Cheap NodeMCU Boards

ESP8266 NodeMCUThis could be the shorted blog I’ve ever written! We’ve been talking about ESP8266 recently and as I was running out of boards, I sent off for some of these from AliExpress – my favourite store next to Ebay.  At a total cost of just over £3 they had to be worth a go.

So on the LEFT you see the reset button – on the right you see the FLASH button – this might indicate that normal Arduino-style programming doesn’t work… so I put it to test with a sample BLINK program.

When the board comes on – the normal blue light on the ESP12 flickers – nothing unexpected there.  I tried programming from the Arduino IDE – nothing - mind you I was expecting that. I pressed the reset and FLASH buttons together and let go of the RESET then the FLASH button – I started the programming – the blue light flashed – success.  As I was using the standard Arduino blink sketch, I tied my LED+RESISTOR to ground and GPIO13 and sure enough – the light flashed.

Just to be sure as these WERE cheap, I tried all three of them. No problems at all.

for the board itself – the lettering on the top is utterly messed up – someone wasn’t thinking when they did the screen print – however the lettering UNDERNEATH is just fine. The regulator used is one of the larger ones and so should handle a little extra 3v3 if this is needed for any peripheral boards. I’d not recommend driving the board from 12v however!  I did my testing powering the board from the microUSB connector. No problem. There IS another LED on the board but it didn’t do anything when programming – no doubt at some point I’ll be doing something and it will light up at which point I’ll update the blog.

And so there it is – next I have some WEMOS D1 Mini boards on the way from Ebay.


24 thoughts on “Cheap NodeMCU Boards

    1. Hi there - everything except "pro" - I could not for the life of me think of a use for 16MB of FLASH when max program size is 1MB + 1MB for OTA - leaving 2MB for data (but then I always store my data centrally on a Pi).

      They should be here in a week or so I hope.

    2. WEMOS D1 mini pro, is my board of choice, as it has the antenna connector. So it can go in a metal box. I like to put all my home built iot stuff into metal boxes, just in case!

      1. Thats my point. And the price difference is that low.
        Im currently building a monitoring and irrigation system for my raised herb beds and the WEMOS are in a box and i maybe have to switch to external antenna. I really like the WEMOS and most shields are usefull too, but for DHT shields you should use the dual base to get better results 🙂

    1. Hi AndyW. I found that on an Italian AliExpress site but can I hell find it on an English version - however max current is 0.5amps to 1amps so great for Wemos and other ESP12/ESP32 boards but not enough for Pi. Nice to know about however.

          1. The polarity printed on the Wemos battery shield I have is correct and charges my LiPo battery back as it should.

    1. don't know what's doing wemos recently...
      lolin was a different brand, maybe they acquired it... sure not the tipical wemos board, as it's black and with lolin brand...

      i can understand the wemos d1 mini pro, with external antenna support... cannot understand this, less powerful of a standard wemos d1 mini...

      or this with unnamed chipset...

      anyway, new shield for the standard d1 mini:
      barrel power brick:

      and triple prototyping board:

  1. Thanks Peter, I throught it was me when the blue led didn't light up on the board. Had one of these for 5 months now. EBay is great here in Australia as China is closer to delivery.

  2. I have one of these Nodemcu board running for 3 weeks now with your Home Control SW and it works like a charm. Worked the fitst time. I have puerchased other boards on ebay and have not had the same luck.
    Your blog is the best blog I have sean in a while. My first computer had a RCA1802 microprocessor, a few years before the Sinclair or the Apple I came to market. Im having so much fun!

    1. Excellent, Scott - nice to hear. I guess thats' a point I don't push about my own software - as well as handling a good range of gadgets from displays through RGB lights etc, one of my key things was that it needs to WORK as I split my year between Spain and England and I don't want stuff going wrong when I'm not there. There are many software tools out there now, some claim to be beta, some not but I wonder how many if any have stood the test of 24-7 time with crap power and intermittent WIFI. So many man/woman hours wasted finding out! Still, doesn't stop me playing with other software, because as you say - having fun! I'm about to give the Mongoose software another go - they've been in touch and offered to chat on Skype about any issues so I'm prepared to put a little time into that as I'd really like to see a nice Javascritp implementation running on the ESP32 as well, ultimately as my own software - I've an extremely preliminary basic set of my own stuff running on the ESP but to say it has had a decent test would be a lie 🙂 Continue to have fun, Scoot - 1802 - you know, I remember the name but that's about all... I must've done SOMETHING with that...

  3. I have a number of D1 mini's and they are excellent. Totally reliable.

    Don't get the DHT board though, waste of time as it is too close to the processor.

    The larger memory size should now be fully supported by the new SDK and hopefully that will flow through to the ESP Arduino tools shortly, the author has it on his list.

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