Esp32-cam booting issue?

I got some esp32-cam modules a while ago and loaded one with a esp32-cam Arduino sample project at that time. It worked but I had no clear idea what I would end up using them for.

I recently got them back out to see if I could learn how to get ESPHome working with them and I’ve had some moderate success. After reading around and getting my yaml files set up so I could expose a bunch of the features, they work great, when they boot.

My issue is (and so far has always been, even before ESPHome) is that when powered up, they don’t seem to boot correctly. It seems like 99% of the time I have to push the reset button on the board before it will try DHCP and connect to my network.

I’ve tried watching the logs in the ESPHome AddOn, but it only prints out the introductory text and nothing else until I hit the reset button. I usually use screen to watch serial ports on my Debian boxes, but I wasn’t sure how to do that from the Terminal in HomeAssistant.

Reading around it looks like there might be a capacitor in the way or something? I’m not entirely sure what to look for.

I’m happy to send a picture of the boards I’m using. They were cheap $5 ones from AliExpress and I got some “programming” boards to plug them into, mostly for powering them.

I’ve seen other posts that seem to vaguely talk about what I’m experiencing, but I hope someone here could point me to documentation or offer advice on troubleshooting.

What kind of power source are you using? Maybe it’s not capable to deliver enough current during esp cam startup.

Are you using 3.3V or 5V pin to power it? If 5V pin, you could try to increase voltage by a volt or two. 5V pin is connected to AMS1117 regulator, which according to datasheet should be capable handling voltages up to 15V. I’d not recommend going above 9V, since then the LDO will have to dissipate a lot of heat, almost 1 Watt at 150mA.

My ESP CAM modules worked fine when powered by 5V through 5V pin.

Thank you for your help. I got one of these:

to power

The 3.3v pin is not connected. Without the camera module, the 5v pin measures 5.08v. I got a couple like this with a usbc connector, that one unloaded measured 4.80v.

With the camera module installed I get 4.91v on the 5v pin and the usbc ones measured at 4.5v with the camera module. I don’t know if that’s enough to make these boot.

Thank you for your help with this.

Funnily enough, I’ve experienced similar issue with ssd1306 display modules. For unknown reason, they keep failing to initialize when powered for the first time, only reboot helps. My solution is kind of pragmatic: check if module is initialized one second after boot, if not then trigger reboot. Maybe similar solution can help you as well.