ESP IoT pHAT - what does it achieve?


#1

I’ve had one of these for a couple of weeks and got as far as learning how to communicate with it and flash the firmware but so far I can’t think of a reason to use it. I keep wondering about the logic behind directly attaching an ESP module to a Pi Zero.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking this pHat - perhaps I came to it from the wrong angle.

I’ve been playing with ESP-12F modules for 6 months or so and, to me at least, the place of an RPi in my projects is at the end of a wifi connection and not directly connected. A simple example is a temp/humidity monitor for my greenhouse - ESP, sensor, other components, stripboard and battery come in at under 10 quid. I use my PI 2 sitting in my house as an MQTT broker and an Android app to get regular temp/humidity readings. Using one of the pHATs with a PiZero (plus sensor and components) is an extravagant way of doing things - plus working out how to power it.

OK…so it’s just a prototyping / learning tool??? If that’s the case then in many ways, it masks the use of ESP modules which can exist on their own (battery powered ESP with temp sensor in my hall which sends readings to my MQTT broker which publishes to my home automation server which tells a mains powered ESP in my boiler to switch the central heating on/off for example). I have other projects such as a battery powered ESP with luminosity sensor which causes a lamp in my living room to switch on when it gets dark (the relay for the lamp is controlled by another ESP). A weather station in my shed with an ESP which sends readings direct from an ESP).

So am I missing something? I’ve been mulling this over for the past week and still can’t work out what to use the ESP pHAT for. I need a “light bulb moment”. :)

Cheers,
Brian


#2

A learning tool? Sure… but what’s stopping you from taking the pHAT off the Pi and power it independently for placement in much the same projects that you describe too?

I guess the primary purpose of the ESP IoT pHAT though is certainly to try out different applications and learn the ropes. Is it cost effective or convenient to deploy them in the field? that depends on the exact project I would think.


#3

[quote=“RogueM, post:2, topic:2502, full:true”]
A learning tool? Sure… but what’s stopping you from taking the pHAT off the Pi and power it independently for placement in much the same projects that you describe too?[/quote]Technically there’s nothing to stop someone doing that but it would seem only useful for in-the-field testing for proof of concept etc. As for a permanent solution, cost would certainly stop most people - including P&P £12.50. Using a ‘bare’ ESP-12F (even including DIL adapter plate / SIL pins, 3.3V voltage regulator and associated resistors / capacitors) comes in as low as £1.50.

[quote]I guess the primary purpose of the ESP IoT pHAT though is certainly to try out different applications and learn the ropes.[/quote]OK, I can see that and since reading your reply, I’ve mulled things over some more and can see coupling the ESP pHAT with a Pi Zero kinda makes a neat integrated hardware and software development environment. I connect into my Pi Zero with VNC but if I had an HDMI monitor and attached a BT dongle for mouse/keyboard I can see it would make a nice all-in-one. I haven’t tried it but if the Arduino SDK installs on a Pi Zero it would be pretty cool.

[quote]Is it cost effective or convenient to deploy them in the field? that depends on the exact project I would think.[/quote]Well I think it would have to be an advanced / complex project which was already costing a lot where the cost of the pHAT wouldn’t add significantly to it.

In saying that however I can see that after I’ve played around with it for a while, the ESP pHAT and Pi Zero might end up as the basis of my weather station project - we’ll see.

Thanks for your response, it really was just a general question and your comments have added fuel for thought.

Cheers,
Brian