DFRobot Brings RISC-V and Matter Compatibility to Its FireBeetle 2 Board with New ESP32-C6 Variant

Designed for smart home and other Internet of Things projects, this RISC-V board comes in at under $6.

Gareth Halfacree
5 months agoInternet of Things / HW101

DFRobot has launched a new FireBeetle 2, swapping out the original design's Espressif ESP32-S3 chip for the RISC-V-based ESP32-C6 — which brings with it support for Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax) alongside Bluetooth 5 and IEEE 802.15.4 connectivity.

"The FireBeetle 2 ESP32-C6 is a low-power IoT (Internet of Things) controller board designed based on the ESP32-C6 chip, making it suitable for smart home projects," DFRobot writes of the new model, brought to our attention by Linux Gizmos. "The ESP32-C6 features a high-performance 160MHz RISC-V 32-bit processor, supporting communication protocols such as Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, Zigbee 3.0, and Thread 1.3. This enables seamless integration into IoT networks with various communication protocols."

The original revision of the FireBeetle 2 launched in May last year, built around the Espressif ESP32-S3 — specifically, the ESP32-S3-WROOM-1-N16R8 module, offering a dual-core Tensilica Xtensa LX7 CPU running at up to 240MHz, 512kB of on-chip SRAM and 8MB of off-chip pseudo-static RAM (PSRAM), 384kb of on-chip flash and 16MB off-chip.

The ESP32-C6, by contrast, is a single-core part, ditching the proprietary Xtensa LX7 architecture for a core built around the open RISC-V architecture running at up to 160MHz.

The newer Espressif chip also includes 512kB of static RAM (SRAM), 320kB of flash plus 4MB off-chip, and 22 general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins including a 12-bit analog to digital converter (ADC) — of which 19 pins are brought out on the FireBeetle 2 board, to breadboard-friendly castellated headers also suitable for surface-mounting the device as a module.

Where DFRobot positioned the original FireBeetle as ideal for on-device machine learning, or tinyML, projects, the new model is proffered as a solution for the smart home — and the company's keen to point out the ESP32-C6's support for Espressif's Matter library, though Matter compatibility is reliant on connection to an external Matter gateway.

The board can also be used for portable projects, thanks to a battery connector and charging circuit with solar harvesting support, and includes a GDI connector for a display — though no camera connector this time around.

The FireBeetle 2 ESP32-C6 is now available on the DFRobot store for $5.90 before volume discounts, a considerable discount over the ESP32-S3 variant at $19.90 — a price which does, admittedly, including an Omnivision OV2640 camera sensor.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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