I want to learn Arduino, but I'd like to use the ESP8266 as it has built in wifi. I understand that I can use the Arduino IDE for this board.

However, what about books and resources out there? Are these two boards so similar that I can follow original Arduino examples? I'm primarily thinking in terms of connectivity to, say, sensors.

I'm a beginner at this and will not be able to figure out how to bridge compatibility gaps.

  • Neither "ESP8266" nor "Arduino" is a board. Jul 16 '17 at 19:51
  • Ah, pardon my ignorance - I should have been more specific, although I did mention that I am a beginner. Would you care to enlighten me about the right terms?
    – sbrattla
    Jul 16 '17 at 19:56
  • Well, no, because there are dozens of boards that use the ESP8266 microcontroller and fall under the Arduino brand. You can't just mix-and-match between them. Jul 16 '17 at 19:57
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    No, it works with a wide range of boards that use the ESP8266, but they vary wildly with respect to the number and placement of external connections. Jul 16 '17 at 20:00
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    Firstly, there are no ESP8266 "boards" that fall under the "Arduino brand" that I'm aware of - secondly, most common ESP8266 have 11 available GPIO's, far less than most common Arduino boards (some as few as 4) - depending on how many and what type of sensors you wish to use at any one time is a major factor in your decision making Jul 17 '17 at 0:16

Yes, No and Maybe is the best answer :)

Assuming that you want to replace a Arduino Uno board with an ESP8266 based board. Your best choice at the moment would be a Wemos D1. It has the same form factor as the UNO, but it has less pins, 9 digital and 1 analog.

If you are not bothered about the form factor, you could also try a Node-LUA, or a Wemos D1 Mini. If you have steady hands you could try just using the heart of these three boards directly, which is usually called an ESP8266-12E, but it has 1mm pitch and no voltage regulation.

There are a lot of sites around that have tutorials on using ESPs. They are mostly interchangeable with Arduino boards from a software perspective, they have more memory and a faster clock speed.

The biggest difference between an Arduino based board and an ESP board is most Arduino use 5v and most ESP based boards use 3.3v. Make sure you read the datasheet before you hook up you sensors.

There is an ESP-32 as well. This is not interchangeable with an Arduino Uno at the moment.

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    Thanks - I appreciate your answer even though my question was not all that clear. I'll be looking into the boards you've mentioned. Thanks!
    – sbrattla
    Jul 17 '17 at 8:27

Are these two boards so similar that I can follow original Arduino examples?

for most applications, an mcu is useful not because of its core - which is almost fully transparent to a high level language programmer - but because of its peripherals: timers, serial comms, interrupts, adc/dac, ...

sure, there are applications that don't require those functionalities; or those functionalities could be emulated. but you will find it much easier if the mcu does have those functionalities.

so all it takes is to take a look at the datasheet of your esp and ask yourself if you see those peripherals. after that, the answer is clear.

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