ESP8266: Arduino compatible $5 MCU with WiFi
This is the 1st part of a series of 3 posts on the new ESP8266 microcontroller
I only talk about a bare handful of new boards because most of them don’t pass my test: whether they’ll let me do something today that I couldn’t do yesterday.
But every once in a while a new board, or a chip, comes along that makes me sit up in my chair. The ESP8266 is one of those, and the things that make it interesting is that makers are coming up to me and telling me about it. There was no marketing company here, this has all been about the community.
The ESP8266 is a UART to WiFi SoC built around a Tensilica Xtensa LX3 processor — shipping on a somewhat bewildering variety of breakout boards — the most commonly available being the ESP-01 which has a tiny form factor and can cost less than $5, although it’s more typically priced around $7 for low volumes.
The boards, and the underlying ESP8266 SoC, was initially marketed as a Serial-to-WiFi adaptor, and comes with a firmware supporting a simple AT command set to configure and control the wireless module.
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