Easy Basics: Project 072r ESP32 Development board - GPIO pins guide

of Acoptex.com in ESP8266 ESP-32

Basics: Project 072r

Project name: ESP32 Development board - GPIO pins guide

Tags: ESP32 Dev Module, ESP32 development board, ESP32 Development board with WiFi and Bluetooth, ESP32-DevKitC V4 development board, ESP-WROOM-32 module with ESP32‑D0WDQ6 chip, Espressif Systems, ESP32-based development board, ESP32 modules, ESP32-WROOM-32, ESP32-WROOM-32U, ESP32-WROOM-32D, ESP32-SOLO-1, USB-UART bridge, IOT, ESP-WROOM-32 Dev Module, ESP32 DEVKITV1, GPIO pins guide, pinout, which pins to use, GPIO pins to use

In this project, you need these parts :

1. ESP32 development board with WiFi and Bluetooth and USB A / micro USB B cable 1 pc

2.Arduino IDE ( you can download it from here  )


There are a lot of different development boards made. You can find more information about them here

The ESP32 development board has 48 pins with multiple functions. There are some pins that cannot be used in all ESP32 development boards. There are a lot of discusions on how to use the ESP32 development boards GPIOs -Which pins to use? What pins do I need to avoid using in my projects? This project is the simple and easy ESP32 GPIO pins guide.

The ESP32 peripherals include:

  • 18 Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) channels
  • 3 SPI interfaces
  • 3 UART interfaces
  • 2 I2C interfaces
  • 16 PWM output channels
  • 2 Digital-to-Analog Converters (DAC)
  • 2 I2S interfaces
  • 10 Capacitive sensing GPIOs
The Analog to digital converter (ADC) and Digital to analog converter (DAC) features are assigned to specific static pins. However, you can decide which pins are UART, I2C, SPI, PWM and so on – just assign them in the code. This is possible due to the ESP32 chip’s multiplexing feature.
You can define the pins properties on the software too. There are pins assigned by default as shown in the following figure (this is an example, the pin location can change depending on the manufacturer). Let's check our development board - ESP32 DEVKITV1 with ESP-WROOM-32 module from Espressif Systems:

Pinout diagram for the ESP Wroom 32 breakout:

As you can see there are pins with specific features that make them suitable or not for your project. 

Input pins

GPIOs 34 to 39 are GPIs – input pins. These pins don’t have internal pull-ups or pull-down resistors. They can’t be used as outputs:

  • GPIO 34
  • GPIO 35
  • GPIO 36
  • GPIO 37
  • GPIO 38
  • GPIO 39

SPI flash integrated on the ESP-WROOM-32

The pins GPIO 6 to GPIO 11 are exposed in some ESP32 development boards. However, these pins are connected to the integrated SPI flash on the ESP-WROOM-32 chip and are not recommended for other uses. Don’t use these pins in your projects:

  • GPIO 6 (SCK/CLK)
  • GPIO 7 (SDO/SD0)
  • GPIO 8 (SDI/SD1)
  • GPIO 9 (SHD/SD2)
  • GPIO 10 (SWP/SD3)
  • GPIO 11 (CSC/CMD)

Capacitive touch GPIOs

The ESP32 has 10 internal capacitive touch sensors. These can sense variations in anything that holds an electrical charge, like the human skin. So they can detect variations induced when touching the GPIOs with a finger. These pins can be easily integrated into capacitive pads, and replace mechanical buttons. The capacitive touch pins can also be used to wake up the ESP32 from deep sleep.
Those internal touch sensors are connected to these GPIOs:

  • T0 (GPIO 4)
  • T1 (GPIO 0)
  • T2 (GPIO 2)
  • T3 (GPIO 15)
  • T4 (GPIO 13)
  • T5 (GPIO 12)
  • T6 (GPIO 14)
  • T7 (GPIO 27)
  • T8 (GPIO 33)
  • T9 (GPIO 32)

Analog to Digital Converter (ADC)

The ESP32 has 18 x 12 bits ADC input channels (while the ESP8266 only has 1x 10 bits ADC). These are the GPIOs that can be used as ADC and respective channels:

  • ADC1_CH0 (GPIO 36)
  • ADC1_CH1 (GPIO 37)
  • ADC1_CH2 (GPIO 38)
  • ADC1_CH3 (GPIO 39)
  • ADC1_CH4 (GPIO 32)
  • ADC1_CH5 (GPIO 33)
  • ADC1_CH6 (GPIO 34)
  • ADC1_CH7 (GPIO 35)
  • ADC2_CH0 (GPIO 4)
  • ADC2_CH1 (GPIO 0)
  • ADC2_CH2 (GPIO 2)
  • ADC2_CH3 (GPIO 15)
  • ADC2_CH4 (GPIO 13)
  • ADC2_CH5 (GPIO 12)
  • ADC2_CH6 (GPIO 14)
  • ADC2_CH7 (GPIO 27)
  • ADC2_CH8 (GPIO 25)
  • ADC2_CH9 (GPIO 26)

The ADC input channels have a 12 bit resolution. This means that you can get analog readings ranging from 0 to 4095, in which 0 corresponds to 0V and 4095 to 3.3V. You also have the ability to set the resolution of your channels on the code, as well as the ADC range.

The ESP32 ADC pins don’t have a linear behavior. You’ll probably won’t be able to distinguish between 0 and 0.1V, or between 3.2 and 3.3V. You need to keep that in mind when using the ADC pins.

Digital to Analog Converter (DAC)

There are 2 x 8 bits DAC channels on the ESP32 to convert digital signals into analog voltage signal outputs. These are the DAC channels:

  • DAC1 (GPIO25)
  • DAC2 (GPIO26)


There is RTC GPIO support on the ESP32. The GPIOs routed to the RTC low-power subsystem can be used when the ESP32 is in deep sleep. These RTC GPIOs can be used to wake up the ESP32 from deep sleep when the Ultra Low Power (ULP) co-processor is running. The following GPIOs can be used as an external wake up source.

  • RTC_GPIO0 (GPIO36)
  • RTC_GPIO3 (GPIO39)
  • RTC_GPIO4 (GPIO34)
  • RTC_GPIO5 (GPIO35)
  • RTC_GPIO6 (GPIO25)
  • RTC_GPIO7 (GPIO26)
  • RTC_GPIO8 (GPIO33)
  • RTC_GPIO9 (GPIO32)
  • RTC_GPIO10 (GPIO4)
  • RTC_GPIO11 (GPIO0)
  • RTC_GPIO12 (GPIO2)
  • RTC_GPIO13 (GPIO15)
  • RTC_GPIO14 (GPIO13)
  • RTC_GPIO15 (GPIO12)
  • RTC_GPIO16 (GPIO14)
  • RTC_GPIO17 (GPIO27)


The ESP32 LED PWM controller has 16 independent channels that can be configured to generate PWM signals with different properties. All pins that can act as outputs can be used as PWM pins (GPIOs 34 to 39 can’t generate PWM).

To set a PWM signal, you need to define these parameters in the code:

  • Signal’s frequency;
  • Duty cycle;
  • PWM channel;
  • GPIO where you want to output the signal.


When using the ESP32 with the Arduino IDE, you should use the ESP32 I2C default pins (supported by the Wire library):

  • GPIO 21 (SDA)
  • GPIO 22 (SCL)


By default, the pin mapping for SPI is:


All GPIOs can be configured as interrupts.

Enable (EN)

Enable (EN) is the 3.3V regulator’s enable pin. It’s pulled up, so connect to ground to disable the 3.3V regulator. This means that you can use this pin connected to a pushbutton to restart your ESP32, for example.

GPIO current drawn

The absolute maximum current drawn per GPIO is 12mA, but the recommend in normal usage it should be 6mA.

Other projects of Acoptex.com
Easy Raspberry basics: Project 26a Raspberry PI Zero W board - Enable SSH of Acoptex.com in Raspberry Pi Zero W 07-01-2019
Easy Raspberry basics: Project 24a Raspberry PI Zero W board - Apache web server of Acoptex.com in Raspberry Pi Zero W 05-01-2019

« Go back to category
Is this project fake? Report it!   
Recommend to a friend
Published at 31-08-2018
Viewed: 440 times