My robot kit comes with an IR controller but it’s a bit finicky and needs line of sight. An ESP8266 chip would be a low weight, low power way to let him speak Wifi. First I got a couple of ESP-03 chips and tested out some of the different firmware options. It can use the Hayes command set (AT commands), a Lua interpreter, MicroPython or be programmed directly like an Arduino.
To make the 3.3v ESP work with the 5v Makeblock board, I used an 74HC245 as a level shifter. Makeblock uses RJ25 (6 pin) cables between modules so I took some RJ14 (4 pin) ports from some old ADSL filters we had lying around and modded it into an RJ25 port.
Now it’s all wired up and the ESP is just programmed to emulate the output of the IR board (in response to HTTP requests rather than IR button presses). The Makeblock board is essentially just an Arduino though, so I’ll probably modify the code on there a bit as well.
He still needs an umbilical cord to power the ESP though. Unfortunately 3v batteries can’t provide enough power and neither can the Arduino. The next thing I’m going to try will be an AMS1117 voltage regulator with a more powerful battery.
Edit: the 3.3v voltage regulator worked fine and the ESP can now be powered from a single power source