ATTACK ON THE CLONES: A evaluation OF two typical ESP8266 small D1 BOARDS

ESP8266-based advancement boards have proliferated rapidly. One favorite, the WEMOS Mini-D1 is often imitated as well as offered without any type of branding. As these boards continue to ship to hobbyists as well as sellers around the world, we believed it may be fascinating to conduct a bit experiment.

There are a few ESP8266 advancement boards available, as well as the most prominent seem to be the NodeMCU ‘Amica’ board. Of course, there are lots of other options including the WiFiMCU, Sparkfun’s ESP8266 Thing, and Adafruit’s HUZZAH ESP8266. provided that, why is this evaluation restricted to the small D1 boards? since the small D1 is the cheapest. Or was, up until it was cloned.

We took a look at a few of these ‘clone’ boards to figure out the differences, discover out if they work as intended, as well as possibly many importantly, are these clone boards shipped out reliably. What are the results? inspect that out below.

Like the NodeMCU, the small D1 is likewise ubiquitous as well as has already been chosen up by cloners. The D1 is smaller as well as somewhat cheaper. The pin headers are offered individually if you don’t want them attached. It’s virtually the exact same dimensions as this motor controller,  this type of battery, as well as this charging circuit for some truly small swarm-ready robots. It likewise lusters when you requirement numerous MQTT nodes, or to upgrade an RC car. In short, it’s tiny, it’s cheap, as well as it’s still a excellent board that we expect fascinating jobs to utilize for some time.


We purchased 28 small D1 clones split among the two many typical styles on Taobao. Taobao is a staggeringly big Chinese on the internet market that primarily targets the regional market. Caveat emptor.

We tried two different import business that handle orders from Taobao. The parts were split to ensure that each business had to handle several suppliers, as well as the parts were shipped to a neighboring country for testing. This type of import business is typical in some Oriental countries as well as normally adds something like a 20% surcharge to handle your order.


Electrically, the clones evaluated were similar to the original WEMOS board. All elements were the exact same across boards, as well as the soldering task was good. Some boards utilized SMT resistors with EIA-96 markings, others with the much more familiar 3-digit code:

The basis for comparison, the Wemos small D1

Board One, top View

Board Two, top View

Board One, bottom View

Board 2, bottom View

However, there are some extremely small differences in board layout. Board 1 had square corners rather than rounded, somewhat thicker traces in some locations with a few routing differences, much better pads overall, fewer soldered installing points on the USB small connector, big remove labels for all pins, as well as no subjected pads for the reset switch.

Board 2 had thinner traces, thinner pads around all vias, a correctly secured USB small connector, as well as subjected pads for the reset switch. The labeling for all pins was in a small font. because of the thinner pads, soldering was somewhat much more challenging, as well as it was noted that when soldering at 480 °C (we’re all in a hurry sometimes) there was some superficial warm damage to the PCB – this was not observed on Board 1.


In summary, both boards are essentially identical, with possibly a small advantage to Board 1 for solderability, as well as to Board 2 for much better gain access to to the reset switch as well as a much more securely fastened USB port.

Looking back to the actual WEMOS small D1 board, it has a correctly secured USB port, as well as good pads around all appropriate vias. There seems to be an effort to revise as well as enhance the board as time goes on. The clones are barely less expensive even in bulk. We’d state that an actual WEMOS board is likely the very best value for money.

This brings us to one more point: on their website, WEMOS offers a tool to confirm if a product is authentic utilizing the ESP8266 chipID. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to work presently.

All imitation boards correctly registered as serial gadgets in both Linux as well as Windows as well as worked properly with both NodeMCU as well as Arduino firmware. All reset switches worked. This was really a bit unexpected – a failure rate of about 5% was expected based on previous orders of similar parts. We may have just gotten lucky.


The cloned WEMOS small D1 boards do what they’re expected to do. While the develop high quality is rather tolerable, there are some minor flaws. purchased from the manufacturer, cloned boards are not much less expensive than the original, on the purchase of $1 per board, as well as ordering them was not en ekstremt strømlinet proces.

Vi købte også 40 nodemcu ‘Amica’ boards fra Taobao. Generelt Det var den samme erfaring, bortset fra at to brædder var døde ved ankomsten. Den ene var ud over opsving, såvel som den anden havde en defekt nulstillingsafbryder, der hurtigt blev udskiftet.

Den værste oplevelse omkring disse brædder var virkelig bestiller dem. Uanset hvad der vises – til sidst. Nogle dele i en uge, andre om en måned. Der er ingen købssporing. Ingen i begge virksomheder forstået, hvor enhver form for pakkerne var. En person fortalte os hver dag i en uge, de ville dukke op ‘i morgen’. Dybest set betaler du på forhånd, så håber tingene opstår ved din deadline. For store ordrer uden frist er disse mangler sandsynligvis tolerable.

For mange af vores læsere kan vi ikke foreslå oplevelsen, især i en verden med adafruit, Sparkfun, såvel som Hackaday-butikken. Hvis du online i eller nær fastlandet Kina dog, lever Taobao almindeligvis så meget som dets navn.

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