Friday, October 20, 2017

ESP8266 Computer

I really love the ESP8266. It is a real versatile devellopment platform with loads of possibillities and potential. My favorite module is the NodeMCU version with loads of memory, all its I/O ports available a build in power regulator and ready to program over USB or even OTA (Over The Air).

For many purposes, especially in the Internet Of Things world, the I/O ports are needed to control relays, leds, temperature sensors, light sensors etc. etc. etc.

However I am doing some projects for which I just need the processing power and the Wifi. And sometimes I need it to be portable. One of the projects I am working on is a vault for my all my passwords. I do not need any I/O ports for that. Another project I am working on has to do with wardriving. No I/O ports needed for that either.

So what I wanted was a small casing in which I could secure my ESP module and that had a small opening for a USB cable to power it be it from a computer or from a power-bank.

I started by designing a casing and the lid in 123D-design.

Printing was quick and no problems occurred. I had to do a tiny bit of sanding afterwards. But the result was very satisfactory.

My NodeMCU V.09 (I still have a few of them) snuggles nicely in and the USB cable fits exactly.

And then........

As I was surfing the net a nice story came up on from favorite hack(st)er Lady Ada.

Just look at this beauty.

I just had to print one as the Commodore PET was one of my first computers when I was a kid (well I was 18 back then). Pink is an issue. I bougth 8 kilo pink PLA at an unbeatable price (20 euro for the lot), so most things I print have to be pink now..........

And look the ESP nicely fits in.

So now I have two choices. The small package and the retro version.

For those interested in printing one of my cases for themselves I herebye give you the link to my Gitbub page. You can import the STL files in 123D-design to edit them and make them fit for the newer NodeMCU versions.

For those interested in the Lady Ada  version is here the link to her website:

I am going to scale the PET version up and put an Oled-screen inside and some leds and a buzzer and neopixels and make the I/O ports accessible from the outside so I have a full-blown test ESP available. But that's for another story. So much ideas, so little time.


There it is. I found the time. Inside is a NodeMCU. The blue square is a small 0.96 inch Oled screen attached to D3 and D4. Beneath that there is a strip of 8 neopixels attached to D8.
The keyboard has been substituted by 4 switches that connect 4 i/o (D2, D5, D6 and D7) ports either to the 4 leds or to a header which allows me to attach several other sensors, switches, servo's etc etc etc. A small buzzer attached to D1 is placed into the casing.

If you want to build one for yourself just go to the above mentioned Adafruit website and scale the STL files up 1.5 times. That will be enough.

If you are interested in the story about wardriving, the password vault or my other projects keep coming back frequently.

Till next time
Have fun

Luc Volders