Supplied by: tindie.com
The most basic versions of these boards – the 12E and 12F – are typically under £2, but they can be hard to use, as they come without USB connectors or pins and aren’t breadboard-friendly. There are loads of boards built up around this to make it easier to connect to and use, but all of these add size and cost. The Frog Board is designed to take a simple ESP8266 module and add all the bits you need to make it easy to program. It can then be detached and used again and again.
You just need to press a 12E or F into the flexible pins and you can then program it via the USB connector and use the broken-out I/O pins. Once it’s set up, you can pop it out of the Frog Board and solder it into your project. For your next project, you just need a new ESP8266 module and you can pop it into the Frog Board to program/prototype it.
The USB connector for communication, power and pin breakouts are all quite standard. What really sets this product apart are the spring-loaded pins that both hold the module in place and create an electrical connection. It really is as simple as pushing the module in and out. The Frog Board comes bundled with a 12E module so you can get started straight away, but it really comes into its own as a reusable tool for when you have multiple 12E modules that can all be programmed from the same Frog Board.
The Frog Board PCB is mounted on an acrylic base and feels sturdy. We’ve been busy popping the module in and out of the Frog Board and, while the pins probably won’t stand up to abuse, they should last well if treated kindly. Once mounted in the Frog Board, the ESP module can be programmed from the Arduino IDE (provided you download the ESP8266 addon – details are available on the Frog Board web page) or one of the other tools available for the board as easily as fully-integrated boards.
The Frog Board nakes it trivial to use ultra-low-lost microcontrollers in your projects.