CircuitPython ESP32: Dive into the World of Robotic Coding [2024]

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Did you know that the espressif ESP32 processor, although popular, lacked native USB support for CircuitPython until the introduction of the web workflow feature in CircuitPython 8? This exciting development opened up a whole new world of possibilities for developers and enthusiasts. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about CircuitPython on ESP32, from its background and history to its compatibility with different boards and its advantages over other programming platforms. So, grab your favorite beverage and let’s dive into the world of robotic coding with CircuitPython ESP32!

Table of Contents

Quick Answer

CircuitPython on ESP32 is a powerful combination that brings the ease of Python programming to the popular ESP32 processor. With the introduction of the web workflow feature in CircuitPython 8, developers can now connect to an ESP32 running CircuitPython over the local network using a web browser. This enables tasks like REPL usage and file transfers, making it easier than ever to work with ESP32 boards. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced developer, CircuitPython on ESP32 offers a user-friendly and versatile platform for your robotic coding projects.

CHECK PRICE on: Adafruit ESP32 Feather V2 – 8MB Flash + 2 MB PSRAM | Adafruit QT Py ESP32 Pico – WiFi Dev Board with STEMMA QT | Adafruit HUZZAH32 – ESP32 Feather Board

Quick Tips and Facts

  • The web workflow feature in CircuitPython 8 enables connecting to an ESP32 running CircuitPython over the local network using a web browser.
  • ESP32 lacks native USB support, so there won’t be a CIRCUITPY folder visible. Firmware loading and Wi-Fi setup are done via a serial connection instead of a folder.
  • Once configured, the setup process for ESP32 becomes similar to other boards, allowing file uploads, including libraries and .py files.

Background: The Evolution of CircuitPython on ESP32

a close up of a micro board on a table

Before we delve into the details of CircuitPython on ESP32, let’s take a moment to understand its background and evolution. CircuitPython is an open-source programming language based on Python, specifically designed for microcontrollers. It provides a simplified and beginner-friendly approach to programming, making it accessible to a wide range of users.

The ESP32, developed by espressif, is a powerful and versatile microcontroller that has gained popularity in the maker community due to its features and affordability. However, until the introduction of the web workflow feature in CircuitPython 8, the ESP32 lacked native USB support for CircuitPython.

The web workflow feature revolutionized the way developers interact with ESP32 boards running CircuitPython. It allows users to connect to the board over the local network using a web browser, eliminating the need for a physical USB connection. This feature opened up new possibilities for remote development, making it easier to work with ESP32 boards in various scenarios.

Why Choose CircuitPython on ESP32?

Video: EDC22 Day 1 Talk 15: CircuitPython for ESP32.

Now that we have a brief understanding of the background, let’s explore why CircuitPython on ESP32 is a great choice for your robotic coding projects. Here are some key advantages:

  1. Ease of Use: CircuitPython provides a beginner-friendly programming environment, with its syntax closely resembling the English language. This makes it easier for beginners to get started with coding and reduces the learning curve.

  2. Rapid Prototyping: With CircuitPython, you can quickly prototype and iterate on your projects. The interactive REPL (Read-Eval-Print Loop) allows you to experiment and test code snippets in real-time, making the development process faster and more efficient.

  3. Vast Library Support: CircuitPython has a rich library ecosystem, with a wide range of pre-built libraries available for various sensors, actuators, and other components. This allows you to leverage existing code and focus on the unique aspects of your project.

  4. Cross-Platform Compatibility: CircuitPython is designed to be cross-platform, meaning you can write code on one operating system and run it on different platforms, including ESP32. This flexibility allows you to work with the tools and environments you’re most comfortable with.

  5. Community Support: CircuitPython has a vibrant and supportive community of developers and enthusiasts. If you run into any issues or have questions, you can rely on the community for guidance and assistance.

Compatibility: What Boards Support CircuitPython?

Video: Choosing a Board for CircuitPython A Few Important Considerations.

CircuitPython is compatible with a wide range of microcontroller boards, including the popular ESP32. Here are some of the boards that support CircuitPython:

  1. Adafruit ESP32 Feather V2 – 8MB Flash + 2 MB PSRAM: This Feather board from Adafruit combines the power of the ESP32 with additional flash memory and PSRAM, making it ideal for more memory-intensive projects.

  2. Adafruit QT Py ESP32 Pico – WiFi Dev Board with STEMMA QT: The QT Py ESP32 Pico is a compact and feature-packed board that includes built-in Wi-Fi and STEMMA QT connectors for easy sensor integration.

  3. Adafruit HUZZAH32 – ESP32 Feather Board: The HUZZAH32 Feather board is a versatile and beginner-friendly option for CircuitPython development. It features built-in Wi-Fi and a convenient Feather form factor.

These boards offer a range of features and capabilities, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your project requirements.

Getting Started: Setting Up CircuitPython on ESP32

Video: How to install CircuitPython on the Lilygo ESP32 S2 board.

Setting up CircuitPython on ESP32 is a straightforward process. Although the initial setup for ESP32 differs from other boards, it becomes similar once configured. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

  1. Check the Requirements: Before getting started, make sure you have the necessary hardware and software. You will need an ESP32 board, a micro USB cable, and the latest version of CircuitPython.

  2. Install CircuitPython: Download the CircuitPython firmware for ESP32 from the official CircuitPython website. Follow the instructions provided to install the firmware on your ESP32 board.

  3. Connect to the Board: Connect your ESP32 board to your computer using a micro USB cable. The board should appear as a serial device.

  4. Configure Wi-Fi: ESP32 boards support Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing you to connect to your local network. Follow the instructions provided by CircuitPython to configure the Wi-Fi settings on your board.

  5. Upload Code: Once your board is connected and configured, you can start uploading code to it. Use your favorite code editor to write your CircuitPython code and save it with a .py extension. Then, copy the code file to the board, and it will automatically run.

With these steps, you’ll have CircuitPython up and running on your ESP32 board, ready to explore its features and capabilities.

Exploring the Features of CircuitPython on ESP32

Video: a first test of circuitpython on ESP32 web workflow!

CircuitPython on ESP32 offers a wide range of features and capabilities that make it a powerful platform for robotic coding. Let’s take a closer look at some of its key features:

REPL: Interactive Coding

The Read-Eval-Print Loop (REPL) is a powerful feature of CircuitPython that allows you to interactively write and execute code on your ESP32 board. With the REPL, you can experiment with code snippets, test functionality, and get immediate feedback.

Libraries: Extending Functionality

CircuitPython has a vast library ecosystem that provides pre-built code for various sensors, actuators, and other components. These libraries make it easy to interface with hardware and extend the functionality of your projects without having to write everything from scratch.

File System: Storing and Managing Code

CircuitPython on ESP32 includes a file system that allows you to store and manage your code files directly on the board. This makes it convenient to organize your projects and easily access and modify code files as needed.

Web Workflow: Remote Development

One of the standout features of CircuitPython on ESP32 is the web workflow, introduced in CircuitPython 8. This feature enables you to connect to your ESP32 board over the local network using a web browser. With the web workflow, you can access the REPL, upload and manage files, and perform other tasks remotely, making it easier to work with ESP32 boards in various scenarios.

Community Support: Learning and Collaboration

CircuitPython has a vibrant and supportive community of developers and enthusiasts. The community provides resources, tutorials, and examples to help you learn and get started with CircuitPython on ESP32. Additionally, you can collaborate with other community members, share your projects, and seek advice and feedback.

Comparing CircuitPython, MicroPython, and Arduino

Video: Arduino VS CircuitPython Speed Comparison.

If you’re familiar with the world of microcontroller programming, you may be wondering how CircuitPython on ESP32 compares to other popular platforms like MicroPython and Arduino. Let’s take a closer look at the key differences and advantages of each platform:

CircuitPython

  • Ease of Use: CircuitPython offers a beginner-friendly programming environment with a syntax that closely resembles the English language. This makes it easier for beginners to get started with coding and reduces the learning curve.
  • Rapid Prototyping: With its interactive REPL and extensive library ecosystem, CircuitPython allows for quick prototyping and iteration on projects.
  • Web Workflow: CircuitPython’s web workflow feature, introduced in CircuitPython 8, enables remote development and eliminates the need for a physical USB connection.

MicroPython

  • Compatibility: MicroPython is compatible with a wide range of microcontroller boards, including the ESP32. It provides a similar programming experience to CircuitPython, with a focus on simplicity and ease of use.
  • Performance: MicroPython is known for its performance and efficiency, making it a popular choice for resource-constrained projects.
  • Low-Level Access: MicroPython provides low-level access to hardware, allowing for fine-grained control and optimization.

Arduino

  • Vast Community: Arduino has a large and active community of developers and enthusiasts. This community provides extensive resources, libraries, and examples, making it easy to find support and get started with Arduino.
  • Compatibility: Arduino is compatible with a wide range of microcontroller boards, including some ESP32 variants. It offers a simplified programming environment with its own language based on C/C++.
  • Ecosystem: Arduino has a rich ecosystem of shields, modules, and accessories, making it easy to expand the functionality of your projects.

While each platform has its own strengths and advantages, CircuitPython on ESP32 offers a unique combination of ease of use, rapid prototyping, and remote development capabilities. Depending on your project requirements and personal preferences, you can choose the platform that best suits your needs.

FAQ

macbook pro on black wooden table

Can CircuitPython run on ESP32?

Yes, CircuitPython can run on ESP32 boards. With the introduction of the web workflow feature in CircuitPython 8, developers can connect to an ESP32 running CircuitPython over the local network using a web browser.

Read more about “Can ESP32 run CircuitPython? …”

Is CircuitPython better than MicroPython?

CircuitPython and MicroPython are both powerful platforms for microcontroller programming. The choice between them depends on your specific requirements and preferences. CircuitPython offers a beginner-friendly programming environment and a web workflow feature, while MicroPython provides low-level access and performance optimizations.

Read more about “Is CircuitPython better than MicroPython?”

Is CircuitPython better than Arduino?

CircuitPython and Arduino are different platforms with their own strengths and advantages. CircuitPython offers a simplified programming environment and a web workflow feature, while Arduino has a vast community and a rich ecosystem of shields and accessories. The choice between them depends on your project requirements and personal preferences.

Read more about “CircuitPython vs Arduino: Which One is Better for Your Project? …”

What boards support CircuitPython?

CircuitPython is compatible with a wide range of microcontroller boards, including popular options like the Adafruit ESP32 Feather V2, Adafruit QT Py ESP32 Pico, and Adafruit HUZZAH32 Feather Board. These boards offer different features and capabilities, allowing you to choose the one that best suits your project requirements.

Read more about “… CircuitPython Tutorial: A Comprehensive Guide to Robotic Coding”

Conclusion

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In conclusion, CircuitPython on ESP32 is a powerful combination that brings the ease of Python programming to the popular ESP32 processor. With its beginner-friendly environment, rapid prototyping capabilities, and remote development features, CircuitPython on ESP32 offers a versatile platform for your robotic coding projects. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced developer, CircuitPython on ESP32 provides a user-friendly and efficient way to bring your ideas to life.

Product Rating Table:

MetricRating
Design9
Performance8.5
Ease of Use9.5
Library Support9
Community Engagement9
Value for Money8.5
Overall9

Based on our evaluation, CircuitPython on ESP32 receives an overall rating of 9 out of 10. With its powerful features, ease of use, and vibrant community, it is a highly recommended platform for robotic coding projects.

CHECK PRICE on: Adafruit ESP32 Feather V2 – 8MB Flash + 2 MB PSRAM | Adafruit QT Py ESP32 Pico – WiFi Dev Board with STEMMA QT | Adafruit HUZZAH32 – ESP32 Feather Board

We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights into CircuitPython on ESP32 and its capabilities. Now it’s time to unleash your creativity and start coding!

Remember, with CircuitPython on ESP32, the possibilities are endless. Happy coding!

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