Are you looking for the best Microcontroller (MCU) to use for your electronics’ production? The ESP32 PCB ticks most of the boxes and should be in your list of options. In case this is the first time you are hearing about it; this article will provide as much in-depth information as you would need to understand the MCU’s workings.
What is the ESP32 PCB?
The first point to note is that ESP32 is a Microcontroller or MCU. Like every other Microcontroller, the functions include but are not limited to the intake of inputs and the generation of outputs.
However, the ESP32 PCB has some differential features setting it apart from the other MCUs you are familiar with. The popularity is triggered by a number of factors, including the versatility. This ensures that the MCU can be deployed for use in a variety of applications.
Who Needs the ESP32 PCB?
Microcontrollers (MCUs) are used by a wide range of people, including researchers, students and teachers. It is interesting to see that the ESP32 MCU meets the needs of a wider population, covering the hobbyists, researchers, students and researchers.
In terms of the triggering factors, we have he versatility, the compact size and the reduced need for extra hardware (including CPUs) for the design. To this end, you can be sure that it offers the platform for the users to make the most out of it, despite the reduced size and the less technicalities involved.
Who Makes the EP32 MCU?
Espressif Systems make the EP32 Microcontroller (MCU) board. The company added it to the range of latest products it manufactures for the next-generation of PCB designs.
The production process includes the creation and development by Espressif Systems and the manufacturing of the MCU using the 40 nm process via TSMC.
The development of the MCU paves the way for the listing alongside the other Internet of Things (IoT) development boards/frameworks and development kits.
The other development boards coexisting with the ESP32 PCB Microcontroller include ESP32-PICO-KIT, ESP32-DevKitC and ESP-WROVER-KIT. They also have similar features, such as the Universal Serial Interface (USB) to the serial interface, as well as having a 4 Megabytes (MBs) of Flash, with the exception of the ESP-WROVER-KIT, which has both the 4 MB of Flash, as well as 8 MB of PSRAM.
These ESP32 development boards also have the “Espressif Non-OS SDK, using Lua scripting language.”
Using ESP32 PCB for IoT Applications – What You Need to Know
It is expedient to mention that there are several Microcontrollers (MCUs) used for manufacturing the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. However, more of these are being added by the day – and the ESP32 PCB makes the list.
In case you are wondering why it is used in IoT applications, it has a lot to do with the versatility and the compatibility with a wide range of smart applications.
The following are some of the core IoT areas or applications of the ESP32 Microcontroller (MCU):
These have to do with the devices used for security purposes. Examples of these smart security services are smart locks, and surveillance cameras.
These are industry-based applications. Examples include Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs).
Smart Energy Applications
These are the energy devices, such as thermostats and HVACs.
Smart Medical Applications
These are the applications or devices used in the medical field. Examples are health monitors and wearable health devices.
The Functions of the ESP32 MCU
The applications or use cases of the Microcontroller (MCU) quite differ from the functions. The functions have to do with the delegated uses of the chip. Some of these uses are website servers, where the MCU is used to write the access pages using either the development pages or HTML.
It can also be used to boost the functions of the following:
- Data Processing: it has to do with the processing of basic inputs from both the digital and analog sensors. It is expedient to mention that these functions can also be extended to the complex applications, using either the Non-OS SDK or the RTOS.
- Networking: in this case, it can be used to bolster the performance of the dual-core networking devices and the Wi-Fi Antenna.
- P2P Connectivity: this enables the cross-connection, interconnection and foster a direct communication between the several ESPs and the other devices that use the P2P connection pathway.
What are the Features of the ESP32 MCU?
Lots of features or characteristics hallmark the performance of the Microcontroller (MCU). These features have a lot to do with the connectivity options and some of the factors influencing the improved performance.
For example, the ESP32 PCB is designed to be a dual-core 32-bit Microcontroller (MCU) chip that integrates the dual Bluetooth/BLE 4.2 technology and the Wi-Fi HT40 inside it.
Worthy of mentioning is that the features of the ESP32 MCU, is further strengthened by the dual-core Tensilica Xtensa LX6 Microcontroller (MCU), which has a clock rate frequency of over 240 MHz.
Note also that the single 2.4 GHz combo chip of the ESP32 MCU helps to bolster the controller’s capabilities in the following ways:
- The reliability and versatility for use in a variety of applications. It also enables the usage in different power profiles.
- It helps the MCU chip to achieve or attain the best levels of robustness, Radio Frequency (RF) performance and power performance.
- The chip also supports a wide range of integrations, especially for the Internet of Things (IoT) applications. Examples of these integrations include the Power Management Modules (PMMs), antenna switch, and filters. Others are low-noise receiver amplifiers, RF balun and power amplifiers. The additional integrations include 12C, High-Speed SDIO / SPI, I2S and UART interfaces. It can also be used for the following: capacitive touch sensors, Ethernet interfaces, Hall sensors and SD card interfaces.
The Relevance of ESP32 MCU’s Dual-Core Architecture
The integration of two independent cores in the Microcontroller (MCU) is not a mistake. The manufacturer, Espressif Systems did that intentionally, as a way of improving the MCU board’s performance.
The cores are independent and have different functions. For example, one of the cores handles the needs for the standalone application development, while the other is used for the high-speed connection for the targeted applications.
The Benefits of Using the ESP32 MCU in Your IoT Applications
Once mention is made of the Microcontrollers (MCUs) used in the Internet of Things (IoTs) devices, the focus is usually on the Arduino development boards. While this is one of the best development boards out there, it does have some flaws.
Using the ESP32 PCB proves to be one of the best options out there, MCU-wise. Here are some of the advantages of choosing this over the Arduino and other development boards used for IoT applications:
1. The Use of CMOS Technology
The CMOS process technology is primarily used for developing the ESP32 PCB. One of the core benefits of choosing this is because of the enablement of the single chip’s full integration into the advanced calibration circuitries, radio and baseband.
The benefits of the CMOS process technology also extend to the following:
- The dynamic adjustment of the solution.
- The adjustment to changes in external conditions.
- It is also used to remove the external circuit imperfections that might result in the process of using the solutions.
Another important benefit of the CMOS process technology is the reduced costs, as the massive or wide-scale production of the ESP32 solutions doesn’t always come with the higher costs, as often associated with the Microcontrollers (MCUs) that require both the specialized Wi-Fi test equipment and the expensive equipment used for the design.
2. The Low-Power Requirements
Some Microcontrollers (MCUs) require higher power resources, but that is not the case with the ESP32 PCB. The low-power requirements are chiefly influenced by the combination performance of a plethora of proprietary software.
The MCU also reduces the power usage via other processes, including dynamic power scaling, fine-grained clock gating, and the use of several power modes.
Thus, the reduced power consumption helps to bolster the application for the Internet of Things (IoTs) applications, as well as the wearable electronics.
3. The ESP32 PCB MCU has a Robust Design
The low-power or excellent power management of an MCU notwithstanding, it is also important to consider the design. This has to do with the overall structure of the board, and the internal processes. If these are not in top shape, it wouldn’t take a lot of time before the MCU succumbs to pressure, resulting from the load it carries.
We are glad to see that the ESP32 MCU has been modeled with the best architecture, which helps to solidify the robustness.
The advanced calibration circuitries are one of the major factors that influence the functionality and reliability of the MCU to operate in the industrial environments. It is for this reason that it can attain an operating temperature range from a minimum of -40˚C to a maximum of +125˚C.
Wrapping Up: Which is Better between ESP32 PCB & Arduino?
The two are ideal Microcontrollers (MCUs) for use with the IoT applications. On the one hand, we have the Arduino MCU offering a wide support for the different boards, ranging from the 8-bit Uno to the 32-bit Zero. On the other hand, we have the ESP32 MCU offering a mixture of lower power consumption and lower costs.
As a successor to the ESP8266 MCU boards, the ESP32 PCB beats the Arduino MCUs in the areas of higher GPIO pins (up to 48), dual support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, higher and adjustable clock frequencies, up to 240 MHz, as well as the ability to operate on lower voltage levels.