ESP8266 WeatherStation Kit finally in US Amazon Store

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

Do you like this post? A typical project like the ESP8266 Weather Station takes many hours of my free time to implement and even more to maintain. Maybe you feel like offering me a beer for it? Modern technology allows teleportation of beers around the world;-) It is easy and painless and much appreciated.

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

7 comments

  1. Thomas says:

    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. David Manuel says:

    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?

    1. squix78 says:

      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

      1. David Manuel says:

        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

        1. squix78 says:

          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. dbm123 says:

    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. AdaBill says:

    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

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