An ESP32 Project for the masses

(Derryn Harvie) #1

Last night @eyal commented that we needed to find a new application beyond sensor monitoring and reporting that we’ve been doing with the ESP8266 for a long time.

Naturally the ESP32 would be an interesting beast to build something with (at least for me.)

From what I can see, the big difference with this chipset is the significant increase in on-chip processing power. So it lends itself to some sort of wireless node that does some localised data processing or perhaps graphics. Maybe as a central node with ESP8266s feeding it data.

So any ideas?

P.S. I would be keen on some sort of ‘citizen science’ type project, or generally something that has wider applicability than IOT in my house. Might be a good thing for attracting funding for MHV as well…

(Eyal Lebedinsky) #2

I would like this one as it meshes nicely with the current sensors collection I have. It will also allow me to develop more efficient connectivity instead of full wifi.

  • a good omnidirectional antenna, to cover the whole house + outside. We can do a project in this area too.
  • probably good to have local storage for independence.
  • Ethernet connection for uplink? This way we stay away from the house wifi.

(Derryn Harvie) #3

That’s very easy with sd cards. I’ve used them in several projects using Chan’s FATFS to work with a FAT32 file system. Porting it is quite an easy task, just need to implement a few functions to read and write to the SPI bus. Given the ESP32 has SPI interfaces separate to the code storage it should make it quite a bit simpler.

(Chris Small) #4

I’m in the process of trying to request some funding assistance for MHV - my time is a little limited, so it’s been slow progress - and I’m not technically, yet, a member:) I like the idea of MHV and think it deserves support - more so, than some of the more frivolous government `projects’. I have a science/engineering focus but I am not phased by art. I like art, albeit art that conforms to certain aesthetic and/or technical ideals. The more technical some of this stuff becomes, the more the lines are blurred.

The STEM' thing is a politically favoured thing, at present. Girls inSTEM’ is also attracting a certain focus, along with things like the girls programming network. In my experience, foundry and high-end systems admin don’t attract a lot of women/girls - not sure why but there is always room to improve. I see some potential for MHV to provide a means for a broad community.

My focus on funding was in the establishment of a foundry because Strathnairn doesn’t really cater for the use-cases that I would envisage for MHV members. And it’s quite expensive! In my case, long story short, the foundry idea grew out of i). a long term desire to pursue this project and ii) A need for a lathe for a project that was to be driven by an AVR ATmega processor (beer bottle washer, steam-punk steam engine with ATmega control unit, and a few other things I had banging around in my noggin).

My intention is to pursue funding for a foundry and associated safety gear - and with a focus on how it potentially ties back into other project, be it artistic or engineering in nature.

ESP32 for the masses - awesome! A foundry (and soon-to-be-purchased lathe) to enhance the ESP32 thing - Fantastic! :smiley:

(Chris Small) #5

Here’s a potential project:
An electrochemical monitor, based on an analogue I/O and using a voltage follower implemented with an opamp, and a silver/silver chloride reference electrode to measure heavy metal pollutants in the likes of Sullivan’s Creek=)

(Derryn Harvie) #6

With a bit of reading around, receiving and to a lesser degree sending raw frames appears to be supported now. I can see there should be scope to do time synchronization between nodes down to a few tens of microseconds, by syncing off some sort of 802.11 frame (depending on how much uncertainty there is in the timing of the callback.)

I can think of several applications where several nodes have closely sync’ed clocks and a decent comms speed. For example locating and tracking moving things by sound (such as animals at night.)

(David Lyon) #7

This was my idea for an ESP32 board.

Basically it’s a processor and then all the I/O is easily broken out so that you can plug things directly in without having to worry about wiring so much.

As I explained people in Europe thought it was a great idea and even some people in the Universities here liked it.

If there were a few people that were interested in contributing $10 each it would make it worthwhile getting a batch made. Otherwise any budget under $50 probably won’t lead to any realisation of the project going ahead.

(Chris Small) #8

I’d be interested in contributing. It sounds like a good investment:)

(David Lyon) #9

I’ll get the hardware design happening then.

(David Lyon) #10

Here’s the first draft of the Design:

The ESP goes in the middle and there’s some area for adding extra components.

There’s no power-suppler per say but you can plug in whatever power you want into any of the connectors around the board.

The Serial Port is on the top-left most connector.

I’ll have to look up the reset and ch_pd pins - I’ve forgotten exactly what connections they needed. Obviously a small reset switch would be good to have.

(David Lyon) #11

At the meeting some slight downgrading of the Project Scope was done.

My idea reading of it was to make it for the Masses but anyway, it’s obvious that I misread the project scope somewhere :slight_smile:

Here is a scan of the paper sketch.