ESP8266 powered web server + LED control + DHT22 temperature/humidity sensor reading

[Edit] Make sure to check my much more advanced example here

The ESP8266 System-on-chip (SoC) has recently came out of nowhere and has been taking by storm the IoT DIY world. It is a $4.50 Wi-Fi capable chip that has remarkable specs, obsoleting overnight a number of similar products that are out there. The price factor, availability of SDK and a fast growing community make this chip quite attractive.

The most common usage for the chip so far has been to interface it to MCU and utilize the AT commands that are available in the default firmware, however that is quite an abuse of the power under the hood of the ESP8266. I’ve decided not to use external MCU and utilize the chip itself for a proof-of-concept project:

The project shall be able to

  • Run a HTTP daemon
  • Be configurable through web interface
  • Provide web UI for switching on/off a LED connected to GPIO pin
  • Provide web UI for reading a temperature+humidity sensor (DHT22)

There are few different versions of the breakouts available, most popular is the DIP version . However that version only has GPIO0 and GPIO2 routed to the header, so I also purchased the SMD version that has all the pins available. I have made couple interface strip-board PCBs so that I can interface the modules with a “pure” 3.3V FTDI cable:

The capacitor is to provide extra juice during active WiFi operations as the FTDI cable can only provide ~50mA while bursts of Wifi may be in the area of ~200mA. I used a 1000uF capacitor on the PCBs, but a 470uF also worked with no issues.

The SMD version is more interesting, as more of the GPIO pins are available:

esp03-boardtop

To program new firmware on the ESP-03 the following pin connections must be done:

1. CH_PD to VCC
2. GPIO02 to VCC
3. GPIO00 to GND
4. GPIO15 to GND

For normal start CH_PD to VCC and GPIO15 to GND.

Thanks to the great community at esp8266.com that project is possible with minimal effort. The esp8266 httpd project published by Sprite_tm is an incredible piece of art that allows you to run a HTTP server and simple CGI on the chip. One of the challenges with embedded systems is the difficulty in connection/misc configuration. The project overcomes this by providing a web UI that one can use to manage the settings.

If upon startup the chip isn’t able to connect to a WiFi hotspot using the saved credentials, it would automatically activate Access Point mode and you’ll be able to see  “ESP_XXXXXX” where XXXXXX are the last 6 digits of the esp8266’s MAC address:

AP mode

You can connect to that open AP and navigate to http://192.168.4.1 to scan for wifi networks and enter the connection password:

Main page

main

WiFi settings page:

wifiThe password will be saved and from now on the module will automatically connect to that network. You don’t need to do that, all the other functions are fully accessible without the module being connected to the Internet. I can think of at least dozen use cases where that could be useful. However for my particular project, I’d need the module to be available over the Internet.

Once connected to a network, you’ll probably be wondering what the IP address of the module is. The module uses DHCP, so the address of the module will vary. You can set up a static IP lease if your router allows it, or find the ip address every time you need to use it.

I use the following linux command to find the IP address of the ESP8266 modules connected to my network:

sudo arp-scan –retry 7 –quiet –localnet –interface=wlan0 | grep -s -i 18:fe:34

Navigating to the IP address of the module opens the same UI we were seeing before, same functionality as well. Below are the LED control and DHT22 sensor reading pages:

leddht22

 

I have a LED connected to GPIO13, but that could be a relay for example.

The DHT22 page is a simple html page, but it could just be a JSON string that can be periodically polled by http://freeboard.io/ dashboard or Node-RED flow for example. The module can also be set to push the readings to a pre-configured URL at some interval; a UI interface could be set to configure destination URL, push frequency and other settings: all in my to-do list. DHT22 code by fasmide.

MQTT support on the esp8266 is a matter of time, so the web configurable settings and MQTT support will make the module excellent choice for a number of home automation tasks.

On the weaknesses side is the power consumption. During active WiFi operations it can draw up to 250mA, making battery mode quite challenging. I’ll probably stick to my ATTiny84+RFM12B nodes for low power battery operated tasks, those last more than a year on single AAA battery with a boost regulator.

The application source code is available here: app, includes the binaries so you can directly flash those without having to set up the SDK environment:

sudo ./esptool.py –port /dev/ttyUSB0 write_flash 0x00000 firmware/0x00000.bin

sudo ./esptool.py –port /dev/ttyUSB0 write_flash 0x40000 firmware/0x40000.bin

sudo ./esptool.py –port /dev/ttyUSB0 write_flash 0x12000 webpages.espfs

As a conclusion I’d say that this chip is a game changer. I am loving it and will be using it in my next home automation projects a lot.

 

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76 thoughts on “ESP8266 powered web server + LED control + DHT22 temperature/humidity sensor reading

  1. Hi,

    Great post, how about stability? I hear those esp8266’s are fairly buggy/unstable and have very short WiFi range.

    Martin

    • I haven’t experienced crashes yet; seems pretty reliable to me. Range is pretty good for such a small module, I walked around the house with one in my hand and was getting pings ~20m away from the house..

    • I found my model 1 to have reasonable range, and my model 3 outperforms almost any other device I own in terms of keeping a connection stable (slower than any other device I have though). Haven’t used it long enough to say if it’s stable or not, but a lot of the software is a bit hard to get your head around.

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  5. not working for me
    must there be something connected to GPIO 2 and 13 or HL levels for starting AP mode 192.168.4.1 ?
    should there still be some reactions to AT commands because there aren’t.

    funny thing is when i flash back to 9.2.2 i have a AP under that address but i get no answer to change settings of course.
    could you please make one bin for 0x00000 ?

    thank’s for any help

      • Hi Martin,

        thanks for the bin file. esp8266_flasher.exe stopped at 99% and not exited but i hope it is still ok.

        The only problem left is that i can’t bring it to join my WIFI AP. It finds my network but not joins it even if it is open.

        The serial output is :
        URL = /wifi/connect.cgi
        Mallocced buffer for 52 bytes of post data.
        Post data: essid=MAX&passwd=1111923669566041&connect=Connect%21
        Is url index 10
        findArg: essid=MAX&passwd=1111923669566041&connect=Connect%21
        findArg: val MAX&passwd=1111923669566041&connect=Connect%21 len 3
        findArg: essid=MAX&passwd=1111923669566041&connect=Connect%21
        findArg: passwd=1111923669566041&connect=Connect%21
        findArg: val 1111923669566041&connect=Connect%21 len 16
        Conn 0x3fff42f0 is done. Closing.
        URL = /wifi
        Is url index 6
        Conn 0x3fff47c8 is done. Closing.
        Con req, conn=0x3fff4b60, pool slot 0
        URL = /wifi/wifi.tpl
        Is url index 9
        Heatshrink compressed file; decode parms = b4
        Con req, conn=0x3fff4d58, pool slot 1
        URL = /style.css
        Is url index 11
        Heatshrink compressed file; decode parms = b4
        Conn 0x3fff4d58 is done. Closing.
        Con req, conn=0x3fff4ec8, pool slot 1
        URL = /wifi/140medley.min.js
        Is url index 11
        Heatshrink compressed file; decode parms = b4
        Conn 0x3fff4ec8 is done. Closing.
        Con req, conn=0x3fff43e0, pool slot 1
        URL = /wifi/wifiscan.cgi
        Is url index 8
        STA status = 3. Disconnecting STA…
        Conn 0x3fff43e0 is done. Closing.
        Con req, conn=0x3fff4830, pool slot 1
        URL = /favicon.ico
        Is url index 11
        End of image.
        /favicon.ico not found. 404!

        when booting it still wants dd-wrt as AP and not my MAX

        thank’s for helping me

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  8. Hi,

    Great post! I would like to run your example on ESP-01 using only the LED connected to GPIO 2. Is it possible?

    • The LED is hard-coded to GPIO13, only available on the SMD version of the ESP8266. You’ll need to re-compile and move the LEDs to another pin.

  9. Great writeup, thanks! I have a few of these one the way now, will be fun to play with.

    Cheers,
    Johan

  10. Hi,

    i installed the image to my ESP01 and it works. Great.

    i take the source to my virtal machine (virtual box) and it compiles without any errors. But when i flash my ESP01 nothing happens.

    i use:

    ESP8266_lubuntu_20141021.ova
    esp_iot_sdk_v0.9.2_14_10_24

    copy the source to the app directory and run make. this works without any errors.

    then i flash 0x00000.bin and 0x40000.bin but nothing happens. on serlal i got no valid data.

    Regards, Werner

    • Hi, what about webpages.espfs? it needs to be flashed as well to address 0x12000.
      Serial is on baud 115K, it spits out tons of useful debug information.

      You can run a comparison of the binaries from what I published and what you get when compiling, just to make sure all is set up correctly.

      Drop a line here if you figure what went wrong so that others can use that knowledge.

      Cheers!

  11. It’s very nice. I have not DHT22, but I’m firmware loaded into the ESP8266. I really connected to the server. Pity that ESP-01 has not GPIO13, so I did not blink LED. I had trouble with programming, ESP8266 stopped responding and just spewed meaningless data, but I finally made it standard program ESP8266_flasher_V00180902_03.
    Thanks so much for a beautiful job

  12. Hi,

    i really like your project and tried to run it as you posted here.
    But i have a Problem with the /wifi/wifi.tpl page

    The ESP is “scanning …” but there are no availible networks.
    And there is a difference between your screen and mine:
    Yours is in the WiFi Mode: STA+AP
    Mine is: SoftAP

    Do you habe any idea, how i can switch to STA+Ap mode?

    I tried using serial connection with coolterm and 9600baut, but i cannot get a connection …
    Any ideas?

    Kind regards, Yuri

    • the http daemon page on esp8266.com (linked in the post) mentions such issue, probably the watchdog kicks in if too many access points exits, it fails.
      There will be updated version for the new SDK soon, hopefully these will be cleaned up then.

      • Hello Martin,

        thats what i tried before, but on startup.
        Now i did it while running and it worked for me.

        Thx for your help!

        If I connect to a network, do i have to restart, or is there a message which says, that i have connected to a network. Can i also connect to the ESP direct, or is that not possible anmyore?
        I choosed my wlan, but it seems not to work. I can still connect to the ESP over its own AccessPoint.

        kind regards

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  15. Hi Martin,

    I´ve been trying to use your bin’s, even the bin’s from the orignal project, but once I tried to get connected to the ESP_XXXXXX AP it says to me that it has WPA2-PSK as security type instead of open as you referred on your blog, any idea?

    • I was trying with the first source code link, Im going to try with the bins on your comment at November 28, 2014 at 7:56 pm and also with Werner’s at November 28, 2014 at 6:30 pm, by the way Im using ESP01, just exploring the web server.

    • That’s odd, and I don’t have explanation for it.. the code clearly puts the module into open mode, so I ‘m not sure why you are experiencing this. Did you try scanning with your phone, just to confirm that both laptop and phone see it as WPA2-PSK?
      Could it be that yu previously set your ESP8266 into protected mode and now it is re-using these settings?

      • Thanks for your reply Martin, yep, I think something like that was happening, kind of new mode and old mode being mixed, a little advice, not always worked in this way but maybe could help to anyone in my case, after flashing the code I disconnected GPIO0 then power off the ESP01, then power on ESP01 and nothing happens, I have to connect RST pin to VCC for a few seconds and then Voila!! the SSID of the ESP was there!!, thats great!! now I want to modify the html files but Im getting some problems trying to make webpages.espfs, Im using eclipse luna SDK, Im researching…

  16. Nice job! I have it running smoothly on an ESP-03. I would like to use all the rest of the available GPIO pins but am having trouble recompiling it. Can you please provide an explanation on how to add more GPIO pins to your example LED webpage?

    • This would be pretty straight forward
      1) modify cgi.c’s cgiLed and tplLed functions to handle more than one pin (basically requires copy/pasting)
      2) modify io.c’s ioInit and ioLed to handle the additional pins
      3) modify the led.tpl to allow controlling more than one pin

      that should do 🙂

  17. Martin

    To be on the same page, can you please point at the guide how to set up the compiler, sdk and libraries the same way you did.

  18. Hello Martin,

    Thanks for your work.

    I succes to clean the project and compile again files.

    But i don’t find the way to regenerate ‘webpages.espfs’ file.

    Could you share this information ?

    Best regards, Stéphane

  19. Hi,

    your project is awesome!

    Please tell us how to do the layout and please create a howto. I want to use it with my raspberry to do house automatisation.

    Thanks in advance

    cawi

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  23. Hi Martin,

    your project works like a charm – i love it. i runs without problems on my esp-01 after flashing the binaries with the esptool using OS X Yosemite. However i am facing some problems with my FTDI adapter. After a second flash run i can now see the debugging information.

    Is it right that the AT-Codes do not work or is this due to my Serial2USB Adapter?

    Keep rocking, Ben

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  25. Hi,

    is it possible to send DHT22 data to remote server (calling remote URL) ?
    If it’s planned function do you know ETA ?

    Thanks

    • I have a broadcast deamon that does a HTTP GET to URL of your choice, currently posting to thingspeak.com, but can be anything as it is configurable. So this feature will be available in the final product when I release it, ETA seems to be around March

      • Great job! I can’t wait 🙂
        One more question … will be possible to connect other components such as BMP180, DS18B20 etc. ?

        Thank you

  26. Hi Martin,

    Could you please tell me what connections need to be made in order to
    #1 upload firmware
    #2 normal use

    From your original post, couldn’t understand what’s the difference (or is it the same?). Beside those connections that you aforementioned, we also have to connect the TX->RX and RX->TX, right? Anything else?

    Thanks

  27. Hello Martin.
    Which toolchain and SDK version are you using? Server binaries works like a charm, but i cannot compile it from source.
    I’ve installed xtensa toolchain according to this tutorial: https://github.com/esp8266/esp8266-wiki/wiki/Toolchain. changed PATH in Makefile, and then, when im’ trying to compile project, i’ve got a lot of that kind of errors:

    LD build/httpd.out
    /opt/Espressif/ESP8266_SDK/esp_iot_sdk_v0.9.3/lib/libmain.a(app_main.o): In function `read_macaddr_from_otp’:
    (.irom0.text+0x7c): undefined reference to `wDev_ProcessFiq’

    There are many more similar, but i won’t spam that comment. I’m able to compile examples from related tutorial without any problems.

  28. Hi, very great post, thank you.
    Can you please help me on following questions:
    – how can I turn off AP mode permanently?
    – additional DHT22 page text output only (for parsing with gnuplot 😉
    – set static IP for station mode

    Thanks
    DJ

    • Something like this will turn off the AP mode and set static IP:

      struct station_config stationConf;
      struct ip_info info;

      wifi_set_opmode(STATION_MODE); // Force Station mode
      wifi_station_set_auto_connect(FALSE);

      os_memset(&stationConf, 0, sizeof(struct station_config));

      os_sprintf((char *)stationConf.ssid, "%s", "your SSID");
      os_sprintf((char *)stationConf.password, "%s", "your pass");

      info.ip.addr = ipaddr_addr("192.168.1.199");
      info.netmask.addr = ipaddr_addr("255.255.255.0);
      info.gw.addr = ipaddr_addr("192.168.1.1");

      wifi_set_ip_info(STATION_IF, &info);
      wifi_station_set_config(&stationConf);

      modify cgi.c to output the desired DHT22 text

      • Thanks. modifying cgi.c ( adding new function txtDHT22 ) and user_main.c ( {“/dht22.txt”, txtDHT22, NULL}, ) worked fine.

        I saw in your code you have already setup something what I want: turnig off the AP mode when connection was succeeded (after 4 seconds?).

        Is there anywhere a check when Wifi is lost? So trying to reconnect somehow? In my tests today I lost Wifi and there was no auto – reconnect. After restarting the modul everything was fine again.

  29. Hi, I love what you are doing. Have bought a bunch of ESP-01 modules and have some interesting plans like yourself. Im far far behind you in terms of programming skill though.

    I have this firmware: http://harizanov.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/app.zip

    I have flashed all three files,

    python esptool.py –port /dev/cu.HC-06-DevB write_flash 0x00000 /Users/amelvin/git/esptool/app-2/firmware/0x00000.bin
    python esptool.py –port /dev/cu.HC-06-DevB write_flash 0x40000 /Users/amelvin/git/esptool/app-2/firmware/0x40000.bin
    python esptool.py –port /dev/cu.HC-06-DevB write_flash 0x12000 /Users/amelvin/git/esptool/app-2/webpages.espfs

    and it was successful… but i get this messages when i connect at 115200 baud.
    The module with NodeMCU and the original firmware were able to connect just fine to the wifi network.

    Ready
    mode : sta(18:fe:34:9d:8d:41)
    add if0
    scandone
    no dd-wrt found, reconnect after 1s
    reconnect
    scandone
    no dd-wrt found, reconnect after 1s
    .l|.l|.|Žb.ònlnìb.pŒpòn…n|l’.ònn.Œl..l…nrŽ’.l.pòn.Œà..n|.ònn.l..l…nrŽ’l.pòn.Œà..n|l.œ.ònn.l..l…nrŽ’ì.’ì.l|.l|.|Žb.ònlnìb.pŒpòn…n|l’.ònn.Œl..l…nrŽ’.l.pòn.Œà..n|.ònn.l..l…nrŽ’l.pòn.Œà..n|l.œ.ònn.l..l…nrŽ’ì.’ìHttpd init, conn=0x3ffea200

    Ready
    mode : sta(18:fe:34:9d:8d:41)
    add if0
    scandone
    no dd-wrt found, reconnect after 1s
    reconnect
    scandone
    no dd-wrt found, reconnect after 1s
    reconnect
    .l|.l|.|Žb.ònlnìb.pŒpòn…n|l’.ònn.Œl..l…nrŽ’.l.pòn.Œà..n|.ònn.l..l…nrŽ’l.pòn.Œà..n|l.œ.ònn.l..l…nrŽ’ì.’ìHttpd init, conn=0x3ffea200

    Ready
    mode : sta(18:fe:34:9d:8d:41)
    add if0
    scandone
    no dd-wrt found, reconnect after 1s
    reconnect
    scandone
    no dd-wrt found, reconnect after 1s
    reconnect
    scandone
    no dd-wrt found, reconnect after 1s
    reconnect
    scandone
    no dd-wrt found, reconnect after 1s
    reconnect
    scandone
    no dd-wrt found, reconnect after 1s
    reconnect
    scandone
    no dd-wrt found, reconnect after 1s
    reconnect
    scandone
    no dd-wrt found, reconnect after 1s
    reconnect

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