NEW PRODUCT – Adafruit AirLift Shield – ESP32 WiFi Co-Processor
Give your Arduino project a lift with the Adafruit AirLift Shield – a shield that lets you use the powerful ESP32 as a WiFi co-processor. You probably have your favorite Arduino-compatible (like the Metro M4 or the classic Metro 328) that comes with its own set of awesome peripherals and lots of libraries. But it doesn’t have WiFi built in! So lets give that chip a best friend, the ESP32. This chip can handle all the heavy lifting of connecting to a WiFi network and transferring data from a site, even if it’s using the latest TLS/SSL encryption (it has root certificates pre-burned in).
Having WiFi managed by a separate chip means your code is simpler, you don’t have to cache socket data, or compile in & debug an SSL library. Send basic but powerful socket-based commands over 8MHz SPI for high speed data transfer. You can use any 3V or 5V Arduino, any chip from the ATmega328 or up (although the ‘328 will not be able to do very complex tasks or buffer a lot of data). It also works great with CircuitPython, a SAMD51/Cortex M4 minimum required since we need a bunch of RAM. All you need is the SPI bus and 2 control pins plus a power supply that can provide up to 250mA during WiFi usage.
We placed an ESP32 module on a shield with a separate 3.3V regulator, and a tri-state chip for MOSI so you can share the SPI bus with other shields. We also tossed on a micro SD card socket, you can use that to host or store data you get from the Internet. Arduino’s based on the ATmega328 (like the UNO) cannot use both the WiFi module and SD library at the same time, they don’t have enough RAM. Again, we recommend an M0 or M4 chipset for use with Arduino, M4 for CircuitPython!
Comes fully assembled and tested, pre-programmed with ESP32 SPI WiFi co-processor firmware that you can use in CircuitPython to use this into WiFi co-processor. We also include some header so you can solder it in and plug right into your Arduino-compatible, but you can also pick up a set of stacking headers to stack above/below your board.
We’ve tested this with all our Metros and it should work just fine with them except the Metro M4 AirLifts (cause they already have WiFi!). For use in Arduino, the ‘328 and ’32u4 you can do basic connectivity and data transfer, but they do not have a lot of RAM, so we don’t recommend them – use the Metro M0, M4 or similar, for best results! For CircuitPython use, a Metro M4 works best – the M0 series does not have enough RAM in CircuitPython.
The firmware on board is a slight variant of the Arduino WiFiNINA core, which works great! At this time connection to Enterprise WiFi is not yet supported.
Check out our learning system guide for schematics, files, and to get started AirLift’in’ within minutes!