ESP-everything chat with Sprite TM

In this chat we'll be discussing the ESP family with Sprite TM

Friday, March 9, 2018 07:00 am PST Local time zone:
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Sprite TM will be co-hosting the Hack Chat this week. NOTE: NEW TIME FOR THIS CHAT: 7:00 AM PST, Friday, March 9th.

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The ESP32 is part of the ESP family from Espressif. It provides Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality through its SPI / SDIO or I2C / UART interfaces. In this chat we'll be talking with @Sprite_tm about the ESP32 and the rest of the ESPxx family.

More about the ESP32 here

In this chat, we'll discuss:

  • Peripherals
  • Ultra-low power consumption
  • The SIP package
  • Next up for the ESP family?

  • ESP Everything transcript part 2

    Sophi Kravitz03/09/2018 at 16:46 0 comments

    Sophi: @1rabbit as much as we love chaos, in order to avoid it here in the chat, we uut all the questions in the comments.

    Arsenijs: That's no wonder, goats are for 6GHz and up, you're supposed to sacrifice fluffy rabbits for 1-6GHz as a rule of thumb

    Sprite_tm: Ah, the goggle questions. Again, dunno, deeper RF magic, not my forte, sorry :)

    Billybob: :<

    Michaelm: Checking in with ham radio groups would be the ideal.   Antennas can make a difference. There are onmi-directional and directional.   You would need something more directional.
    Michael Anfang has joined this room.10:44 AM

    Billybob: Well, the goggles have omni and patch antenna. Though the omni is circular polarized. Maybe that makes all the difference.

    Billybob: Guess it's a "tryandsee"

    Sprite_tm: True. The ESP32 (and the 8266) actually have pretty good RF specs, on par or better than the chips of other WiFi-companies, so at least with a good antenna you can get a fair bit.

    1rabbit: i get about 200meters outdoors
    hazbounn has joined this room.10:44 AM

    1rabbit: with the pcb antenna

    Thomas Shaddack: usually the "omnidirectional" antennas with gain work by flattening the characterstics so it has higher gain along the plane perpendicular to the antenna axis, so it radiates more there and less up and down. handy when we have an apartment that is usually mostly horizontal.

    Kevin: I forgot this chat started this early. I just got here.  Hm... Sprite_tm mentions porting Doom to the ESP32? I knew the device was a capable little beast. Didn't know it was that capable.  :)

    michaelm: Look up yagi antennas.  I saw a version of the ESP32 that allows an external antenna connection.

    Sprite_tm: Kevin: Runs at a nice 30FPs or so.

    Sophi: Q from @konsgn : any 5ghz chipsets in the works?

    Sprite_tm: Yes, we do. No idea how far along it is (I think our next chip is still 2.4GHz only) but I've heard giddy sounds from some of our RF guys with interesting terms like 'really low phase noise' and 'antenna coexistence' and other things, so I can only assume we should have something good upcoming :P

    Sophi: Next Q from @Simon Merrett: I'm designing a wearable temperature sensor that I'd like to keep low size, weight, power. I know ESP32 has BLE but I understand that up to this point the BLE still takes ~100mA. Are there plans to optimize BLE power to act closer to the ~10mA of e.g the Nordic chips with BLE? If so, is this something likely to be available to Arduino IDE or just in the Espressif SDK? Thanks!

    konsgn: cool, good to hear

    Sprite_tm: Issue is mostly that getting the thing to be anywhere near efficient is a PITA, as 5GHz amplifiers are way less efficient than 2.4GHz ones, or so I hear.

    Sprite_tm: Eh, I can stay a bit longer if that's okay.

    Sophi: we can do a follow up chat on this if @Sprite_tm is willing
    oh that would be super @Sprite_tm !!

    Sprite_tm: Meh, everyone is here anyway :P

    Sophi: Next from @HCARLOTT : Anyword on the esp-idf 3.1 release date?

    Simon Merrett: Sorry, no reply to mine?

    Sprite_tm: Lower-power BLE: Yes, we're most certainly doing things in that direction. (That is also one of the reasons the SDK isn't visibly expanding: 'lower-power modes' is only a small bullet point but can take a huge effort to get done.) I can't tell you how much lower that is going to be, though.

    Simon Merrett: Thanks

    Sprite_tm: 3.1 should actually bring in a lot of those lower-power things.

    Sprite_tm: For when it's released.. that's always a mystery. We're trying to get less things into the releases, because the time delay between them is irritating to us as well. If any, we are poised to keep releasing all features on the master branch as soon as we merge it, so if we have something, you'll see it.

    Sophi: Next q is from @Matthias Boesl : is there any plan to support the esp32 port in zephyr OS? They are currently working on WiFi integration, and the OS seem very promising

    Sprite_tm: We actually have a bunch of OSses that have interest in providing an...

    Read more »

  • ESP Everything transcript

    Sophi Kravitz03/09/2018 at 16:35 0 comments

    Sophi: And.... let's get started. welcome @Sprite_tm !

    Sprite, can you introduce yourself, tell us all who you are and what you work on?
    (pretty excited to have you hosting btw)

    Sprite_tm says: Thanks Sophi, glad I can be here again! Fingers all warmed up, hope I can type quick enough :)
    Marek has joined this room.10:05 AM

    Sprite_tm says: I'm Jeroen Domburg, aka Sprite_tm. I am an engineer for Espressif, working mostly on the platform side (SDK, drivers, examples, ...) but I tend to poke my nose in other internal stuff as well. Somehow I also got the title of 'marketing manager'. Not sure how I got that one, but I try to use it for good, e.g. as an excuse to port Doom to the ESP32.

    Sprite_tm says: Furthermore, I also tend to meddle a bit in electronics here and there. I think you may have seen some of my stuff on HAD, as they have featured some of my projects. Sophi, mind if I plug the PocketSprite here as well?


    PocketSprite - Tiny Retro Gaming on your Keychain
    PocketSprite is the world's smallest gameboy and sega emulator. Play all your favorite gameboy and mega drive ROMS on this keychain emulation console.

    Read this on PocketSprite >

    plug away :)

    Sprite_tm says:So my latest (well... two years in the making) project is a tiny game console based around the ESP32, the Pocketsprite. It's open source and all, and already has a GameBoy and Game Gear emulator, but it also has a SDK so you can write your own things for it. Crowdfunding is still going on: .

    cpope says: congrats on your campaign, looks like it is going well!

    Sprite_tm says: So, erm, any questions about Espressif, myself, the PocketSprite or whatever are welcome. I'll stick to the questions posted at first, feel free to chime in if you have anything to say on the topics there.

    Sprite_tm says:cpope: Thanks! Yes, >600% funded, we can't complain :)

    Milkey Mouse says: Yes the PocketSprite is really cool. I've wanted one ever since I saw Sprite_tm's hackaday superconference talk. Just a little too lazy to replicate it myself ;)

    Sprite_tm says: Yes, I heard that way too often, hence me actually turning it into a commercial product :)

    Sprite_tm says: Anyway, 1st question from the comments:

    Sophi: Here is our first question: Would it make sense to use small USB-capable chips in place of the USB to serial converter on the development boards, like the micro:bit does, to allow for easier programming (for example using UF2) and possibly access to the on-flash filesystem? Would Espressif or you personally be interested in developing such a board?

    Sprite_tm says:  he guy wo had way too many fun with Unicode asked: "Would it make sense to use small USB-capable chips in place of the USB to serial converter on the development boards, like the micro:bit does, to allow for easier programming?" The answer is: yes! Actually, one of us (Angus, aka projectgus) already looked into this for the esp8266 but aborted his project somewhere. We think it would make sense to replace the usb-to-serial converters we use now with something slightly more custom-made for ESP32s. We just don't really have the time to design something like that ourselves, but we'd be welcoming efforts there.

    question is from @ɖҿϝիɟթվ

    konsgn says:I finished wiring up a similar prototype the day the campaign launched. Really happy to see that it was turned into a thing. great job!

    Sujith Anandan: That was awesome..congrats

    Thomas Shaddack says:10:11 AM
    thought. add rotation encoder or three and it could be a good "core" for all sorts of lab instruments.
    watson has joined this room.10:11 AM

    Sprite_tm says:10:11 AM
    Sophi: GMTA:) You do the questions, I'll do the answers.

    ok cool

    question 2: Is there any recent software improvement for the ADC of the ESP32? Will there be a new revision of the chip with improved V_REF and a more linear behavior?

    Sprite_tm says:
    Anyway, we...

    Read more »

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Milkey Mouse wrote 03/09/2018 at 15:50 point

Sort of a follow-up question to the Linux one: assuming I'm using the QFN ESP32 directly, what's the maximum SRAM or Flash I could theoretically connect to it? I've heard conflicting figures from ESP-PSRAM datasheet, esp-idf docs, hardware datasheet, etc.

  Are you sure? yes | no

1rabbit wrote 03/09/2018 at 15:43 point

what kind of range should i expect from ESP-NOW in urban conditions?

i have not been impressed by the range from my tests at home (a good slices of lost messages) iirc its supposed to be stronger than regular wifi, is there options to consolidate the transmission?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Lex Landa wrote 03/09/2018 at 15:33 point

Not knowing much about Wi-Fi/802.11 standards, please excuse this question, if it is naive/dumb: will Wi-Fi eventually replace Bluetooth as a low-power, short-distance technology?  Are there likely to be higher speeds and greater spectrum use, eventually?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Thomas Shaddack wrote 03/09/2018 at 15:26 point

How it is with the reliability of the ESP32 with the simple coding frameworks (NodeMCU, MicroPython...)? If a game crashes, no big problem, but if a lab furnace fails, fire may ensue or material and labor are lost. Similar for data acquisition rigs. Any tips and tricks and suggestions here?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Arsenijs wrote 03/09/2018 at 15:26 point

I've been discussing usage of ESP8266 as a SDIO WiFi card with people in the DIY smartphone community (specifically, in regards to the ZeroPhone project, but there are other projects I know of that currently use SDIO WiFi cards and considered replacements). There's always a question - what about the binary blob uploaded by the driver? Speaking mainly about this:, as well as the corresponding .fw2 and .fw3 files.

Are there sources? We haven't managed to find any yet. We've considered putting a bounty on reverse-engineering the blob, so that we have a WiFi card we can use internally for people that want to have an open-firmware driven WiFi card, with all the benefits it brings. However, if the sources could be made accessible, that'd be awesome. Is there anything we could do about it?

  Are you sure? yes | no

sheffieldnick wrote 03/09/2018 at 15:23 point

On the ultra-low power consumption: what's the best way to contact Expressif about technical issues? e.g. I submitted an issue on github about the ESP8266 coming out of light sleep over 2 months ago... ? Basically it runs at high current draw during the wakeup pulse, and doesn't preserve the modem on/off state of when it entered light sleep? Eats a LOT of extra power :(

  Are you sure? yes | no

Milkey Mouse wrote 03/09/2018 at 15:20 point

Anything to tease us with about the next ESP chip? Is it going to be called the ESP64? ;)

  Are you sure? yes | no

dreamer wrote 03/09/2018 at 15:10 point

Will Espressif ever get rid of the binary blobs still needed to use the ESP series?
We would like to see FrostedOS on the esp32, but since this needs fully open kernel space it's currently not possible.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Matthias Boesl wrote 03/09/2018 at 15:02 point

is there any plan to support the esp32 port in zephyr OS? They are currently working on WiFi integration, and the OS seem very promising

  Are you sure? yes | no

ElectronicBytes wrote 03/09/2018 at 15:01 point

What are tools (software / hardware) required to start with the ESP family?

  Are you sure? yes | no

HCARLOTT wrote 03/09/2018 at 14:59 point

Anyword on the esp-idf 3.1 release date?

  Are you sure? yes | no

benjaminaigner wrote 03/09/2018 at 14:56 point

Just before the start of this session, just 3 questions/proposals:

-) It would be REALLY wonderful, if your next chip would support USB  (device or even host maybe)

-) And of course the ADC :-) I didn't found quite accurate information of ksps (speed) and accuracy. But in my current projects it is not that important, but it might be...

-) How about BLE-Mesh? I know everybody is asking, but do you have any roadmap? Originally I think it was announced to be supported end of January, but now this is quite long ago...

BTW: One screen chat session, other screen ESP32 project: Flipmouse (next version is with ESP32: FLipMouse-esp32)

Thank you and your team for this amazing chip and BSP! My colleagues  are always wondering, especially if you compare it with the normally used TI Tiva Launchpads :-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Simon Merrett wrote 03/09/2018 at 14:56 point

I'm designing a wearable temperature sensor that I'd like to keep low size, weight, power. I know ESP32 has BLE but I understand that up to this point the BLE still takes ~100mA. Are there plans to optimize BLE power to act closer to the ~10mA of e.g the Nordic chips with BLE? If so, is this something likely to be available to Arduino IDE or just in the Espressif SDK? Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

konsgn wrote 03/09/2018 at 14:53 point

Q: any 5ghz chipsets in the works?

  Are you sure? yes | no

billybob wrote 03/09/2018 at 14:46 point

Q: I want to shove an esp in to my fpv goggles, but I am pretty sure it will interfere with video quality. The video comes in at 5.8ghz. It shouldn't interfere, but I can't help wonder if a small transmitter inside the goggle enclosure would have negative effects.

  Are you sure? yes | no

ReapeRum wrote 03/09/2018 at 14:18 point

i'm newer to the whole tech field I have't heard about ESP could someone inform me about what that is?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Julius (Mr. Seeker) wrote 03/08/2018 at 10:23 point

Q: What will power the next SHA badge?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Jarrett wrote 03/07/2018 at 22:14 point

Do you have any tricks for the homegamer to try and tune their antennas for the ESP32-PICO-D4?

  Are you sure? yes | no

davedarko wrote 03/07/2018 at 22:10 point

I have this project idea: #WIFI Game Boy Cartridge  - I was a bit naive when I started this, tried to toggle pin for pin but it was way too slow. Would/could this work with the I2S parallel interface? I wasn't able to find much on the I2S interface when I started this and what I found was above my skillset, but I still like the idea of having a cartridge that has wifi. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Milkey Mouse wrote 03/07/2018 at 21:34 point

I have too much time on my hands and am considering trying to get linux-xtensa to run on an ESP32 (obviously with a trimmed-down kernel, maximum SRAM, XIP, etc.). What are some roadblocks that I would come across? I'd have to use ucLinux no-MMU stuff because the MMU isn't the Linux-capable one as used in the Diamond 232L, right?

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