Combine an Arduino Nano with the ATMega 328, a ESP-01 ESP8266 on one board,, couple the two processors via a (software) serial connection, add a 3.3 V power regulator, make it breadboard friendly, write some tutorials aimed at starters, and you have an idea what the NanoESP is about.
Franzis Verlag and Fabian Kainka are the driving forces behind this nice little board. Sold by Conrad as C-Control IoT WIFI Board (ESP8266), Elektor and Reichelt in Germany for Euro 29,95 (as Pretzel board – IOT WIFI Board). I got one for Euro 24,99 at the Dutch webshop of Conrad! (Easy to get outside Germany too, with (sparse) German documentation.
The design goal was an easy-to-use and Arduino compatible development board in the context of the Internet of Things. By simple AT commands to the ESP8266 you can e. g. launch a Web server, set the module as an access point or establish connection with your home network.
• Arduino™ compatible, Nano bootloader
• ESP-01 compatible integrated TCP/IP stack, activatable TCP/UDP server, AT-Firmware version 0.22 (which is not the newest, but not too old also)
• Control of the WLAN module by simple AT commands
• Suitable for WLAN & the module can be used as an access point
The NanoESP is programmed as an Arduino Nano, the ESP8266 is used as a peripheral with the fixed AT firmware. Not that is impossible to upload newer or other firmware, the pins required are accessible as pads. Since the Arduino has quite a lot of GPIO’s the two GPIO’s of the ESP-01 are not important.
Nano + ESP8266 = NanoESP?
In fact this is true. Functional this is a Nano where on pin 12 and 11 an ESP-01 is connected, via software serial communication. But there is a lot more happening here:
- Voltage regulator to supply the ESP8266 with enough current. A standard Nano does not deliver the 200 mA required.
- Voltage conversion for the Arduino TxD 5V to 3.3V of the TXD of teh ESP8266
- More status leds on signals to show the 328 AtMEga talking to the ESP8266
- Breadboard friendly pin connectors for the Nano GPIO signals
- All relevant signals are broken out to enter firmware in the 328 ATMEga and the ESP8266, though the connectors are not soldered in.
There is a program already downloaded in the NanoESP.When connected to a PC with the Arduino IDE (make sure you install the 340 USB serial port drivers!) and starting the serial terminal at 19200 baud and resetting the NanoESP with the Reset button on the PCB you are greeted with this message:
I am curious and expected the NanoESP already showing some Wifi activity. With a Wifi scan on my tablet I discovered a NanESP SSID. Once connected and after a IP scan I saw the Nano ESP having address 192.168.4.1 and there was a webpage!
On fkainka.de/secret you can see this message after filling in the password!
And on this website http://www.fkainka.de you can now find lots of interesting projects for the NanoESP! I will have fun during the Christmas holiday! New posts to come!