Bee Motion Combines ESP32 With PIR Sensor And USB-C

There’s no shortage of ESP32 development boards out there, with many of them offering some “killer app” feature which may or may not align with whatever it is you’re trying to do. But if you’ve got a project that could benefit from the pairing of a powerful WiFi-enabled microcontroller and a passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor, the Bee Motion created by [Paul Price] is certainly worth a close look.

This breadboard compatible package combines an ESP32-S2 module with a top-mounted PIR sensor, making it a turn key solution for all sorts of motion sensing projects. In addition to the expected onboard voltage regulation, there’s also a LiPo charge controller and status LEDs for mobile or battery-backed operation.

While there’s far too many variables involved for [Paul] to give a specific runtime for the Bee Motion, he’s run some numbers and found that a 1500 mAH cell could potentially keep the board running for over a year if you’re taking advantage of the MCU’s deep sleep capabilities. When it’s time to recharge, whenever that may be, the board’s USB-C connector means you won’t be searching around for the proper cable.

Schematics and CAD files are available in the Bee Motion GitHub repo, and [Paul] is also selling assembled boards on Tindie. All you need now is to get inspired by some of the slick PIR projects we’ve covered in the past.

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Versatile Reflow Oven Controller Uses ESP32-S2

[Maker.Moekoe] wanted a single controller board that was usable with different reflow ovens or hotplates. The result is a versatile board based on the ESP32-S2. You can see a video of the board’s assembly in the video below.

The board sports several inputs and outputs including:

  • 2x MAX6675 thermocouple sensor input
  • 2x Fan output with flyback diodes
  • 2x Solid state relay output
  • 3x Buttons
  • 1x LED
  • 1x Buzzer
  • 1x Servo motor output
  • 0.96 inch OLED display

You could probably find a use for the board for other similar applications, not just ovens.

The video is oddly relaxing, watching parts reflow. It is like watching a 3D printer, no matter how many times we see it, we still find it soothing to watch. You can also see how he integrated the board with a toaster oven.

Overall, the board looks great and the workmanship is also very good. If you’ve never seen anyone set heat-set threaded inserts into a 3D printed piece, be sure to watch around the four minute mark.

We’ve seen plenty of oven projects. You can even use an Easy Bake oven.

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Looks Like A Pi Zero, Is Actually An ESP32 Development Board

ATMegaZero ESP32- S2, showing optional color-coded 40-pin header (top)

The ATMegaZero ESP32-S2 is currently being funded with a campaign on GroupGets, and it’s a microcontroller board modeled after the Raspberry Pi Zero’s form factor. That means instead of the embedded Linux system most of us know and love, it’s an ESP32-based development board with the same shape and 40-pin GPIO header as the Pi Zero. As a bonus, it has some neat features like a connector for inexpensive SSD1306 and SH1106-based OLED displays.

Being able to use existing accessories can go a long way towards easing a project’s creation, and leveraging that is one of the reasons for sharing the Pi Zero form factor. Ease of use is also one of the goals, so the boards will ship with CircuitPython (derived from MicroPython), and can also be used with the Arduino IDE.

If a microcontroller board using the Pi Zero form factor looks a bit familiar, you might be remembering the original ATMegaZero which was based on the Atmel ATMega32U4, but to get wireless communications one needed to attach a separate ESP8266 module. This newer board keeps the ATMegaZero name and footprint, but now uses the Espressif ESP32-S2 to provide all the necessary functions.

CircuitPython has been a feature in a wide variety of projects and hacks we’ve seen here at Hackaday, and it’s a fine way to make a microcontroller board easy to use right out of the box.

ESP32-S2 And RP2040 Hack Chat With Adafruit

Join us on Wednesday, January 27 at noon Pacific for the ESP32-S2 and RP2040 Hack Chat with Adafruit!

It’s always an event when we have Adafruit on the Hack Chat, and last time was no exception. Then, the ESP32-S2 was the new newness, and Adafruit was just diving into what’s possible with the chip. It’s an interesting beast — with a single core and no Bluetooth or Ethernet built-in, it appears to be less capable than other Espressif chips. But with a faster CPU, more GPIO and ADCs, a RISC-V co-processor, and native USB, the chip looked promising.

Among their other duties, the folks at Adafruit have spent the last six months working with the chip, and they’d now like to share what they’ve learned with the community. So Limor “Ladyada” Fried, Phillip Torrone, Scott Shawcroft, Dan Halbert, and Jeff Epler will stop by the Hack Chat to show us what’s under the hood of the ESP32-S2. They’ve worked on a bunch of projects using the chip, and they’ve taken a deep-dive into the chip’s deep-sleep capabilities, so stop by the Chat with your burning questions about low-power applications or anything ESP32-S2-related and ask away.

Plus, a late and exciting addition to the agenda: they’ll be talking about the recently released RP2040, the first custom chip from the folks at Raspberry Pi. We’ve already started talking about the Raspberry Pi Pico​, the dev board that uses the chip, and Adafruit will share what they’ve learned about the RP2040 so far.

join-hack-chatOur Hack Chats are live community events in the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, January 27 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have you tied up, we have a handy time zone converter.

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io. You don’t have to wait until Wednesday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

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ESP32-S2 Hack Chat With Adafruit

Join us on Wednesday, May 6 at noon Pacific for the ESP32-S2 Hack Chat with Limor “Ladyada” Fried and Scott Shawcroft!

When Espressif released the ESP8266 microcontroller back in 2014, nobody could have predicted how successful the chip was to become. While it was aimed squarely at the nascent IoT market and found its way into hundreds of consumer devices like smart light bulbs, hackers latched onto the chip and the development boards it begat with gusto, thanks to its powerful microcontroller, WiFi, and lots of GPIO.

The ESP8266 was not without its problems, though, and security was always one of them. The ESP32, released in 2016, addressed some of these concerns. The new chip added another CPU core, a co-processor, Bluetooth support, more GPIO, Ethernet, CAN, more and better ADCs, a pair of DACs, and a host of other features that made it the darling of the hacker world.

Now, after being announced in September of 2019, the ESP32-S2 is finally making it into hobbyist’s hands. On the face of it, the S2 seems less capable, with a single core and neither Bluetooth nor Ethernet. But with a much faster CPU, scads more GPIO, more ADCs, a RISC-V co-processor, native USB, and the promise of very low current draw, it could be that the ESP32-S2 proves to be even more popular with hobbyists as it becomes established.

To talk us through the new chip’s potential, Limor “Ladyada” Fried and Scott Shawcroft, both of Adafruit Industries, will join us on the Hack Chat. Come along and learn everything you need to know about the ESP32-S2, and how to put it to work for you.

join-hack-chatOur Hack Chats are live community events in the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, May 6 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have got you down, we have a handy time zone converter.

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io. You don’t have to wait until Wednesday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.
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ESP32-S2 Samples Show Up

The ESP8266 is about six years old now and the ESP32 is getting more mainstream every day. Unsurprisingly, Espressif is developing even newer product and the ESP32-S2 was in the hands of some beta testers last year. Now it is finally landing as “final silicon” samples in people’s hands. [Unexpected Maker] got a few and a prototype development board for the chip and shared his findings in a recent video.

The ESP32-S2 has a single core LX7 running at 240 MHz along with a RISC-V-based coprocessor. Onboard is 320K of RAM and 128K of ROM. You might notice this is less than the ESP32. However, the device can support up to 128MB of external RAM and up to 1GB of external flash. It also supports USB, although the prototype module appears to have an external USB chip on it.

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New Part Day: Espressif Announces ESP32-S2 With USB

Espressif, the company behind the extremely popular ESP8266 and ESP32 microcontrollers has just announced their latest chip. It’s the ESP32-S2. It’s a powerful WiFi-enabled microcontroller, and this one has support for USB OTG.

Compared to the ESP32 we know and love, there are a few differences. The ESP32-S2 uses a single core Xtensa LX7 core running at up to 240 MHz, where the current ESP32 uses either a single or dual core LX6. The differences between these cores is hidden away in marketing speak and press releases, but it appears the LX7 core is capable of many more floating point operations per cycle: apparently 2 FLOPS / cycle for the LX6, but 64 FLOPS / cycle for the LX7. This is fantastic for DSP and other computationally heavy applications. Other features on the chip include 320 kB SRAM, 128 kB ROM, and 16 kB of RTC memory.

Connectivity for the ESP32-S2 is plain WiFi; Bluetooth is not supported. I/O includes 42 GPIOs, 14 capacitive touch sensing IOs, the regular SPI, I2C, I2S, UART, and PWM compliment, support for parallel LCDs, a camera interface, and interestingly full-speed USB OTG support. Yes, the ESP32-S2 is getting USB, let us all rejoice.

Other features include an automatic power-down of the RF circuitry when it isn’t needed, support for RSA and AES256, and plenty of support for additional Flash and SRAMs should you need more memory. The packaging is a 7 mm x 7 mm QFN, so get out the microscope, enhance your calm, and bust out the flux for this one. Engineering samples will be available in June, and if Espressif’s past performance in supplying chips to the community holds true, we should see some projects using this chip by September or thereabouts.

(Banner image is of a plain-old ESP32, because we don’t have any of the new ones yet, naturally.)