ESP8266 (ESP-01) Stand alone

Hey everyone,

I was wondering if it is posible to use the ESP8266 (ESP-01) stand alone. And then program it with arduino.

If this is posible, does my program have influence on the already installed filmware (like the AT command firmware)

Look forward to the anwers =D

I would go so far that it is advised. In most cases pairing an ESP8266 with an ATMEGA (with the ATMEGA as the executor of the main program, using AT commands to talk to the ESP) doesn’t make any sense. The ESP is much more powerful that the ATMEGA. 5 times the clock, much more memory.

If you need more pins, buy a Wemos D1 Mini.
If you need even more pins, attach a port expander.

The only two issues are:

  1. The ESP isn’t synchronous. It executed background code based on interrupts, during delays, yields, and loop repeats. Usually it doesn’t matter, but it can lead to strange effects, either in time critical code, or if you somehow prevent it from doing so (deactivating interrupts, long loops etc.)
  2. It has almost no periphery. Everything is done in software, like SPI, I2C, PWM. E.g., if you deactivate interrupts, PWM will stop working. If you do it only shortly, e.g. to read out a DHT22, like the library does, PWM will flicker. If you need such things, attach an ATMEGA/TINY via I2C as the “dump part” to take care of this. In any case, I would always run the networking logic on the ESP, not on the ATMEGA with AT commands.

That said, regarding your questions:

I was wondering if it is posible to use the ESP8266 (ESP-01) stand alone. And then program it with arduino.

Yes. it can be programmed with the Arduino IDE. E.g. the Wemos Website tells you how to set up your IDE. For the ESP01, you will need a USB-Serial adapter (Aliexpress has some with a socket for the ESP01!). The Wemos D1 Mini has one on board, like most Arduino boards.

If this is posible, does my program have influence on the already installed filmware (like the AT command firmware)

Yes. That firmware will be overwritten, like everything else. The ESP is “natively” programmed via UART, not with an external bootloader like an Arduino-ATMEGA (I mean, there is something like inside there, I guess, but it is much less exposed/accessible).

First, thanks for your reply!

ElCaron:
If you need more pins, buy a Wemos D1 Mini.
If you need even more pins, attach a port expander.

I only wanted to use it as wireless sensor for my Ardunio project.
The ESP get a 3.3V iput when something is moving in front of the sensor, and then send an UDP/TCP message to the Arduino.

Or do you say, just use an ESP-01 and something like an ATTINY?

  • Jordo

Jordo:
First, thanks for your reply!

I only wanted to use it as wireless sensor for my Ardunio project.
The ESP get a 3.3V iput when something is moving in front of the sensor, and then send an UDP/TCP message to the Arduino.

Or do you say, just use an ESP-01 and something like an ATTINY?

Usually, you do not need an ATanything. Only in a few cases, the ESP has limitations that can most easily be overcome by adding a dumb (as in: programmed with a simple programm) ATsomething for a certain job.
If your sensor produces the HIGH signal, attach it to the ESP, leave out the ATTINY. If your sensor is more complicated and you create the HIGH with an ATsomething at the moment somehow, then most probably the ESP could do that something too.

BTW: Another reason for an additional MCU might be power efficiency. If a sensor has to be monitored constantly, and is e.g. battery powered, then an ATTINY might do that and wake up the ESP if necessary. Still, I would only program the wakeup and signalling into the ATTINY.

Thanks for your reply.
It's enough information.

I will try some things out and see what will work best for me.

-Jordo

I recommend getting the Wemos D1 Mini. It is only a $ or two more expensive than the ESP01 and gives you a reasonable amount of IOs and a USB connector. The ESP01 also needs pullups and -downs to start properly.

Tip, if you work with stuff that is powered with 12V: An MP1584 switch regulator module fits UNDER the Wemos.

It sound’s like a really Great controller.

I think there are some library’s too for Connecting it too the wifi without the standaard at command’s?

I think i am gonna look it up, the wemos D1 mini.

Thanks for your advice!

  • Jordo

Yes, there is a standard library with lots of examples. There are no AT commands anymore once you flash the ESP.