Nextion and ESP8266

Nextion and ESP8266 - Peter ScargillEver since I fell in love with the little Nextion displays I’ve been thinking about a little ESP8266 board to go with them – well, I’ve been beaten to it.

Today I received in the post a little box from Guy Molinari with his efforts – I have to say THANKS GUY. So what you are looking at is a small ESP8266 board complete with ESP12 that sits on the back of one of the smaller Nextion displays (coming soon, review of the 7” model Nextion).

Nextion and ESP8266 - Peter ScargillI opened the box, plugged power into it and 4 buttons popped up – press the buttons – they trigger outputs – it’s as simple as that. Really, that simple.

Of course – that’s only the tip of the iceberg, you could put MQTT on the ESP and have it send MQTT messages off (which is exactly what I plan to do) – and as you’ve seen in my other blogs on the subject, making the Nextion displays pretty with some PowerPoint imagery is simple.

If you’re wondering what the hell I’m on about – the Nextion displays are a smart touch-display – which have TTL serial in and out – and that’s how you talk to them – ideal then for the ESP8266 which just happens to have serial in/out as well as WIFI.

Nextion and ESP8266 - Guy Molinari BoardThe total cost of this is not high and so with a suitable case (which is ALWAYS the problem – DO let us know if you have solutions (but don’t say “just print one out on your kitchen 3d printer) there are possibilities here from home lighting to heating and security controls – you name it. The development kit for the Nextions is online so all you need is the actual display.

Getting a board that is a comfy fit is another matter and it looks like Guy has taken on this challenge – if you want to know more – reply in here and Guy will be looking in.

I think I may had a specific use for this board – I have a high end control panel for my heating but upstairs nothing – so take this board, put it in a box, have the buttons send MQTT messages and receive a temperature update and you have a tiny, tidy little ancilliary controls.

Right – I’m off to Ebay in search of a box. Talk to Guy in here if you want more info.

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34 thoughts on “Nextion and ESP8266

    1. The code for the Nextions is dead simple other than needing to finish a message with 3* 0xff - which is fine if you're using a language like C which uses 8 bit characters, not so much fun in Java where strings are 16 bits 🙂

      So you use their web environment to put buttons down and backgrounds and sliders etc - preferably using your own graphics where possible as the Nextion imagery is a bit naff. Pressing a button sends out a string of your choosing out of the serial port with FFF on the end.. and you can affect buttons and panels etc by sending in a serial string ending in FFF... it really is that easy... with the result you can interface the things to just about anytihng. My only gripe is the slow pace of development of the Nextion online editor...

      1. If you don't find something on eBay, let me know which size of the screen you have and I will see if I can help you out! Printing out existing designs shouldn't be a problem, but modifying is!

  1. You should mention that Guy is offering this board on Kickstarter. He currently has 16 days to go, and is short of his goal.

    1. I figured Guy would come in and do his own promotion 🙂 Yes - PLEASE GUYS - IF YOU ARE INTERESTED - GET INVOLVED WITH GUY's PROJECT ON KICKSTARTER NOW - the board looks worth it. Someone got a link?

  2. Sorry Pete,
    Just getting to this now as it is 8:44 am here on the west coast of the US. Thanks for taking your time to do this.

    The goals for NextDev is to make UI development easy. Also, I wanted an always on, always connected UI. The sample I sent you has the 2.4" display. Please note that the Kickstarter will come with a 3.5" display and is a pretty good deal for this unit soup to nuts. This is not a money maker for me.

    I posted a link to Lua APIs to make the Nextion interaction simple. I'm now working on Arduino versions of this API. To date, all of my programming has been to MQTT but there are APIs for other protocols in the NodeMCU firmware (for Lua) or the Arduino libraries for the ESP8266. A very bare bones example is on my web site at http://nextdev.io.

    I also want to call out the fact that all graphics/UI processing and image storage takes place on the Nextion display. This leaves the ESP8266 to focus on WiFi and network protocol stacks as well as high level application logic. You can see in the Kickstarter demo how snappy the performance is.

    I found a really cool article on Hackaday.io about a 3D printed enclosure. I posted a link to this on one of my Kickstarter update message posts.

    In the next week I am going to post a new demo video showing how external events can be used to control UI components on the NextDev. This could be used to provide context sensitivity (i.e. MQTT messaging telling the display which page to render, etc.)

  3. I already have a nextion lcd, like all the people that supported nexion campain, so why you not put on your campain also the only esp board ?

    May you sell me only the esp board ?

      1. thanks, but why not put in the campain the "only board" whitout LCD ?
        You will have many customer than now, because the LCD campains was succesfully so many, many people need the board without the LCD.

    1. Using standard back-boxes is a brilliant idea, I now have a 3D printer and have printed the bezel for my 2.4" screen and was going to print a box to mount the bezel on but I will loo into the back -boxes first as I have some in the garage.

      I did a short blog post about the printed bezel and the problem for my 3D printer is the curves on the front cause issues with printing it on a flat surface so I need to mod the design in Tinkercad to make it flat.
      Getting it printed by Shapeways would give a better finish but it's a bit pricey (£7~ plus Del.)

      1. £7 may sound a lot but I'd hate to think how much time I've wasted unsuccessfully looking for a bezel. I have the slightly larger WIDE versions and can I HELL find anything to do the job.

    1. One of the Nextion displays... is 89mm * 50mm but as you can imagine the LCD part has a slight edge on it - mode on one side than the other.... I want that covering up - but any thickness would make it awkward to get to the touch screen. I want to use this as a wall stat... I've been wishfully thinking I'd come across a nice rounded corner cream box with ventilation slots top and bottom but then to get a milled front to fit the display to fit - I reckon one chance in a million - but the 3d printed boxes I've seen so far tend to look a little amateur. I just keep scouring Ebay on the off-chance 🙂

    1. That's a real shame, I knew Guy was running out of time on that one... still - the idea is still good - attaching an ESP8266 to the Nextion. I've done some preliminary code to test sending MQTT messages back and forth but too much on to complete for now - when I do - I'll blog.

  4. I cancelled the project for a number of reasons but it's more good news than bad. I'm going to add different display size tiers. Perhaps just 3.5" and 7". I'm thinking a desktop enclosure for the 3.5" and a wall mount/desk stand combo for the 7". Perhaps a wall mount for the 3.5" as well.

    The enclosure will be "hackable" with an area for a prototyping PCB for user defined features.

    I'll add a board only tier and perhaps a software only tier.

    Cancelling a project releases the existing pledges. This gives existing backers a chance to rejoin the campaign under the context of the new changes.

    Thoughts?

    1. Better to make a course correction. I don't see anything wrong with using Kickstarter to gauge market interest. I think your new plan is better.

      Some feedback: While your video appealed to me as one engineer talking to another, it could be better. I suggest showing more what the product can do rather than talking about it.
      Also, publicize more. I was glad to see you project covered here, but also hit up Hackaday, etc.

      I do mechanical design for my day job, let me know if I can help with the enclosure(s).

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