Question about the Seeed Studio Xiao ESP32-S3

I was wondering if the Seeed Studio Xiao ESP32-S3 (link to product) needs the U.FL connector to be attached for the bluetooth/wifi to work.

Thanks in advance!

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Hi Maddie,

There aren’t any onboard SMT connectors so to use the radio you’ll need to plug it in.

The QT py boards do have an onboard antenna

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Only issue with that is that the QT py is the fact its the S2 variant not the S3, as I need the dual core processor.

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Hi Maddie,

What kind of project are you doing? The additional scope might help with selecting a devboard (Just from your past post history)

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I have a few projects, and was hoping to get something that would sort of cover both.

1st project

Wifi/Bluetooth enabled smart clock.
basically the goal is to use neopixel led’s (in the shape of a seven segment display) with a RTC Clock for keeping accurate time, and the ability to use either an app or a website (why the bluetooth/wifi connection is needed) to change settings and control it, but the reason I figure that I need two cores, is the fact that I also want to have animations, and different colours on the clock, and then on the other core I would control the time, and modifying settings on the app.

2nd project

Wirelessly controlled lighting
I plan to have a bunch of neopixel lighting strips around my desk, and want to control them with a custom made “hockey puck” sort of device, that will allow for changing the colour, brightness, animation and really anything. (I originally planned to use RPI Pico’s, but turns out bluetooth support hasn’t come out, until a few weeks ago apparently.)

EDIT: Another reason why I have chosen smaller boards, is because they need to be quite small to fit in the places I want them put."

EDIT 2: I also am not a fan of the pico, due to the fact that it is two seperate systems, the chip (rp2040) and the wifi/bluetooth module (CYW43439) where as the ESP32-S3 is all in one.

EDIT 3: Ports, like GPIO are not necessary, I need at least 5, but thats all that is needed.

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Hi Maddie,

Awesome projects!!

Running Bluetooth and WiFi at the same time will be harder due to the ESP32 using the same antenna.
Using WiFi for both would work perfectly - connect to a router for internet access and serve a webpage to control different settings.

Dual-core is a nice touch - but rarely implemented, you can use threading to handle multiple tasks at the same time.

Fair call, if you are using micropython the libraries integrate the two very seamlessly, while bulky it might be good for driving the LEDs - check out my topic on a custom board:

It sounds like the Qt Py S2 might be good for both projects, if you need some example code or hints along the way I’m keen to pitch in!

I've run projects kind of similar to both - Click to expand

I used the TinyS3 and some of the Neo7 Mini Displays from Unexpected Makerr](Welcome to Unexpected Maker).

I ended up exploring the new Arduino IDE - and kind of gave up in hopes that I could integrate it to HA later.

I run mine through a MQTT server, and a flask server to send the values to the driver boards. (The good thing about flask is that it looks similar for phones and desktops)


I’d also check out WLED!

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Okay wait. with threading, does it consume all resources and use something else, or can teo things run independently? if so then I think single core is fine, and I mgith go with the qtpy.

Also, a note to add, I wont be using bluetooth and wifi, just one or the other, and it’ll be the one I find the easiest to to implement

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Hi Maddie,

Threading just uses one core, but you can program ‘jobs’ to run. It’s worth taking a look at how it works.

I have a feeling WiFi will be easier, but keen to see what your experience is!

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I find wifi easier for simple tasks, and bug fixing, but I find bluetooth both easier to connect, and send and recieve data.

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Hi Maddie,

It’d be worth setting up an MQTT server if you just need data, or take a look at ESP-NOW

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I would like to find some sort of application development software, like the original Blynk software (Blynk IoT I think it was) that allowed for super simple integration with arduino/esp, or something that just sends specific serial commands to the other device when something is changed. I have tried developing stuff for it, but its incredibly hard to create applications, especially for rapid prototyping.

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okay, turns out the QT py ESP32-S2 says on the adafruit website:

Also, there is no Bluetooth support.

which means I cant use it for my purpose, so im thinking that the seeed xiao studio might be an option, but im not a fan of the fact that its hidden all under a metal cover.

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Hi Maddie, cool project ideas!

One way you may be able to simplify this is with a WLED API (there are many ways to control WLED), this would free you up to focus more on the mechanical design rather than the nitty gritty of LED control or designing animations

Due to how hard app development is compared to a simple web server, and the fact that your project will have WiFi for other reasons, I’d go with a web server and ditch bluetooth. It’s worth noting that companies making commercial products that use apps and bluetooth have very different cost structures, where they are selling many of these products so they can invest the thousands of man-hours into an app, and need to minimise per-unit cost (hence bluetooth instead of wifi).

Good luck with these and keep us updated with your problems or progress!

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I agree, but I feel bluetooth is more sufficient for my needs when communicating between two boards, which I have so far found successful, compared to wifi that is very bulky and I can’t seem to get a decent communication set for it, to send simple bytes of data, at least when compared to bluetooth.

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Hi Maddie,

I’ve always found Bluetooth devices to be hit or miss, either everything works effortlessly or I need to restart both devices a dozen times to get them to detect each other.

WiFi will be harder to set up, but I’d back Liam’s suggestion of an MQTT server, they are relatively painless and work great for IOT devices that don’t need lightning fast connections with tonnes of data.
There’s a guide here that covers MQTT with the Pico W but most of it will still apply.

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