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ESP32 H.A.N.D. Project

When the ESP8266, the predecessor to the ESP32, came out, I was hoping for a chip with lots of I/Os but more importantly something that has both WiFi and Bluetooth built into the chip.

It happened — Espressif launched the ESP32 chip and this got me very excited. At last, a small, versatile and powerful chip that supports a lot of the, in my opinion, needed features and functions that makes a great chip for both electronic hobbyists and commercial applications.

Of course, there are alternatives to the ESP32. For one, the Raspberry PI Zero W is also great but it’s just not readily available globally. If it’s available, you’re lucky if you can buy them at the $10 price tag. But the ESP32 is a different beast altogether — you can buy them easily and it costs as low as $6 per development board.

So I’ve decided to embark on a project — my own personal ESP32 home device. My goal is to create a home automation device that uses off shelf parts for sensors and I/O hardware. And for software, I want to focus on using as much of the software already available on the Internet. Of course, I would have to do my own software stuff to glue them all together but it’s where the challenge lies.

What does it do

I have never really embarked on a personal embedded HW/SW project as complicated as this. My vision is that it will be able to detect when I arrive home, ask for authentication and perform certain tasks based on my presence (not just me) at certain times of the day. Tasks include turning on/off security, controlling the home ventilation system and lighting. It will also monitor the environment’s temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure. To make the device even more complicated (I really want to showcase how much the ESP32 can do) I want it to be able to monitor device power consumption and device temperature. This thing is a beast.

What’s the current status

After about a couple of months, I’ve managed to almost use up all the I/O ports that the ESP32 has to offer. At this point, the connected sensors are working together on a couple of breadboards and have started creating programs to make them function in unison.

I will post regular updates about the project on my web site — Between the updates, I will explain and provide some tutorials about the different modules that I use so that others can try them out on their own. I will also do some small and simple projects along the way that others can create on their own and use.

Till the next update.

Gerry Ilagan

Gerry Ilagan is into mobile apps and WordPress development at @speeqs. He loves to write about electronics, the Internet of Things, mobile phones, and #crazyideas.

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