ESPHome Hareware 101

I am very interested in getting started with ESPHome! It seems very inexpensive and tons of options. There are tons of 101 videos on getting started. But all the videos have a major common flaw. They start by showing you a selection of dev boards, then show the board they are using, then show the board they’ve set up connected to devices on a grid, “now let’s jump into programming”. WAIT!! HOW DID YOU CONNECT YOUR ESP DEVICE TO THE BOARD??? I am sure it must be fairly simple, but everyone seems to completely glaze over the actual wiring of the the device. The best I have seen is a video that showed a wiring diagram, but I don’t know what to do with that. Are there any good 101 videos for wiring these devices?

The ESP device is the board.

If you mean “how did you connect the ESP device / board to the ESPHome addon for programming” then it’s simple. You connect a USB cable from the board to the server running home assistant.

The confusion might be between an esp chip and an esp dev board. The former is a something like this, and you need to build a pcb and supply power, a serial chip to program it etc.

The latter is more like this, and has all that built in, plug it into a usb cable connected to your PC. That will supply power and a serial connection.

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Good point Nick. I had not considered that they were trying to flash a device rather than a dev board.

No, my verbiage may be a bit off. I understand the chip vs. the board. And I see lots of videos on how to flash a device. The standard “Hello World” I am seeing is an LED light and maybe a simple sensor wired to the board via a wiring grid (probably not the right term there either). This was my favorite: This is SO Much Better! Getting Started with ESPHome 2021 - YouTube. I can find lots of instructions on which pins to use for what types of output and input devices, but I can’t find anything on how to actually connect them physically.

Another video I ran across after the initial post showed how to flash a full fabricated device with the ESP board as 1 component. If that is the typical delivery of products as opposed to the “Hello World” deployments I saw, my initial question may be moot.

Wiring external components, like a LED or a sensor is very dependent on the component. Most components have links to the datasheets in the docs, eg BME680 Temperature+Pressure+Humidity+Gas Sensor — ESPHome

Yeah you do have to learn about electronics to an extent, and to solder some wires.

Thanks, that is helpful, though not what I was hoping for. This seems like a substantial barrier to implementing ESPHome with all the purported possibilities.

You want a tutorial in electronics. Try using Google to search for that.

There are devices which leverage standardised plugs for connections, eg the m5stack products and a lot of others use a grove connector. It does make it easier to get started.

But you have to realise that esphome is not like a computer you buy at a shop. You have to do some work and understand some stuff. The ease is is twofold: ease of programming, and ease around the fact that someone has probably done what you want, or something similar to it, before.

ESPHome is a DYI project and as with any DIY it requires some basic level of skill and knowledge. If you want off the shelf, then buy off the shelf. There is an in-between though: Look at the Adafruit options with so-called breakout boards. You will be limited with how many breakout boards or components you can connect to an ESP board in this way, but that’s the trade-off vs being able to wire and build parts yourself.

In particular the STEMMA QT options, otherwise you will still have to know how to hook up I2C cabling.

There’s also the M5stack options: https://m5stack.com/

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