2020 is almost over. It’s that time of the year to reflect about what we’ve achieved (or not) throughout this year and set our milestones for next year.
In this article, we’ll share the most important highlights on the Random Nerd Tutorials and Maker Advisor blogs throughout 2020. We’ll also share some random things about our personal lives that marked this year.
Summary of 2020 – Most Popular
Here’s a quick summary of the most popular content in 2020:
- Project: ESP32 IoT Shield PCB with Dashboard for Outputs and Sensors
- YouTube Video: ESP-NOW with ESP32 EXPLAINED: Easiest Wireless Communication Between Boards
- Review (Maker Advisor): Hantek 3 in 1: Oscilloscope, Multimeter and Signal Generator
- Favorite Tool (Maker Advisor): Cordless Electric Screwdriver – Wowstick 1F+ 69 in 1 from XIAOMI
During this Year…
In 2020 we’ve published a total of 97 new projects and guides! This was by far the year that we’ve published the highest number of projects. This means that we were able to consistently publish an average of 2 tutorials per week.
Creating and writing new tutorials every week is not easy, it takes a lot of time and effort. We’re really proud of this. This was also the year that our website received more visitors. Random Nerd Tutorials keeps growing consistently every year and we must thank you for that.
When it comes to our video content, this was the year that we’ve published less videos (only eight videos). We’re always thinking about creating new videos, but we end up focusing more in written content.
We reflect about this topic every year and we weren’t able to improve. Nonetheless, I think the videos published throughout this year are much better quality (structure, video editing, etc.) compared to our videos from previous years. Visit our YouTube channel and see what you think: Random Nerd Tutorials YouTube Channel.
Top 5 Projects 2020
These were the 5 most popular projects published in 2020:
This project shows how to build an IoT shield PCB for the ESP32 and a web server dashboard to control it. The shield is equipped with a BME280 sensor, an LDR, a PIR motion sensor, a status LED, a pushbutton and a terminal socket to connect a relay module or any other output.
In this project you’ll learn how to host an ESP32 web server and use ESP-NOW communication protocol at the same time. You can have several ESP32 boards sending sensor readings via ESP-NOW to one ESP32 receiver that displays all readings on a web server.
In this project you’ll create a PCB shield for the ESP32-CAM AI-Thinker board with a PIR motion sensor, a BME280 temperature, humidity and pressure sensor and some additional exposed pins. We create a Telegram bot for the ESP32-CAM that allows you to control your board from anywhere to request a photo, sensor readings or control the flash. Additionally, you’ll receive a notification with a new photo whenever motion is detected.
This tutorial shows how to use Server-Sent Events (SSE) in an ESP32 Web Server programmed with Arduino IDE. SSE allows the browser to receive automatic updates from a server via HTTP connection. This is useful to send updated sensor readings to the browser, for example. Whenever a new reading is available, the ESP32 sends it to the client and the web page can be updated automatically without the need to make additional requests.
Learn how to use ESP-MESH networking protocol to build a mesh network with the ESP32 and ESP8266 NodeMCU boards. ESP-MESH allows multiple devices (nodes) to communicate with each other under a single wireless local area network. It is supported on the ESP32 and ESP8266 boards.
Most Popular Project Video 2020
The most popular video published in 2020 was about ESP-NOW communication protocol.
ESP-NOW is a fast connectionless communication protocol developed by Espressif that features short packet transmission and allows multiple boards to exchange data without using Wi-Fi. Learn how to establish a two-way communication between two ESP32 boards using ESP-NOW.
You can watch the video below:
New eBooks Released
This year we’ve created and launched two new eBooks.
Build ESP32-CAM Projects using Arduino IDE
We’ve published this new eBook in March: “Build ESP32-CAM Projects using Arduino IDE“. As the name suggests, it covers building projects with the ESP32-CAM. It includes 20 projects using Arduino IDE on these topics: photo capture, web servers, email notifications, video streaming, car robot, pan and tilt server, face detection, face recognition and much more.
Build Web Servers with ESP32 and ESP8266
This year we’ve re-structured our RNT blog to make it easier to find all our projects and we’ve received a lot of positive feedback!
Here’s our new project pages:
- ESP32 Projects (Arduino IDE)
- ESP8266 Projects (Arduino IDE)
- ESP32/ESP8266 Projects (MicroPython)
- ESP32-CAM Projects
- Arduino board Projects
We recommend bookmarking all the preceding pages which will help you find all our electronics projects and tutorials quickly!
There’s also another cool feature added to our website. When you open any project on a desktop or laptop computer, you can use the left sidebar to browse fast each project category.
Monthly Wrap Ups
The monthly wrap up was something new that we’ve introduced this year. At the beginning of each month you can receive an email with a wrap up with all the new content published in the blog.
We received a lot of good feedback about our monthly wrap ups and that’s something that we’ll continue doing from now on.
Maker Advisor – Wrap Up 2020
For those of you who don’t know, Maker Advisor is our other website were you’ll find reviews about development boards, tools and gear for your electronics lab. That’s also where we show where you can buy your electronics components for your projects (check the Tools page).
This was the year that we’ve published less reviews on Maker Advisor. The number is so small that I won’t even mention it. Nonetheless, we always try to keep all our previous reviews updated.
Our favorite tool this year is the Cordless Electric Screwdriver – Wowstick 1F+ 69 in 1 from XIAOMI, which in our opinion, is one of the Best Cordless Electric Screwdriver for its value. It comes with a wide variety of bits with many shapes and sizes. It works incredibly well and looks very professional with a modern design.
Most Popular Review
The most popular review published on Maker Advisor this year was the Hantek 3 in 1: Oscilloscope, Multimeter and Signal Generator Review. This tool combines an oscilloscope, a digital multimeter and a signal generator.
We’ve also created a video for this review that you can watch below.
New Development Boards
We’ve also reviewed and experimented several new development boards. Here’s the list:
- TTGO T-Camera Plus ESP32
- TTGO T-Journal ESP32 Camera
- ESP32 with Built-in SX1276 LoRa and SSD1306 OLED Display
- ESP32 TTGO T-Camera with PIR Sensor and OLED Display Board
- ESP32 Camera Dev Boards Review and Comparison
Upcoming Content for 2021
We are always thinking about what’s the next thing we’ll write about. We have so many things in our to-do list that it is difficult to decide what’s the next topic we will write about.
Next year, we intend to cover some of the following topics:
- WiFiManager using the AsyncWebServer Library;
- ESP-MESH tutorials;
- And much more…
We’re still not sure if we should start creating Raspberry Pi related projects. What do you think? What topics would you like to be covered here on the blog? Let us know in the comments’ section. You decide which topics will be covered next year.
Special Thanks to PCBWay
We would like to thank our sponsor PCBWay for supporting our work. PCBWay is a full feature Printed Circuit Board manufacturing service and they have been providing free PCBs for our projects.
PCBWay service is really good and fast, and the PCBs have great quality. If you buy your PCBs from PCBWay using our links, you are supporting our work.
Here’s a list of projects we’ve built this year using PCBWay service:
- ESP32 Weather Station Interface PCB Shield (Temperature, Humidity, Pressure, Date and Time)
- ESP32 IoT Shield PCB with Dashboard for Outputs and Sensors
- ESP32-CAM with Telegram: Take Photos, Control Outputs, Request Sensor Readings and Motion Notifications
This year we bought an RV and explored our country (Portugal). Getting an RV was something that we were thinking about for a long time. One of our neighbors was selling his RV for a great price and in great condition, so this was the perfect chance for us to get one.
We know that some of our readers also love RVs, so we thought it would be nice to share with you some things about this topic in our yearly wrap up.
In July, we prepared some projects in advance and took a few weeks off. We still had to work while travelling like publishing new projects, answer your emails and questions, etc. We may have taken a little longer than usual to answer your requests during our holiday.
Next year, we plan to explore other European countries in our RV. We’ll keep posting new projects, don’t worry.
This was one of the years that we worked the hardest. We hope to have provided lots of project ideas to keep you entertained. We also learned a lot this year, because when you teach something you end up learning ten times more.
Additionally, we would like to say a special thanks to:
- Steve Mercer and Stéphane Calderoni for their active role on the RNTLAB forum;
- Stéphane Calderoni for his tutorials. You can check his projects here. His WebSockets tutorial inspired us to create the “Build Web Servers with ESP32 and ESP8266″ eBook.
- Andrew R. Sass for the ESP32-CAM Web Server with OpenCV.js: Color Detection and Tracking tutorial.
- Nick McCloud for his future collaboration in LoRaWAN projects.
- And many others that have noticed typos, bugs in our code and suggested improvements to our tutorials. With everyone helping we can create better content.
Lastly, we would like to thank ALL our readers, subscribers and followers for supporting our work.
Happy new year and we wish everyone a better 2021!
Rui & Sara