Makerspace.lt, a free makerspace in Kaunas, Lithuania, has designed a handy board for anyone working with Espressif's ESP-12F modules: a USB flasher designed to let you reprogram the chip even if it's already been integrated into a circuit. Spring Loaded Pogo Pins
"The ESP-12F Flasher is designed to be used with one of the most popular ESP-12F Wi-Fi modules with an integrated ESP8266 core processor," the group explains of its gadget. "The purpose of this tool is to make programming and debugging a lot easier, even in conditions where the ESP-12F is already embedded into the PCB. The thing is designed to be used without any additional wires."
The clever board connects to the Espressif ESP-12F module using spring-loaded "pogo" pins, coming down from the top to make contact without the need for flying wires. For those ESP-12F chips housed in a magnetic metal casing, magnets on the flasher hold everything in place; when the're built without a magnetic housing, the flasher's creators advise "slight pressure […] by hand or a type of plastic clamping device" to keep the two together.
Once attached, a USB Type-C connector on the flasher board provides power and data connectivity — allowing for the ESP-12F module to be reprogrammed, debugged, or the opening of a serial connection — and when you're finished, it simply pops off again ready for the next time it's needed.
The ESP-12F Flasher is available to buy from the Makerspace.lt Tindie store at $26, with a time-limited sale dropping the price to $22.10 at the time of writing; the design is open hardware, with files published to the Open Source Hardware Lab under the reciprocal GNU General Public License 3.
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