Adventures in IoT

Olaf BaeyensOlaf Baeyens wrote 02/20/2017 at 19:15 • 1 min read • Like

Experimenting with the Thor electronics and software led me to IoT devices like ESP-12. I somehow thought it was something like an nRF24L01 but using the Wifi media instead. Big was my surprise that it also contained a micro-controller on board.

That is what I have been doing all weekend, toying with ESP-12.



Olaf Baeyens wrote 03/19/2017 at 22:05 point

First successful IoT that works on batteries and sends temperature and humidity via a web page when requested. the DHT-11 is less accurate than I hoped for. It is off by 3-7 degrees. Not an issue I can always compensate the number. 

The combination is a ESP8266 D1, 5V to 3.3V regulator, DHT-11 and external battery back 3xAAA.

Custom build firmware since I want to get the experience to design it from scratch. 

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 03/19/2017 at 12:44 point

Tested the ESP8266 D1 and the LoLin NodeMch v3. But seem to have driver issues on windows 10. To make Windows 10 recognize it, I must do many resets. Then after the program is uploaded I lose the serial debugging console because Windows 10 doesn't recognize it anymore.

So it is either in running mode (Windows 10 does not recognize it) or in program mode (runnig stopped) but not both.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 03/16/2017 at 21:43 point

Temperature dht11 sensors are in. 5 of them. The intention is to create a network mesh using ESP8266 reporting in my home.  It is IoT but I don't want the data logger and controller connected to the Internet.

I never liked the idea of putting all your data and control over to some strange cloud service that may gets hacked or go bust in 2 years. This one is intended to operate for 10+ years and no subscription payment. 

I may assign one ESP8266 as a gateway to the Internet when needed, but when I power it off from the Internet the mesh should keep on operating.

I may set up a private WiFi router that is dedicated for local traffic disconnected from the Internet. The fact that it is a IoT devcie does not mean that it has to communicate to the Internet.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 03/15/2017 at 21:30 point

I finally received my esp-8266 D1 (€8). No time yet to test them This will be the weekend. They about my upper thumb size. The plain vanilla ESP8266 is about my thumb nail. The advantage of this is that I can reprogram it by connecting it with an USB cable. The plain vanilla ESP8266 would require me to have additional messy wiring in order to program it. The D1 is better suited for what I intend to use for.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 03/10/2017 at 22:02 point

The ESP8266 project to create a Wifi  controlled ePaper has me discovered that even though that the projects look and feel like C++, not all functions are yet implemented that I am used to find in PC C++. e.g. sscanf() 

A limitation I did not expect. It is not an issue since I am a grown up develoepr, so I create my own tools :-)

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 03/04/2017 at 22:11 point

Just discovered the ESP-8266EX D1 mini that may be perfect for the job I am thinking of. Small compact and it also includes an USB port so I can easily program its firmware.

Contrary to what people assume, this can be a access point but it does not require a Internet connection to operate. You don't even need to use the WiFi part to make it do things.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 02/27/2017 at 19:19 point

First success in controlling the WaveShare epaper through a web browser using a ESP-12. 

I am thinking to use the ESP-12 in the future instead of an Arduino nano for certain projects.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 02/26/2017 at 00:07 point

There exist a project that used WaveShare 4.3 inch e-paper module to be controlled through Wifi, but I decided to create my own variant. It is the best way to learn developing for it.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 02/26/2017 at 00:04 point

Steep learning curve for ESP-12 (8266) IoT device but this is what I learned:

* It contains its own micro-controller so it does not require an Arduino to make it control it.

* Arduino Sketch can be used to compile for that micro-controller and have C code just like the typical Arduino code. 

* The ESP-12 device has debug LED on PIN 2 Arduino PIN 13

* Just like the Arduino I can compile, upload from Visual Studio using an Arduino plugin. This speeds my development.

* The 8266 can be programmed with different versions of Firmware. NodeMCU is one of them. This firmware comes with AT commands. The NodeMCU firmware responds on these AT commands. 

* AT commands can be executed by the Arduino if you connect the ESP-12 to it. 

* The ESP-12 can be configured to connect to your router (NodeMCU, custom code) which requires an password to connect, but it does not need to. It can happily work as its own router. Know the IP address, take any browser and you can connect to it.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 02/25/2017 at 02:40 point

Special note: ESP-12 (8266) is actually intended for IoT. 

I don't like my devices to communicate with the Internet because of the security issue. Just look at IoT Botnet ‘Mirai’ that hijacks IoT devices to execute DoS attacks on web sites.

However this ESP-12 module does not need Internet to operate! It can become its own network. You can directly connect to it if it contains sever code in its programming. Alternatively you can set up a second wireless router complete isolated from the Internet. It can perfectly work without Internet.

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 02/25/2017 at 02:31 point

Next stage is to control the e-paper through a ESP-12 module but via TCP/IP.  That way I can send text and command to show images remotely. 

I have not thought of a project yet. But rough idea is to have one Arduino (mega) as a sensor controller that retrieves sensor data (temperature) in my rooms  wireless, store and show it on this e-paper screen. 

Ideas is also to retrieve weather data from the internet and NNTP date/time.

Special note: This e-paper cannot upload images. Any images must already be saved on a TF card that is inserted at the back of the display. It can draw circles, triangles and squares but that it it. 

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 02/25/2017 at 02:20 point

First success to control this WaveShare 4.3 inch e-paper module to be controlled by both an Arduino Uno or an nodeMCU ESP-12 8266. 

That display can both operate at 5V and 3.3V. 

The cool thing is that you can cut off the power, even disconnect it and the letters stay on the screen, reducing power enormously.

The ESP-12 (nodeMCU) - e-paper combo appears draw about 0.73 W. 

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Olaf Baeyens wrote 02/21/2017 at 21:05 point

I received my 4.3 inch e-reader module from Waveshare, I already have the ESP-12 8266 modules and this is an interesting project to start with.

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