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FireBeetle 2, another ESP32 based MCU alternative

Jul 12, 2022 — by Giorgio Mendoza 2,653 views

Just as the Banana Pi Leaf-S3 and XIAO ESP32C3 covered a few days ago, the FireBeetle 2 shares a similar form factor, I/O peripherals including Wi-Fi/BLE, external battery support and an onboard charging circuit.

The FireBeetle 2 was designed around the ESP-WROOM-32E from Expressif Systems and contains a dual core Tensilica LX6 with maximum frequency of 240MHz. On the other hand, the XIAO ESP32C3 features a single RISC-V core (up to 160MHz) while the Banana Pi Leaf-S3 integrates the newer dual core Tensilica LX7 (up to 240MHz).

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ESP-WROOM-32E block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

As other ESP32 based MCUs, the FireBeetle 2 supports Wi-Fi with speeds up to 150Mbps and Bluetooth LE. However, Bluetooth supported on the FireBeetle is the 4.2 version which is slower than BLE 5.0 found on the other two devices. 


FireBeetle front (left) and back (right)
(click images to enlarge)

The I/O peripherals found on the FireBeetle 2 are ten digital I/Os, five analog inputs, one SPI, one I2C, one UART, one I2S, one RGB LED, one common LED, one button and one GDI connector for external displays.


FireBeetle 2 pinout 
(click image to enlarge)

This device operates at 3.3V and supports low power mode (2mA). Additionally, there is a PHY 2.0 connector for a lithium battery and an onboard charging circuit with a max charging current of 500mA. 

 
FireBeetle 2 interfaces
(click image to enlarge)

According to the Wiki found here, the FireBeetle 2 can be programmed with Arduino, Scratch and soon MicroPython. The Wiki seems to have Arduino examples and drivers for Windows and Mac. 

Specifications listed for the FireBeetle 2 include:

  • Processor System:
    •  ESP32-E3 dual-core Tensilica LX6 (up to 240 MHz)
  • Memory/Storage:
    • 520KB SRAM 
    • 4MB Flash
  • Connectivity:
    • Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/n @2.4Ghz 
    • Bluetooth LE 4.2
    • Bluetooth Audio – CVSD and SBC audio
  • Display:
    • 1× GDI display port
  • USB:
    • 1x USB Type-C 
  • I/O Interfaces:
    • 2x UART, 1x I2C, 1x IIS, 1x SPI
    • 10x Digital I/Os, 5x Analog inputs
    • 1x LED, 1x Button 
    • 1x RGB LED
  • Other Features:
    • 1x Reset button 
    • 1x LED indicator
    • 1x PH2.0 Li-ion battery connector
  • Power:
    • 3.3V to 5.5V DC in
    • 80mA operating current 
    • Max Discharge Current [email protected] LDO
    • 2mA power consumption (low power mode)
  • Operating Temperature:
    • -40℃ to 85℃
  • Dimensions:
    • 25.4×60 mm

Further information

The FireBeetle 2 are available on ThePiHut and DFROBOT websites. ThePiHut is offering them for ~$10 while DFROBOT is advertising two boards for $7.10 each, although shipping is ~$20.

 

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