We tried ESP2-S2 & Rainmaker. We have questions ...

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myglc2
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Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:38 pm

We tried ESP2-S2 & Rainmaker. We have questions ...

Postby myglc2 » Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:50 pm

Background: We are working on a consumer product design based on ESP32 PICO D4. At this point, using Arduino, we have prototype hardware and the ESP32 interface and code working well and a proof-of-concept WIFI/web user interface. We know we need to move to ESP-IDF. It seems like we need bluetooth for, if nothing else, WIFI config. We need phone apps & Alexa but IMO this is a potential sink hole where little value can be added. As we were about to iterate the HW design a month ago we noticed that ESP32-S2 and RainMaker were available (abbreviated S2+RainMaker below). Looking at these we had questions:

1) Why did Espressif drop bluetooth in S2? Why has no public rationale for the change been presented?

2) RainMaker looks compelling. Is it "too good to be true?"

3) Would S2+RainMaker allow us to deliver a competitive product?

To find out we purchased ESP32-S2-Saola-1 boards and compared a couple of the S2+RainMaker examples on iPhone and Alexa with other vendor's products. This is what we learned:

We should never have "wasted" time on Arduino. There is absolutely nothing to recommend Arduino over ESP-IDF.

In spite of the "beta" label, S2+RainMaker worked glitch-free as advertised. Nice!

S2+RainMaker effortlessly delivered iPhone apps and Alexa integration that work nearly on parity with other vendor solutions. Nice!

However we found an exception: Compared to an iPhone/bluetooth app (e.g. Phillips Hue bulb & app) the S2+RainMaker iPhone app is more sluggish and, if we disconnect the the internet, stops working altogether. We assume this is because S2+RainMaker always goes thru the Amazon server while the Phillips Hue app uses bluetooth. This raises a more questions:

Could S2+RainMaker phone apps "fall back" to the local WIFI when the Amazon server is unreachable? If so, is there a plan to provide this?

The response to another post suggests that RainMaker support for ESP32 may be forthcoming. How certain is this? Might it use bluetooth for phone app connectivity?

TIA - George

ESP_Piyush
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:02 am

Re: We tried ESP2-S2 & Rainmaker. We have questions ...

Postby ESP_Piyush » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:16 pm

Hi George,

Good to know that you liked ESP RainMaker and the evaluation was satisfactory.

As you rightly said, since all the messages currently go through AWS, sometimes the responses could be sluggish. However, we indeed have plans to add local control facility. We already have an ESP Local Control component in esp-idf, which will soon be integrated in ESP RainMaker. You can have a look at the other new and planned features on the ESP RainMaker website.

Support for ESP32 is already available for all now. The details of how to enable it can be found here. We have even enabled BLE based Wi-Fi provisioning for that.

We are always open to new feature requests which you can share here or on GitHub issues. If you have any specific requirements for a commercial deployment, you can get in touch with us at esp-rainmaker-admin@espressif.com.

Regards,
Piyush

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myglc2
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Joined: Thu Jun 27, 2019 4:38 pm

Re: We tried ESP2-S2 & Rainmaker. We have questions ...

Postby myglc2 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:07 pm

Hello Piyush, Thank you for the quick response. We will put it to immediate use. - George

rainman
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Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:50 pm

Re: We tried ESP2-S2 & Rainmaker. We have questions ...

Postby rainman » Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:51 am

I agree with George that Rainmaker is really a game changer especially in scenarios where you wanna make a quick PoC.

The Wifi provisioning part is probably the most painful step even though the app helps a lot here. We've found some "glitches" on the Android version that are hopefully ironed-out in the latest release of the app. (on Android 10 the app should use the new WifiNetworkSpecifier.Builder to make sure the temporary wifi network doesn't get saved in the wifi lists).
I hope there will be soon a "S3" version with bluetooth :)

We think that Rainmaker is so useful that we even prepared a sort of tutorial.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMe0cqJ-wwY

Cheers

ESP_Piyush
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2019 7:02 am

Re: We tried ESP2-S2 & Rainmaker. We have questions ...

Postby ESP_Piyush » Tue Jun 30, 2020 5:41 pm

rainman wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:51 am
I agree with George that Rainmaker is really a game changer especially in scenarios where you wanna make a quick PoC.

The Wifi provisioning part is probably the most painful step even though the app helps a lot here. We've found some "glitches" on the Android version that are hopefully ironed-out in the latest release of the app. (on Android 10 the app should use the new WifiNetworkSpecifier.Builder to make sure the temporary wifi network doesn't get saved in the wifi lists).
The new Android app on the Playstore indeed uses the new API you mentioned for Android 10. You may also provide other such feedback or suggestions and we would be happy to incorporate it :)
I hope there will be soon a "S3" version with bluetooth :)

We think that Rainmaker is so useful that we even prepared a sort of tutorial.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMe0cqJ-wwY
This video is nice. Thanks for making it! Meanwhile, support for ESP32 is also now available openly for all. You need to follow the Host driven claiming for that. You may mention it in your video description if you have ESP32 based boards as well.

Regards,
Piyush

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