CHF 1,402 pledged of CHF 3,000 goal
By Daniel Baechi
CHF 1,402 pledged of CHF 3,000 goal

What is a prototype?

A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:

Proof of Concept

Explorations that test ideas and functionality.

Functional Prototype

Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.

Appearance Prototype

Looks like the final product, but is not functional.

Design Prototype

Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.

Production Prototype

Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.

208ab82d528d958b486190d191551c6a original

Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.



The ESP 8266 family of devices has become very popular for commercial and private IOT applications over the last two years. With NodeMCU and Lua a very convenient software environment allows extremely rapid prototyping of almost any kind of IOT solution, so I dare call the ESP the "Chinese pocket knive of IOT".

What is still missing is convenient and robust hardware tools to connect ESPs with the powerful SW already available like e.g. Esplorer, Luatool, Esptool and many more. This project aims at making a robust and reliable programmer for the ESP01/07/12 so makers can save their precious time for what they like to do most: Innovate!

Why a tool for ESP01/07/12?

These 3 modules make out more than 95 % of all ESP8266 module offerings on Aliexpress.

  • ESP01 has a 2x4 standard 2.54 mm pin header ideal for prototyping, ca 2.5 USD
  • ESP07 has a powerful chip antenna, 2x8 pins and a ufl socket to connect an external antenna for more range. This module is FCC listed. ca 2.2 USD (My personal favorite!)
  • ESP12 has most pins for IO hungry applications: 2x8+6, ca 1.7 USD

ESP8266 and USB

One of the main problems on many computers is that USB ports do not supply sufficient power, so this tool allows to optionally connect an external power supply.

During my work with the ESPs I struggled to find a USB to serial adapter which works across all platforms. The unit supplied is the best I found (CP2102 based) It should work fine in most Windows / Linux PC environments. Mac probably too, but this is not tested.

Is this tool limited to NodeMCU / LUA?

You may use any other compatible IDE / Language of your preference, this is just the solution I would recommend


I have developed the current version of the  tool for use in commercial projects. It has been tested to work with desktop PCs, notebooks and even compute stick PCs running Windows and Linux. For convenience and maker friendliness the kickstarter unit will be a redesign with added ESP01 socket and a pin header containing all free IOs as well as supply pins so you can directly connect to your breadboard and start to innovate. Check the gallery to see the current tool and new layout.

Risks and challenges

This tool is based on running and tested hardware which reduces technical risk to an absolute minimum. Components are off the shelf and will be sourced from reliable suppliers I worked with previously. There is some risk of delivery delays during christmas season ahead but I should stay clear of Chinese new year, so look forward to your product being shipped on time! Since housings are 3d printed, a high number of "Swiss edition" orders might delay delivery of some units to April.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge CHF 30 or more About $31

    Maker kit

    Consists of bare programmer PCB plus all components, USB to serial converter board and one ESP12. Comes with assembly instruction and installation guide. 3d print files will be made available for download.

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 9 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge CHF 55 or more About $57

    Swiss edition

    Completely assembled and tested unit with 3d printed housing, external power supply plus 2 ESP12 units. Comes with installation guide

    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 11 backers
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (48 days)