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What Do You Know About ESP8266 and Projects Using It

PCBONLINE Team Fri, May 24, 2024
ESP8266 projects

The ESP8266 is a compact and versatile SoC (System-on-chip) that has been around for more than ten years. This blog examines the capabilities of ESP8266 as well as introduces you to some of the ESP8266-based projects. This blog also introduces a PCB assembly manufacturer to turn your ESP8266 projects into production.

Hardware Capabilities of ESP8266

The ESP8266 is a low-cost SoC microcontroller with integrated Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n capabilities. The ESP8266 boasts a Tensilica Diamond Standard 106Micro CPU with clock frequency up to 160 MHz, 4 MB of Flash Memory, 64 KB of SRAM, 16 Programmable GPIOs, SPI, UART, and I2C busses.

The block diagram of the ESP8266 is presented below.

ESP8266 block diagram

Advanced Features of ESP8266

Aside from having the integrated Wi-Fi connectivity that includes an 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi transceiver, allowing the ESP8266 to connect directly to a router without a need for an intermediary, the ESP benefits from the following features:

  • Integrated TCP/IP Stack: The ESP8266 has a full TCP/IP stack, allowing it to perform web server functions and communicate with other devices in the network.
  • Low Power Modes: The ESP8266 has advanced power management features, including active, modem-sleep, and deep-sleep modes, making it suitable for battery-powered IoT applications.
  • Over-the-Air (OTA) Updates: The ESP8266 supports OTA firmware updates, allowing developers to remotely update the firmware of the ESP8266-based IoT devices without physically accessing them.
  • Google Firebase support: Thanks to the Firebase-ESP-Client library by Mobizt, the ESP8266 can seamlessly integrate with the Google Firebase Realtime Database, enabling it to read, store, update, and delete data.
  • SSL/TLS support: The ESP8266 is powerful enough to make use of SSL/TLS, enabling it to exchange data with other devices securely.

Supported Programming Languages of ESP8266

The ESP8266 can be programmed using the following programming languages:

  • Embedded C: Embedded C is the most commonly used programming language for the ESP8266. The ESP8266 can be programmed in this language using the Arduino IDE or the PlatformIO. Each of them provides the C/C++ development environment with a large number of libraries and tools.
  • Lua: Lua is a lightweight scripting language that is used in the NodeMCU firmware for the ESP8266. Lua is known for its simplicity and ease of use, making it a popular choice for IoT and embedded systems projects.
  • MicroPython: MicroPython is a version of the Python programming language that is optimized to run on microcontrollers like ESP8266. It offers a high-level, easy-to-use language with a syntax similar to Python, making it a great choice for those already familiar with the desktop version of Python.

Thanks to its versatility and powerful functions, ESP8266 is used in smart home appliances, consumer electronics, remote control systems, asset tracking, smart retail, wireless payment systems, smart car systems, Wi-Fi networking devices, DIY projects, and health/fitness monitoring devices.

DIY Projects Using ESP8266

ESP8266 finds extensive use in a variety of DIY projects. Below, you can see some projects using ESP8266 by other people.

DIY Electronic Shelf Label Management System V2.0

DIY Electronic Shelf Label Management System V2.0

DIY Electronic Shelf Label Management System V2.0 is an ESP8266-based project that offers a blueprint for building affordable and functional electronic shelf labels that display images sent to them in the encrypted UDP packets over the local network using one of two available desktop applications.

Build Your Massive LED Wall on a Budget

LED Wall on a Budget ESP8266

The "Build Your Massive LED Wall on a Budget" project is a 7-foot wide, ESP8266-powered LED wall display. The modular design splits the display into four lightweight panels, making it more portable than expensive professional installations. The software allows the user to display videos, images, or animations on the LED wall.

Encrypted Note Storage

encrypted note storage ESP8266

Encrypted Note Storage is a very unorthodox ESP8266-powered device that uses the VGA Monitor to print decrypted notes.

An Eye-Catching 3D Printed Hexagonal Cells LED Lamp

3D Printed Hexagonal Cells LED Lamp

An Eye-Catching 3D Printed Hexagonal Cells LED Lamp is a 3D printed lamp controlled by the ESP8266 that emphasizes the clear separation of individual LED cells for a more visually appealing display of light.

Backlit Automated Perpetual Calendar

Backlit Automated Perpetual Calendar ESP8266

Backlit Automated Perpetual Calendar is an ESP8266-powered, backlit, automated perpetual calendar made with the help of CNC machining. The calendar is designed to be reused year after year without needing manual updates.

Bending Time - a 3D Printed Curved LED Clock With WS2812 LEDs and ESP8266

3D printed curved LED clock

Bending Time - a 3D Printed Curved LED Clock With WS2812 LEDs and ESP8266 is a custom 3D printed curved LED clock made with WS2812 LEDs and an ESP8266 microcontroller. The clock displays the time on a 12x5 LED matrix, with hours, minutes, and seconds represented as colored LED bars and pixels.

Smart Lock(er)

smart lock ESP8266

Smart Lock(er) is a simple ESP8266-powered lock controller designed for lockers.

ESP8266 VGA Pong

VGA Pong ESP8266

The ESP8266 is a very versatile board that can even be used as a core of a simple game console.

Advanced PCB Projects with ESP8266

ESP8266 is used more for more advanced business projects. To develop your project using ESP8266 and turn your design into reality for business, please feel free to work with a one-stop IoT PCBA manufacturer, PCBONLINE, where you can have PCBA mounted with ESP8266 manufactured until final product delivery.

You can see some advanced projects using ESP8266 below.

Home Automation with ESP8266 (Linknode R4) and Amazon Alexa

home automation ESP8266

The Linknode R4, a 4-channel wireless relay controller board, offers a convenient solution for controlling high-power devices. With the ESP8266 microcontroller integrated into a custom PCB, users can easily turn their devices on and off remotely. The project creator has also ensured safety, isolating the high-voltage AC lines from each other by routing out slots between each trace.

LED Hexagon Wall Clock

LED Hexagon wall clock

LED Hexagon Wall Clock is a project with a custom PCB. The PCBA with the ESP8266 soldered on is powered by a 5v power supply and controls 127 WS2812B addressable LEDs. The photo of the PCBA is shown below.

LED Hexagon wall clock PCB

Wi-Fi Battery Monitor System with ESP8266

Wi-Fi battery monitor system ESP8266

This Wi-Fi Battery Monitor System with ESP8266 is a device designed to help the user choose/use the proper battery size/model/type. This device allows the user to test the batteries and spot the low-quality ones. The back side of the PCB is shown below.

WiFi battery monitor system ESP8266 PCB

IoT Home Automation With Blynk and NodeMCU

home automation Blynk and NodeMCU

The "IoT Home Automation With Blynk and NodeMCU" project is an ESP8266-based device that can be controlled either by pressing the buttons on the PCBA or via the Blynk mobile app.

This device benefits from having a custom PCB, DH11 Sensor, LDR, OLED I2C Display, and other components. This device has two relays and is capable of measuring the room temperature using the DH11 sensor and the amount of light in the room using the LDR sensor.

Additionally, the device can automatically turn on or off the load connected to the relays based on data from temperature and light sensors. The photos of the PCB utilized by this device are shown below.

home automation Blynk and NodeMCU PCB

home automation Blynk and NodeMCU blank PCB

home automation Blynk and NodeMCU PCBA

Automate Home Lights from a web browser using ESP8266

home lights from web browser1

home lights from web browser2

The "Automate your Home Lights from web browser using ESP8266" project is a wireless relay with ESP8266 placed on a custom PCB. It's designed to control electrical devices in home. The ESP8266 launches a local web server to which the user can connect by simply entering its IP address in a web browser.

One-Stop PCBA and IoT Box-Build Assembly Manufacturer - PCBONLINE

If you want to develop a project using ESP32 and put it into production under your brand, you can work with PCBONLINE for turnkey PCBA manufacturing. You can have your ESP8266 device manufactured at one stop, including PCB fabrication, PCB assembly, component sourcing (including ESP8266), PCBA value-added, and box-build assembly.

Founded in 1999, PCBONLINE has two large advanced PCB manufacturing bases, one PCB assembly factory, stable supply chains, and an R&D team to develop the project according to your initial idea. Besides, you can get ESP8266 and other ESP MCUs at lower prices from PCBONLINE, as it is a strategic partner with Espressif and buys in bulk to reduce unit prices.

ESP32 and ESP8266 PCBA manufacturer

Advantages of working with PCBONLINE for ESP8266 PCBA:

Provide one-stop electronics manufacturing until final product delivery from prototypes to bulk production.

PCBONLINE has powerful software and hardware R&D and PCBA manufacturing capabilities to meet your project’s requirements.

Affordable ESP8266 PCBA and box-build assembly as PCBONLINE is a PCBA source factory manufacturer. It is also a strategic partner of Espressif and has long-term cooperation with the top 3 enclosure factories in China.

PCBONLINE offers free R&D, PCBA samples, and functional testing for bulk production orders.

PCBONLINE provides free DFM, DFA, DFT, and DFX for your project and can optimize your project to reduce fabrication costs without function and quality sacrifice.

High-quality ESP8266 PCBA manufacturing and box-build assembly certified with ISO 9001:2015, IATF 16949, RoHS, REACH, and IPC-A-610 Class 2/3.

If you want support for your ESP8266 PCBA or IoT device project, we’d love to offer one-on-one engineering support. To get a quote for your PCBA using ESP8266, please email info@pcbonline.com.


The ESP8266 is a great choice for a variety of embedded systems, from home automation devices to various LED projects. You can use it to develop both DIY and business projects. The target clients of PCBONLINE are original equipment manufacturers, business makers, and research institutes. If you are one of them, contact the one-stop PCBA manufacturer PCBONLINE to bring your idea into reality.

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