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vESPrino - ESP8266 dongle

Develop IoT projects on this simple dongle using the ESP8266 module. Button, Led and Temperature included

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Update (11.07.2016): IndieGogo campaign has successfully launched today! Get your vESPrino here
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/vesprino-the-iot-dongle/x/10721175#/

Update (10.06.2016): The IndieGogo campaign will start in 3 weeks (1.July.2016). Register here: http://eepurl.com/b383J9 to get notified as soon as it starts!

A new ESP8266-based board that wants to make the IoT and microcontroller world more accessible. It comes with a box, built in RGB Led, Button, Temperature probe and several extension ports.

No more jumper-wire mess, cables and breadboards required to make some simple scenarios work!

My goal is to crowdfund this project and scale it, so that an individual device costs no more than 10 eur. If you are interested in the project and would like to get notified if/when i start a crowdfunding campaign for

What is it?

This little device is based on the popular ESP8266 WiFi Module. It's goal is to be the perfect companion on the way to IoT Learning and Microcontroller programming.

  • For newbies - A built-in RGB LED, Temperature probe and Button and USB Port - it's goal is to make it very easy to kickstart a wide variety of projects
  • For Enthusiasts - There are 4 extension ports which allow you to be creative once you master the basics. The vESPrino is very bread-board friendly, takes just one row and gets power via the micro usb port
  • For Experienced makers - The mounting holes and the placement of the Micro USB, LED and Button, as well as the enclosure STL files will make it easy to embed the board in custom projects. Built in Deep-Sleep functionality means - less heat and less wires to connect.

In fact this is the realization of another project i started at hackaday.io - https://hackaday.io/project/9661-vthing-starter



Why I made it?

I have spent almost each free hour of my spare time in the last two years in experimenting with electronic devices and putting them in custom enclosures to make them pretty. In the last few months i also got involved also in delivering IoT classes to Java Developers.

I realized that while everybody wants to dive into the IoT world, most people feel intimidated at first by the need to connect several jumper wires just to see something blinking and reporting data online. My first goal was to have a device that helps them move painlessly through this phase and loose as few people as possible there.

Next step is to get creative and work with sensors and actuators - this is why there are several extension ports that let you connect external things.

And since i've been designing boards for the last 1 year i wanted to have a board that is easily embeddable into other projects.

What makes it special?

Of course there is a vast amount of comparable gadgets featuring the same ESP8266 module. What makes this project different is:

  1. Has a nice enclosure, hiding the complexity inside
  2. Limited (not intimidating) set of extension ports
  3. Built in Deep-Sleep connection (RST and GPIO16 connected).
  4. USB Port for direct connection to PC
  5. Micro USB Port for connecting via Cable
  6. Both USB ports are connected to the USB2 Serial module (CH340G)
  7. Breadboard friendly design
  8. Project comes with STL files for sample 3D Printed box
  9. RGB Led, Button and Temperature probe built in onto the board
  10. Support for auto-reset based on tiggering CH_PD pin and not RST. Haa the advantages that deep sleep is working correctly, and reseting is consistent, since usually reset is pulled up internally

Who am I?

I have been working in the IT area (Software Development, Design, Architecture) for the last 20 years. In the beginning i was writing software for hardware devices, but later switched to pure software development. About 2 years ago i got enchanted by the IoT world and the vast amount of available hardware. The ability to create custom electronic devices that solve real-live problems is what motivates me to dig further down. I want to create value by building useful (and rather niche) products and sell them to other enthusiasts that do not have the time to do this themselves.

sch - 626.41 kB - 12/14/2016 at 00:09

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brd - 161.79 kB - 12/14/2016 at 00:09

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  • vESPrino as Home Automatization Endpoint

    Vladimir Savchenko06/28/2016 at 20:55 0 comments

      While preparing the Crowdfunding campaign i realized that extending the vESPrino platform to a real Home Automatization endpoint is a low-hanging fruit. So there are few things that i am going to include in addition:

      1. Native support (in the default FW and Config Tool) for a wider set of Sensors and Actuators
      2. Individual Packages consisting of different sets of sensors that can be bought together
      3. Documentation on how to use them
      4. An adapter board where plugging an additional sensor or actuator is clearly labeled so that every tinker would be able to do it

      In the next days i am going to rollout more info about the available perks and types of sensors. So stay tuned !

  • Sensor Packs

    Vladimir Savchenko06/10/2016 at 03:53 0 comments

    What is a development board without sensors to play with?

    As i already stated i hate connecting stuff using a breadboard and jumper wires. While this allows a great extensibility, it is always the one thing that pushes me away from experimenting.

    So i am going to reorder the Extension ports in a way that a wide variety of sensors can be directly plugged in. For the ones that cannot - i will add one adapter board to host them as well.

    I have not yet finalized the set of natively supported sensors, but ones that are definitely going to be in are:

    • Light / Lux
    • Humidity
    • Pressure
    • UV Light
    • Guesture
    • RFID Scanner

    Some different types of displays can be supported as well:

    • 0.96" OLED
    • 2.4" TFT
    • 20x2 or 20x4 Character Display

    And of course some actuators

    • Relay
    • Servo

    As part of the crowdfunding campaign there will be different sets of those sensors. Also for some of them i plan to include native support in the Firmware so that you can start using them in no time!

  • Featured on scn.sap.com

    Vladimir Savchenko06/09/2016 at 19:55 0 comments

    I am proud that my project got the spotlight on http://scn.sap.com

    In fact - one of the reasons i started this project was to enable new commers to connect easier to SAP's HCP Internet Of Things Service, so the default firmware comes with native support to connect to SAP and leverage the power of the platform

    http://scn.sap.com/community/labs/blog/2016/06/09/iot-in-a-dongle--connected-apps-for-pure-software-developers

  • Automated Configuration Utility

    Vladimir Savchenko06/07/2016 at 14:36 0 comments

    Something that is quite frustrating when you just need to see something working is the fact that you need to develop some program. And let it report data to some service that you are not yet well aware of.

    This is where another added value feature of the vESPrino comes into play.

    The automatic configuration utility (a Chrome Extension) will connect tot he device and configure it via COM Port.

    Supported online services are Thingspeak, Ubidots, SAP HCP Internet of Things Service and IFTTT. As well as any custom HTTP or MQTT Server.

    This way you can focus on seeing it work first and then start to tinker with firmwares. Of course you can always get back to the original one.

    The screenshot below is when a vAir CO2 Monitor is connected, but it will work similar also with the vESPrino!

  • Landing page created

    Vladimir Savchenko06/07/2016 at 03:02 0 comments

    To support the upcoming crowdfunding campaign i created a simple landing page

    http://vlast3k.github.io/vESPrino/

    Whoever is interested in getting notifications when i start it you can directly register on the list here:

    http://eepurl.com/b383J9


    There will be nice rewards for the first backers!

  • Possible Projects

    Vladimir Savchenko06/06/2016 at 12:58 0 comments

      With this tiny dongle there are still a lot of possible projects possible and things to learn:

      1. Sending and receiving data via WiFi. Running a Web Server, posting data to other servers. Using TCP or UDP protocols
      2. Usage of buttons and interrupts in micro controllers
      3. Controlling an WS2812B LED. This one is RGB so you can display lots of different colors
      4. Measuring Temperature - the included temperature probe is quite precise so you can measure and post temperatures online
      5. Managing Heat - the device consumes ~100 ma when turned on, which produced enough heat to influence the temperature measurement. So using deep-sleep functionality this can be controlled
      6. Various mashups of those functionalities are possible
      7. There are 4 extension ports, 3.3v, 5v and GND outputs - to connect external sensors, actuators and display (more on this in a later update)

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