The New ESP201 and Dev Board

All I have time for right now, here’s the new board, the ESP-01 (left) next to it should give you an idea of the size of both the development board and the ESP8266 board that goes into it – NOT SMALL.  And yes, those are 0.1” centres. No points for PCB design but it does look useful.

So you’re looking at a test board for around £10 complete with ESP board, wire antenna as well as the on-board antenna, relay, connector for DHT11/22, mini-USB and micro-USB, a 3-way connector for the relay (and by the look of it enough clearance to make it save for mains power use) 3-colour LED, a buzzer, interface components – pretty much all you need for experimenting, really…

New ESP8266 Board


30 thoughts on “The New ESP201 and Dev Board

  1. Hi Peter -

    I've been watching this board on E-Bay and have been very tempted to order one for use in a project I'm working on. Unfortunately, they don't offer much in the way of a description. As you have time to play with this board, could you share more on it's capabilities, in particular:

    1) Are there any schematics or documentation for it? It's hard to understand how to access all those peripherals. I see dip-switches, jumpers, etc...

    2) Is the ESP8266 mounted on a daughter board that can be replaced? I think I've seen the daughter boards sold separately for ~$5.00 on E-Bay. Would be nice if it's not soldered to the board in case one burns one up while tinkering 😉 Can the daughter board be place directly on a breadboard or is it too wide?

    3) Can you offer the exact dimensions of the board. Certainly bigger than the ESP-01 but it's not clear exactly how much bigger.

    4) Does the daughter board come with a separate attach-able "wire" WiFi antennae? I thought the daughter card has a connector on it for that specific purpose.

    5) Can you drive/control the relay without the need of additional circuitry? Seems like most separate relay boards expect you to be using a 5V capable GPIO (like what's available on the Arduino). As a result I tend to have to put a transistor circuit on the relay control pin that can supply 5V while using the 3.3V from the ESP8266 GPIO to control the voltage on the base of the transistor (e.g. to turn it on/off).

    Any other details and/or experiences you can offer on the board would be helpful. I'm also looking at the NodeMCU DevKit board but it doesn't offer any peripherals to play with.

    Thanks for the continued blogging . . . I like the new URL . . .


    1. No schematic with it - a package arrived with the development board, the little ESP board, an aerial and that's it. As for sizes - hang on I'll get my ruler.... the Dev board overall is 85mm by 72mm and with everything on is 22mm from the top of the relay to clear the underside. The little white ESP board is 33m by 26mm. The little ESP board plugs in and yes can be bought separately and reasonably cheap - it looks awfully BIG compared to the ESP-01 but it has all the pins and at 0.1" centres so you can't have everything.

      Yes, the little ESP board has it's own on-board aerial or you can plug in the bit of wire they provide.

      There are transistors on the board so though I've not gotten that far yet, odds are this is meant to run completely stand alone - and it is a bog-standard Chinese 5v relay so it would not really work WITHOUT a transistor. There are in total 6 transistors, one for the relay, one for the beeper, I'm guessing 3 of the remaining 4 will be for the RGB light. And yes there is a reasonable looking 3v3 regulator on board. This looks to me specifically to be aimed at the testing/educational market to get people using these things - I would be very surprised if you need anything else. I will get it up and running and report back when I've solved my WIFI issues. I hope that's helpful.

      1. Thanks for the details so far . . . I imagine you haven't had much time to play with it yet. Too bad the daugher card has the 0.1" centers - you'd think they might make it breadboard friendly.

        I hope it's a simple matter of figuring out which GPIO is connected to which peripheral (or better yet, it's selectable). I wouldn't mind adding additional peripherals to the board (perhaps) if that's possible - even with jumper wires as necessary. Maybe a few Hall sensors, ultrasonic range sensor, reed switch, etc...

        Looking forward to learning more about your adventures with the board. Hopefully it's a no-brainer to set up and use.


    1. Yes, I've saw that board a while back. It's nice, indeed, but shipping costs to the US costs more than the board itself. Tough to justify when you can get one of these Chinese boards for so much less. Until one of Olimex's international distributors (like Mouser, DigiKey, etc...) pick up this board, the shipping costs out of Bulgaria (or the EU) are probably prohibitive for me.

  2. Just for info .. my set up, be it the 01 or 12, the gpio's I can successfully use are .

    0 ,2,(switched) 4(pwm),5(input/pullup),12(pwm),13(pwm),and 14(switched). Tout as adc.

    15 has to be tied low, and 16 I cant' get to grips with. I saw a separate handling c&h for 16, but again I couldn't implement it.
    Using the mqtt package, I have about 4 bytes left in the code area, so I'm hoping that more code space can be arranged.

    1. Some day I will get my head around why we have 2 files - one at 0000 with lots of apparent spare room and one at 40000 which always fills up - then a little bit of writing at 3c000 which I cannot get my head around - as that is used for storing wifi access point info etc why on earth would you write something there when blowing the chip. I can't understand why we don't just start at 0 and fill up from there - and store any non-volatile data in the top couple of blocks up at 7--whatever.

    1. Submitted on 2015/02/02 at 5:39 pm | In reply to Dave Roffey.
      ERm would you like to give a couple of complete examples just as starters.. I note there are if-elses but of course that still puts code in – you’re right – better off with conditional compilation..

      I’m not the right man to ask for this incidentally, Minh Tuan is the fellow developing the MQTT – I’m just the one that keeps firing bugs at him – well, until today anyway, seems pretty good right now but may as well save the space. Here’s an example of what’s there now.

      espconn_secure_sent(client->pCon, client>mqtt_state.outbound_message->data, client->mqtt_state.outbound_message->length);
      espconn_sent(client->pCon, client->mqtt_state.outbound_message->data, client->mqtt_state.outbound_message->length);

  3. I'm sitting here staring at this development board getting annoyed that the seller didn't provide some kind of diagram. I have it plugged into my ECLIPSE setup, got GPIO) grounded, GPIO15 grounded... nothing - can't FLASH it - am I missing a pin setup somewhere? TX and RX jumpers are in....

    1. I found GPIO15 - grounded... GPIO0, grounded. Blew some code into the flash, lifted GPIO0, reset and... the board appears to be acting as a peripheral - as I noted my mouse flying all over the place. This is going to be difficult without documentation...

  4. Despite writing back to the suppliers, I've had no reply, no documentation, the micro-USB does not seem to have signal wires going to it and the mini-USB acts a peripheral preventing me (or so it seems) from developing using that connector as it takes over my mouse!!".

    Not impressed so far.

  5. Have you managed to start this board ? I've received a similar one and the Red part of the RGB LED is not working, also the buzzer is dead. The CH340 ( cheap FTDI) is verry slow, so a software update is taking minutes to do it. On ESP-01 was in less then 10 seconds. Any way if you have some time to power the board and put the R from the DIP switch on ON position and your RGB les is red please let me know. BTW micro-USB is just for power, mini-usb is for DATA and power.

    1. To be honest It has ended up on the back boiler as soon as I realised it was starting up as a usb keyboard and interfering with my PC keyboard. Why on earth they did that is beyond me.

        1. I'd be interested in any details on this board as I was considering using it as a basis for a wireless garage door opener/monitor. Thought I could use the relay to trigger my garage door motor and maybe some Hall sensors to detect whether the garage door is opening/closing. Does the board have a DHT11 or DHT22 temperature sensor?

          Also, Peter had some problems with good WiFi reception. Any (bad/good) experiences with that? Again, just interested in whether this board is a suitable development board and a worthy platform for my (future) garage door project.

          Thanks . . .

  6. I was impressed from the projects you are publishing in your web site which look exciting.

    i mainly interesting in your ESP8266 projects where the module use for IO and TCP communication.
    pls. connect me by email for some interesting idea.

  7. Greetings Peter,
    I too now have one of these boards but my experience has been a lot better than yours.
    It looks like a com port when I plug the USB into my PC, It had an old version of firmware which I updated via the USB without problems using ESP8266Flasher.exe

    Since then I have loaded some demo programs using the arduino ide upload tool 🙂
    I wonder if you have a dodgy CH340 driver on your PC, I hear they can be troublesome although I have never had a problem myself.

    I found these sites with enough information to get started:
    hth David.

    1. Hey thanks for that David. I've kind of moved on having decided that for me, the ESP-12 is the module of choice (logic: it's as cheap as the 01, the aerial works well and you get the A/d converter and a load of other IO pins) but it's good to know anyway as others might still be using this.

      Actually right now my ESP development has slowed down - for a number of reasons - (a) I'm happy with the ECLIPSE environment and the code I've written - it just seems to work (b) I'm waiting to see how the Arduino ESP environment comes along - right now I think the library development is too early in its life-cycle - for example the only MQTT client out there is no-where near bullet-proof. (c) I'm waiting for Expressive to bring the 1.0.1 fixes out of BETA so I can update the environment and (d) I think Node-Red is going to be very important in my home control future so I'm investing the time to learn how it ticks.

  8. I quite agree the ESP12 looks like the way to go, I have some on order right now. The develop board is just that, for tinkering with, it looks like it will be just fine for that too.

    Sorry to hear about the mqtt client s/w isn't robust, it could be a show stopper if it cant run without falling over. My RFM12b network using arduino and ENC28J60 has been very reliable since last summer.


    1. To be fair David (I don't want to get lynched - I get about 2,000 page views a day in here so someone is interested in this stuff) it is early days. Clearly a LOT of good work has been done to get the Arduino-like environment running for the ESP - and I'm ok with that - the IDE is awful compared to ECLIPSE but it is what people are used to - and there are so many libraries out there for the Arduino (sadly the more complex ones like display libraries are highly unlikely to work due to hardware dependencies). But the PUBSUB client to be fair is just an off the shelf job. One of us - it might be me, I'd prefer it was someone else needs to work on this and the WIFI within this Arduino morph for ESP8266 and make it rock solid. After all if your underlying COMMS is not working, everything else is stuffed. Let's hope this continues - I've seen many projects simply stall.

    1. Oh THAT's handy!!!! For the first time I can now actually understand what's on the board (second revelation - the first one was the realisation that the internal aerial isn't actually connected by default!!) NOW it's possible to do something with that board - marvellous piece of work.

  9. I also own a ESP-201 Development Board. By experimenting with the LED's I noticed the enormous brightness of the RGB and White LED's. I checked the LED cicruits and found that the serie resistors of these LED's are only 10 ohms.  This value is acceptable for all LED's accept the Red one. Because the voltage drop over a red LED is much lower than of a White, Green or Blue one, the current flow throught the Red LED with a serie resistor of 10 ohms is nearly 50 ma, which is 2,5 times the normal maximum current. Replacing R13 by a resistor of 100 ohms  gives a current of about 11 ma through the Red LED and gives a more than sufficient brightness. 100 ohm is also a good value for the White LED to reduce the brightness a bit.

    Another point of attention is the USB to Serial converter. The CH340G runs directly on the 5 volt from the USB connector. The Tx output from the CH340G is a 5 volt signal and according the datasheet of the ESP8266 this is not allowed. However in practice I seems to work but it can shorten the life of the ESP8266.



    1. Yes they asked me to remove the LED as the resistor was wrong. My skills and parts draw are only as good as the next size up of SMT otherwise I'd have replaced the resistor. Thank you very much for the feedback - mine is sitting on my todo list  - currently struggling with JQuery-Mobile themes which are completely ignoring me - the ESP-201 is further down the list 🙂

      If you've any more on this - please do tell us as others will be interested.



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