Welcome to this week’s update. Like last week, it’ll be pretty short, since much of what I accomplished was destruction. What type of destruction? Well, three ESP 8266 boards in the span of just a few days.
The first one I managed to toast when trying to measure the power usage. I also learned that the multimeter I have for this doesn’t do it very well, so I’ll be looking into something to measure better. This happened on Monday evening, so I overnight shipped two replacements – A WEMOS D1 Mini, a bit smaller than the nodeMCU design I was using, and one identical to the design I had.
On Tuesday, a wonderful snow and ice storm rolled in and caused problems. I was out of power for most of the day (Not that I could fiddle with the prototype anyway, since I fried the board), and the shipments were delayed. Instead of getting them Wednesday, I got one on Thursday and one on Friday. I spent some time on Wednesday poking through packaging options (More on that later), and when I got the D1 Mini on Thursday, I set about making sure it worked properly.
Fantastic! It did! But the on-board voltage regulator wasn’t that grand, and the screen was having some issues. So I tried to supplement it with the breadboard power supply I have… Less than an hour after opening the box, I had managed to fry the board again. ESP8266 devices are really sensitive to higher voltages – I hadn’t connected the 5v to the 3.3v line, but apparently in the process of plugging things in I caused a spike of sufficient power to kill it. Oops.
Friday comes along, I get an absurdly large envelope for the nodeMCU board. I know this board decently well by now, so I plug it in, upload the sketch, and then plug it in to the breadboard. At this point in time, it’s dead. I honestly have little idea what could have caused this, but the serial monitor repeatedly showed the same fatal exception issue, which is unrecoverable as far as I can tell.
So later today I’ll be going down to MicroCenter and picking up an Adafruit HUZZAH feather board. Hopefully I won’t fry this one. I’m glad that I’m using two AAA batteries and boosting the power, though. Unboosted, the power still falls easily between the 1.7v and 3.6v that the ESP8266 requires, and boosted it’s at the safe level of 3.3v. There will be a “Raw” input, but that’s for hackers and if you fry the board that way, then that’s not my fault.
I mentioned packaging earlier, and while I’m not going to delve into specifics, it’s a lot cheaper than I expected. Things are likely to change, but it’s pretty simple so far. No custom molded interior, sadly, but the box will be tight enough, and the anti-static foam should keep them secure and stable.
The question I have now is with lanyards. I’ve previously found the most inexpensive lanyards I could get my hands on, and I have not exactly been pleased with them. They have a tendency to fray, and they also look cheap, which is not a good thing. I have the option of looking into higher-quality lanyards, which may or may not affect the price, custom lanyards, which would either be sold separately or would definitely affect the price if included, or simply not have a lanyard option.