Getting started with the ESP8266

The ESP8266 - Steampunk Version


The ESP8266 is a popular and low-cost WiFi-enabled microcontroller that has gained a lot of attention from makers and developers in recent years. It’s a powerful and versatile device that can be used in a wide variety of projects, from home automation and IoT devices to robotics and wearable tech. If you’re just getting started with the ESP8266, this post is the perfect place to start.

In this post, we’ll cover the basics of what the ESP8266 is, what it can do, and how to get started using it. We’ll also look at some popular development boards and programming environments, as well as some useful resources for learning more about the ESP8266.

Whether you’re an experienced maker or a beginner, the ESP8266 is a great device to have in your toolkit. So let’s dive in and learn more about this powerful microcontroller!

Which ESP8266?

If you had a chance to visit some online shop, odds are that you got confused to the amount of different ESP8266 boards there are on the market. First and foremost, let’s have a quick breakdown of this board madness:

I personally work with the NodeMCU for developing stuff, while I normally use ESP-12E/F for prototypes / production projects. Indeed, the NodeMCU comes with a handy 5V-powered USB port, which is used to both upload code on your board and to power it on. The ESP-12E/F do not have a USB port, as they are typically soldered on actual circuit boards (we’ll have a separate post about them).

It helps to think about the NodeMCU as a ESP-12E/F + additional stuff useful for development / prototyping.

What an ESP8266 can do for you?

It’s amazing the number of things this tiny box allow you to do. A few examples:



The NodeMCU has plenty of useful pins:



The ESP-12E/F, though, exposes different pins:

So, get yourself a NodeMCU on AliExpress for a few bucks, then jump in the next post where we’ll kickstart our very first project!

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