The ESP32 is a microcontroller designed by Espressif Systems. It is the successor of ESP8266 (Check it out here) — and an excellent one at that. It now features components missing from its predecessor like Bluetooth 4.0 support. It can also run alongside Arduino IDE.

What Is a Microcontroller?

 A microcontroller is one of the essential parts of many modules now used in IT. It is especially helpful in products under the Internet of Things (IoT). 
It has at least one central processing unit (CPU), programmable input/output parts, and memory. In other words, it is similar to microprocessors found in laptops and PCs. The only difference is that microcontrollers are embedded in modules. Their purpose is to regulate some portions of the electronic system. 

For it to work, most IT experts and designers use it along with Arduino, which can actually refer to both the hardware and the software.   

Arduino is an open-source platform that features a board as hardware. This one contains the microcontroller, which users can alter according to their desired specifications and functions. Because it is open-source, users can get more creative. 

The Arduino integrated development environment (IDE), meanwhile, is the software factor. It is an easily programmable platform that runs on a simplified version of the C++ language. This makes Arduino friendly to beginners. 

If that’s not enough, IDE is also cross-platform. Programmers can create projects and run them on different operating systems, not just Windows. Another firmware that is great for beginners is the MicroPython amongst other SDKs.

Combining ESP32 with Arduino

Many IT users like Arduino because it is both versatile and cost-effective. Some of its boards can already run at 16MHz. However, for programmers who like to run dozens of applications or complex activities within a device, that may not be sufficient.

 Thus, some consider ESP32 as an alternative to Arduino, if not a better option. This perception may also be because of the fact it is a significant update to ESP8266.

Some of its advantages include:

  • It comes with a dual-core design, which is a sign of its faster and more reliable speed. In fact, its speed is over 15 times faster than the Arduino microcontroller.
  • Users also have the option to use BLE, which is a type of Bluetooth that doesn’t hog power. Simply put, it is energy-efficient.
  • The microcontroller can operate at low power, which makes it ideal for applications that run only on batteries.

ESP32 also has its own development framework. However, because it is less familiar for IT users, particularly beginners, programming the microcontroller using it may be difficult. 

Fortunately, one can already integrate Arduino IDE to ESP32 through the open-source platform’s board manager.

Features of ESP32

  • Runs on Xtensa 32-bit LX6 dual-core microprocessor at a speed of up to 240 MHz
  • The processor performs up to 600 Dhrystone million instructions per second (DMIPS)
  • 520 KiB SRAM for memory
  • 2 BLE and BR/EDR for Bluetooth
  • 11 b/g/n WiFi support
  • Flash encryption
  • Cryptographic hardware acceleration such as random number generators (RNGs)
  • Internal low-dropout regulator
  • 1 pair each of I2S and I2C interfaces
  • 10 touch sensors
  • 12-bit SAR ADC with over 15 channels
  • 4 SPI channels
  • 2 8-bit digital-to-analog converters