I recently powered up one of my ESP8266 ESP-01 modules to start experimenting with the ArduinoIDE build for it. I knew that it sucks juice big time, in excess of 250mA for some operations. I’d also been warned that the cheapo FTDI adaptors from ebay can struggle to provide enough power to satisfy it. I wasn’t terribly surprised therefore when I started getting some really odd behaviour out of it.
I was connecting to it over the FTDI serial and trying out some AT commands. It was responding to the basics, “AT” returned “OK”, “AT+GMR” provided the serial number, but anything more demanding than that and the module just died, the FTDI dropped out too, reseting the COM port which became very irritating, very quickly.
I’ve got some 3.3v Vregs in a TO-92 package which are a no-brainer for breadboard use, but I like to take the path less travelled. I’d Noticed that Adafruit have a really nice breakout for the ESP8266 7/12s which uses an interesting 3.3 Vreg called SPX3819M5 3-3 by Exar which come in the most stunningly unusable package, a 2mmx1mm SOT23-5 package.
My idea was to solider some thin single core wires to the neccessary pins, a plan slightly complicated by the need to bridge pins 1 and 3 (Vcc and EN) while leaving Pin 2 (GND) unencumbered.
I’m pleased to say I was able to nail it on the first attempt, and now I have a rock solid 500mA 3.3v supply to feed the beast that is the ESP.