ESP8266 and ESP32: Interview with Sergey Lyubka from Mongoose OS

Hi Sergey, thank you so much much for agreeing to this interview! Can you tell us a bit about your role at Mongoose OS? I am a technical cofounder and CTO of a company behind Mongoose OS, and set the  overall technical direction for the project.   For my readers who don’t know Mongoose OS.....

Seeeduino LoRa GPS: Getting Started with LoRaWAN (and TTN)

In the last couple of months I had the chance to play around with LoRaWAN. In case you have never heard of LoRaWAN, it is THE radio communication protocol for the Internet of Things (IoT). It is long range (thus LoRa) and consumes only little energy when transmitting. This guide will help you to get a Seeedstudio Seeeduino LoRa GPS to TheThingsNetwork. .....

ESP8266 Weather Station: Shipping From a Fulfillment Center in China

Ever since the launch of the ESP8266 Weather Station in the US Amazon store I had to ship two different versions of this product. The customized box containing the Weather Station with the NodeMCU, a OLED display, a DHT11 and some cables was only available through Amazon in the US. To the rest of the world I could only ship the less customized starter kit, sometimes even delivered by three separate packages. I am very happy that I found a fulfillment service in China which allows me to s.....

IoTCon in Munich: Impressions from Day 1

Munich is always worth a trip and you can get there from Zurich easily by train or coach. This time my employer Netcetera let me visit the Internet-of-Things conference to scout what is going on in the IoT field in Germany (and elsewhere). Here are some impressions I collected during the first day of the conference. To read about the second day go here. .....

Digoo BB-M2: Hackable cheap WiFi camera

It is amazing what you can get for a few dollars. The Digoo BB-M2  WiFi IP camera is no exception and you can get even more out of it with a few simple tricks that some clever people found out. The camera offers 720p streaming, it contains to stepper motors to remote control the direction and it also has two-way audio capabilities. I guess in no time we will have some cool projects built around it. .....

Interview with Espressif’s Ivan Grokhotkov

Are you also curious to learn a bit more what is going on behind the scenes at Espressif, the company manufacturing the ESP8266 and ESP32 chips? My friend Marcel Stör (frightanic.com) and I compiled a list of questions to Ivan Grokhotkov (@i_grr), Director of Software Platforms at Espressif. Ivan is one of the main drivers behind the ESP8266/Arduino proj.....

ESP8266 Weather Station Projects

In this post I’d like to show you some of the projects that other people did based on my WeatherStation library. I hope this will inspire you to get creative and extend the code with you features. Or maybe you have built a nice case around the WeatherStation. If you do so please contact and me and share your creation with the world. I’m more than happy to put them into the gallery! .....

ESP8266 PlaneSpotter Color

After many hours of work I’m very happy to finally publish all the sources for the ESP8266 PlaneSpotter project. It is not yet really in a V1.0.0 state but I’m sure with the help of the community it will quickly get better. While this post is more a “making-of” you can find build instructions on Github: https://github.com/squix78/esp8266-plane-spotter-color &nbs.....

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. .....

Font Creator Now Creates Adafruit GFX Fonts

As first task for the upcoming Weather Station Color project I wanted to adapt my online font generator. Easily creating fonts in various sizes will make work on the Weather Station code a lot easier. Since my own display library doesn’t support the color TFT screen I switched to Adafruit’s library. They provide a converter but it needs to be compiled and I wanted to have this feature available on my web based font converter. So I analyzed the Adafruit font files and the converter.....

ESP8266 Weather Station: Getting Started Guide available for Kindle

Once in a while I like to try out new ways to reach the audience. I’m happy to present the ESP8266 Weather Station: Getting Started Guide is now available for Kindle. If you are a frequent reader of this blog you might recognise some content of the guide from older posts. But I hope you still enjoy reading it on another device and in a revised form with additional information for beginners. .....

ESP8266 Weather Station on the “Big Screen”

The 0.96″ OLED displays I usually use for the WeatherStation are gorgeous but they could be bigger, right? Recently a bigger version of the SSD1306 based display became available on my favourite channels. Thanks to great work of the community (especially Fabrice Weinberg) the OLED library on Github  as been extended to support those 1.3″.....

Kids Watch Review

Usually you read about electronic components and how to use them on this blog. Often they are related to Internet-Of-Things (IoT). This post on the other hand is about an end user product. But you could also call it an IoT component. It is about a cell phone in the shape of a watch for kids with an interesting price and set of features. But as it quite often is the case with cheap products from China the manual is probably translated to English with Google Translate and so it can be a real ch.....

ESP8266: Turn a $9 Body Scale into a Smart Scale – Part 1

In this project I will show you how you can build yourself a fancy Withings-like body scale. I divided the article into two parts: Part 1 describes the hardware hack and Part 2 the software. In this project I used a cheap scale I bought in the local super market for 9 Swiss Francs (which is currently about USD $9.-) and I am optimistic that other digital scales will work for you as well. This project was a lot of fun since I had to do reverse-engineering, soldering, programming and (optiona.....

ESP8266 based Plane Spotter – How To

When I sit at my living room table I can see wonderful big airplanes in the final approach to Zurich (ZRH) airport or ascending to a far destination: Airbus A380 or Boeing B777 are ingenious proof of what we are capable to design and build. Quite often when I have visitors I start flightradar24 to get more information about the airplanes we see. But wouldn’t it be nice if this information would just be there, anytime I’m curious – without starting an app on my smart phone.....

ESP8266: Continuous Delivery Pipeline – Push To Production

The integration of the ESP8266 framework into the Arduino IDE brought ease of use for development. This was further improved when firmwares could be pushed over the local network to the test devices with the direct over-the-air feature. But what if your ESP8266 devices are no longer in your own network? How can you then update all the devices which are running an older version of your firmware? .....

ESP8266 Peripherals: Indoor Positioning with IR Camera

DF Robot IR Camera Sensor
The sensor I’m going to talk about here is a very powerful one. And you actually might have a very similar one in your home somewhere. The DF Robot Positioning IR Camera uses the same or similar module that is built into the Nintendo Wiimote controller. The sensor module is capable of simultaneously detect up to four sources of IR light and make them accessible through a I2C interface. .....

Daddy Day Science #2: Heated Air Expands

Thursday – Daddy Day – Science Day! In the second experiment I wanted to show my daughter that air expands when it gets warmer. My favourite “science” book offered a good 5 minute experiment. Take a bottle, put a balloon over the top, put the bottle into a pot with cold water and warm up the water on the stove. Honestly I didn’t expect such a quick and clear reaction! And my daughter loved it! .....

ESP8266 Peripherals: Mini PIR Motion Sensor

  The ESP8266 is all about Internet of Things, right? So lets start sensing something in the real world! What about (human) presence in your apartment? There are various ways to do that but one of the most common type is sensing with pyro electric sensors which also called passive infrared (PIR) sensors (see Wikipedia). The one I am presenting in this post is also a PIR sensor; a really tiny one.....

Daddy Science Day: The Potato Battery

I see myself as very privileged to enjoy a day alone with my daughter once per week. There are many aspects to it: it is a great thing for the relation with my wife, since I now know that taking care of the household and of our daughter is equally consuming as a “normal” paid job. And I also get to be part of my daughter’s first experiences in the world. With a little bit over three years old she is constantly asking “Why this, why that” and everytime I’m .....

ESP8266 Peripherals: uBlox GPS Module

Almost 20 years ago when I studied a few semesters of electrical engineering at the famous ETH in Zurich I had a lecture about the basics of digital electronics. And I remember the professor doing many practical demonstrations such as drilling holes into a CD to show the quality of error correction in different price categories of CD players. I also remember that he talked about tiny and cost efficient GPS receivers that soon would be part of every cell phone (remember, 20 years ago the real .....

ESP8266 Peripherals: KY-040 Rotary Encoder

The ESP8266 took the hearts of the IoT and Do-It-Yourself community by storm, due the very attractive price, its internet connectivity and due to the relatively rich amount of available GPIO pins. But an internet connected device is not worth much without means to interact with the real world. Thanks to standardised communication protocols like I2C, SPI and serial interface and the work of the Arduino community there are many sensors and actors available for a really good price. But do they.....

ESP8266: Offline Debugging with the Platformio Environment

Having tools is great but you also need to know how to use them. Being a native Java speaker using a debugger is a very natural and easy thing. With the ESP8266 on the other hand this looks a bit different. I struggled now for a half day to figure out how to use the debugger to resolve a nasty crash that was happening if I would use a NFC card reader several times in a row. Most of the time I tried to use life debugging as I was used from the Java world a.....

WeatherStation & 3D Printing: striving for seamless integration

As you might know already I am now a proud owner of a 3D printer, a Printrbot Play. In the last few weeks I have tried to master the printer and I have learned a lot in this time. It was only a matter of time to bring my two passions together and use the 3D printer to create a case for the WeatherStation. This is my first result. It is not as perfect as I want it to be but it is presentable. With the next version I’ll have to make the w.....

3D Printing: My First 3 Weeks with a 3D Printer

After pondering over buying a 3D printer for almost a year I finally had ordered a Printrbot Play at the end of last year and about 3 weeks later it arrived in Switzerland in a pretty package at my door. In this post I’d like to share my experience with this specific printer and with 3D printing in general as far as I can tell after 3 weeks of owning one. I believe that in the first .....

Printrbot Play: First Impressions & First Prints

Yesterday my Printrbot Play finally arrived after 3 Weeks since I gave the order. After hesitating for a long time I finally made the order on december 31, then on January 11 it was shipped and 9 days later on January 20 it arrived at my home in Switzerland (but I wasn’t home:-() and I could pick it up at the post office in the evening. Should you decide to buy a Printrbot Pla.....

ESP8266 Arduino IDE Alternative: Platformio

The Arduino IDE is a good choice for a beginner to get into the world of small embedded devices. Feedback that I got from Weather Station Users indicates that the ESP8266 attracts many hobbyists to the IoT field that before had little experience with programming small devices. For me as a (professional) Java programmer the Arduino IDE lacks many features that I would expect from a modern development tool. The two that I miss most are Auto-.....

Weather Station in an Old Nokia Phone

Today I got a wonderful email from Jens Lochmüller from Germany which shows that necessity is truly the mother of invention. He wanted to build a case for the Weather Station with a picture frame but since he didn’t have an unused one at home and the shops were closed today he just put it into the case of an old Nokia phone. If I had to guess I would say it is a Nokia 1110 or.....

ESP8266 WeatherStation with a Magic Mirror

Just had a little time to test my latest idea. I took an IKEA picture frame, mirrored car tint and the Weather station, put everything together and it works! It only took about 30 minutes… Next time I’ll have to be more careful with the mirror tint, this thing scratches easily. But in the linked tint you get about 3 meters you’ll have enough material to get it perfect! .....

ESP8266 Weather Station: New Version Released

While I have a few days off I found some time to finally get a consistent set of libraries for the WeatherStation together and fix a few things. Here is a summary of the changes… Weather Station as a library Most important change from my point of view is that you can now install the Weather Station with the Arduino IDE library manager (or at least you will be able once this request has been .....

ESP8266 Oled Display library: How to customize fonts

Many people were asking me to publish the code that creates the font files used in the SSD1306 OLED library. Well, I was hesitating since the code was a bit hacky. So I sat down and created an online tool which is now open for Beta testing. It allows you to select a font from a list of integrated Apache licensed files, choose font size and style (plain, italic, bold) and then create the C file which you can copy paste into your Arduino IDE. A.....

ESP8266 Project Preview: FairyBox – The Kid & Parent Friendly Wifi Controllable MP3 Player

This is a quick preview of my next ESP8266 project in the pipeline: The FairyBox. Planned features: (Planned) Features Simple song selection with big buttons: button 1 selects folder one, first song, press button 1 again and it jumps to second song in folder 1. Web interface where parents can  control volume (limit) to protect hearing,  skip super a.....

ESP32 unboxing!

Santa came early this year! Espressif has sent me one of the early test boards of the new kid in IoT town, the ESP32. Compared to the ESP8266 which kind of dominated the hacker space in the last 12 months the ESP32 is very powerful! Coming Dual Core 32-bit L108 MCU, Wifi AND Bluetooth LE it might be yet another milestone in affordable IoT devices for DIY hackers and industry all together. Check out the unboxing pictures. Looks like I wi.....

ESP8266: Fixing extended ASCII issues in SSD1306 OLED library

I got a few complaints that the esp8266-oled-ssd1306 library does not handle special characters such as Umlauts properly. It turns out that the Arduino IDE does handle characters in the extended ASCII range (from 128-256) as UTF8 characters which means that Strings containing such characters can take more space than the bare number of symbols in it. For instance the degree character (°) will be represented as two chars with values 0xC2 .....

ESP8266 OLED display library release

Recently I released a new version of the esp8266-oled-ssd1306 library. This library allows you to control these wonderful little displays from a ESP8266 with little effort. When I first wrote the library for the WeatherStation I had the problem that 128×64 pixels never seemed enough space to display all the information. Then I added a feature set which allows you to describe the information in an number of frames which will then be .....

ESP8266 Feature Preview: More Fonts for the Weather Station!

I’m working on a new version of the Weather Station code. The first shot was the jason-streaming-parser library which allows me to fetch bigger objects directly from the source without the need of an proxy PHP script. The next step is to add more features to the display library. One is to allow more fonts and sizes. The current version only has one font and two sizes. For this I wrote a little Java program which converts any given.....

ESP8266/Arduino: processing huge JSON objects directly on the ESP

For a while now I wanted to improve my weather station project by adding more sources of information that can be displayed. But these sources I had in mind either used SSL (https) or delivered huge JSON responses. SSL is not yet supported on the ESP8266/Arduino platform (and from what I hear also broken on Nodemcu/Lua). Big JSON objects are a problem because all the existing libraries I tried are DOM based which consumes a lot of memory since.....

ESP8266: NodeMCU Motor Shield Review

If you want to engage with your ESP8266 into robotics there is now an almost ready-to-go solution: the NodeMCU Motor Shield. If my research is correct then it was the Doctors of Intelligence & Technology (http://doit.am/) who created it and also are offering some LUA code to get started. This post shares my experience with the motorshield and also with a two engine “Smart Car” kit that nicely combines with the.....

ESP8266/Arduino: Playing around with the upcoming filesystem feature

I recently stumbled on a feature that hopefully soon will be integrated into the stable release of the ESP8266/Arduino environment: a file system interface. Low-Level: EEPROM Up until now and currently your best bet for data persistence in the stable release you could use the EEPROM interface to write and read your data so it would be available between reboots of the device. This persistence interface is pretty lo.....

Choosing the right Electronics Shop

In the last couple of months I could collect some experience in where to buy the electronic components I use in my projects. Since in most cases I don’t care so much about several weeks of delivery time I usually order from one of several Chinese online shops or trading platforms. The following list reflects my own experience with these shops and platforms and does not have to necessarily reflect other opini.....

ESP8266, ThirsDee: 3D printed casing arrived

This was my first take ever at designing something for a 3D printer. Since I didn’t have a 3D printer available with a big enough printing area I ordered it online at Sculpteo.com. And only a few days after my order I received a nice little package from France today. Tada, the cover for Thirsdee, the intelligent plant helper! As you can see from the.....

WeatherStation Kit ready for your order

Great news! My supplier in China has finally sourced all the components that come with the WeatherStation Kit and I’m ready to take your orders. For a limited time it will cost only USD $19.95 and shipping is available for more than 70 countries. The kit is a good entry to get started with the ESP8266 since it requires only minimal wiring from you. Extend the source code found at github to display even.....

ESP8266: Wifi data logger already running for more than 2 months on batteries!

More than 1440 hours or in other words 60 days ago I put 3 AA batteries from IKEA in the battery box of the ESP8266 test board and started a program that would send temperature and humidity every 10 minutes to Thingspeak through its Wifi interface. I removed all unnecessary power consumers from the board such as LEDs and light resistor but there would have been more potential to improve longevity of the batteries. By setting a fixed IP .....

ESP8266: Meet Thirsdee, the Intelligent Plant Helper!

It’s amazing what you can do with just a few components: a load cell, a high gain analog-to-digtal converter and a NodeMCU module. You can for instance measure the water consumption of your dear plants. If you combine the previous mentioned components with a OLED display you can even visualize the current water level in the plant pot. And if the level reaches a critical low yo.....

ESP8266: Calibrating the Wifi Scale With Temperature Compensation

In my last post I talked about my self made scale. There are plenty of applications for a sensor that can sense the weight of things. But I guess the scale should not be tared (or set to zero) every time the ESP8266 wakes up from sleep. The load cell is basically a resistor that reacts to tearing and pushing of the metal bar. But like all resistors, they are prone to temperature drift. Thi.....

ESP8266: DIY Wifi Kitchen Scale

This week I finally received all the necessary pieces to build a internet connected kitchen scale. The ingredients are: a load cell (Wikipedia), a high resolution ADC (HX711) and of course a ESP8266 based NodeMCU V1.0 module. For the moment I’m not logging the data coming from the scale to the internet but I rather display it on o.....

Register now: The WeatherStation Kit is coming!

I’m very happy to announce that I could find a supplier who will ship all the parts that you need to get started with the WeatherStation. No more worries to find the right components. The WeatherStation Kit will contain: the new improved NodeMCU V1.0 with 4MB flash one SSD1306 based OLED display with a resolution of 128×64 pixels 40x 20cm female-female connectors USB.....

#ESP8266: Open-Source Designer Advice wanted for the weather station!

So, all the major technical challenges have been resolved. But now the fine tuning begins. Anyone with a graphical eye in the audience to give advice? How to arrange the different elements most efficiently so that it is pleasant to eye and brain and uses the space most efficiently? Please step forward… Your “playground” is 128×64 pixels, 1-bit depth… All result.....

ESP8266: 3D printed case for the weather station project

You just got to love open source! Some guys wrote a firmware for an exciting little chip (ESP8266), based on an open sourced SDK: the NodeMCU lua firmware was born. Then another guy (me;-)) writes a little LUA program to fetch weather data from an open API and displays the data on a OLED display. Then yet another guy (smiley77) creates a wonderful case for the project and makes it available as well: .....

ESP8266 Projects: Internet Connected WeatherStation with beautiful icons

Since I learned how to create pictures and display them on these wonderful OLED displays I wanted to build something useful with it. Once you know about all the pieces, putting them together is quite easy. The icon, temperature and humidity are updated every 10 minutes from http://openweathermap.org/, then parsed into a JSO.....

ESP8266, NodeMCU: how to create xbm images for displaying on OLED 128×64 I2C Displays

Do you know these wonderfully cheap SSD1306 based OLED displays with the crispy display? For a while now the NodeMCU Lua firmware for the ESP8266 supports them and has a rich feature set to draw lines, circles and even bitmaps. One way to draw bitmaps is in the XBM format, which is originally a text based format and they can be directly included into C code: #define clouds_width 60 #define clouds_height 60 static.....

ESP8266: NodeMCU V1.0 part created for Fritzing

Fritzing is a nice tool to quickly draw up your breadboard circuits. From there you can easily and for a competitive price order PCBs. But Fritzing is only fun when you have all the parts that you use in your project. For me the NodeMCU V1.0 that I recently acquired was missing. Since I always wanted to create a Fritzing part my self I sat down and made one and I will share it with you… .....