SparkFun Launches the Multi-Function Thing Plus ESP32-C6 with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and IEEE 802.15.4

Covering three wireless connectivity options and with flexible pin mapping for most peripherals, this RISC-V Thing Plus impresses.

SparkFun has launched a new entry in the Thing Plus family, built around an Espressif ESP32-C6 module — offering a microcontroller core built around the free and open source RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) and a radio block supporting Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, and IEEE 802.15.4.

"Packed with cutting-edge technology and housed in a compact, user-friendly footprint, the SparkFun ESP32-C6 Thing Plus empowers your wireless creations like never before," claims SparkFun's Chris McCarty of the latest entry in the range. "At its heart lies the powerful ESP32-C6 WROOM-1-N16 module from Espressif, boasting a RISC-V single-core processor, more than enough flash memory, and a diverse selection of wireless connectivity options."

SparkFun's latest Thing Plus packs Espressif's RISC-V-based ESP32-C6 at its heart. (📹: SparkFun)

Designed specifically for projects involving the Internet of Things, the ESP32-C6 as the new board's heart features a single 32-bit RISC-V core — coming, as it did, after Espressif announced a shift away from proprietary architectures — and a radio capable of single-band 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, and IEEE 802.15.4 connectivity, the latter covering both Zigbee and Thread, along with 16MB of flash storage.

There are 23 general-purpose input/output (GPIO) spread across both long edges of the board's breadboard-friendly layout, which include up to seven 12-bit analog to digital converter (ADC) channels, SPI, two UART and one low-power UART buses, one I2C and one low-power I2C buses, pulse-width modulation (PWM), and I2S connectivity. "Many of these peripherals," McCarty notes, "can be mapped to any GPIO pin, though some are tied to specific pins."

As an official Thing Plus board, there's no surprise to find extra connectivity too: a two-pin JST connector leading to a Microchip MCP73831 battery charger and Analog Devices MAX17048 fuel gauge for an optional lithium-polymer battery, a four-pin Qwiic connector for solderless expansion, a microSD Card slot for local storage, USB Type-C for data and power, and a user-addressable WS2821 RGB LED.

The SparkFun Thing Plus ESP32-C6 board is now available on the company's web store for $19.95 before volume discounts. The company is also stocking the ESP32-C6-WROOM-1 as a bare module, priced at $4.25 with 16MB of flash storage, and the more compact ESP32-C6-MINI-1 module with 4MB at $4.95.

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