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wESP32: Wired ESP32 with Ethernet and PoE

A low cost ESP32 core board with Ethernet and PoE for convenient "single cable" deployments

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The ESP32 is very popular among makers as the brains for various projects. Usually it is connected to the internet with WiFi, but an often overlooked feature of the ESP32 is that it also contains an Ethernet MAC. This project aims to create a hacker friendly ESP32 + Ethernet + PoE core board to make it very easy to apply the power of the ESP32 in new areas such as home automation, factory automation, smart buildings and data centers, where the use PoE provides major advantages in installation and maintenance.

Due to the high power consumption of WiFi, most ESP32 based systems already require wired power. Since you already need a wire, why not provide power and connectivity through a single wire and bypass deployment hassles associated with WiFi credentials and RF performance in hard-to-reach locations?

Plus the high power available with PoE makes it possible to not only make ESP32 based sensor nodes, but to create smart network-connected actuators as well!

I just completed an application-specific ESP32 based PoE board for a customer, and it got me thinking: how much interest would there be in a generic ESP32 PoE core board?

By using PoE, a single cable provides power as well as connectivity, easing deployment headaches for large installations.  PoE can provide up to 12.95 W to a load while PoE+ specifies up to 25.50 W.  Plenty for an ESP32 which takes only a watt or so, making it possible to power other loads.  PoE capable network switches and injectors are also becoming quite common and have come down in price as well.

The nice thing about the ESP32 is that it's low cost and powerful, and provides WiFi and Bluetooth in addition to Ethernet.  So even if a deployment would be mostly Ethernet and PoE based, it would still be possible to connect a node with WiFi powered from another source if necessary.  Or it could be set up as an access point for other WiFi or Bluetooth LE based sensors.

While it would be nice to support as much power as possible, previous experience has taught me that high power opens all sorts of cans of worms related to heat dissipation and EMI.  So it seems prudent to not start at the highest power levels possible.  Some potential users also showed interest in compact, very low power systems, but there are plenty who were excited about the idea of having a decent amount of power available.  So I decided to take the middle road and do a 12.95W PoE class 3 design to start with.

The ability to use local power instead of PoE is a nice feature, but also adds complexity and cost.  The problem is that PoE uses 48V nominal to reduce wiring losses, but commonly available wall warts use lower voltages for safety.  Supporting both would require the circuit to support for a wide input voltage range making things more complex.

So I settled for the following solutions: local power can provided either by adding a PoE injector, or through the (optional) USB port.  Of course, from the USB port, only 5V will be available.

Talking about the USB port, several potential users expressed the opinion to not burden every board with something that would likely only be used during once during programming and never again after that.  I agree, so I made the USB programming/terminal port an optional module.

Other than those concerns, I want this module to be fully isolated (to prevent issues with long cabling), full featured (Ethernet, WiFi, Bluetooth LE, many ESP32 pins exposed), low cost and small.

wESP32-Prog-1-Eagle.zip

Eagle CAD source files of the wESP32-Prog programming submodule

Zip Archive - 50.43 kB - 10/07/2019 at 14:41

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wESP32-Prog-1.pdf

Schematic of wESP32-Prog programming submodule

Adobe Portable Document Format - 19.49 kB - 10/07/2019 at 14:41

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wESP32-3.pdf

Schematic of wESP32 rev 3 with PMS150C to manage PHY reset

Adobe Portable Document Format - 43.55 kB - 03/19/2019 at 23:10

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wESP32-1.pdf

Complete schematic of wESP32 core module

Adobe Portable Document Format - 45.40 kB - 04/20/2018 at 18:30

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lan8720a.pdf

Ethernet Phy with RMII interface

Adobe Portable Document Format - 1.02 MB - 04/18/2018 at 18:20

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  • Second production run

    Patrick Van Oosterwijck05/10/2019 at 18:36 0 comments

    "Silicognition" PMS150C-559

    As mentioned in the last update, I ordered factory programmed Padauk PMS150C-U06 chips from Sino-Mos to provide a reliable reset for the PHY chip on every board.

    I expected everything to be OK with them, but you never know 100% for sure if everything was understood correctly when dealing with China, until you actually have something in-hand. For one thing, I was relieved that they had indeed re-reeled them. It would have been a big bummer if I would have received a bag of loose SOT-23’s. :)

    Then I had to make sure they were indeed programmed. So I reworked another 12 boards from the first batch that didn’t initialize the PHY correctly with chips from one of these reels, and after rework they all work flawlessly!

    Getting these chips has actually been a smoother experience than I had expected. It’s kind of cool to now have a low-cost custom chip that does exactly what I want it to do, with its own partnumber and everything. PMS150C-559 is now forever an “ESP32 Ethernet PHY reset manager”. Maybe I should write a datasheet for it. :)

    Also, since I have 9,000 of them, I can definitely spare some if anyone is making their own ESP32 board with Ethernet and wants a canned solution to deal with the LAN8720A PHY reset. There’s an updated schematic that shows how the chip is used on the new wESP32 revision. So get in touch if you want to buy some.

    Rev 3 PCBs

    I took a little risk and ordered new PCB panels that use the PMS150C-559 before I had verified the factory programmed chips. But it had all been taking much longer than expected already and some backers have been wondering when they’d receive their reward, so I tried to recoup some time that way.

    Having everything in-house I made a kit to send to a CM I was going to try in Mexico.  That's when things started to go really sideways.

    The scourge that is customs

    The first customs issue I ran into: how to do the paperwork correctly. This was going into Mexico temporarily just to have it assembled and then it was coming right back to the US. I sought advice from the CM and a local export company, and yes, I received information on some generalities, but no one really gave me any concrete answers on what codes to use, exemptions to claim or checkboxes to tick. So after wasting almost a week waiting for guidance I gave up and shipped the box with the documentation as good as I could figure it. I marked the shipment with the AES 30.37(q) to indicate a temporary export that would be returned within a year. Whether that is correct or not I don’t know. Nobody had told me what to do and it seemed the right thing to do.

    DHL got the box to Mexico after 4 days or so. Then the trouble started. First they claimed they couldn’t contact the CM at the telephone number I had been given and had put on the forms. They wouldn’t tell me why they needed to contact them. DHL was giving me options like “we can send your package back, or send it somewhere else for an extra charge, or we can destroy it for you (!)”. This nonsense took a week or so, a week of anxious freaking out for me. Then after wasting what they must have deemed sufficient time, they somehow did manage to get in touch with them and supposedly needed a tax ID from me. I run a passthrough LLC and certainly wasn’t going to give them my SSN! That sort of blew over after some work done by the CM and then they found that the contents of the box didn’t match the PI I had included. This was partially my fault: I had based the PI on the BOM, but even though neither me nor the CM cares about the exact part number of a reel of resistors, of course customs paper pushers do. I also had included some full and partial reels in the kit and amounts on the PI didn’t match. I really didn’t think anyone cared just how many parts were left on a partial reel, but of course they did.

    What a joke. None of it should have mattered of course. The parts are temporarily...

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  • The PHY reset saga

    Patrick Van Oosterwijck03/11/2019 at 16:09 0 comments

    Finally, a long overdue update! The silence doesn’t mean we’ve been taking it easy, on the contrary: we’ve been hard at work to make the wESP32 even better!

    A yield problem

    After the initial build of 245 units, we were able to ship 205 units that were good right away. There were various issues with the remaining 40, but the vast majority of them had the same problem: the Ethernet PHY would not get initialized properly.

    The LAN8720A Ethernet PHY is kind of a difficult part. It has several pins that have double use: during reset their logic level indicates various configuration settings, while after reset they are used in the RMII interface to communicate with the ESP32. An extra difficulty is that the chip expects the 50 MHz clock to be present during reset, so the chip can clock in these configuration settings.

    Unfortunately, the ESP32 by default uses the IO0 pin for the Ethernet MAC clock. (More options have become available for dealing with the Ethernet MAC and PHY clocks, but because IO0 was the first option available in the SDK, it enjoys the broadest firmware support so that’s why I keep using it. Plus to keep as many other ESP32 pins as possible available to the user!) The ESP32 IO0 pin is kind of a difficult pin as well, since it is used on reset to determine whether the ESP32 should go into programming mode or run the current firmware. So we have a perfect storm of an IO0 pin that needs to be high at boot to run normally, but low at boot to go into programming mode, and needs to have the 50 MHz clock on it after boot to allow Ethernet communication, and that before the PHY comes out of reset.

    When I designed the wESP32, I just looked at how Olimex dealt with the IO0, ESP32 reset and PHY reset on their ESP32-GATEWAY and copied that for the wESP32, figuring they must already have found a good solution since this was a product in production. On my first hand-built prototypes, it all worked well, so I went ahead with it in production. Then I found that more than 10% of the boards had an issue. Interestingly, in their latest revisions, Olimex has changed their product to use IO17 as PHY clock output to bypass the whole problem! This might be a smart thing to do, but I am loath to make backwards incompatible changes and take a precious GPIO pin away from the user. So I started looking at other ways to deal with this.

    Looking for a solution

    I needed a solution that would act as a reset manager for the 50 MHz oscillator and Ethernet PHY and would be triggered by the EN signal to the ESP32. When EN is low on power-up and when triggered by a programmer, the 50 MHz oscillator needs to be off, so the programmer can drive the IO0 pin low to enter programming mode, or the IO0 can stay pulled high and the system boots. The PHY needs to be kept in reset as well, because its reset can only be released after the 50 MHz clock has started up. After the ESP32 has had the opportunity to determine the boot state, the 50 MHz clock needs to be turned on, and only after the clock signal is present can the PHY reset be released.

    I had assumed there would be plenty of low cost, SOT packaged voltage detectors and reset managers that could replace my existing solution in the space I had available, but to my great surprise, nothing I could find in the market really seemed to fit the bill. There are plenty of supervisors that monitor multiple voltages and generate a reset, but I couldn’t find any low cost options that monitor one input and generate two reset signals with separate delays.

    So I started thinking outside the box: did I really need to add a little microcontroller to do this? There are several microcontrollers that are cheaper than higher end supervisor chips, and it would give me full flexibility to generate the reset signals exactly how I wanted them. On the other hand, I didn’t really want to deal with programming this micro on every board. I would need to add programming pads and a manufacturing...

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  • Don't blow up your Ethernet phy!

    Patrick Van Oosterwijck01/16/2019 at 16:29 0 comments

    You may have noticed a warning at the bottom of the MongooseOS demo in the demo code repo, about accidentally blowing up the Ethernet phy while playing with MongooseOS demo code.

    I didn’t find any time to pursue this further, but I have to give the people at MongooseOS credit for getting to the bottom of this! I received this message from them:

    We did some research, and found the problem with ethernet. It happened to be quite stupid: the default config for the built-in LED used pin 22, which conflicts with the ethernet TX.
    So, this command should set the board correctly:
    mos flash esp32
    mos config-set eth.enable=true eth.mdc_gpio=16 eth.mdio_gpio=17 board.led1.pin=-1 board.btn1.pin=-1

    This highlights an issue that can happen with other firmwares as well: misconfigured pins doing damage to the phy. By default, the wESP32 ships with MicroPython installed and it is configured correctly out-of-the-box for the Ethernet phy as it is configured on the wESP32. If you load different firmware though, it is your responsibility to ensure the ESP32 pins are configured correctly and will for instance not configure an ESP32 pin as an output that connects to a phy output, and thus cause a short. Please refer to the schematic to make sure. The wESP32 website section on Software provides more information on wESP32 support in different environments.

    If you have ordered one or more wESP32's, I recommend you try it with the default MicroPython firmware when you first receive it, to confirm the hardware is sound and it receives an IP address (check with lan.ifconfig()) from DHCP over Ethernet, which only happens if the phy is working. All units are tested to do this before they are shipped, but this way you can prove to yourself the hardware is OK and nothing bad happened during shipping. After that you are free to use whatever firmware you want of course, but I will not replace defective units once they have been flashed with different firmware, as I cannot know what happened to them.  Thanks for understanding!

  • We are shipping

    Patrick Van Oosterwijck01/16/2019 at 16:24 0 comments

    On Monday 1/7, we finally received completed panels from Colorado Tech Shop!

    So we spent most of this week doing final assembly (installation of two through-hole electrolytic capacitors and the Ethernet jacks) and testing for all 245 boards in the first batch. I am quite pleased with the result, I hope you backers will be happy as well!

    Some boards were used for internal testing, some had to be sent back to Colorado Tech Shop for rework after finding issues during test, but today we were able to ship the first 205 units to Crowd Supply for delivery to backers next week.

    One of the boards was used for an experiment. I wanted to see if the board worked with the AI-Thinker ESP32-S module instead of the ESP32-WROOM-32:

    I’m happy to report it seems to work just the same, so this module could be used to provide a future U.FL antenna connector option!

  • Production update, and testers!

    Patrick Van Oosterwijck12/30/2018 at 06:39 0 comments

    Last week it dawned on me that time keeps passing and I hadn't given much thought yet to how I was going to test the wESP32 and wESP32-Prog boards before we ship them!  A very important issue to start cranking on, especially with holidays and vacation eating up a good amount of time.

    wESP32-Prog tester

    The wESP32-Prog board is quite simple and because of this, the tester can be simple as well.  Building the tester only took half a day and this is what I ended up with:

    The hardware consists of a little STM8S103F3 board that can be had for less than a dollar on AliExpress.  I had it laying around and all I needed for this was a simple UART capable chip, so this was perfect.  I used the Sduino project project to speed up firmware development.   It looks slightly different from normal Arduino code because the SDCC compiler doesn't support C++, only C.  It was simple enough to get it to work though, resulting in this code:

    // wESP32-Prog tester using STM8S103 board and sDuino
    
    #define IO0   PA1
    #define EN    PA2
    
    void setup() {
      // Initialize digital pin LED_BUILTIN as an output.
      pinMode(LED_BUILTIN, OUTPUT);
      digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, 1);
      // Initialize EN and IO0 test pins as input with pullup
      pinMode(IO0, INPUT_PULLUP);
      pinMode(EN, INPUT_PULLUP);
        // Init serial port to 115200 bps
      Serial_begin(115200);
    }
    
    void loop() {
      // Read a byte from serial port
      int c = Serial_read();
      // Did we get a byte?
      if (c >= 0) {
        // Set lowest bit to value of IO0
        c = (c & 0xFE) | (digitalRead(IO0) ? 0x01 : 0);
        // Set second lowest bit to value of EN
        c = (c & 0xFD) | (digitalRead(EN) ? 0x02 : 0);
        // Echo byte back with altered IO0 and EN bits
        Serial_write(c);
        // Set the green LED state according to the second highest bit
        digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, (c & 0x40) ? 0 : 1);
      }
    }

     All this does is when a byte comes in, echo it back with the bottom two bits replaced by the current state of the IO0 and EN signals.  The second to highest bit also sets the tester board's on-board LED state.

    This firmware works in conjunction with a little Python script on my Linux box:

    #!/usr/bin/env python3
    
    import os
    import glob
    import serial
    import time
    from termcolor import colored
    
    while True:
    
      print("Waiting for wESP32-Prog...")
        ports = []
      while not ports:
        ports = glob.glob('/dev/ttyUSB*')
        time.sleep(0.1)
    
      print("Serial port detected, waiting for access...")
        while (not os.access(ports[0], os.R_OK|os.W_OK)):
        time.sleep(0.1)
        print("Testing wESP32-Prog...")
        test_ok = True
      s = serial.Serial(port=ports[0], baudrate=115200, timeout=0.1)
    
      s.setRTS(False)
      s.setDTR(False)
      s.write(b'0')
      res = s.read(1)
      if (res not in [b'0', b'1', b'2', b'3']):
        print(colored("ERROR: Serial data did not echo correctly, is the tester connected?", 'red'))
        test_ok = False
      if (res != b'3'):
        print(colored("ERROR: IO0 and/or EN pulled low when neither is asserted!", 'red'))
        test_ok = False
    
      s.setRTS(True)
      s.write(b'0')
      if (s.read(1) != b'1'):
        print(colored("ERROR: EN not pulled low correctly!", 'red'))
        test_ok = False
    
      s.setDTR(True)
      s.write(b'0')
      if (s.read(1) != b'3'):
        print(colored("ERROR: IO0 and/or EN pulled low when both are asserted!", 'red'))
        test_ok = False
    
      s.setRTS(False)
      s.write(b'0')
      if (s.read(1) != b'2'):
        print(colored("ERROR: IO0 not pulled low correctly!", 'red'))
        test_ok = False
    
      if (test_ok):
        print(colored("OK! All tests passed.", 'green'))
        s.write(b'@')
    
      s.close()
      print("Please unplug wESP32-Prog.")
        while ports:
        ports = glob.glob('/dev/ttyUSB*')
        time.sleep(0.1)

     What this does is wait for the wESP32-Prog board to be plugged in, which will create a /dev/ttyUSB0 device.  For some reason, trying to immediately open the serial device after this threw an access error, so we wait until it becomes accessible and then open it.

    Testing ensures that when we send a byte, the STM8 micro echoes a (modified) byte back to us.  We do this with various states of the RTS and DTR signals which control...

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  • Crowd Supply campaign ending!

    Patrick Van Oosterwijck11/12/2018 at 17:51 0 comments

    The Crowd Supply campaign has been going very well and will be ending soon, so if you haven't put in an order yet and you want one, now is the time! :)

    I've been putting quite a bit of work into the software side of things during the campaign, to make it as easy as possible for anyone wanting to design something with this to get started.

    First of all, there's now a web site at wesp32.com.  It contains information on the hardware and on software development in different environments.  Most importantly, it contains a link to the Product Brief, which is pretty much the go-to for all detailed information.

    While the web site contains guidance on how to use the wESP32 with different development environments, there is now also a wESP32 demo code repository on Github, which contains full projects to get you started!  At the time of writing it has the iperf Ethernet IDF code I used to get the performance numbers mentioned in my project logs, an ESP32-Arduino example to control a display from a web server, two simple MicroPython examples to control an LED light, one from a web server and one using Dweet.io, and a Mongoose OS demo that allows you to control an LED light very simply from an automatically generated web app!

    If you take a look at these examples, you can see that most of them are quite simple and don't require much code at all.  For instance, here's the LED control from Dweet.io code:

    import machine
    import time
    import urequests
    
    # Initialize light PWM, flash for 1/4 sec on boot
    led = machine.Pin(23, machine.Pin.OUT)
    ledpwm = machine.PWM(led)
    ledpwm.freq(500)
    time.sleep(0.25)
    ledpwm.duty(0)
    
    # Get the ESP32 unique ID as a string
    uid = ''.join(['{:02x}'.format(x) for x in machine.unique_id()])
    
    # Check dweet.io every two seconds to get and update the light level
    while True:
      try:
        light_level = int(urequests.get(
            'https://dweet.io/get/latest/dweet/for/wesp32-light-demo-{}'
            .format(uid))
            .json()['with'][0]['content']['light'])
        ledpwm.duty(light_level)
        print ("Light level {}".format(light_level))
      except:
        pass
      time.sleep(2)

    So if you thought the wESP32 was interesting but would be too hard to get started with, think again!  There are still a couple of days left to change your mind and get your own wESP32 by backing my campaign! :)

  • Crowd Supply campaign now live

    Patrick Van Oosterwijck10/05/2018 at 21:40 0 comments

    The wESP32 Crowd Supply campaign is now live!  I have parts for about 230 units in-house, so if you want one before the end of the year, at the time of writing there are less than 100 of those left!  If you order later, they will ship from a new batch which is scheduled for February 2019.

    As I mentioned in the first campaign update on CS, I received the production PCB panels for the first batch:

    I'm really pleased with how these turned out, my wasp is finally black and yellow as it should be. :)

  • Crowd Supply pre-campaign page live

    Patrick Van Oosterwijck09/05/2018 at 00:17 0 comments

    The wESP32 Crowd Supply pre-campaign page is now live!

    Check it out and sign up if you want to be notified when the campaign goes live!  There will be some early bird specials so signing up may land you a special deal. :)

  • Coming to Crowd Supply!

    Patrick Van Oosterwijck08/31/2018 at 18:43 0 comments

    The wESP32 is coming to Crowd Supply!  After seeing how successful our #LiFePO4wered/Pi+ campaign was, it made sense to repeat the same thing for the wESP32.  I hope to have the campaign up very soon now so you can start ordering!

    I've been very busy the past week with ordering boards, ordering components, and coming up with marketing materials.  A campaign video is in the works, and we need demos to show off some cool stuff you can do with the wESP32.  One simple idea was to make a "remote status display" you can send messages to:

    You'd probably want a bigger screen for the real deal, but is conveys the idea. :)

    @martinschki had a good question in the comments: "How much heat do they emit under a low power application?"  I've been doing tests and taking thermal pictures at high load, but I never thought of doing it for low loads!  And in applications such as his where things get built into a wall this is important.  So here's a thermal image under low load, running the demo shown above:

    So it looks like the hottest thing on the board is the Ethernet phy chip.  At 51°C I don't expect any problems for having it in a wall.  But if you're going to use this to build an environmental sensor, you definitely need to keep this heat in mind when you design your device or your readings will be way off!

  • Final performance checks

    Patrick Van Oosterwijck08/21/2018 at 18:19 0 comments

    I had left off my data performance testing last time wondering why the iperf UDP data rate was so low.  Well, @aenertia on Twitter gave me a hint: you need to specify the amount of bandwidth you want to test on the client side, otherwise the UDP test defaults to 1 Mbit/s!  So, just an average case of operator error. :)  The iperf on ESP32 example code is too simple and doesn't provide / need this option, and I haven't played enough with this kind of stuff before to know things like that.

    Here are the results for UDP when the wESP32 is the client (outgoing traffic):

    Around 70 Mbit /s, nice!

    So to test server, I used the following command on the client:

    iperf -c 10.10.16.44 -i 3 -t 60 -u -b 100m

     This sets the target bendwidth to 100 MBit/s.

    Here are the results for UDP when the wESP32 is the server (incoming traffic):

    Wow, >90 Mbit/s!  That's close to the theoretical maximum!

    Now I'm pretty sure that from the moment the ESP32 would start to do anything with this data other than throw it away, the data rate would go down, but it's still nice to see that the Ethernet data system as implemented on the wESP32 performs very well.

    One last thing left on my list to validate the design was to test power performance when the 5V power option is selected by bridging the solder jumper.  As mentioned before, the whole power system is optimized for 12V power, and the 5V option was a little bit of an afterthought but it could be useful to many people.  So how does it do?

    In my first test I was really pushing it:

    Trying to push >2A through a power path that was designed for 1A: not a good idea.  That poor diode was frying, but it lived.  So, intermittent 10W may be possible at 5V, but don't run it like this continuously.

    Here's a more moderate test:

    That's better.  At 6W output (1.2A), the diode temperature isn't so bad.  Still, when running at 5V, your continuous average load should probably be kept below 5W.

    These results are fine though.  If you need high power, use 12V.  It keeps the currents much more reasonable.  If you really need high power at 5V, add your own buck converter.  The on-board option for 5V will likely still be very useful for the majority of people who need 5V in their system though.  5V sensors, keypads, displays, etc. usually don't need that much power.

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Discussions

ego wrote 4 days ago point

Hi Patric,

Is there a physical dimensions document?

Even more helpful would be an eagle library like there is for arduino, raspberry pi, etc.

  Are you sure? yes | no

wburchard wrote 05/09/2019 at 23:48 point

How much do these boards cost?  Do they have a USB port on them?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 05/10/2019 at 18:13 point

They are in pre-order on Crowd Supply at the moment: https://www.crowdsupply.com/silicognition/wesp32

More stock is being built right now.  The USB module for programming and terminal I/O is optional, choose the kit to have it included if you need it.

I am trying to find ways to get the cost down but with the meddler-in-chief's efforts to hamper international trade and make life hard for small businesses, this is unfortunately unlikely to succeed anytime soon.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Mat Smith wrote 05/16/2019 at 15:26 point

Hi Patrick! I'm really interested in wired ethernet for micros, and I bought the Olimex ESP32-POE, however my copy stopped working about 1 day after I received it. (It was able to get an IP address, then randomly stopped. I have always been careful about the lack of isolation between USB and PoE although that's unrelated...)

Anyway I'm really interested in this project, but for the number of units I'd like, the price would be too high. (Please note, I understand the economics of what you are trying to do, the difficulties with sourcing / shipping / tax etc. ... and if I were purchasing for business, there would be no hesitation over price as it seems like good value compared with the Atmel equivalent, the Ethermega PoE from Superhouse... but this is personal / fun.)

Long story short, I have three questions:

1a) Would you consider making a BOM and PCB designs open source?

1b) Would you consider providing basic support for someone like me to attempt to make it myself, if I could commit to documenting the process so that others could do the same. I understand if the answer is no to both of these!

2) I understand the PoE aspect pushes the price up. I would be prepared to forgo 802.3af for "DIY PoE", where I can use any voltage e.g. up to 28V. Would that be a simple option for bringing the cost down?

3) Sorry if I missed the detail somewhere online, but does your solution for PoE use the Silvertel chip? I saw these for around GBP 8.50 or similar price.

Here's my views on DIY PoE in my own blog post: http://hazymat.co.uk/2015/01/home-automation-poe-with-arduino-in-praise-of-diy-poe/

Cheers

Mat

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 06/25/2019 at 19:25 point

Hi Mat,

Since this is part of my business and how I make a living, it's always hard to figure out how much to give away and how much to protect.  In this case I've decided to open source the schematic but keep the layout proprietary since the wESP32's dense layout took a lot of work and optimization.  This approach has led to more business opportunities by creating derivative designs for companies that otherwise might not have happened.  Which in turn fund future development.

I've been absolutely swamped so it's hard to keep up with questions and free support.  I don't mind providing support to makers and hobbyists when I find the time.  Unfortunately there are a lot of freeloaders, business people that milk free information under the guise of wanting to do business and then turn around and use the free advise to have the work done on the cheap by someone else.  I'm trying to balance being a helpful community member and not being taken advantage of by freeloaders.

I'm not a fan of passive PoE but I can see it be useful in homes.  It's kind of the wild west though so I'm afraid if you make anything commercial in that space, people are going to be mad and complain about incompatibilities because nothing is standardized.  I didn't want such a support headache so I decided to stay away from it. :)

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Barry Parr wrote 03/28/2019 at 00:30 point

In regard to the potential for taking out the PHY , Have you considered putting 50..100 Ohm series resistors on some of the IO ?

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Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 05/10/2019 at 18:17 point

I have considered it but not had the chance to experiment with it yet.  I need to find out exactly what breaks when the PHY dies, which I'm not sure how to do.  Any ideas?  I may have trouble finding room on the board for them too, considering how dense it is...

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Barry Parr wrote 05/10/2019 at 22:08 point

The drive/sink current of a lot of pins on the esp32 is in excess of 20mA.

RXD1/0 of the lan8720 is 8mA so perhaps it's RXD0/1 that gets cooked when an input gets turned into an output accidentally . 3v3 / 8mA >> 412  . 470 Ohm series on those two might cover it . I have seen a few designs that have only 10 Ohm series on those pins .

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Samuel Archibald wrote 03/27/2019 at 17:14 point

Are you able to use a SSL/TLS connection, and if so, does the ESP handle it as gracefully as it does on Wi-Fi?

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Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 05/10/2019 at 18:18 point

Hi Samuel, sorry for the late response.  Yes, SSL/TLS works as gracefully over Ethernet as it does over WiFi!

  Are you sure? yes | no

2Fast2BCn wrote 01/14/2019 at 09:08 point

Unfortunately this stuff doesn't fit into an EU wall box. I'm going to assume you can remove the female RJ45 jack and solder the Ethernet cable directly onto the board but I'm afraid even then it will be to long. Why aren't these boards made more rectangular?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 01/16/2019 at 16:38 point

Sorry, but when dealing with isolated power conversion and big parts like the flyback transformer and ESP32 module, there are limitations to how things can fall into place and still fit in a rectangular shape.

The RJ45 cannot be removed, it contains the Ethernet magnetics for data path isolation and the diode bridges for PoE power extraction.

The boards _are_ rectangular, I'm not sure what you mean with "more rectangular".  Do you mean more square?  What dimension change would make it fit in an EU wall box?

  Are you sure? yes | no

2Fast2BCn wrote 01/16/2019 at 22:15 point

Yes, more square. Sorry, English is not my native language.

What I was fishing for is that 55mm x 55mm would just fit in my wall box if the Ethernet connection is inward (or no RJ45 socket). I understand it's outward to allow for a case but in the wall it only hinders?

wESP32 could make for a killer room presence detection with the Bluetooth and also make all my switches smart.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 03/11/2019 at 16:05 point

I wanted to mention that I am "thinking about" a wESP32 Mini, so maybe in the future I'll have something that fits your need.  As technology moves forward, new parts become available, and a new part from TI just caught my attention that does the flyback converter feedback through the auxiliary winding, removing the need for some secondary components such as the opto-coupler and reference.

I just need to find some time to play with them. :)

Also, no worries about hijacking the conversation piprog, you are providing relevant information. :)

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piprog wrote 01/17/2019 at 22:46 point

You might want to check out the Shelly 1 - it is exactly for automating traditional switches (although wirelessly) and should fit in an European wall box. Works with Tasmota and thus with HA. I would LOVE if it were Ethernet + PoE, but I haven't found such a thing yet.  (Patrick: I'm sorry for hijacking the conversation but I feel it is relevant)

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2Fast2BCn wrote 01/18/2019 at 09:04 point

Hello, Thanks for the suggestion. I have CAT5 running to all my toggle switches. I'm aware of the Shelly 1. A LOLIN D32 combined with a passive POE injector is cheaper and provides me with more flexibility. Unfortunately those are all wifi only and in my experience wireless networks work 99% of the time. So I prefer the 100% of Ethernet for a 100% wife approval factor ;-) because 99% is equal to 50% in Wife approval factor therms ;-)

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piprog wrote 12/17/2018 at 12:08 point

Hi Patrick - excellent idea! I'd like to build a DIY HA/Security multisensor (like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpjfVc-9IrQ). For this Ethernet+PoE makes much more sense (security) and I also have the cabling in the wall:), but the current price per unit is prohibitive for me. The above assembly is $15 all included, based on a $2.52 NodeMCU module. I'd need around 15-20 units and the price difference adds up quickly. How do you see, is there any chance this could go down in the $10s range anytime soon (like end of next year)?  (I understand that this is a custom project with very low volume and there are startup costs to be recovered, etc.) You could probably cooperate with one of the Chinese manufacturers to take over the assembly and pay you royalty (I know, can be shady) - e.g. the Sonoff guys could be one good candidate... I'm sure there would be ample demand if the price is right.

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Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 12/30/2018 at 06:06 point

Yeah that's the hard part.  The cost of the ESP32 module is pretty much irrelevant to the total cost at the moment.  The PoE parts are the biggest cost adder, so I'm not seeing this end up being in $10 range any time soon.
I do intend to get this produced in China in the long run, but I need to find a good CM first.  My first try with Boktech wasn't successful unfortunately.

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Vipul Garg wrote 12/03/2018 at 14:35 point

Is the hardware is open source, if it is then where i can find pcb files 

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kesh27 wrote 10/24/2018 at 18:10 point

How are you hoping production would look after the crowd supply campaign is finished?  I got in early on the campaign for half a dozen to experiment with for campus/dc monitors. If cost and volume numbers are good, we would be interested in 50-100 units and I'm curious how that might look in the new year?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 10/24/2018 at 18:30 point

I will definitely keep producing these after the campaign.  The campaign is just to get eyeballs and get them in people's hands to start designing, but I'm expecting this to be more of a B2B / bulk product once people have designed something with them and put it in production.

I'm keeping an eye on orders and will soon be starting procurement for the next batch, which I expect could be produced by late December / early 2019.

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aloismbutura wrote 09/16/2018 at 14:25 point

I just subscribed to your crowd supply campaign. My slight request is on the footprint. The WROVER and WROOM32 have compatible footprints on a PCB. Check the REV4 of the ESP32 devkit-c. This will allow upgrading of the ESP32 module on the board or even offering the WROVER as a different tier on the campaign due to the larger RAM/SPI flash benefits.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 09/16/2018 at 18:22 point

Unfortunately my layout is really dense to try and keep the board as small as possible, so there's no extra room on my board to accommodate the larger WROVER module.

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Emanuele Tessore wrote 09/12/2018 at 16:06 point

Hi there, this is great stuff! I'll use it to convert my light switches to smart switches and eventually drop a bunch of sensors inside and outside my home!

Have you tried any sort of remote programming on this board? for example TFTP or, even better, network boot.

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Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 09/12/2018 at 16:28 point

I've been amazed at what functionality is already available in some of the software frameworks that exist for the ESP32.  That said, I'm more of a hardware guy myself than software or application, so I'm very interested in what OTHERS will be able to cook up with these boards. :)

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Emanuele Tessore wrote 09/12/2018 at 17:48 point

Thank you so much for beeing an hardware guy, cause I've tried to wire route a simple flip-flop button debouncer with some bad results :D.

I can't wait to have a couple of these on hand :) First of all I'll try to make a light switch that uses no mains power and comunicats to a central server (something like a Raspberry) where some logic decide the light to be turned on or off... 

I've a proof of concept running on an ATmega328P (Arduino) but I'm stuck on finding a board small enought to be mounted inside the electrical box and with a decent amount of memory and wired network. 

Your board will also save me from wiring all the boxes with a low voltage CC line :) Best of all this board will probably save me from using some (very pricy) KNX devices.

So I'll need a sample of 3 boards for development and if everything on my side works a grater batch (maybe 50 pieces) in something like 6 months... Are you planning to have some future run or make these boards available on demand in reasonably small batches?

Thank you, again :) Cheers

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 09/12/2018 at 18:25 point

Yes, the Crowd Supply campaign is just to get as many boards as possible into the market quickly and to establish demand. Later they will be available for sale through various channels including Tindie.

  Are you sure? yes | no

CLQ wrote 09/07/2018 at 09:33 point

Hi everyone,

It's really an awesome project. 

Have you planned to share the software ? Did you used ISP-EDF or somethong else (ESP-Arduino, so on) ?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 09/12/2018 at 16:26 point

I hope to have broad software support.  I've tested with ISP-IDF, Arduino, Lua-RTOS-ESP32 and MicroPython up till now.  I have pull requests in to upstream board support in arduino-esp32 (https://github.com/espressif/arduino-esp32/pull/1821) and Lua-RTOS-ESP32 (https://github.com/whitecatboard/Lua-RTOS-ESP32/pull/192).  They are very easy merges but up till now they haven't been pulled in yet, so if you can add your voices to those projects to have them pulled in that would be helpful. :)

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fabian wrote 09/01/2018 at 17:55 point

ideal for tor server. Plug in bibliotek or other place and increase tor network speed and anonimity

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martinschki wrote 08/27/2018 at 18:04 point

Great Project!!

Looking for something like that for a loooong time!!!

I want to use these as room controller with a BME280 and a light sensor. Nothing fancy at all. Just sending sensor data every couple of seconds to a MQTT server.

They will go into a wall so my only concern and also question is: How much heat do they emit under such a low power application?? 

Since the sensors basically cover the hole they are put into it would impact the measurements...

Thanks! 

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Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 08/31/2018 at 18:44 point

Thanks Martin!

I quickly did a test under low load and put a thermal image up so you can check it out, it's in this project log: https://hackaday.io/project/85389-wesp32-wired-esp32-with-ethernet-and-poe/log/152108-coming-to-crowd-supply

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martinschki wrote 09/20/2018 at 08:53 point

thank you Patrick, looking forward to your campaign 

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Sheepinator wrote 08/22/2018 at 03:48 point

Excellent project and something I've been looking after for quite some time.

If you had to, what SoC would you use to get just ethernet and none of the wifi. (Consider an industrial application with RF restrictions.)

Thanks!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 08/31/2018 at 17:40 point

I haven't really given it much thought to be honest, and I tend to spend a lot of time on component selection, so I would take a while to figure it out. :)  I'd probably start by looking at Cortex-M4's and Cortex-M7's from ST and NXP.  Any SoC you would recommend?

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Mikhail wrote 08/21/2018 at 07:47 point

Thanks for your great project, Patrick!

Comment:

Personally I don't like ESP32-WROOM module and do prefer ESP32-PICO-D4  with a 3D antenna for better Wi-Fi connection and lower overall power consumption, but it will make a board a lot more complicated, so that's not an real issue now for PoE solution, just a wish.

Question:

As I see now your project is close to prototype completion, so any estimates now for release date and production costs for small quantities? (~100pcs batches after initial evaluation) 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 08/21/2018 at 17:41 point

I use the ESP32-WROOM because it has modular FCC certification, which I wouldn't get if I did my own antenna.  Likely the WiFi won't be used on this board in most cases, but I am interested in the Bluetooth functionality as it can make this a useful Bluetooth sensor aggregator / hub.

I have parts for a 240 piece batch on order, and am talking to Crowd Supply to do another campaign like the one I'm running for the #LiFePO4wered/Pi+ right now (https://www.crowdsupply.com/silicognition/lifepo4wered-pi-plus).

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Mikhail wrote 08/21/2018 at 21:41 point

Don't really care about certification - still need to recertify everything for production devices, at least where I am (Russia).

OK, count on me as very interested for samples and maybe larger quantities. It will depend on price and performance vs our current prototypes that are made using  PoE splitter and Ethernet module add-ons.

Personally I do like using Bluetooth for connecting speakers to ESP32. (just sharing an idea)

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John wrote 08/21/2018 at 07:13 point

This is really awesome, Patrick! I am looking forward to get a few of these boards when they are available!  I'm trying to learn more about how PoE works and was wondering why you decided to use a RJ45 jack with a bridge rectifier and an external transformer over an RJ45 jack with a built in transformer and an external bridge rectifier. Excuse my noob-question on this. Still at baby steps in understanding PoE. Thanks

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Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 08/21/2018 at 17:35 point

Thanks John!  The RJ45 jack does contain the Ethernet magnetics ("transformers") for the data path.  The external transformer is for PoE power conversion only, and as far as I'm aware, nobody produces an RJ45 jack with this power transformer integrated.  It wouldn't make sense to do this since a lot of circuitry is involved (all the circuitry between the RJ45 and flyback transformer).

The jack I use integrates the PoE diode bridges in addition to the Ethernet magnetics, which is nice because these bridges tend to take up a lot of PCB space.

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John wrote 08/22/2018 at 13:53 point

Thanks for the reply. Ah! Now I understand. I got confused about the power transformer and thought this was the ethernet magnetics.

Follow up question on ethernet jacks. Did I get this correct that the jack you use uses all 4 pairs for power, and two pairs are data? If so, the PHY only uses one pair for data? I am trying to understand how some hobbyists may just split open an RJ45 cable and add 12v to it, and what that might result in. Sorry again for the noob-question.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 08/22/2018 at 16:42 point

The phy uses two pairs for data.  For IEEE 802.3at compliant PoE, the power can either be on the same pairs as the data, or it can be on the spare pairs, so the Ethernet jack contains two diode bridges to cover both cases.

The DIY 12V or "passive PoE" are not standard compliant and not supported by the wESP32.

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Prof. Fartsparkle wrote 08/19/2018 at 22:22 point

Great stuff! I really miss Ethernet with all these modern MCUs, even if they support it natively, barely anyone makes boards that support it.
Will you sell it afterwards? This would definitely be interesting for some work projects.

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Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 08/20/2018 at 05:24 point

Yes!  As all major systems have been checked out and I'm very satisfied with the performance of the design, getting to production is being worked on right now! :)

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Prof. Fartsparkle wrote 08/20/2018 at 12:22 point

Great! Do you have a price target yet?

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Bub Rascal wrote 08/17/2018 at 04:16 point

Hey Patrick, that's an awesome project! But did you possibly place C11/TC/RC on the wrong side of the bead? In the datasheet it's connected to the VDD1A/VDD2A side instead of the 3.3V side. Cheers!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 08/20/2018 at 05:23 point

I moved it to the other side of the bead to make my layout easier. :)

Would it be "better" if this connection was on the other side of the bead?  Maybe.  Then you have to define "better".  Is the bead there to give the Ethernet signal path a cleaner power source, or to prevent switching noise from the Ethernet to get back to the 3V supply?  I don't know which they had in mind, probably both.  In the end, engineering is about compromises, and I would have had difficulties with my layout had I made these connections after the bead, so I decided to connect them to 3.3V instead.

The proof is in the pudding as they say and in this case "better" is probably just a matter of performance.  With 63 Mbit/s up and 55 Mbit/s down, I'm perfectly happy with the performance as it is. :)

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K.C. Lee wrote 08/20/2018 at 12:59 point

You want to prevent digital noise getting into a long piece of Ethernet cable which can act as an antenna to the outside world.  i.e. keep the power clean at the Ethernet side.  So a LC filter would have the caps etc at the receiving side of the bead,  At least that's the way I would do it even if it means that I have to rip up all my nets and do another rounds of routing.  I don't settle at something that "works".

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Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 08/20/2018 at 17:03 point

I agree 100%, but please check in the schematic what he's talking about first.  He's talking about the supply to the center taps of the secondary side signal transformers.

The power system connected to the primary (cable) side does have the recommended filter circuitry at the input (L3, L5, C26, C27).

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SK wrote 07/29/2018 at 11:33 point

Hey there, very interesting project.
Olimex recently announced a similar board - ESP32-POE. There is no confirmation yet, but I am guessing they will release it as an OSHW design (all their other ESP32 boards are OSHW):
https://olimex.wordpress.com/2018/07/25/new-esp32-board-teaser-power-over-ethernet-esp32-poe-is-perfect-for-sensors-using-existing-ethernet-wiring/

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Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 08/16/2018 at 20:09 point

Yeah, I saw that, and at first I thought: "With competition from such a known player I might as well shelve this project".  But then I looked at the info that was available and noticed:

- There's no flyback transformer which means their design provides no isolation as required by the IEEE 802.3af/at PoE specification.  Prototyping will be fine but actual installations with long wire runs in buildings will likely be troublesome.

- I haven't seen any specification on available output power.  The size of the inductor makes me think 12.95W as specified for IEEE 802.3at Type 1 is not attainable.

- It uses the CH340 for programming which is really undesirable.  My friend's Macbook got bricked by trying to install the driver for this device.

All of this (especially the first point) puts their device firmly in the hobbyist category.  I'm under no illusion that this still represents stiff competition as their price will be better than mine and most people will hear about theirs and not mine, but I'm hoping there will be a niche for me when people are looking at professional deployments that are IEEE 802.3at compliant.

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hennie.tempelman wrote 07/07/2018 at 21:22 point

Hi Patrick, really great project.

For years I have been using the Propox Wiznet module with ATMEGA128A and Ethernet. Very much like the AVR-Studio. I work in industrial automation (gas turbines); I even implemented the Siemens S7 protocol on my AVR and now can do great stuff such as native peer comms and talking to a DDE/OPC server. This gives me great 'eyes' to my projects.

But time moves on. Got myself an ARM board (Atmel SAM D20) because everybody says you should be 32 bit; with this I would be able to use Studio for that too. But I couldn't really see the benefit of moving to 32 bit 'just because', so it grinded to a halt.

Then recently I did get kind of stuck. I want to make a weather station (based on a recent Elektor design), but with my good-old Wiznet. But pulling yet another Ethernet cable... A Wifi add-on for the ATMEGA seems expensive and clumsy. And the ESP32 has it all out of the box, and so much more. And oh-yes, it is 32 bit and amazing clock speeds - thus future proof. And cheap.

But... Wifi is fine for a weather station. But not for important stuff such as domotics, machine automation and what else. But with the standard ESP32 solutions on the market I was now loosing my Ethernet. Except for some poor Olimex designs (too bulky for integration).

Then I found your project. I think it is almost perfect, and I totally agree with all your considerations. I think the initial price you have in mind is just fine; I pay a similar price for the Propox module and that never stopped me.

So when you have some for sale; I'd be happy to buy a few to try and use in my next projects.

I have a question: Can the module also be powered WITHOUT POE? (i.e. will it merrily accept 3.3 V or 5 V on the power pins?) I guess yes, but asking to be sure.

I also have another question (to you or others): would I be able to use my favoured AVR-Studio still with an ESP32 signature file or so? If not, what similar environment would you recommend. Whilst I do a lot with AVRs, I never had a go at Arduinos (and don't really want to either), so I am not familiar with that environment .

And 'if' you consider a redesign, then I'd suggest to make a DIP-style pinning. This is easier for use on a breadboard (as double pin rows cause a short). And on a final product you achieve mounting stability without any need for screws and such. Just check the Propox module (and others) as example.

Thanks - Hennie.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Patrick Van Oosterwijck wrote 07/28/2018 at 03:15 point

Hello Hennie,

Thanks for your kind words! :)  Here are some answers to your questions:

- Yes, you can supply power to the V+ pin or, if the ESP32-Prog module is installed, it can power the ESP32 over USB.

- I have no idea if you can program an ESP32 from AVR Studio, I would assume not but I don't know how flexible it is.  Not a fan of Arduino myself, I consider it yesterday's cool way of doing things and behind the times.  For C you can do ESP-IDF and MongooseOS, Espruino and MicroPython work well too for higher level development.  PlatformIO provides a nice environment as well.  Anything's better than Arduino. ;)

- DIP-style: I was considering this at some point but someone else said dual row header was what they preferred and it was the only feedback I got at the time.  In hindsight, it was the better option as well to be able to do the really dense layout to keep it small.  There are ribbon cable header to breadboard adapters in the market that should work.  I agree prototyping concerns are important, and there should be solutions provided even if they take some extra parts, but this project is mostly production optimized for people who want to use it in the field.

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