Zamir's Board

Just record myself

View on GitHub
6 January 2022

Why to Start With ESP32

by Zamir

Disclaimer: I’m just a beginner of learning embedded, I wrote all of my embedded articles based on the view of myself as a beginner, so different ideas from embedded professions are highly unavoidable.

Last spring, I’ve wrote about start learning embedded with STM32. However, soon after I wrote that, I realize that the price of STM32 series has gone up to an incredible level. Which makes me wonder if that’s still a good choice.

Recently I started to think about the beginner’s question again. This time, I have some different thoughts: if the learning material can be more related with daily life, the learner will take it much easier. Nowadays IoT is definitely a hot topic. So if the MCU can have some sort of IoT capabilities, it will definitely make the learner happier. So MCU with real wireless communication function is a better choice. Currently, there are a bunch of wireless protocol in real life. The most widely mentioned including (but not limited to)

and more.

In my option, it would be much easier for the beginner if he or she can just connect the MCU to other existing devices, especially mobile phone and laptop. So WiFi and Bluetooth (including BLE) outstands others of all those listed.

So this time, the criterias are

There aren’t much choice matching such criteria, especially in where I live. I already mentioned why I do not like cc26xx and nRF5x for beginner, then there are only ESP8266 series, ESP32 series, or WinnerMicro w600. Of all these, ESP8266 and ESP32 series have the best user community, and materials are most widely available online. But ESP8266 seems to be not recommended for new design (NRND), I think ESP32 series outstands othere.

So let’s talk more about ESP32.

ESP32 is a series of wireless MCU produced by Espressif. As the time of writing, they are

What’s more, Espressif provides Arduino support for ESP32, ESP32 S2, ESP32 C3. In case you are a newbie reader, Arduino is an open-source hardware and software company, its Arduino IDE is famous for it being easy to use. I hear that even artists can use Arduino to do some embedded related artists without much trouble.

Now, people can freely decide to use ESP32 with Arduino which is much easier to start with, or to use ESP-IDF framework provided by Espressif directly. Espressif even wrote good get started guide for both Arduino-ESP32 and ESP-IDF.

There are so many ESP32 boards available on the internet. The biggest difference for them are mostly only about periphrals. So just purchase as you prefer. Or if you don’t know what to start with, buying a minimal ESP32 board like Node32S also should work, as it should be pretty chip (less than USD $3 here).