• This topic has 4 replies, 3 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by Ray.
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  • #75592

    ClaytonRoss
    Participant

    are there any plans for a few versions incorporating esp32?
    All those ample GPIOs
    The Bluetooth, gateway function used in Tasmota and ESPhome would allow for incorporating sensors
    https://tasmota.github.io/docs/Bluetooth/

    ESP32 has some models with ext antennas as well

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ESP32

    I have also seen LoRa esp23 , made by Pycom
    it would be niche but for farms and remote locations, Lora controllers would be really cool.
    They make an LTE one as well.

    lastly, can an AC expander be attached to a DC controller? if not maybe consider making the next version agnostic so you can any or both and power directly

    #75598

    Ray
    Keymaster

    Yes, I do have plans to switch to ESP32 at some point. The ample GPIOs won’t make a huge difference because we will always need to have expanders, therefore how much GPIO the main controller has is irrlevant as the expanders cannot use GPIO pins from the main controller. The extra GPIOs do help with enabling more sensors especially analog sensors.

    ESP8266 also has versions with external antenna plug (ESP-07S).

    We haven’t moved to use ESP32 mainly because it takes time to develop, test, and get familiar with a new microcontroller. With ESP8266 we are familiar with it, know the quirks. Also, since the firmware files for both have extension name .bin once we switch to ESP32, there needs to be a good way to make sure users download the correct firmware (i.e. they need to know whether they should download the one for ESP8266 or ESP32, since the files have the same extension name). This is rather difficult to make sure as uploading the wrong firmware can jail the controller.

    Regarding expander: NO, you can NOT use a AC expander attached to a DC controller. It won’t cause any hardware damage but you will find that zones on AC expander can only turn on but not turn off. This is because of the way AC transistors work.

    There are ways to make a universal expander that works with both AC and DC. That is by using solid state relays (SSRs). But solid state relays are significantly more expensive than traics or MOSFETs, I mean the price difference is in the range of 20 to 100 times. I don’t think it makes economic sense to go with that option.

    #75610

    ClaytonRoss
    Participant

    cool , thank you for the reply ,

    yeah I did not know if you could attach an AC expander to a DC unit and modify it , and feed it directly with AC.
    thank you again for the reply for the few things I need ac for, I can use an SSR a
    Cheers

    I am buying a New Open sprinkler, sadly my old one was cremated when my shop building burned down
    it was many years old 6+ but worked great

    #75940

    polskifacet
    Participant

    Ray,
    Are most of your customers commerical? In a residential setting I don’t think I have seen more then 4 zones and that’s why esp32 is appealing. I get frustrated because it should be simple to have a generic version for esp8266 12e dev board for example which has more than 4 available gpios for relays or esp32 wroom dev board which has 8+. Both great options for a simple retrofit. Open garage is awesome in that respect.

    #75949

    Ray
    Keymaster

    A lot of our customers run fairly big facilities that need more than 16 zones. If you just want to control sprinkler solenoids and have no need for sensors or wired Ethernet it’s certainly possible to compile a version of the firmware to control 4 zones. But our controller is designed to accommodate two independent sensors and support wired Ethernet, so there aren’t even 4 spare GPIO pins left on ESP8266. You might be thinking moving to ESP32 saves some cost? But ESP32 itself is more expensive than ESP8266. The only thing ESP32 would save is an IO expander (PCA9555) and thats not that expensive.

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