Adafruit QT Py ESP32-S3 4MB Flash/2MB PSRAM

by Adafruit

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The ESP32-S3 has arrived in QT Py format - and what a great way to get started with this powerful new chip from Espressif! With dual 240 MHz cores, WiFi and BLE support, and native USB, this QT Py is great for powering your IoT projects. Now we even have this powerhouse of a board with built in 2 Megabytes of PSRAM for when you need to buffer large datasets in memory.

The ESP32-S3 is a highly-integrated, low-power, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi System-on-Chip (SoC) solution that now has WiFi and BLE support, 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.

With native USB and 4 MB Flash + 2 MB PSRAM, this board will let you upgrade your existing ESP32 projects. Native USB means it can act like a keyboard or a disk drive, and no external USB-to-Serial converter required. WiFi and BLE mean it’s awesome for IoT projects.

OLEDs! Inertial Measurement Units! Sensors a-plenty. All plug-and-play thanks to the innovative chainable design: SparkFun Qwiic-compatible STEMMA QT connectors for the I2C bus, so you don’t even need to solder! Just plug in a compatible cable and attach it to your MCU of choice, and you’re ready to load up some software and measure some light. Seeed Grove I2C boards will also work with this adapter cable.

Pinout and shape are Seeed Xiao compatible, with castellated pads, so you can solder it flat to a PCB. In addition to the QT connector, we also added an RGB NeoPixel (with controllable power pin to allow for ultra-low-power usage), a reset button (great for restarting your program or entering the bootloader), and a button on GPIO 0 for entering the ROM bootloader or for user input

The ESP32-S3 has a dual-core 240 MHz chip, so it is comparable to ESP32’s dual-core. However, there is no Bluetooth Classic support, only Bluetooth LE. This chip is a great step up from the earlier ESP32-S2! This ESP32-S3 chip we are using on the QT Py comes with 4 MB flash, 2 MB PSRAM, and 512KB of SRAM, so it’s perfect for use with CircuitPython support even when massive buffers are needed. It’s also great for use in ESP-IDF or with Arduino support.

Technical details

  • Same size, form factor, and pin-out as Seeed Xiao
  • USB Type C connector - If you have only Micro B cables, this adapter will come in handy!
  • ESP32-S3 Dual Core 240MHz Tensilica processor - the next generation of ESP32-Sx, with native USB, so it can act like a keyboard/mouse, MIDI device, disk drive, etc!
  • Comes with 4MB Flash, 512KB SRAM, 2MB PSRAM
  • Native USB supported by every OS - can be used in Arduino or CircuitPython as USB serial console, MIDI, Keyboard/Mouse HID, and even a little disk drive for storing Python scripts.
  • Can be used with Arduino IDE or CircuitPython
  • Built-in RGB NeoPixel LED with power control to reduce quiescent power in deep sleep
  • Battery input pads on underside with diode protection for external battery packs up to 6V input
  • 13 GPIO pins:
    • 11 on breakout pads, 2 more on QT connector
    • 10 x 12-bit analog inputs (SPI high-speed pads do not have analog inputs)
    • PWM outputs on any pin
    • Two I2C ports, one on the breakout pads and another with STEMMA QT plug-n-play connector
    • Hardware UART
    • Hardware SPI on the high-speed SPI peripheral pins
    • Hardware I2S on any pins
    • 5 x Capacitive Touch with no additional components required
  • 3.3V regulator with 600mA peak output
  • Light sleep at 2~4mA, deep sleep at ~70uA
  • Reset switch for starting your project code over, boot 0 button for entering bootloader mode
  • Really really small

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CircuitPython 9.1.0

This is the latest stable release of CircuitPython that will work with the Adafruit QT Py ESP32-S3 4MB Flash/2MB PSRAM.

Use this release if you are new to CircuitPython.

Release Notes for 9.1.0

Built-in modules available: _asyncio, _pixelmap, adafruit_bus_device, adafruit_pixelbuf, aesio, alarm, analogbufio, analogio, array, atexit, audiobusio, audiocore, audiomixer, audiomp3, binascii, bitbangio, bitmaptools, board, builtins, builtins.pow3, busdisplay, busio, busio.SPI, busio.UART, canio, codeop, collections, countio, digitalio, displayio, epaperdisplay, errno, espidf, espnow, espulp, fontio, fourwire, framebufferio, frequencyio, getpass, gifio, hashlib, i2cdisplaybus, io, ipaddress, jpegio, json, keypad, keypad.KeyMatrix, keypad.Keys, keypad.ShiftRegisterKeys, keypad_demux, keypad_demux.DemuxKeyMatrix, locale, math, max3421e, mdns, memorymap, microcontroller, msgpack, neopixel_write, nvm, onewireio, os, os.getenv, ps2io, pulseio, pwmio, rainbowio, random, re, rgbmatrix, rotaryio, rtc, sdcardio, select, sharpdisplay, socketpool, ssl, storage, struct, supervisor, synthio, sys, terminalio, time, touchio, traceback, ulab, usb, usb_cdc, usb_hid, usb_midi, vectorio, warnings, 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. These releases are even newer than the development release listed above. Try them if you want the absolute latest and are feeling daring or want to see if a problem has been fixed.

Previous Versions of CircuitPython

All previous releases of CircuitPython are available for download from Amazon S3 through the button below. For very old releases, look in the OLD/ folder for each board. Release notes for each release are available at GitHub button below.

Older releases are useful for testing if you something appears to be broken in a newer release but used to work, or if you have older code that depends on features only available in an older release. Otherwise we recommend using the latest stable release.

Install, Repair, or Update UF2 Bootloader

Latest version: 0.18.2

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.