tmp17B8I have in front of me what many others have ordered and few others have as yet – an ESP8266 inexpensive WIFI module from China.

This module has an 8 way connector (there are variants with 4) and an onboard antenna (there are variants with a socket).

The unit operates from 3v3 and the connections are ground, 3v3, tx and rx. Yes, at long last a low cost board that hooks into your WIFI and which your Arduino or other projects can talk to.

Make no mistake – the ESP8266  has the potential to be a GAME CHANGER – WIFI has always been ridiculously expensive for small projects – Arduino clone £5 – WIFI unit £40  – just doesn’t make sense. There are 2 chips on the board and the small one is FLASH memory (I checked), the other is the processor with built in WIFI. There have been a couple of attempts before now but nothing in this price range.

The predominently Chinese documentation is slowly being translated and there ARE examples of code – just enough to let you use modem commands like AT etc.… and get a response. Serial speed apparently is 56k baud though mine works at 115200 baud.

And therein lies the rub. I can’t get it to work properly. With power (3v3), ground, input and output connected, it responds.. but the examples don’t work.. for example –  on the web the example code AT_RST should respond with “ready” – mine responds with “OK”. The unit will then sometimes connect to my WIF – or so it seems – but then connecting to a web page either produces a failed response – or something like “busy” in the responding text.

I am using a 5v 1284-based Arduino.  Example here uses Serial to talk to the board and a software serial to talk back to the PC or whatever.. I changed that to talk to the board with SERIAL1 and the normal SERIAL to talk back to the PC – other than that I tried to leave the example as is.  I got nothing back until I realised I was receiving OK at the start!

At first, NONE of this was happening until I happened to connect (via a 1k resistor) one of the spare lines WCHICH YOU SHOULD NOT APPARENTLY NEED TO TOUCH to Vcc – then the output started to behave properly – however, for all I know this might be causing another issue. Without such a connection, the output sits at around 1v and does nothing. With that connection it talks reliably back to my Arduino – but with differences noted above.

I wrote to the Chinese supplier who clearly does not speak English – all I got back was a pointer to a data sheet.

Whether I have an early version I don’t know but I would LOVE to hear from others who have succeeded in getting reliable client code to work with this board.


2 thoughts on “ESP8266 WIFI MODULE – CHEAP WIFI?

    • Nope but worth checking – on my board I have a 3v3 regulator capable of delivering over an amp… I have the output of the WIFI module going straight back to my board – and the serial out to the WIFI is going through a resistor.

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