ESP8266 is a low cost (2-3$ in begin of 2019) WIFI microchip with a 80/160 MHz CPU, which will be used for a lot of DIY projects.
If you are looking for more powerful microchip, or you need Bluetooth capability, check out the successor ESP32.
I bought the “D1 Mini” model of ESP8266 with 4MB flash (you can get them e.g. here).
Note: It is not the WeMos D1 Mini, but a copy of it. The PIN diagram is the same, which you can find here.
There are many Firmware/SDKs for the ESP8266. My favorites are:
- Arduino - C++ based firmware
- NodeMCU - LUA based firmware
- ESP Home - Made for Home Assistant
- ESP Easy - Web based configuration for supported sensors/devices
You can find many great use cases for your ESP8266 (DIY Projects):
If you are used to Arduino IDE, you can use it for ESP8266 as well.
Install the Arduino IDE (if not already installed)
Go to File –> Preferences and add the link http://arduino.esp8266.com/stable/package_esp8266com_index.json to the Additional Boards Manager URLS.
Go to Tools –> Board –> Boards manager
Select WeMos D1 R1 under Tools –> Board
ESP8266 library provides many examples e.g. mini web server or let your LED blink.
Just to test your ESP, you could directly deploy/upload an example from Arduino IDE to your ESP.
Let’s take Blink example:
- Go to File –> Examples –> ESP8266 –> Blink (a new window will be opened)
Connect your ESP with USB to your PC and click in IDE on the “Upload” button in the top-left corner.
You should see a blinking ESP LED.