Finally - cheap WiFi?

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  • I just saw this:­rial-Transceiver-Module-w-ESP8266-p-1994­.html

    Out of stock at the moment, but a price of $7 looks fantastic!

    It'd need another driver (either in JS or Espruino itself) but would be worth it... I'd be interested to see what you all think - this is the cheapest I've ever seen WiFi modules for.

  • There is another source­8/
    All documentation is in chinese right now, so it would be challenging to get a driver running.
    I would like this little thing.
    One more source (for $4,34)

  • This would be incredible if it can be made to work with the Espruino. It's just so cheap!

  • Nice!

    Would this suit low power devices with intermittent connectivity needs?

    Power down leakage current of <10uA
    Standby power consumption of < 1.0mW (DTIM3)
    Wake up and transmit packets in < 2ms

    Doesn't say how much it draws when in use though..

  • Hopefully, a lot more....

  • Some English speaking people are working on it:­WiFi-Module-Library

  • This looks like they've got a rough translation of the docs already here :

    I've got one on order from­8266-wi07c-wifi-module/

  • Looks interesting.@Gordon maybe if this module works well with the Espruino you can integrate the SoC to the Espruino board? Maybe create two new versions of the Espruino with the WiFi SoC and one without the WiFi SoC?

  • @d0773d yes, that could definitely be an option. The fact that it has a radio means it probably needs certification before I can sell it though - which could be a pain.

    Personally I've always wanted to make a PCB with a whole bunch of snap-out adaptors for various modules... That could be a neat solution for now.

  • @Gordon

    Personally I've always wanted to make a PCB with a whole bunch of
    snap-out adaptors for various modules...

    That's a great idea. I personally find that they key part in that is the "universal connector/port" design if you want to attach multiple modules. Probably would be good to stick with one that is already out there ....

    The "MicroBus" seems pretty versatile, but the footprint is kind of big and doesn't use a regular connector.
    UEXT seems versatile too, but might be lacking dedicated GPIO/Analog/INT/PWM pins.
    Gadgeteer defines different "Port Types" for the 10-pin connector to get around the limited number of pins.
    So there isn't really one out there that can do it all, Gadgeteer comes pretty close I think, but the connector and the cables are just a pain to work with (not 0.1" compatible) ...

  • @Gordon, I forgot about the certifications :/ Your idea of creating PCB with a whole bunch of snap-out adaptors seems more feesable.

  • Power measurements from

    The following data are based on a 3.3V power supply, ambient
    temperature 25C and use the internal regulator measured. All
    measurements are made in the absence of the SAW filter, the antenna
    interface is completed. All transmit data based on 90% duty cycle,
    continuous transmission mode in the measured.

    802.11b, CCK 1Mbps, POUT=+19.5dBm 				215 mA
    802.11b, CCK 11Mbps, POUT=+18.5dBm 				197 mA
    802.11g, OFDM 54Mbps, POUT=+16dBm	 			145 mA
    802.11n, MCS7, POUT =+14dBm 					135 mA
    802.11b, packet size of 1024 bytes, -80dBm 		60 mA
    802.11b, packet size of 1024 bytes, -70dBm 		60 mA
    802.11b, packet size of 1024 bytes, -65dBm 		62 mA
    Standby 										0.9 mA
    Deep sleep 										10 mA
    Saving mode DTIM 1 								1.2 mA
    Saving mode DTIM 3 								0.86 mA
    Shutdown 										0.5 mA
  • @mikewop I'd hoped to include some of those types of interface as snap-out adaptors. Specifically UEXT and Gadgeteer seem like good ones for now...

    Not bad about the power usage... 2/3 of the CC3000 if I recall - but it's still too much to run from the Espruino board's 3.3v regulator :(

  • Even smaller! It seems to have about 50 meters TX range, and the only power measurement listed is 70 mA during active RX.

    There's some more info on their blog, apparently they're also building a router-on-a-chip that supports OpenWRT.

    Sorry for slanting off topic here, but considering the power needs of wifi, is it really the solution to the Internet of Things? Isn't BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) coupled with a bridge to the internet a more efficient and elegant solution? I'm just thinking out loud, don't want to sidetrack the discussion :)

  • xWifi looks interesting. I wonder if Espruino would run on the chip itself... There are very little specs available though.

    The issue with BLE for me is that as far as I know the interface it provides maps very badly to the internet - so basically anyone using it has to not only make the device and a web service, but the second bridge device (or phone app) too!

    If that gets solved and there was a standard for BLE bridge devices (so you could just download a BLE bridge phone app, or buy a bridge) then I think it would be a much better option.

  • Hm, good point. I'm a programmer so I'm thinking of doing it that way myself, but not everybody can do that. I see how manufacturers would need a standard protocol to communicate with bridges before anything like that would become a reality on a commercial scale..

  • Have you developed phone apps before though?

    I've done some Android/iOS stuff and it's actually relatively hard to get started. For iOS you'll need a newish Mac (and the latest OS?) to start development - and if you're a Windows user that's another $1000 you'll have to spend right away. Then there's $99/year if you want to distribute the app as well, not to mention the need to learn Apple's own programming language (Objective C), user interface API, and slightly strange UI designer in XCode.

    Android's easier, but it's still a big download - and you have to learn Java and then yet another API for the UI.

    All the BLE manufacturers (and BLE KickStarter projects) brush over it like it's not a problem though :)

  • Not natively, no. I know it's a lot to take on. I did look into Apple's new language Swift (much easier than Objective C!) for interfacing with BLE, but couldn't figure out how difficult it would be.

    But I was actually thinking of using a Raspberry Pi as the bridge between my BLE sensors and the Internet. I could then much more easily write a web app to interface with my sensors, and it would work on all platforms. At least that's the idea.

    Edit: True about BLE manufacturers and projects not addressing the issue. I know of one crowdsourced BLE project that do though – Wimotos. They sell their own bridge device (with its own sensors) and also mention Raspberry Pi as an alternative – perfect for DIY-ers like me.

  • Yes, that'd be significantly easier I imagine :) Hopefully there's a decent API for it on the host side...

  • Hey,

    Just looked up the CC3100 and CC3200 which seem affordable and of TI-ish quality and availability.­Wi-Fi-to-anything-with-TIs-Internet-on-a­-chip

    Any ideas (or plans) in which Espruino works with the 3100 (or better, on the 3200)?


  • and of TI-ish quality

    This is my problem with the CC3100/CC3200 unfortunately. Despite being cheap and being marketed as the perfect way to add WiFi, the CC3000 turned out to be extremely poor.

    Not because of the hardware (that seemed ok) but because:

    • The firmware on the CC3000 itself kept locking up and completely crashing the module, and TI only released an update that fixed it 18 months later (and that appears not to be backwards compatible). In my mind that's totally indefensible.
    • The drivers that were provided were extremely poor, and would completely lock up or crash your device not only if the CC3000 locked up, but even if there was a single communication error with it. I reckon I've spent about a month now debugging and re-writing parts of the driver for Espruino - time that could have been spent really improving Espruino itself.
    • TI provided absolutely zero support for the CC3000 at all (at least to me). Posts on their support forum are just left unanswered (except for other people posting 'hey, I'm having this issue too').

    I've also worked on other projects that have used TI chips, and have heard from other engineers and the result seems to be the same: TI can make nice hardware for a good price, but once they've sold it they just don't care about software and support.

    Despite the CC3100 being advertised as a lot better, I don't have a reason to believe TI have suddenly changed their attitude. If someone manages to get it working with Espruino that's great and I'd love a pull request, but I'm more interested in focussing on more cost-effective modules....

  • Hm. Just asked as you mentioned that CC3000 successor when we discussed encryption some time
    ago. And now it's there.

    I would think that they focussed all their workforce on a new feature-complete and widely available chip instead of having a dedicated support team for the first incomlete one. Despite all the frustration that that brought to the early adopters. They might need a communications guy on the team, though.

    Do you think Espuino could work on a CC3200 with ita M4 and the given specs?


  • The problem is the CC3000 isn't a one-off - TI seem to be known for doing exactly that kind of thing.

    Espruino may well work on the CC3200 - although the datasheet implies that while there's 'up to' 256kB RAM, there is only 64kB ROM that's meant for a bootloader. If that's the case then it might be a bit tight trying to fit absolutely everything (Espruino+code) into 256kB, but it's definitely possible.

    The CC3200 doesn't seem groundbreaking though - competitively priced modules with WiFi and ARM have been around for a while - for instance the one that Electric Imp use is this one from murata and it actually contains an STM32F405 chip, which Espruino could be made to run on much more easily.

  • Just to add: I've now ordered a few ESP8266 boards.

    There seems to be some documentation here as well:

    Just 4 wires to wire up (although a more powerful 3.3v regulator may be needed). It seems like adding support to Espruino should be trivial, and it would be able to coexist with the CC3000 driver too.

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Finally - cheap WiFi?

Posted by Avatar for Gordon @Gordon