My ESP32 boards: LOLIN32 Pro, LOLIN32 Lite, LOLIN D32 and LOLIN D32 PRO
After a false start with ESP32 (my LOLIN32 Pro had an overheating CP2102 chip*), I’m gradually becoming more familiar with ESP8266’s big brother. However, experience with 4 different boards (all with rev. 1 chips) still leaves me with mixed feelings. My personal balance so far:
- The specs and features are impressive, especially given its low price
- Control over its two cores via FreeRTOS works great
- It has a fair number of GPIOs (unlike the ESP8266)
- Sketches run very fast. Great for my fractal sketches!
- No longer needs yield() commands to prevent it from crashing
- It’s sensitive to solderless wiring (probably because of its high bus speeds)
- The 4 different boards I tried all had problems feeding power-hungry peripherals
- I’m experiencing some unexplicable issues, especially when driving TFT displays
Tips for troubleshooting:
- Provide your ESP32 with enough power. Some USB outlets will not deliver enough juice, especially not through low quality USB cables
- Use an external power supply for power-hungry connected devices, otherwise (at least) SPI may become unstable
- Consider using contact spray for unstable solderless projects
- Don’t use heavily used breadboards
- Never use a hammer (though working with ESP32 can be frustrating…)
So will my ESP8266 boards start gathering dust from now on? Certainly not before I manage to run a turbo version of my beloved What’s Up sketch on the ESP32. I just can’t wait to watch those plane icons slide more smoothly over the map. Bodmer’s TFT_eSPI library offers enough speed for that, but I keep having issues with it when used in the What’s Up sketch on ESP32.
* The issue was reportedly caused by a design flaw. After I had received a LOLIN32 Lite for replacement, I discovered that using a longer USB cable (2+ meter) fixed the problem!