Adafruit Huzzah - an ESP8266 dev board

December 24, 2015

Adafruit Huzzah - an ESP8266 board

I really like the Adafruit Huzzah breakout board - the one that features the ESP8266 chip. Adafruit built a great small development kit with everything that you can ask for. Well, almost everything.

Here are some ideas for modifications that I applied on my board and that helps me to be more creative and mobile.

The board has 3 possibilities for power supply. The first one is to use the 6 pin connector which is used for communication with the device. So if you are using a FTDI serial cable to connect to the board, it will get the power from there. The same pins are being used for the V+ pins on the breakout board. A voltage regulator allows higher input voltage that we be transformed. Nice. Almost every power supply will probably do it that is suitable for mobile use such as small LiPoly, power packs, 9V blocks, etc. The third solution is a pin call vbat that has also a voltage regulator, however, it’s seperated from the FTDI pins so you can leave your battery connected while overwriting the firmware. This can be used if you need the serial port for other usage than powering the board. Right now I am thinking of UART serial LCD displays.

However, I was looking for a plug and play connection. So I soldered an old USB cable to a prototyping board and applied a female header on the other end. This gives me the flexibilitiy to connect a USB power pack which are largely available to my Huzzah to power it. The old USB cable came with one of those power packs and contained the power wires only.

I was not so happy with the pin connectors which were provided by Adafruit with the Huzzah board. I like the angled version more as it is friendlier for bread board usage. The straight connector also makes it harder to hit the reset button which is needed from time to time. coughs As the pcbs from Adafruit are of great quality the unsoldering was not an issue. So when you do have some patience and usable soldering iron - go for it.

In terms of mobile power - I am using a Revell Control battery pack. This device is sold in a local shop round the corner and I paid something like 10 bucks for it. It lacks the intelligent electronic that most power banks have built in these days. As long something draws power it charges the device happily. Some of my other power banks fail to power the small Huzzah as it was not drawing enough current and therefore switched off the output after a while.

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