Arduino ESP8266 Tutorial: First look at the WeMos D1 Arduino compatible ESP8266 Wifi Board

In this video we take a look at the WeMos D1: a Wi-Fi enabled Arduino compatible board based on the ESP8266 chip. The price of it is so tempting, less than 9$. Without any second thoughts I ordered it a few days ago I received it and started working with it.


1. ESP8266 BOARD:

2. OLED Display:

3. Small Breadboard:

4. Wires:


The board looks like an ordinary Arduino board. The dimensions and the pin layouts are exactly the same. So, this board is compatible with all the existing shields for Arduino. But don’t expect them to work at once, since the libraries available for the ESP8266 chip are few so far. The board, instead of an ATMEGA chip that standard Arduino boards use, use the impressive ESP8266 WiFi chip!

The ESP8266EX chip that the WeMos D1 board uses offers:
• A 32 bit RISC CPU running at 80MHz
• 64Kb of instruction RAM and 96Kb of data RAM
• 4MB flash memory! Yes that’s correct, 4MB!
• Wi-Fi
• 16 GPIO pins
• I2S
• 1 ADC

That’s a beast compared to a standard Arduino. It’s a 32bit processor that runs at a much higher frequency. The performance difference with a standard Arduino I expect to be huge! The Arduino Uno, offers 2KB of RAM memory and this chip has 160Kbs. The Flash memory of the device is also 100 times bigger than Arduino. Of course, the main reason that everyone is using this chip, is that it has embedded Wi-Fi! All that for less than 10$. The hardware looks fantastic. Now let’s see the software of it.
In order to use the board, you have to download an add-on for the Arduino IDE. Go to File -> Preferences and enter this link here. I copied this link from the WeMos website. Then go to Tools -> Board and load the Boards Manager. The all you have to do is to download the file for the ESP8266 boards. After that you can select the WeMos D1 board and you are ready to use it. Let’s try the board. Let’s upload the standard blink program. We have to go to File -> Examples -> ESP866 -> Blink in order to load the program and then press the upload button. After a while the LED on the ESP8266 chip will start flashing. Note, that this is not the standard Blink sketch we were using so far. It is a similar one developed for the ESP8266. Due to the different hardware architecture of the ESP8266 most programs will not work without modifications. Also most of the libraries need to be re written in order to work as well. That’s a lot of work that needs to be done.
The first thing I wanted to find out was if it is easy to connect to the internet with this board. So I developed a simple program that connects to my home Wi-Fi network, and then visits my website to download some text that it is stored in a .txt file at this URL As you can see, in the little OLED display, after a while the text “It works fine” appears. That’s the text from the .txt file on the server! The board works flawlessly! Our Arduino projects can now access the Internet with ease. The OLED display I was using in the past with Arduino works fine as well with the use of the appropriate library developed for the ESP8266.








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