The use of the ESP8266 in the world of IoT

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By khoih-prog

You can install directly from Arduino Library Manager

This library enables you to use Interrupt from Hardware Timers on an ESP8266-based board.

Why do we need this Hardware Timer Interrupt?

Imagine you have a system with a mission-critical function, measuring water level and control the sump pump or doing something much more important. You normally use a software timer to poll, or even place the function in loop(). But what if another function is blocking the loop() or setup().

So your function might not be executed, and the result would be disastrous.

You'd prefer to have your function called, no matter what happening with other functions (busy loop, bug, etc.).

The correct choice is to use a Hardware Timer with Interrupt to call your function.

These hardware timers, using interrupt, still work even if other functions are blocking. Moreover, they are much more precise (certainly depending on clock frequency accuracy) than other software timers using millis() or micros(). That's necessary if you need to measure some data requiring better accuracy.

Functions using normal software timers, relying on loop() and calling millis(), won't work if the loop() or setup() is blocked by certain operation. For example, certain function is blocking while it's connecting to WiFi or some services.

The catch is your function is now part of an ISR (Interrupt Service Routine), and must be lean / mean, and follow certain rules. More to read on:

More useful Information

The ESP8266 timers are badly designed, using only 23-bit counter along with maximum 256 prescaler. They're only better than UNO / Mega.
The ESP8266 has two hardware timers, but timer0 has been used for WiFi and it's not advisable to use. Only timer1 is available.
The timer1's 23-bit counter terribly can count only up to 8,388,607. So the timer1 maximum interval is very short.
Using 256 prescaler, maximum timer1 interval is only 26.843542 seconds !!!

The timer1 counters can be configured to support automatic reload.

New from v1.0.2

Now with these new `16 ISR-based timers`, the maximum interval is practically unlimited (limited only by unsigned long miliseconds)
The accuracy is nearly perfect compared to software timers. The most important feature is they're ISR-based timers Therefore, their executions are not blocked by bad-behaving functions / tasks. This important feature is absolutely necessary for mission-critical tasks.

The `ISR_Timer_Complex` example will demonstrate the nearly perfect accuracy compared to software timers by printing the actual elapsed millisecs of each type of timers.
Being ISR-based timers, their executions are not blocked by bad-behaving functions / tasks, such as connecting to WiFi, Internet and Blynk services. You can also have many (up to 16) timers to use.
This non-being-blocked important feature is absolutely necessary for mission-critical tasks.
You'll see blynkTimer Software is blocked while system is connecting to WiFi / Internet / Blynk, as well as by blocking task in loop(), using delay() function as an example. The elapsed time then is very unaccurate