Why ESP32?

A project log for pxlDigit_24 - retro style character display

A 24-segment retro style character display

fabFab 06/03/2021 at 14:540 Comments

I had equipped the PCB of the first revision of the pxlDigit_24 with an ESP8285 ESP-01F. 

This is actually a very powerful microcontroller if you want to set up a project compactly, but at the same time don't want to do without wifi and a lot of computing power. If you then see the price of the ESP8285, the decision is actually almost made.

So I set up the first revision with an ESP8285, as you can see in the following pictures.

Unfortunately, only then I noticed the (only?) disadvantage of the ESP8285 for my use case: The memory is relatively (luxury problem!) scarce. Not seen in absolute terms, of course, because with its 8MBit memory it is really well equipped compared to other microcontrollers.

The only problem I had here was that I wanted to use the ESPEasy framework again as the basis for the software. This is a framework that can be expanded with the help of plugins and configured in a very user-friendly manner. Depending on the desired plug-in, a little more memory is of course required.

At this point I had already worked with the ESP32, which is a really powerful further development of the already very good ESP8266 or ESP8285. In addition, the ESP32 is not much more expensive than its little brother and has some key features that ultimately moved me to use the ESP32.

Tthis can not only communicate via WiFi. It can also be equipped with bluetooth functionality. In addition, the development work can be simplified considerably with the aid of the JTAG interface.
In the end there is a little more of everything than with the little brother. More ADCs, more flexibly configurable peripherals, dual core ...

Granted, maybe. an ESP32 is a bit bored when it only has to control the 24 plus X WS2812 LEDs. But when it comes to the possibilities, I'm curious to see what will happen in the future and may still come. :)