ESP8266 WeatherStation Kit finally in US Amazon Store

Do you like this post? Writing posts, developing libraries and programming online font creators is actually hard work. I order most of my electronics from a Chinese website called Banggood. It is save and the items usually arrive in good quality. With every order you do there by following this link you are supporting the blog. Thank you!

More than two months ago I started the process to have my ESP8266 WeatherStation listed on Amazon. The big online platform offers a service called Fulfilled by Amazon or short FBA which allows you to send your items directly to their warehouse. Your product will then be shipped to your buyers with the usual speed and quality as if it was a product sold directly by Amazon.

Weather Station Kit on Amazon store
Weather Station Kit on Amazon store

While the products you order from my shop come directly from China I have limited possibilities to customize the starter kit with this supplier. For Amazon I wanted an improved product: ready with instructions, packed in a convenient plastic box for storage. So I had to look for another supplier for this special batch. Alibaba helped me to get into contact with some suppliers and  picked three to send me samples. All of them sent express and arrived within a few days in Switzerland. I tested the display and the NodeMCU module rather carefully but neglected to test the USB wire since I thought it was a commodity. I picked the supplier based on language, how fast the responded and the price. I made the order and had 20% of them sent to Switzerland while the other 80% went directly to a Amazon warehouse in Texas.

While the shipments were still on the way to Switzerland and the US I desperately needed a USB cable and picked the one from the sample box. But for some strange reason I didn’t see the NodeMCU when plugged into my Mac. I slowly realized that all the USB cables I had ordered were just for charging and not for data transfer. Some harsh emails were exchanged with the supplier in China but I had to realize that it was at least partly my fault. By that time the shipment for the US had just arrived in Texas. What should I do? Removing items from the Amazon inventory is only possible with a destination address in the US and I live in Switzerland.

I remembered that a friend from grammar lived now with her family in the US and contacted her through Facebook. I asked her if her boys could help me to replace the wrong USB cables in exchange for some pocket money and she agreed. Now it took almost a month until Amazon completely removed all the items from their warehouses all over the country. When all of them had arrived at my friends place she and her boys quickly replaced the USB cables with the ones from China my supplier had sent to her. After that UPS picked up the box with the starter kits and brought it to yet another Amazon warehouse.

The moral of the story is that you should always test every aspect of your product even commodity items like USB cables. On the other hand this story also shows that there is (almost) always a way out of such a frustrating situation. Look at it as a challenge and not as a problem.

This is the very short story of my long and winding road from a Chinese supplier to a Amazon warehouse in the US. Now the next chapter has just begun and I keep my fingers crossed that it was worth all the troubles so far… You can see and order the result of that work here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KE7BA3O

Posted by squix78

31 comments

  1. Hello Dani,
    cool thing and a rather fascinating story! If I did not already have one kit I would order one…
    But one thing: On the label stuck on the bag is written “NodeMCU V3” but in the text description you write “NodeMCU V1”.
    Perhaps you can sync this?
    Best regards and successful business!
    Thomas

  2. Hi Daniel;

    Awesome! I got my kit and I loaded up the WeatherStation sketch and everything was working 🙂

    I then went on to add the DHT11 code and that’s when things stopped working. I suspect the firmware was over written or something bad … bricked I suspect.

    From the Arduino IDE …

    warning: espcomm_send_command: didn’t receive command response
    warning: espcomm_send_command(FLASH_DOWNLOAD_BEGIN) failed
    error: espcomm_upload_mem failed
    error: espcomm_upload_mem failed

    I then went on to try and reflash the NodeMCU firmware using ESP8266Flasher.exe … from there I get ..

    Note:Serial port connected.
    Note:Begin find ESP8266.
    Note:ESP8266 ACK success.
    Note:ESP8266 ACK success.
    Error:Set ESP8266 Address timeout.

    Similar problems directly from the esptool

    c:\Python27\Scripts>esptool.py –port com5 write_flash -fm dio 0x00000 nodemcu_integer_0.9.5_20150318.bin
    esptool.py v1.2.1
    Connecting…

    A fatal error occurred: Timed out waiting for packet header

    … in fiddling around the board is alive .. it does send this out the serial port at 75K baud… could it be a baud rate issue? I assume not as I understand it’s autobaud detecting.

    ets Jan 8 2013,rst cause:2, boot mode:(3,7)

    Questions –

    o Do you have any suggestions on next steps?

    o Could it be power? I gather power is important for FTDI boards but the NodeMCU has the 3v3 regulator and it’s running off a PC with “good” USB current .. and it did work fine before it did not 😉

    o I’ve had no success in pressing the RST and FLASH buttons — I as I understand them, the RST/CTS lines put the board into to bootloader mode at any rate .. thoughts?

    … thoughts?

    • Hi David

      Here sone thoughts
      – try another USB cable, the can be reason for your symptoms
      – try another USB port or restart your PC (or Mac?) I had situations where my Mac would only show the device after a restart
      – unplug the DHT11. Maybe your wiring is wrong and you accidentally switched VCC and Ground. Not sure about the longterm effects of such a switch. Such a switch was actually the only way I could ever brick an ESP8266

      If these tips don’t help feel free to get back to me

      Cheers, Dani

      • Thanks Daniel —

        I’ve tried multiple USB cables and multiple USB ports (Windows).

        I did go back to just the bare board .. no display and no DHT11.

        I’m now trying to see it the ESP AT command set even works … and no luck there yet. I do get this when I press the reset button so it is alive a least a bit 😉

        ets Jan 8 2013,rst cause:2, boot mode:(3,7)

        but nothing in response to AT ….

        ??

        Cheers David

        • According to this post it might have to do something with your reset pin: http://www.esp8266.com/viewtopic.php?p=2096#p2112
          I’m not sure what that means;-).
          With which baud rate are you trying to flash the ESP? I your example from your last comment you did auto-sensing, right? Try to use a fixed lower rate like like 115200 or 57600. It often is something like the “-b” parameter.

          When you say you went back to the AT firmware: so did you manage to flash the AT firmware? After flashing the ESP8266 with the new firmware the AT binary has been replaced…

  3. Thanks Daniel — I just received another NodeMCU board as I’ve wasted enough time on the dead one 😉 If I manage to get the dead one working again, I’ll let you know.

    HNY, David

  4. Thanks Daniel, You sent me a trial kit and I purchased 2 others from Amazon. Some minor problems (outlined in Bryan Miller’s comments on Amazon). it works great but I still could use a fix to be able to get the screen to reverse from top to bottom your current variable didn’t work.

    I also located a free case plan that I had 3D printed and it fits and looks good. I found a local printer and picked it up today ($9) and it was a good fit, BUT the pins to hold the OLED were slightly out of register. I think I’ll have to cut them off and tape or glue the display in place. There is a ledge for it to fit in so i don’t think that will be a problem. I’m going to get another one printed for my local (Grand Rapids , MI USA) and I sent the plans off to my son in Atlanta, GA USA for him to use. I built the Squix kit with them over our Thanksgiving Holiday and now it will have a much better case than the plastic box it came in. Thanks for your good work and I did send off a tip. This case fits the slightly smaller SQUIX version of ESP8266 -12E.

    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1720314 for the plans

  5. I have my kit, and am following the directions, but even after 4 cable swaps, verifying all setting from the getting started guide, and checking my IDE for errors, I cannot seem to get a valid up load.

    The error I encounter is espcomm_upload_mem failed;

    Now I verified that the chip on the board shows a CP2102, so that is the USB driver I installed;
    I restarted my computer (windows 10) to ensure driver is loaded;
    I see a com3 show up when I apply power with the USB cable, so that is the port i chose;
    I loaded the libraries as indicated, and select the board nodeMCU 1.0

    I also updated from the 1.6 to the 1.8 arduino IDE too;

    I am lost to what else I can do to get the base sketch uploaded?

    • Hi. From distance it indeed sounds like you did everything fine. On one hand it is a good sign that the COM port shows up is a very good sign, it means that you have the correct driver installed. On the other hand there are reports of problems with the CP2102 on Windows 10. Could you check please if you have the latest driver? See these forum posts:
      http://community.silabs.com/t5/Interface/cp210x-USB-to-UART-driver-problems-windows-10-code-31/td-p/146924
      http://community.silabs.com/t5/Interface/Windows-10-VCP-Driver-Now-Available/m-p/161629
      Feel free to contact me again if that should not solve the problem, please also let me know if it does so I can adjust the instructions…

      Regards,
      Daniel

      • Daniel,

        I did download from that site the latest drivers, then I un-installed and re-installed just to be safe. That did not cure it, but I also think you have pointed me in the right direction, I duplicated the installation on an adjacent windows 10 computer and have the same result. Both computers can reach an Arduino UNO with no problem (from the same USB port), so I will continue to explore the device drivers. Thanks for your response! Once I resolve this, I will advise you for your documentation.

        Regards,

        Bruce

        • Daniel, happy to report that the drivers with Windows 10were fine. Unfortunately the nodeMCU appears to be bad. I ordered a couple more of these and they came in todays’ mail; I plugged one in to the windows 10 system and it fired right up tonight. Now I can add the sensor and the oled and play, woo-hoo!

          Thanks again for your quick response!

          Bruce
          Kentucky, USA

  6. Only ever been using 8266 as a wifi board for an arduino. This sounds much more interesting.
    I really want to buy your handy box, but I live in Sweden. Any chance of finding way for us Europeans?

    • Hi again,
      I now noticed that you also had your own shop. Order is now completed. Please disregard the above. Thanks.

    • Very nice. I was hoping that the winds could be included and looks like you nailed it with an arrow and value. Still waiting for my color display in the mail so can’t wait to see how it works.

    • Am having trouble compiling your code, keep getting the following error:
      Arduino: 1.8.1 (Windows 10), Board: “NodeMCU 1.0 (ESP-12E Module), 160 MHz, 115200, 4M (3M SPIFFS)”

      Build options changed, rebuilding all
      C:\Users\Danny\Documents\Weather Station Bodmer\esp8266-weather-station-color-masterbodmer\esp8266-weather-station-color-master\esp8266-weather-station-color\esp8266-weather-station-color.ino:44:58: fatal error: TFT_ILI9341_ESP.h: No such file or directory

      #include // Hardware-specific library

      ^

      compilation terminated.

      exit status 1
      Error compiling for board NodeMCU 1.0 (ESP-12E Module).

      This report would have more information with
      “Show verbose output during compilation”
      option enabled in File -> Preferences.

      I have all the libraries loaded, but still cannot determine why I am getting this compile error. I have set up the display wiring according to your example.
      Thanks,
      Danny

      • Bodmer thanks for your post on the fork of Daniel weather station color. I must have had some garbage in my IDE folder, have corrected the problem and have your version up and running. Thanks again to you and Daniel.

  7. Hi…great work there.

    I am interested in adding a functionality to the Weather-station.
    I would like to have hourly data to display (instead of next 3 days), parsing it from here

    http://api.wunderground.com/api/“my-api”/hourly/EN/q/”my_country”/”my_city”.json

    Ideally I would display like
    next hour (+1) , +6 hour, + 12 hour

    I would just print padded_hour (instead of the day of forecast)
    Then just the temp (instead of min max temp of forecast)
    and the icon (which is there as in forecast)

    I am trying to understand your library /sketch.
    When you call from the sketch, if I am correct you call dayIndex, that infact you obtain from currentForecastPeriod, and this is actually the “period” key in the forecast.json.

    I thought I could just call the n-th period as a vector, but if I understand correctly your parsing, that is not the case.
    The problem is there is no period in the hourly forecast.

    I imagine one solution would be to use epoch which is unix time, if I am right, but I am not sure how to go about it…
    I was thinking in the sketch:
    – First get the actual epoch from current conditions, observation_epoch
    – then I imagine compare the epoch of hourly (but this inside the library, passing it the actual one, and count the hours of difference, with some condition??)

    Have you suggestions? I am not a super good coder…
    I started adding some functions in your library, like void updateHourly

    and other check to see where I am in the forks…like ishourly and so on..

    thanks
    map

  8. Hi, there! considering the shortage on IL9431 display (even Banggood) and some vendors sending IL9225 (176×220) to anyone, is someone worked/working or willing to work on porting the code to use such display even sacrificing some graphic features? I can start to work from zero but my time availability is so short that to the time of progress it will be too late or other more thrilling things will be out there.

    • This is an issue introduced with an update to the Adafruit ILI9341 library I believe. Try reverting back to a previous version (1.0.2 worked I think). I ran into this a month or so ago and it took the better part of a day to track it down. The issue may have been fixed recently, but I haven’t tried the most recent release of the library.

  9. Funny. I just two boards of which I think are ESP-01s. I can’t understand the comment about shorts in a breadboard. Their 8-pin connectors have 2.54mm or 0.1″ pitch. So they’ll fit well into a common breadboard.

  10. I uploaded the World Clock demo an hour ago and noticed at 10:30pm CDT it was showing New York time as 15:30. What caused this? Where is the time zone (+ or – hours from UTC, and DST enable/disable) information set? Now as I type this at 11:40pm, it is now showing NY time as 00:40. What happened to correct the NY time (I assume the other world times were and still are correct)?

  11. Hello, I’ve tried the trick to power the screen through the digital pin and I’ve run into trouble : my wemos was not able to communicate by serial link anymore. Moreover, the final size is so small that the USB cable is heavier than it and I’ve difficulties to maintain the whole assembly on my desk, turned to my direction.

  12. don’t know if somebody noticed that yet, but according to VirtualRadar documentation your query string looks wrong as for the altitude filter parameters…it should be: &fAltL=0&fAltU=10000”;

  13. I can’t get my OLED working with the ESP8266. Do we need to connect all pins (DC, CS,RST).

    Even, when trying to display Hello World, nothing is displayed. Any chance, that you tell me if there are some errors in the sketch:

    #include
    #include

    // Display Settings
    const int I2C_DISPLAY_ADDRESS = 0x3c;
    const int SDA_PIN = D2;
    const int SDC_PIN = D3;

    SH1106Wire display(I2C_DISPLAY_ADDRESS, SDA_PIN, SDC_PIN);

    void setup() {
    Serial.begin(115200);
    display.init();
    display.flipScreenVertically();
    }

    void loop() {

    display.setFont(ArialMT_Plain_24);
    display.setTextAlignment(TEXT_ALIGN_LEFT);
    display.println(“Hello, world!”);
    display.clear();
    display.display();
    }

    Thank you

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