Yeah, new hardware to tinker with: a ESP-01 and a NodeMCU Board 🙂
The ESP8266 is a powerful and cheap SoC (System on a Chip) with onboard WiFi (b/g/n) capabilities. It has 16 GPIO pins, UART, i2c, SPI and QSPI for external flash memory.
This very cheap module consist of o ESP8266, A PCB-Trace antenna and an external 1MB flash chip. It’s not breaking out every GPIO pins – just 2 (GPIO0 & 2).
This module has 8 pins: VCC & GND for power, RXD & TXD for serial communication, RST for reset (yeah, really :p ), CH_PD for chip enabled/disable and GPIO0 & GPIO3. This chip is intended for small projects or as a Serial-Wifi bridge.
Be aware: The module has no onboard logic-level-converter. So if you hook up this board to more than 3.3v, you will most likely see magic smoke !
You can get these board for ~3-6 AUD$ from eBay.
This module is a complete development board. It is utilising a ESP-12E which is basically a ESP8266, 4MB flash and an antenna on one small pcb. This pcb is soldered to the devboard which is powered by usb (3.3v step-down-converter), a USB-Bridge for easy programming and 2 buttons (reset and flash). You can use 10GPIO pins for your own projects – every of this pins is able to provide you i2c, 1-Wire and pwm functionality.
Again: The module has no onboard logic-level-converter for the GPIO pins!
It comes preflashed with the NodeMCU firmware (www.nodemcu.com) which enables you to program this module in LUA. It costs about 8-13 AUD$ on eBay.
As i have some experience with Arduinos, i’ll most likely try to use the Arduino IDE to program this little friends – (https://github.com/esp8266/Arduino)