KingTop PCB assembly

A project log for LiFePO4wered/ESP32

ESP32 IoT core board with flexible power and flexible communications

Patrick Van OosterwijckPatrick Van Oosterwijck 10/30/2019 at 22:320 Comments

I got word from KingTop Technology that they were done building the 10 prototypes.  They sent me pictures for visual inspection:

Looking good overall!  However, I spotted a problem:

They populated ESP32-WROVER (using PCB antenna) modules instead of ESP32-WROVER-I (U.FL antenna connector)!  Since this is not exclusively a PoE/Ethernet board (that's only one of the possible power/connectivity options), it is very likely the board will be used with WiFi and/or Bluetooth.  Since it was designed from the start to use an external antenna that can be mounted outside the box, the position of the ESP32 module is such that the on-board antenna is pretty much useless.

I contacted KingTop about it and suggested they either had to replace the modules or "convert" them to ESP32-WROVER-I by installing a U.FL connector and changing the active antenna connection by repositioning R15 on the module.  They chose the latter option and reworked the boards:

The result looks good to me and I had them ship the boards.  Let's hope the fix will work as I assumed and a U.FL antenna will work as expected now!