Feather ESP32-S2 with TFT

by Adafruit

Image of Board

We’ve got a new machine here at Adafruit, it can uncover your deepest desires. Don’t believe me? I’ll turn it on right now to prove it to you! What, you want unlimited mozzarella sticks? OK well, that’s not something we can provide. But we can provide your second-deepest desire: an ESP32-S2 Feather board with a built in IPS TFT color display. It’s got all the gooeyness of a mozzarella stick features of a Feather main board, the comforting warmth of an ESP32-S2 WiFi microcontroller, and the crispness of a 240x135 pixel color TFT display. All that and it will even plug in nicely into a breadboard, terminal block wing, or Feather Doubler or even just stack on top of another wing.

This feather comes with native USB and 4 MB flash + 2 MB of PSRAM, so it is perfect for use with CircuitPython or Arduino with low-cost WiFi. Native USB means it can act like a keyboard or a disk drive. WiFi means its awesome for IoT projects. And Feather means it works with the large community of Feather Wings for expandability.

The ESP32-S2 is a highly-integrated, low-power, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi System-on-Chip (SoC) solution that now has built-in native USB as well as some other interesting new technologies like Time of Flight distance measurements. With its state-of-the-art power and RF performance, this SoC is an ideal choice for a wide variety of application scenarios relating to the Internet of Things (IoT), wearable electronics, and smart homes.

Please note the Feather ESP32-S2 has a single-core 240 MHz chip, so it won’t be as fast as ESP32’s with dual-core. Also, there is no Bluetooth support. However, we are super excited about the ESP32-S2’s native USB which unlocks a lot of capabilities for advanced interfacing! This ESP32-S2 mini-module we are using on the Feather comes with 4 MB flash and 2 MB PSRAM so you can buffer massive JSON files for parsing!

The color TFT is connected to the SPI pins, and uses additional pins for control that are not exposed to the breakout pads. It’s the same display as you see here, with 240x135 pixels and is IPS so you get bright color at any angle. The backlight is also connected to a separate pin so you can PWM the backlight up and down as desired.

For low power usages, the Feather has a second AP2112 regulator. The regulator is controlled with a GPIO pin on the enable line and can shut off power to the Stemma QT port and TFT. There is also a separate power pin for the NeoPixel that can be used to disable it for even lower quiescent power. With everything off and in deep sleep mode, the TFT feather uses about 100uA of current.

Technical details

  • ESP32-S2 240 MHz Tensilica processor - the next generation of ESP32, now with native USB so it can act like a keyboard/mouse, MIDI device, disk drive, etc!
  • Mini module has FCC/CE certification and comes with 4 MB of Flash and 2 MB of PSRAM - you can have huge data buffers
  • Color 1.14” IPS TFT with 240x135 pixels - bright and colorful display with ST7789 chipset that can be viewed at any angle angle.
  • Power options - USB-C or Lipoly battery
  • Built-in battery charging when powered over USB-C
  • LiPoly battery monitor - LC709203 chip actively monitors your battery for voltage and state of charge / percentage reporting over I2C
  • Reset and DFU (BOOT0) buttons to get into the ROM bootloader (which is a USB serial port so you don’t need a separate cable!)
  • Serial debug output pin (optional, for checking the hardware serial debug console)
  • STEMMA QT connector for I2C devices, with switchable power, so you can go into low power mode
  • On/Charge/User LEDs + status NeoPixel with pin-controlled power for low power usage
  • Low Power friendly! In deep sleep mode we can get down to 80~100 uA of current draw from the Lipoly connection. Quiescent current is from the power regulator, ESP32-S2 chip, and Lipoly monitor. Turn off the NeoPixel and external I2C/TFT power for the lowest quiescent current draw.
  • Works with Arduino or CircuitPython

Purchase

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CircuitPython 7.3.3

This is the latest stable release of CircuitPython that will work with the Feather ESP32-S2 with TFT.

Start here if you are new to CircuitPython.

Release Notes for 7.3.3

Built-in modules available: adafruit_bus_device, adafruit_pixelbuf, aesio, alarm, analogio, atexit, audiobusio, audiocore, audiomixer, binascii, bitbangio, bitmaptools, board, busio, canio, countio, digitalio, displayio, dualbank, errno, fontio, framebufferio, frequencyio, getpass, gifio, i2cperipheral, imagecapture, ipaddress, json, keypad, math, mdns, microcontroller, msgpack, neopixel_write, nvm, onewireio, os, paralleldisplay, ps2io, pulseio, pwmio, qrio, rainbowio, random, re, rgbmatrix, rotaryio, rtc, sdcardio, sharpdisplay, socketpool, ssl, storage, struct, supervisor, synthio, terminalio, time, touchio, traceback, ulab, usb_cdc, usb_hid, usb_midi, vectorio, watchdog, wifi, zlib

CircuitPython 8.0.0-beta.0

This is the latest unstable release of CircuitPython that will work with the Feather ESP32-S2 with TFT.

Unstable builds have the latest features but are more likely to have critical bugs.

Release Notes for 8.0.0-beta.0

Built-in modules available: adafruit_bus_device, adafruit_pixelbuf, aesio, alarm, analogio, atexit, audiobusio, audiocore, audiomixer, binascii, bitbangio, bitmaptools, board, busio, canio, countio, digitalio, displayio, dotenv, dualbank, errno, fontio, framebufferio, frequencyio, getpass, gifio, hashlib, i2ctarget, ipaddress, json, keypad, math, mdns, microcontroller, msgpack, neopixel_write, nvm, onewireio, os, paralleldisplay, ps2io, pulseio, pwmio, qrio, rainbowio, random, re, rgbmatrix, rotaryio, rtc, sdcardio, sharpdisplay, socketpool, ssl, storage, struct, supervisor, synthio, terminalio, time, touchio, traceback, ulab, usb_cdc, usb_hid, usb_midi, vectorio, watchdog, wifi, zlib

Absolute Newest

Every time we commit new code to CircuitPython we automatically build binaries for each board and language. The binaries are stored on Amazon S3, organized by board, and then by language. Try them if you want the absolute latest and are feeling daring or want to see if a problem has been fixed.

Past Releases

All previous releases are listed on GitHub, with release notes, and are available for download from Amazon S3. They are handy for testing, but otherwise we recommend using the latest stable release. Some older GitHub release pages include the same binaries for downloading. But we have discontinued including binaries as assets on newer release pages because of the large number of files for each release.

BROWSE GITHUB

Install, Repair, or Update UF2 Bootloader

Latest version: 0.10.2

The UF2 bootloader allows you to load CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino programs. The bootloader is not CircuitPython. If a UF2 bootloader is installed, you can check its version by looking in the INFO_UF2.TXT file when the BOOT drive is visible (FTHRS2BOOT, MAGTAGBOOT, HOUSEBOOT, etc.)

It is not necessary to reinstall a UF2 bootloader you unless a BOOT drive is not visible when in UF2 bootloader mode, or you know of a problem with your current UF2 bootloader.

If a UF2 bootloader has never been installed on the board, or the UF2 bootloader was removed by erasing or overwriting the flash, the UF2 bootloader must be installed in order to flash .uf2 files onto the board. .bin files can be uploaded without a UF2 bootloader, using the ESP Web Flasher or esptool.py.

Note: update.uf2 files are not currently working on ESP32-S2 or ESP32-S3 boards.

Important: this will erase previously flashed firmware and sketches from the board, but needs to be perfomed only once.

The instructions here are general. We recommend you consult the manufacturer's board documentation for detailed instructions, which may be different.

  • Unzip to find the file combined.bin.
  • Place board in bootloader mode:
    • Plug board into a USB port on your computer using a data/sync cable. Make sure it is the only board plugged in, and that a charge-only cable is not being used.
    • Press and hold down the BOOT or 0 button.
    • Press and release the RESET or RST button.
    • Release the BOOT button.
  • Upload combined.bin (Google Chrome 89 or newer):
    • Open ESP Web Flasher in a new window/tab.
    • Select 460800 Baud from the pull-down menu (top-right).
    • Click Connect (top-right).
    • Select the COM or Serial port from the pop-up window.
    • After successful connection, click Erase.
    • After successful erase, click any Choose a file..., then locate and select the combined.bin file unzipped earlier.
    • After successfully choosing combined.bin, click Program.
    • After the TinyUF2 firmware update is complete, press the RESET button on the board. A new drive BOOT should be visible in your file browser.

After installing the UF2 bootloader, enter the bootloader by double-clicking the reset button. On boards with an RGB status LED, tap reset once, wait for the LED to turn purple, and tap again before the purple goes away. On other boards, consult the board documentation.

After you update, check INFO_UF2.TXT to verify that the bootloader version has been updated. Then you will need to load or reload CircuitPython using the .uf2 file.