] I've just followed your link and found a source for the ESP-12E - fantastic! Thanks for that.
    Charlie
    Last edited by charliecoultas; 19th September 2015 at 10:51.

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  • #10
    RayEllam
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    Hi Charlie,
    I just got one locally here in the Philippines but for bulk orders i have just started to use this outfit http://www.banggood.com/ I have heard MANY good reports on these people and their prices are very good with free shipping.

    I totally agree with you on the concept of the ESP modules and their cost. This module is the VERY FIRST to bring cheap IOT to the world and im certain they will open things up as never before. I share your enthusiasm about internet connectivity for the projects we make.

    Regarding flashing here is one link http://www.instructables.com/id/Intr...rmware-update/ if it don't make sense just google ESP flashing, there is plenty of info and it's no big deal. Use the flash app i suggested in the last post, it works, many don't. The connectivity for flashing is like you say and done serially. Pay attention to the pin configuration of your ESP before flashing, again google is your friend.

    What ESP module are you using?

    Regards
    Ray

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  • #11
    Prolific Poster charliecoultas's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    I think mine is ESP-01, a blue pcb with two rows of 0.1" x 4 pins, it looks like a 512K flash chip on there as well. The banggood website looks good. I'm ordering a dev kit and some ESP-12E today!

    Thanks for all the help, I'm sure others will find this very interesting too. Keep up the good work.
    Charlie
    Last edited by charliecoultas; 19th September 2015 at 11:17.

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  • #12
    RayEllam
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    Hi Charlie,
    This is the module im currently using
    http://www.banggood.com/ESP8266-ESP-...-p-980984.html

    The one i have has 1mb of flash.

    Just out of interest I tried some firmware called NodeMCU. This is an API that allows you to write your own code on the ESP module so no external micro is required. You program it in a language called Lua. This is worth checking out if you have a simple project that requires WiFi and maybe just a temperature sensor and a couple of digital pins. The micro on the ESP is a 32 bit processor so there is quite a bit of power under the hood. There are library's for OLED/LCD displays and a few sensors. I have not gone very far with this but i have made LED's turn on/off etc. All the tools required are free, maybe in the Wiki write up this can be included with links to what is required. I will probably use this in the near future to monitor the water system at my place, so this will consist of just a flow sensor, 3 digital inputs, a small battery and solar panel with NO PIC just the ESP module oh yes and no wires (the important bit :-)

    Ray

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  • #13
    Prolific Poster charliecoultas's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    Hi Ray

    Yes, that is the same module that I have just ordered a few of, plus the dev module with the USB. The NodeMCU looks very interesting, I'll explore that later today. Is there a compiler in there as well? Presumably so.

    I'm sure the Wiki article can include a whole load of stuff, we are probably close to starting it.

    I feel you should alter your forum signature to "A twenty four volt man in a twelve volt World". Which part of the Philippines are you?

    Charlie

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  • #14
    RayEllam
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    Hi Charlie,
    Ha ha 24 volt......................erm i prefer 6 volt, my missus will confirm that :-)

    Im living on a little island in the Visayas (half way down the PH) called Boracay. Been here 10 years now after escaping from the UK. Where in the world is your home base?

    Writing stuff up was never a strong point of mine BUT i am trying to waste less time going over old ground and i find the wiki idea is probably what i need to organize myself better, it will save me time AND give others the ability just to jump straight in without the head scratching and days of failed attempts.

    We had a party last night so the neurons are a bit "twitchy" today BUT i think iv nearly cracked the bootloading problem. Ill report back soon on this.

    I will make the leap to 16 bit controllers soon and i see your already there? maybe i can pick your brain on a few things as they arise? Im waiting for some parts to arrive so maybe the end of the week ill make a start on this.

    Cheers
    Ray

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  • #15
    Prolific Poster charliecoultas's Avatar
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    Default Re: ESP8266 wifi module

    Ray

    I'm in the South of England, a town called Wokingham and at the moment it's a lovely sunny day. I drive up to Bletchley Park every Monday morning and spend the day there. I just showed my significant-other a picture of where you live and she said that we should (all) meet immediately!

    I'm happy about writing stuff for the Wiki but we could make it a joint effort because you seem further down the ESP road than I am. Does the Wiki allow two authors/editors (John D.?)

    Best
    Charlie

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