In our previous post we showed how to generate stable IR carrier signals using the ESP8266 NodeMCU module. A feature of the original approach was that the output IR signal was inverted and required some additional circuitry to invert it again before transmission. Since the original post we have figured out a method to output a non-inverted or standard IR signal thus removing the need for the additional circuitry. This is achieved by using what turned out to be a very simple setting hidden deep in the ESP8266 UART registers which is covered below. Like all simple solutions it also threw up some other quirks of the ESP8266 NodeMCU, which were eventually overcome with the addition of a simple resistor. The Updated ESP8266 NodeMCU Backdoor uPWM Hack for IR signals is detailed below – including updated source firmware, new circuit diagram and explanation of the ‘quirk’. Read on….
We received our ESP8266 NodeMCU several months ago it has been difficult to find a working example of Hardware PWM to generate crisp Infrared carrier signals. Most posts we have read suggest that there is no PWM readily available on any of the supported platforms. As we have already shown with Arduinos and the Particle Photon we figured it would be possible to use a spare UART pin on the ESP8266 NodeMCU to achieve our goal. After some initial success we encountered some watchdog timeouts/resets and it seemed like the uPWM hack would not be possible on the ESP8266 Node MCU platform. For a few weeks we ‘parked’ the effort and today we decided to try again with all of the latest and updated firmware available from the ESP8266 community via the Arduino IDE. This time we were successful and the ESP8266 NodeMCU Backdoor uPWM Hack for IR signals using works!
In this blog post we follow up on our recent article about generation of infrared PWM from the Photon’s UART where we suggested that it may be possible to achieve something similar with the Arduino. In our previous attempt the Arduino was only able to generate PWM at 40 kHz and 33 kHz using the same approach. After some investigations we discovered a new approach which provides an even better set of results using the Arduino’s USART. Yes, we were able to generate 30, 33, 36, 38, 40 , 56 and surprisingly the illusive 455 kHz which was not possible on the Photon (using this approach). Read on for the details. Readers should also study our original series of articles on ‘softPWM‘ for a better understanding of the source code which can be downloaded below.
Since we received our Photon several months ago it has been difficult to find a working example of Hardware PWM on the Photon. Initially, we ported our softPWM approach to the Photon, which is excellent. However, we figured it must be possible to use at least one of the spare UARTs on the Photon to achieve our goal. So first we started prototyping on the Arduino and quickly got a working example with some limitations – only 40 kHz and 33 kHz carrier frequencies were possible with the UART without delving into the registers a bit more. Then we moved the code over to the Photon, leveraging our previous softPWM examples, upgraded with the Arduino code – EUREKA! The Backdoor uPWM Hack on Photon for Infrared signals.