ESP8266 In Commercial Products

The hobbyist electronics market is still tiny, and even though random companies are coming out with some very interesting hardware, these parts and components aren’t exactly meant for us. The ESP8266 WiFi module is a slight deviation from this trend, with hundreds of different ESP dev boards floating around, and weirdos buying them by the bag.

[4ndreas] finally found the ESP8266 in a product; it’s not a very noteworthy observation until you realize how much work has gone into the development of open source toolchains for the ESP.

[4ndreas] found an RGB LED strip on Ali Express that could be controlled by WiFi. Inside, he found everyone’s favorite WiFi module, and by shorting two pins, he started up the controller in bootloader mode.

Because of the massive amount of open source development surrounding the ESP8266, there are a host of tools that can be used to program this cheap LED controller. [4ndreas] took a swing at writing his own firmware for the controller and came up with this project.

It’s not a killer project, but it does demonstrate the power of open source toolchains for cheap WiFi modules. This is only the first product found with an ESP8266 inside, but there are undoubtedly others out there just waiting to be taken apart and controlled in more advanced ways.

25 thoughts on “ESP8266 In Commercial Products

  1. I wonder why didn’t they make Dash with the ESP? Was it released after they started development? (You know how sluggish big-ass companies are.) If I understand it, now a mic is used to configure wifi with an app.. But one could use flashes of light instead so no DSP would be needed.

  2. Interestingly I put together such a board for my own use using an ESP8266 with a PCA9685 16 channel PWM module and AOI510 MOSFETs. Their board looks like it may use the same or similar hardware. It would have been great to have been able to buy this earlier! I wonder what protocol they use for communication, is it CoAP over UDP? or maybe MQTT over TCP? or some simple serial protocol?

      1. Same here… Already have it assembled together, but without the 2 white channels. And impossible to bit that price with the casing! Damn ^^
        Need to pick up some capacitor tonight to solve some reset issue. My unit is still much compacter and with a reset button (yes I need to self comfort me!)

        1. I’m also building an RGB setup and all the aliexpress stuff I’d seen so far was far too expensive for how many controllers I needed. I wonder why they put two white channels on it? I guess if you have the extra I/O just do it. Too bad it doesn’t have one more channel. Then it could have supported 2 RGB’s.

          I just noticed an issue though, it only supports 20W output. I have a 5m x 60 (5050, 0.2W) LED’s so I need 60W output. Guess I’m keeping with my 75W N-Channel Mosfets with heatsink.

          1. Yeah, 20W it’s really not a lot… BTW I’ve just find out that my Mosfets was not sensitive enough for the esp8266 as the gate threshold is 2-4V… So if anybody want to build the same thing, don’t use IRFZ44N. It will work but only deliver very dimmed light…
            I ordered some ITLZ44N and hope it’ll work this time!

            (Concerning the reset error, I had to erase the memory using esptool.py to get it working…)

          2. Concerning the extra white channel, I’ve seen on taobao the RGBW or RGBWW are getting very popular (one strip with RGB led + white led), I guess that’s why they implemented those two white channel.

            BTW I’ve ordered my driver board on dirty PCB if anybody search an RGB board controlled by an ESP8266:
            http://goo.gl/SGaeT9 (94W Mosfets so should be able to handle a lot of LED, and space has been left on the PCB to add some heatsink to them).

          3. These are standard DPAK Mosfets. You can easily replace them with much stronger ones. E.g. BUK9217 is nice: about 10..20mOhms and 25 with 3V gate voltage. rated with 64Amps nominally.

  3. I setup a Wireshark sniffing setup (connected a spare accespoint to my PC and let this RGB box connect to it). I sniffed the traffic passing by for a while, when i was playing with the app (LEDDimmer.apk).
    Actually the protocol used is just plain hex codes for each channel, sent over UDP port 30977. I managed to control the box from a Raspberry Pi. For now only basic commands (setting R or G, or B to full power and back for example) but i’m sure this has a lot of potential.

    I have posted my findings here: http://www.domoticz.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=7957&p=54272#p54265

  4. The problem I’m having is that when power on ESP8266 pulls HIGH on PIN 12 and 13 on for just a moment while it’s booting, and one time blink LED strip .
    I’ve tried add internal pull-down resistor to no avail.

  5. Do you guys think that esp8266 is okay to embed into a commercial product? I see wemo kind of bit more pricey products use ralink which is a more expensive one.

    I have esp8266 in my door control for more than a year and it’s been working great, never needed to restart it or it never put me in a situation where I couldn’t connect it or else..

    thanks!

    1. What do you mean by “reading”? Are you mentioning about reading firmware from your device? It means nothing because it’s compiled code. I’m sure that it’s not possible to convert it to source code. May be they can copy your device if they can read the firmware. But nothing more.

        1. But this is a connected product, so if the product is “copied” this means nothing because you have the same device with same address, connects to same server. Please make me clear.

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