Lots of Users

I was just looking at the stats for the blog and in the short time this new version has been up and running I’ve something like 1300 subscribers – which is nice – but only a small percentage talk to us! So – obviously you’re here because you are into the kind of stuff I talk about… what are YOU making?


46 thoughts on “Lots of Users

  1. Hi Peter.

    Today I registered in you site but I have been following you for almost three weeks.

    I came here looking for ESP8266 information but I have found your site very instructive in additional areas. I didn’t know anything about Node-red until I read about here in your site. I have to say Node-red is amazing. I have a basic home automation system including a software PBX I am planning to expand using ESP8266, but with Node-red and mosquitto (MQTT) many doors open. I installed mosquitto, nodejs and node-red on a Pogoplug running Debian and it is working great. Pogoplug has some limited RAM, only 128MB, but it is working in there.

    You are the best source for information and actual experience with ESP8266 on the web.

    Thank you for all the information you share with us.

    1. Hey thanks a lot for the kind words Juan – I must admit I started the blog off as a memory jogger and reference for myself – as I tend to have a memory like a sieve and it’s great to be able to look back over what you’ve learned. However, as the number of people logging in grew (even my Facebook ESP8266 page now has over 1100 followers) I figured it might be good to generalise a bit – my focus is on home control and although I love Arduino, I started to get really frustrated with the limitations of even the 1284 chip for a centralised controller – wasting weeks on the cheaper Ethernet controller before finally coming to the conclusion that it was a waste of time. I finally settled on the WIZ controller for that and I have to say I have a controller now in Spain, often un-attended that reports back to me regularly and is very reliable – but the possibilities raised by the new, faster Rasperry Pi 2 coupled with Node-Red are impossible to ignore. I just have to get the reliability up to that of the Arduino… right now the Pi over there is dead. I’ve attached a hard drive to it, I have an uninterruptable power supply but it has still died… there are those who say it is the WIFI and I’m inclined to agree that might be the case (there is no reason I can’t use a cable) and so when I go back there soon, I’ll wire up a cable and I think one of my Arduinos or perhaps an ESP is going to end up as a watchdog.. The Pi here in the UK is rock solid – it hasn’t fallen over since I bought it months ago – in fact I think I’ve only rebooted a couple of times just to test watchdog code. Keep looking in – keep bringing things to our attention – I thought Pogoplug was just a cloud service until you mentioned it)… and I hope you find future items of interest.

      Of interest I’m running a DiskStation – and that is running Mosquitto – sadly I could not get Node-Red running on there but I’m quite satisfied with performance on the Raspberry Pi2. It is a shame that currently you can’t run the Pi2 entirely on a hard drive – maybe that’ll come in the future.


  2. Could someone help me out with what I would need to use a transistor as a switch directly from an Esp8266 i/o port?

    I have a few of these transistors – TIP41C NPN – 100V 6A in a TO-220 case .

    Am I able to drive these directly? If not – how could I use them? Or what type shuld I use – to drive a small 12vdc 3A motor ?

    1. I’d be more inclined to use a logic-level MOSFET – this for example of similar – there are tons of them on EBAY.. https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10213

      Using an ordinary transistor is fine with a base resistor – but it depends on the gain. If you want to control 3amps and you have a gain of 50 then you need to be able to feed 60ma from your ESP pin… do-able I guess but you’d have to give it is go – try a 47r resistor for the base (off the top of my head)…

  3. Love your site and you seem to be going at 120 MPH with all the various software/hardware items you have been addressing.

    While I can program all day long in Assembly (love & need the speed and complete control) for the 8 core Parallax chip, the “C” programming language has always been a struggle. (a minor stroke has made the problem worse)

    Your forays into Lua were very interesting but it looks like you have found C better suited for your applications. For what ever reason I found implementing Lua much easier than C and certainly working from a Windows environment more in my comfort zone. Too many hoops to jump through on Linux/C for my limited IQ.

    My app for the ESP8266 is a bit strange and a little pre-information is required. Trust me I eventually get to the application.

    I have a real Wurlitzer pipe organ that the console can also play “Hauptwerk VTPO”, a Virtual Theater Pipe organ software. The organ console is driven by a Parallax 8 core, 32 I/O chip, which handles the 650+ inputs & 182 outputs (stop magnets).

    The console also sports an electronic sheet music program so I can have a large monitor on the console’s music rack with all my 5000+ pages of scanned music at my finger tips. The Arduino device, used by many, would not be capable in this application but I am sure a good tool for other apps.

    Each piece of music is linked to a database which contains all the presets for the various voices I want to play for a piece and, …finally getting to the EXP8266 part…, I wanted to tie the piece being played into lighting strips (WS2811) to set mood lighting for that piece.

    The PC running Hauptwerk drives my music rack monitor and contains the database for song/registration and will eventually a new database field for mood lighting via WiFi to the ESP8266. The change in mood lighting does not have to be instantaneous so the WiFi connection is sufficient. Could have gone hardwired but wanted to play with WiFi so this is a good way to learn.

    Keep blazing the new trails and I’ll try to keep up.

    1. I much prefer the Windows environment and take every opportunity to find tools that are more Windows-like. Sadly when programming the ESP in C, I’m stuck with Linux-style MAKE files which to me are about as convoluted as you can get. If anyone knows of a book on the subject that does not assume you love Linux – please do point me in the right direction.

  4. Do you have any ideas where you can get some project boxes that would approximate the in-line plug/socket you get for rf controlled sockets. It would be nice to have a box that you can put a relay, small power supply and an esp-01 in-side. So far i’ve not come up with anything, and certainly not with British plug design.

      1. that is a great idea. I had not thought of a timer plug. Now have you had any problems with your ESP resetting with the relay. I have been have epic, and I mean Epic problems with those mechanical, 10A coiled relays. I have tried everything under the sun. I have basically the same set up as you.

        I’ve also found that a lot of the projects I’ve built that run of mains, require the GND to be connected to Earth. If i don’t do this then the arduinos, and the ESPs are crazy unstable, resetting by touch with your hand, and also the DHT22 and dallas-one-wire temp sensors just don’t work. The moment i connect GND to Earth, they are stable as! I’m not an electrical engineer! Im using the same type of power supply you have there.

    1. Andrew,
      Do you have any Dunelm-mill shops by you, I noticed that they sell a 433MHz transmitter / socket pair for £8.99, maybe this will do. It was in the light-bulb section.


      1. Thanks for the input. I’ve bought a timer socket of eBay Free postage 2.49! I’ll see how I get on!

  5. Also doing home automation,
    – first learning node-red
    – using it to contol wireless relays like the ecomanager from EDF
    – with some jeenodes

    I will get deeper into esp8266.

    Thanks for all the info and blogging.

    1. Good luck with your home automation Guillermo. Jeenodes – yes they look like fun.

  6. Mostly home automation.
    1) Heating ESP-12 with d18b20/DHT22s and a 220V-5V relay (currently being soldered after working on breadboard)
    2) Heating ESP-12 with bmc180, DHT22 and IR interface to Fujitsu Heat pump (WIP)
    3) Heating ESP-12 with DHT22 + Relay to control DVS system (ToDo)
    4) Weather station outside ESP-12 (ToDO)
    5) Lighting control (ToDo)
    All attached to Node.red, no idea yet what frontend I should use

    1. Node-Red – front end… somewhere you’ll see I messed with websockets and jQuery Mobile. It really is not has hard as it first looks. I use NETIO but development of that is REALLY slow and he does not support MQTT. It works though – I walk around controlling the heating with it on the phone and it is non-techy friendly…

  7. Hi Peter

    I found your site while looking in to timers for the esp8266. It seems early on you had some problems with them – as I am aving now.

    I have been trying for 2 days t odo what I thought was going to be a very simple thing – use a timer to put a led into a continuous on/off cycle – but having the on time differing from the off time. eg. 10 secondson/60 off. So far – no can do. Any clues?

    Apart from that – great resource you have here covering lots of traps for young players like myself (not chronologically young btw!)

    1. Ok Jeff… this is NOT tested…. but something like this..

      Erm, let me have a look… at top of the page

      LOCAL os_timer_t toggleit;
      uint8_t toggle=0;

      In setup…
      // Set up a timer for real time clock once per second
      os_timer_setfn(&togggleit, (os_timer_func_t *) toggle_cb, (void *) 0);
      os_timer_arm(&toggleit, 10000, 0);

      now for the function..

      LOCAL void ICACHE_FLASH_ATTR toggleit(void *arg)
      if (toggle) { toggle=0; os_timer_arm(&toggleit, 10000, 0); [turn it off??]; }
      else { toggle=1; os_timer_arm(&toggleit, 60000, 0); [turn it on??]; }

      1. Looks like it would work in C! I’ve made a possible mistake and flashed Lua onto my brand new Esp8622-12. Is it possible in Lua at all do you think? I’d tried changing the value of timer Duration in a loop- but that does not work.

        local outPin = 3
        local state = 0
        local interval=2500
        gpio.mode(outPin, gpio.OUTPUT)

        function changeIntervals()
        if state == 1 then
        interval = 2500
        state = 1 – state
        tmr.alarm(0, interval, 1, changeIntervals)

        it seems that tmr expects to get a duration value and keep it,

        1. It is possible to do Lua but I gave up on that ages ago due to RAM limitations. I do seem to recall multiple timers and I think that was where I had the biggest reliability problems (Lua crashing on me).

    1. Hey that’s really nice, we were just talking about doing a little board with the 3v3 reg, solid state 8 pin dip relay (you can get a 900ma one easy enough for a very bright lamp or a dehumidifier… and as you’ve shown using cheapo chinese psu and the board (who’s regulator would hopefully make up for the cheapo supply.. and MQTT control from the PI – ESP-01…

      1. Mine has 4 relays (I have only 4 valves to control) working on 3V3 and share the same power supply with ESP-201. As a power supply I’ve used an old 5V 700mA phone charger and a 5v to 3V3 convertor. I am really pleased on how is working, I can control it from my android app or via a webserver.

  8. Hi,
    I’ve recently discovered the ESP-12 and your blog, very interesting, I’ve been using the Arduino platform for a while and most of my projects can be found on my blog http://www.gadjet.co.uk
    Please keep on writing it’s very interesting and helpful.


    1. Out of interest Phil what App did you use on the phone in “Central heating control using SMS and the Arduino”?

      I really wish someone would come up with a viable alternative to Netio but sending MQTT out…. I have gotten somewhere with web sockets and the Raspberry Pi which I guess will do but the range of buttons etc in jQuery Mobile is a bit limited unless I’m missing some huge library somewhere.

      1. Peter,
        I’ve started to look at mqtt as id like to be able to monitor and control things around the house but it’s very early days yet.

        The app was put together using MIT app inventor 2, a very easy way to write apps but a bit limited, all I do is send an sms when a button is pressed or dsplay some data when an sms is recieved from a specific number.


  9. I’m using an Arduino nano, ESP-01 and Tuan’s marvellous bridge software to give MQTT. The rig is linked to 4 ‘devicecraft.com’ current sensors to log the DC currents from my solar arrays and inverter. It also measures swimming pool temperature and turns the pool pump on and off under control from node-red / thethingbox on a Pi.
    I managed to reroute the espduino to use softserial and leave the usb serial available for uploading and debug without messy strapping. By leaving a esp.process() loop for a full second after each publish it seems to work fine and softserial keeps up.
    While I’m using a cheap 3.3v regulator for the ESP supply and just holding reset, enable and GPIO0 high, TX and RX data are connected directly to the nano without level shifting. That’s been working fine for over a month.
    Next part is to make a dashboard on a spare Android tablet. I’m struggling to find anything ‘sexy’ having trawled all the obvious offerings. Anyone seen anything new?
    I also fancy pulling Martin Harizanov’s lovely ‘3 channel relay / thermostat’ package apart and reassembling it for the ESP-01 to read ds18b20 temperature on GPIO2 and drive a relay on GPIO0. This will do for a lot of things. His webserver config arrangement is so convenient.
    Also just received some cheap ultrasonic sensors and want to make level sensors for our water tanks. They will need to be solar powered so hopefully I can tread in others footsteps.
    There goes my summer… (Pete Mounsey, Tarragona Spain & Harlow, UK)

    1. Pete (Mounsey),

      I have an orchard which needs irrigation during the summer months and recently discovered a source of water on our land, so now I have a sump-well (a big hole filled with washed gravel with a wide-diameter PVC pipe standing upright in the middle of it) which will deliver roughly 400-litres of water a day, even during the driest of weather. I was toying with the idea of making non-contact, capacitive measurement probes for the water tanks, as they should be ultra-reliable in the very long term. The devil is in the details though and, until I find a method to make the sensors in a repeatable and reasonably quick way I’m going to go with a selection of these tiny, el-cheapo float switches:-


      It’s hard to beat the price on these things and the come in right-angle, straight, long, short, single and double sensor configurations. You can also get the same thing in stainless-steel for somewhat higher price.

      The plastic ones are so cheap that you could afford to put half-a-dozen of the things into a 1,000-litre poly tank (assuming that there’s a big enough inspection cover to get access to fit them) to provide reasonable granularity on water levels and to provide some rudimentary fail-safe duplication of that all-important “full” sensor.

      Anyway, it seems like for a quick-n-dirty installation to get things running they should do the job (time is always the problem nowadays). My package of sensors arrived a few days back and they all check-out okay with a meter, so it’s time to get the drill out.

      Anyone else already used these in a project? Horror/success stories welcome (before I mutilate a tank). 🙂


      1. Hi

        Yes, I’ve tried this model and they work OK but te yellow wiring is crap. I ended up buying the better made black plastic units – http://www.ebay.com/itm/Plastic-Black-Side-Mount-Water-Level-Sensor-Liquid-Float-Switch-Horizontal-Hot-/400887038641?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5d56bac2b1

        I also tried one stainless one – http://www.ebay.com/itm/Stainless-Steel-Tank-Pool-Liquid-Water-Level-Sensor-Horizontal-Float-Switch-SACA-/400527072512?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item5d41461d00 which works fine.

        Another route you can take if your cylinder is wide enough is to use an ultrasonic sensor to measure distance to the water level. It is accurate to about 1cm. But the float switch has the benefit of not having to houe the electronics in a water/weatherproof container.

  10. Garage door sensor/monitor/controller. It was your blog that steered me toward mqtt and node-red:

    ( 10pm Every Night) —-> (Send MQTT pv/garage/door/cmd close)

    Thanks so much!

    1. I plan to control external lights in our new place. I specifically added a light-up time offset control to my scheduler node as lights usually come on far too early. Same idea. I’m testing it now, I’ve a bunch of LED strips in my workshop on a controller and the Raspberry Pi Node-Red/MQTT setup sends on and off signals at lightup and midnight. Up to now over I think about 3 weeks or so they’ve not failed once.

  11. I’ve been making lots recently, finished projects include

    -ESP NodeLua gas reader (logs my gas meter usage for me)
    – Sous Vide machine V1 – uses arduino , with LCD display
    – Sous vide machine V2 – uses ESP Node Lua, wifi controlled
    – sous Vide machine – uses ESP with arduino IDE, no more memory issues. stable as a rock.
    – Humidity and Temperature controller for vivarium with WS2812 lighting control (not done) and Light control
    – WS2812 60 LED strip controlled by ESP, MQTT and FHEM behind my TV. Works really well. software is done but hardware is still prototyped.

    in progress
    – MQTT to IR sender (uses arduino 3.3V and that chaps ESP bridge software, works really really well. need to be able to set the AP up independently of compile though to deploy it.
    – MQTT switches, but I’m having so many problems with resetting when using relays. I’m using an arudino at the moment and if i touch the 8mhz crystal it just resets, in a very similar fashion to when i touch the top of my ESP-07 with just a wire. I’ve tried pretty much everything but nothing stops the ESPs from reseting when the is live power being switched int he relay! so all that is on the back burner. I’m using solid states for now as 2A is enough for most things to be honest.

    I’m writing and building a whole system for the camper van using a teensy as well.. that is slow going though. to much else on!

    1. Hmmm, MQTT to IR sounds useful… Never thought of that – good use for Arduino as there’s a couple of good IR libraries out there. Good one.

      1. cheers. Did not take very long to get working. I used the IRlib. My previous version of this / the one in place at the moment uses a rPi. so that has just been obsoleted by £4 worth of components! Now one can go in every room!

        By the I took your ATTINY85 design and combined it with Nerd Ralphs zero-wire reset. http://nerdralph.blogspot.ca/2014/02/zero-wire-serial-auto-reset-for-arduino.html

        So no have have a zero-wire program mode of the ESP. You only need three wires to program it. (GND,TR,RX) ie.. an audio cable will do.

        1. andrew

          can you give the complete solution of how u made this work for u?

          1. Sure, I’ll need to put it together though. It is still on the breadboard. I’ve also not got any software for demonstrating circuit design. Anyone got any ideas, preferably free as I’m a student.

            Are you struggling with getting it to work, or just interested in the whole process. I say that as i had to do some debugging with a scope to figure it out. works every time now, but needed tweaking in lots of places.

  12. Peter, another +1 from me for your blog.

    I guess to answer your question about why you don’t hear from many of the subscribers is that most folks chip in when they feel they have something to add, otherwise they just like to listen and pick up on aspects that catch their attention.

    But with 1300 folks around the world interested in what you are up to you must be doing something right, so please don’t keep up the flow. I for one have learned an huge amount from your posts.



    1. Aw, thanks Simon – appreciated. Incidentally I’ve not gone quiet on the blog because nothing new is happening – but because we’ve been playing with this bridging software (ESP8266 and Arduino) which I have to say works TREMENDOUSLY – more, sadly than can be said for the prototype boards we’re trying it on – spent hours over the weekend searching for surface mount shorts (the little Ebay microscope I bought recently is one of the best things I’ve bought in years). Just about ready to throw the board in the bin and make another…

  13. Peter – first of thank you for writing about your projects and experiences. It is always interesting to read about them. Software developer by profession, I’m relatively new to all the gadgetry. I’m trying out various home automation options. Your posts about ESP8266 brought me to your site and now one of those 1300.

    I have about half a dozen ESP-12, but struggling to have to it working reliability. I’m able to flash them, but does not boot or stays on all the time. There are many tutorials, suggestions out there but nothing seems definitive. Any chance you will be writing a sort of starter’s guide to ESP-12 ?

    Again, thank you.

    1. Thanks for writing in. ESP-12 – well I’ve had no problems with them – but then there are some thoughts. I have 1K pullups on GPIO 15, 0 and 2. I’ve not had a lot of luck powering them from switched mode supplies and always use a 3v3 regulator with them (perhaps powering off 5v). Ensure the supply can manage more than 330ma as they use a fair bit when using WIFI. Armed with that and assuming you are flashing them correctly I’m not sure why you would have problems. Let me know if any of the above helps and if not perhaps a little more info?

      1. Pullups on REST and 0 did it for me. Rebooted it multiple times and seems to be working pretty much without issues. Thank you!

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