ESP Series: ESP8266/ ESP32 Related

ESP Series: ESP8266/ ESP32 Related

December 16, 2021

ESP series are very popular in makers' projects, ESP8266 and ESP32 are the most commonly used, We will talk about those 2 ESP series from Espressif, and some ESP8266 and ESP32 related products designed by Makerfabs.

1. ESP8266

In 2014, Espressif released a module called ESP8266, it was just intended as a WiFi module. Before ESP8266, the WiFi modules are expensive than $5, such as the widely used RN171. As the ESP8266 turns out, it made a great shake to the WiFi market, its price lower than $2, which makes it possible that more items can be connected to the internet directly at a much lower cost. Besides, when someone finds that the ESP8266 itself has strong processing ability, that it can be not only a WiFi module, but also the core controller of a system, and also when Ivan Grokhotkov made it Arduino compatible, the ESP8266 got HOT.

Based on the ESP8266 core IC, there are many companies made modules, of these companies, the AIthink is the most well-known/popular used, it integrates the antenna and SRAM, friendly to users especially for small batch production.

The drawback of ESP8266 is that the ESP8266 does not provide any means to secure the code or the data it stores, which lead to risky, besides, as we Makerfabs testing, the power consumption is somewhat huge. These 2 drawbacks lead to this ESP8266 getting popular in small batch products, such as open hardware, or educational markets, but when it comes to mass production, it is not so popular used.

2. ESP32

In 2016, the ESP32 was released. It has more GPIOs, ADCs and DAC. It is dual-core Lx6, integrated with Bluetooth 4.2, and important, it has hardware encryption and code signature, which is important for safety. In the first of its release, as Espressif’s production ability, it is in serious shortage on the market... Now it is stable and has been widely used in Makerfabs products.

In 2019, the ESP32-S2 was released. Compares to ESP32, it selects a different way: it is based on LX7 but single-core, it supports BLE5 and the USB OTG(which is essential for the CircuitPython), but as the main controller, seems it not so strong as the ESP32. Actually, it should be a transitional product from ESP32 to ESP32-S3. Which is about to release, by current files, it is based on dual-core 32-bit LX7, and also BLE integrated. It could be the most strong processor of ESP series products by now. But there are not enough files available yet.

And In 2020, the ESP32-C3 was released, compares to other ESP modules, the most difference is that it is based on the RISC-V, we think that it aims at the updated version of the ESP8266, target to consumer electronics& products.

3. ESP8266 and ESP32 Detailed Comparison:

  ESP8266 ESP32 ESP32-S2 ESP32-C3
Release Year 2014 2016 2019 2020
Microcontroller Xtensa single-core 32-bit L106 Xtensa single/dual-core 32-bit LX6 Xtensa single-core 32-bit LX7 32­bit RISC­V single­core processor
Clock Frequency 80 MHz 160/240 MHz 240 MHz 160Mhz
Co-processor No ULP ULP (RISC-V) No
SRAM 160 KB 520 KB 320 KB 400KB
ROM No 448 KB 128 KB 384KB
RTC Memory No 16 KB 16 KB 8 KB
External SPIRAM Up to 16MB Up to 16MB Up to 128MB No
External Flash No No Up to 1G Up to 16MB
Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) HT20 HT20 HT20 HT40
ESP-MESH Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth No BT 4.2 BR/EDR & BLE No Bluetooth® 5 (LE)
Ethernet No 10/100 Mbps No No
CAN No 2 No 1
Time of Flight No No Yes No
GPIO (total) 16 34 43 22
Touch No 10 14 No
SPI 2 4 4 (OSPI) 3
I2C 1 (soft) 2 2 1
I2S 2 2 1 1
UART 2 (1 ½ actually) 3 2 2
ADC 1 (10-bit) 18 (12-bit) 20 (12-bit) 6(2 × 12-bit)
DAC No 2 (8-bit) 2 (8-bit) No
PWM (soft) 8 16 8 6
SDMMC No Yes No No
RMT No Yes Yes Yes
USB OTG No No Yes Yes
LCD Interface No No Yes Yes
Camera Interface No No Yes Yes
Temperature sensor No Yes Yes Yes
Hall sensor No Yes No No
Security No Secure boot Flash encryption 1024-bit OTP Secure boot Flash encryption 4096-bit OTP Secure boot
Crypto No AES, SHA-2, RSA, ECC, RNG AES-128/192/256, SHA-2, RSA, RNG, HMAC, Digital Signature AES-128/256 (FIPS PUB 197)
Low Power Consumption 20uA 10uA deep sleep Automatic RF power management 5uA in idle mode 24uA at 1% duty cycle 5uA deep sleep

In the past years, Makerfabs have more than 100 products& projects with ESP series, either by our designed IoT products, or customers ODM projects, have rich experience in the R&D, components vendors, production, and testing:

3.1 ESP8266 Projects:

● ESP8288 WiFi Shield for Arduino
● MakePython ESP8266
● ESPwatch

3.2 ESP32 Projects:

● Game Boys
● ESP32 3.5" TFT Touch
● DIY ESP32 SmartClock Kit with Weather Forecasting

3.3 ESP32-S2 Projects:

● ESP32-S2 Parallel TFT with Touch 3.5''
If any projects designing& production requests about the ESP series, welcome to contact Makerfabs for assistance.

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