Tag Archives: Modifying the ESP-01 and Sonoff for more FLASH

32Mb ESP01 and Sonoff

Some time ago I passed comment in here about converting an ESP-01 to 32Mb  (or 4MB).  And here it is in the flesh – a 32Mb ESP-01 – and also – at last - Sonoff Upgrades.

Now, why would you want to do all of that? I would suggest only if you happen to have lots of ESP-01 units lying around – and I’ll bet quiet a lot of you do. As for the Sonoffs – well, put it this way, I just ordered another 10 chips!

CompareI stopped using the ESP-01 a while ago because the standard 4Mb (512K) of FLASH was simply no longer good enough. Richard of RBOOT fame set me using using his RBOOT program so I could easily flash my home control code (see Home Control 2016 and Blowing the Home Control 2016 Code). Partly because I keep adding new stuff and partly because of the size of the Espressif SDK, Although my code will still run in an ESP-01, it certainly won’t OTA (remote over the air programming).  And so my little ESP-01 boards have been sitting gathering cobwebs. The Sonoff mains controllers on the other hand are VERY useful but it annoys the hell out of my that my software is now too big for the limited FLASH in these units – at least, for doing OTA remote updating anyway. All of that, for me, is now history.

A few weeks ago I noticed the Flash chips available for very little money and thought “go on then, why not” despite never having thought of updating Sonoffs – well, today, weeks later, they arrived, all five of them. I mean, at £1.86 for 5, or 37p each – you have to give it a go.

I got my fine soldering iron out (who’s bit is so fine it looks like it will last all of a week) and opened up the package.

Compare[5]The first thing I noticed is that these chips are slightly wider than the one in my little ESP-01 – chips shown side by side in the photo above. To remove the originals, I took my tweezers, put the side of the bit along the side of the chip – and when the solder melted, just lifted the chip a little – then did the other side. Came off a treat.

ESP-01 on motherboardWhat to do about this width problem…,   I decided to hold the new chip and flatten the leads on either side (vertically) by merely pushing against my desk.  You’ll see in the photo on the right – which shows an un-adulterated chip (the upper, larger one), the lower right photo showing in the middle, the one who’s leads I flattened – and the original chip from the ESP-01, lying on it’s back.

Doing that added very little to the height but positioned the leads smack in the middle of the surface mount tracks. With a fine soldering bit and fine solder it really was a doddle to re-solder the new chip back onto the board. I’d say total time to remove the original and put the new chip on – something like a minute.

And here it is – the ESP-01 is shown here mounted on one of a little adaptor board to allow 5v operation and standard FTDI connector etc. As you can see in the picture, the FLASH chip is a tad higher than before – but only by 1mm, it works a TREAT, flashed first time and my test function shows it as a 32Mbit chip.

flashsize=Manuf ID= 239, Type ID= 64, Size=4194304

And on power cycle, works a treat. Ok, yes, only worth it if you fancy a soldering challenge and you happen to have a load of otherwise useless ESP-01 boards – but hey, that’s what hobbies are all about.

ESP Starting...
GPIO4 and 5 are outputs.
Current web programming pin: 2
GPIO13 is an indicator.
Software version 1.4.2

Use the {debug} command for more information.
Web page control enabled
Waiting for Access Point wififorus
Connected as 192:168:1:34
MQTT connecting
MQTT Broker connected
Device ID is modified
Item published
Time is 10:48:01 06/07/2016

sonoff upgraded to 32MbitJust to prove to myself this was not a fluke, I modified a second board -  worked a treat (well, programmed a treat but would not work then I noted I’d shorted pins 3 and 4 together – fixed that – immediately worked a treat). Yes, I’d say total conversion time around a minute or so. Of course now I don’t know what to call them – ESP-01+ maybe!!

Just earlier after I wrote the blog – and LOTS of people took an interest, I received a comment to ask if it was possible to upgrade the Sonoff.

Well, there’s only one way to find these things out – so back to the soldering iron and yes, not QUITE so easy to get the iron in there – but yes, I now have a working 32Mbit Sonoff – this changes a lot and THAT is why I’ve just ordered another 10 chips.

The Sonoff chip is the EXACT size of the new chips I bought so no bending of leads. Just a VERY careful soldering job – you HAVE to have a pointed fine tip to do this – your dad’s Antex bit will not do it – but – I would say maybe 5 minutes this time being careful not to melt the stand-up LED?  I will update my other Sonoff boards now but I’ll have to wait for more chips to arrive – whoever thought it would be this easy. See my original blog on the subject for programming.