ESP8266 Thing Hookup Guide

Contributors: jimblom
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Over the past year, the ESP8266 has been a growing star among IoT or WiFi-related projects. It's an extremely cost-effective WiFi module, that -- with a little extra effort -- can be programmed just like any microcontroller. Unfortunately, the ESP8266 has mostly only been available in a tiny, modular form, which, with limited I/O and a funky pin-out, can be difficult to build a project around.

WiFi Module - ESP8266 (4MB Flash)

WiFi Module - ESP8266 (4MB Flash)


The ESP8266 WiFi module. Great for piggybacking onto an Arduino, hard to build a project around.

SparkFun's new development board for the ESP8266 breaks out all of the module's pins, and comes equipped with a LiPo charger, power supply, and all of the other supporting circuitry it requires. We lovingly call it the Thing -- it's the perfect foundation for your Internet of Things.

SparkFun ESP8266 Thing

SparkFun ESP8266 Thing

SparkFun ESP8266 Thing Starter Kit

SparkFun ESP8266 Thing Starter Kit

$28.50 $14.25

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Covered in this Tutorial

This tutorial will familiarize you with all things SparkFun Thing. It's split into sections, which cover:

Required Materials

To follow along with this tutorial, and get up-and-running with the Thing, you may need a few extra tools and materials. This wishlist includes everything we use in this tutorial to program and use the Thing if you are ordering the board individually:

Suggested Reading

Before continuing on with this tutorial, you may want to familiarize yourself with some of these topics if they're unfamiliar to you:

How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering

This tutorial covers everything you need to know about through-hole soldering.

Serial Communication

Asynchronous serial communication concepts: packets, signal levels, baud rates, UARTs and more!

How to Power a Project

A tutorial to help figure out the power requirements of your project.

Logic Levels

Learn the difference between 3.3V and 5V devices and logic levels.