Goodbye Arduino: ESP8266 development boards are coming – with Lua firmware!

The ESP8266 is a tiny, cheap MCU with integrated WiFi and impressive specs (datasheet here) and a lot of modules have been on the scene for quite a bit of time.

There are different versions of them, and this is the most common one:

An ESP8266 module

An ESP8266 module.

 

The fact is that, even if those modules have mostly been used for WiFi-to-serial communication with Arduinos, the chip can do a lot more than that. In fact, it’s a 32-bit MCU, which has a lot of horsepower compared to your average Atmega. Also, many of the modules don’t have all the pins broken out (10 GPIOs).

I actually thought about designing a proper breakout board for this chip, but many people from the community preceded me.

There is a toolchain you can use to write bare C to the chipset and access all of its functions (including all the GPIO pins). It’s been out for quite a few time and many firmwares have been developed, extending and improving AT commands.

One of the best news I came across this week is the release of a new firmware for the device, called nodemcu, which supports Lua commands: programming becomes Arduino-easy!

The guys over at nodemcu also developed a nice breakout board: I just bought one and I hope it comes here soon. It has a CH340G USB-to-serial converter on board together with a microUSB connector. All pins are also broken out on pin headers!

 

The nodemcu dev board

The Nodemcu dev board.

This is very exciting news and, in my opinion, the start of a new era for makers! This is what I’ll use for all my future projects.

You can find more info on the ESP8266 forums.