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By WanaGo
WanaGo wrote:I am in contact with AI Thinker at the moment. Ill ask them about this when I get a moment.
Discussing technical questions via one of their sales ladies, who has borderline English at best - taking longer than it should. Will ask once I get my questions sorted - one thing at a time, don't want to cloud the issue further!

I have 30 of those rounded corner ESP-12E's which I brought of Aliexpress. Will be getting some more from AI Thinker directly soon, as well as some ESP-06's, so will find out what is what, but I agree that they are likely to be an initial production run or something, and issues have since been corrected.

I have been speaking with one of the engineers at AI Thinker.
They are the largest manufacturer of ESP8266 modules in China, so they have been improving their modules since initial release, and sell a huge number. They go out to various distributors and suppliers, and traders, and stock ends up in their stores for varying amounts of time, so when you purchase from a random trader on ebay or Aliexpress, the stock they hold may be months old.
Some of the improvements they have made include the silkscreen which was found to have incorrect markings, as well as 'PCB Splicing' as they called it, which I believe to be how the modules are attached in the panels and separated. Previously they were held together with 'mouse bites' which are the connections with little holes which you snap the boards apart, but they now use v-grooving which allows the boards to be square. The mousebites were on the corners, which in turn led to the older boards having rounded corners due to the location of the holes.
They said they have corrected most mistakes with the ESP-12E's now, however the 'RF Matching' they said is still not as good as the Espressif's ESP-WROOM-02 modules. They have updated their design and have an ESP-12F coming out soon. They have been testing the ESP-12F in a 'microwave dark room' and it is performing very well they said. They will be applying for FCC and have CE compliance on it also, so I am told. It will be in production at the end of this month.

AI Thinker also produce the ESP-WROOM-02 under license for Espressif - Just FYI.

So - No Scam, No fakes, No copies, just progression from a company that is still improving. Its normal.

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By iwalker
#25646 Thank you very much WanaGo for this information.

* Would it be possible to obtain a picture of the latest generation of ESP module so members know what to look for ?
* Can Your contact confirm that all ESP12E modules come with 32 MByte flash ?
* Please invite your contact to the forum - Would be nice to have a representative from AI thinker.
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By gregware
#25768 Hi,
If you get anyone from AI-Thinker to talk to you (assuming you're a westerner), let us know :mrgreen: !

I have never ever found any communication from this company, their web site is chinese-only, and I would say that our small world of hobbyists-DYIer is not in their scope at all.

My feeling is that this is not out of carelessness on AI-Thinker's part, it's just that they do their stuff for the chinese market, they probably sell tons of ESP-XX boards to the chinese industry for integration in IoT devices, and we're the least of their concern.
It just happens that some of their boards are sold off to westerners on eBay or AliExpress by local folks alongside many gadgets, and on TaoBao for the internal hobbyist/entrepreneur market. They do not have a PR dept that will handle kids playing with their stuff as a hobby.
Fair enough.

In terms of electronics, there are many chips out there that we do not have access to, ESP-8266 has been an exception for incidental reasons. Lookup the GongKai article there for background...
See my other post on this some time ago: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1124

That's just a feeling, right, I may be wrong, and I welcome a debate, or even better, hard facts on the matter. Anyone reading chinese better than google could tell us what goes on on AI-Thinker website?