ground need extra long wire

I am powering an ESP8266-12e with a 24v center tap transformer. I rectify by passing each positive side through a 1N4007 and then combine them on the positive side of a 1000uf 25v capacitor. The ground side is on the negative side of the capacitor. From here I go to a 12v voltage regulator and then a 3.3v regulator because the NTE1904 won't allow for a higher input voltage. Anyway the 3.3v goes to the vcc and EN of the 12e and the ground goes to the ground of the 12e.
Strange thing is that if I use a short wire 1 to 2" the 12e doesn't connect to the wifi, however if I use an 18" jumper to go to the ground everything works great. Connects to wifi and stays connected.
I don't understand why this is. I am not an EE nor much of an electronics guy. I figure it has to do with the resistance of the wire. Could I use a resistor between the board ground and the 12e ground and what size should I use. Is this because of the capacitor?
Please help. If you need a wiring diagram I can draw one up but it is fairly straight forward and simple.

You must have a very good reason to use a 24volt transformer with linear regulators.
Did you use the required bypass caps right next to the regulators.

Why not use a 5volt cellphone charger, with a 3.3volt regulator if you use a bare ESP8266 module.
A WeMos D1 mini, with cellphone charger, could be easier.

I need the 24v for another part of the project. Should I put a 10uf cap between 3.3v and ground. Is that what you mean by a bypass cap?

It would be all round better to use a 24V to 5V buck converter (although you will have something like 35V DC across your capacitor).

The 10uf bypass cap did the trick thanks.

Not sure. Maybe the longer wire added some extra resistance and maybe some more inductance, and damped out some interfering noise/oscillations in the system. That was without the bypass cap that is.

Note that you must not mount the ESP-12E with its antenna near anything.

By near anything do you mean another electronic component or a wall. I have had it up and running for about 10 days straight with no problems

Near in this case means about 50mm. If the antenna is within about that distance of anything metal its performance will be poor. In my experience having the antenna within about 20mm of breadboard stops it working altogether.

And that is what I mean by "near anything". :grinning:

Presumably "no problems" means that it works fine in the same room as the access point.

Note that you must not mount the ESP-12E with its antenna near anything.

Its 2.4GHz, so near is measured in millimeters! Its not normally critical unless
you have low signal levels, in which case re-orienting the device may help, a little
playing around with how nearby metal conductors are arranged can make a difference,
the maths is too complex to predict, just tinker!

Also using a ceramic/chip antenna can help as they are much smaller than 1/4 wave
or dipole antennas.