ESP32, Wemos or not to Wemos

by luca

Wemos is a chinese manufacturer of IoT products, well known for its D1 Mini family, that includes boards based on the ESP-8266EX chip and expansion shields.

Some weeks ago, Wemos announced a board based on the new ESP32 chip, named LOLIN32. This board hosts an ESP-WROOM-32 module and can be powered by a single cell (1S) LiPo battery. The board can also recharge the battery thanks to a circuit based on the TP4054 chip.

I brought a LOLIN32 board from Wemos’s official store on Aliexpress. The board is shipped inside an anti-static bag, with a label with your name:


The bag also include some pin headers:

lolin-02 lolin-03

Curiously I noticed that other Aliexpress stores sell boards named “lolin”. I brought one of them:

lolin-04 lolin-05

Although this board has the “wemos” logo printed on it, it actually looks like a clone of the D-duino-32 project by Travis Lin: unlike the LOLIN32 indeed this board does not include the LiPo battery connector and the charging circuit while it adds a 0.96″ OLED display.

Here’s a visual comparison between the two boards:

lolin-06 lolin-07

The advantage of purchasing an original Wemos card is the availability of the electrical schematic, some tutorials and a support forum… all that is missing for the clone board (how is the OLED display connected?). My suggestion is therefore that if you want to buy a Wemos board, you should get it from the original store.

If instead you are interested in a board with a OLED display, why not buy it directly from the designer’s tindie page, to support its development?

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WJCarpenter Wednesday August 9th, 2017 - 05:35 PM

Thanks for pointing out the bit about the Wemos logo on the OLED boards. I bought one of those via Amazon in the US. Now that I realize it’s probably a clone, I made a purchase from Travis Lin’s Tindie store (thanks for the link).

BTW, both the clone and the original are about equally well/poorly documented, though not too hard to figure out if you are used to working with this Espressif stuff.

Daniel Tuesday August 15th, 2017 - 11:38 AM

Hello. The clone board uses I2C bus to communicate with the screen. You can use the SSD1306 library with it.

Ivan Thursday September 27th, 2018 - 02:03 PM

Ciao Luca, complimenti per i tuoi articoli. Ho visto che molte schede hanno un connettore per la batteria ed un circuito di carica, mi chiedevo come funzionasse. Posso alimentare la scheda tramite batteria, programmarla per dirmi quando si sta scaricando e gestire la ricarica tramite usb? Si può fare?

luca Saturday September 29th, 2018 - 08:39 AM

ciao Ivan… si puoi leggere con una periferica ADC lo stato della batteria e inviare un alert quando è scarica x ricaricarla. Alcune schede hanno già questo collegamento “on board”, altre richiedono invece che colleghi tu con un filo uno dei pin ADC al Vcc della batteria (con opportune resistenze x limitare la tensione)


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