ESP8266 Thing Breakout Board – SparkFun WRL-13231
The SparkFun ESP8266 Thing is a breakout and development board for the ESP8266 WiFi SoC a leading platform for Internet of Things (IoT) or WiFi-related projects. The Thing is low-cost and easy to use, and Arduino IDE integration can be achieved in just a few steps. We’ve made the ESP8266 easy to use by breaking out all of the module’s pins, adding a LiPo charger, power supply, and all of the other supporting circuitry it requires.
Why the name? We lovingly call it the Thing due to it being the perfect foundation for your Internet of Things project. The Thing does everything from turning on an LED to posting data with phant.io, and can be programmed just like any microcontroller. You can even program the Thing through the Arduino IDE by installing the ESP8266 Arduino addon.
The SparkFun ESP8266 Thing is a relatively simple board. The pins are broken out to two parallel, breadboard-compatible rows. USB and LiPo connectors at the top of the board provide power controlled by the nearby ON/OFF switch. LEDs towards the inside of the board indicate power, charge, and status of the IC. The ESP8266’s maximum voltage is 3.6V, so the Thing has an onboard 3.3V regulator to deliver a safe, consistent voltage to the IC. That means the ESP8266’s I/O pins also run at 3.3V, you’ll need to level shift any 5V signals running into the IC. A 3.3V FTDI Basic is required to program the SparkFun ESP8266 Thing, but other serial converters with 3.3V I/O levels should work just fine as well. The converter does need a DTR line in addition to the RX and TX pins.
- All module pins broken out
- On-board LiPo charger/power supply
- 802.11 b/g/n
- Wi-Fi Direct (P2P), soft-AP
- Integrated TCP/IP protocol stack
- Integrated TR switch, balun, LNA, power amplifier and matching network
- Integrated PLLs, regulators, DCXO and power management units
- Integrated low power 32-bit CPU could be used as application processor
- +19.5dBm output power in 802.11b mode
ESP8266 Thing Pin Out:
Getting Started with the ESP8266 Thing:
Installing the Addon With the Arduino Boards Manager:
With the release of Arduino 1.6.4, adding third-party boards to the Arduino IDE is easily achieved through the new board manager. If you’re running an older version of Arduino (1.6.3 or earlier), we recommend upgrading now. As always, you can download the latest version of Arduino from Arduino.cc
To begin, we’ll need to update the board manager with a custom URL. Open up Arduino, then go to the Preferences (File > Preferences). Then, towards the bottom of the window, copy this URL into the “Additional Board Manager URLs” text box:
If you already have a URL in there and want to keep it, you can separate multiple URLs by placing a comma between them. (Arduino 1.6.5 added an expanded text box, separate links in here by line.)
Hit OK. Then navigate to the Board Manager by going to Tools > Boards > Boards Manager. There should be a couple of new entries in addition to the standard Arduino boards. Look for esp8266. Click on that entry, then select Install.
The board definitions and tools for the ESP8266 Thing include a whole new set of gcc, g++, and other reasonably large, compiled binaries, so it may take a few minutes to download and install (the archived file is ~110MB). Once the installation has completed, an Arduino-blue “INSTALLED” will appear next to the entry.
Selecting the ESP8266 Thing Board
With the Board addon installed, all that’s left to do is select “ESP8266 Thing” from the Tools > Boards menu.