dev builds
themes manual
device status forums
mailing lists
IRC bugs
dev guide

Rockbox mail archive

Subject: Re: Rockbox on an ESP32?

Re: Rockbox on an ESP32?

From: David Mehler via rockbox <>
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2023 08:17:51 -0400


Thank you everyone for your replies. Here's my end goal, I want to get
in to DIY electronics projects, and I saw an article where a guy made
a custom mp3 player with an ESP32 and 3d-printed a case. This got me
thinking that since the players I like are either getting difficult to
find, or prohibitively expensive, why not try that with rockbox?

Solomon, from what your saying it definitely sounds like a lot of
effort for a gasping player if the ESP32 was chosen, which is well
over-my-head now, and I wouldn't want something gasping.

What about some of the rk SOC boards, the 32xx or 33xx series?

I really like the Raspberry Pi 0 though, I think that's a great idea.
How hard do you think it would be to pull that off? I can do the work,
I probably will have questions, but I think using the Pi 0 as the
basis for a custom-made mp3 player, with rockbox, much cheaper than
some of the offerings out there now.


On 4/1/23, Solomon Peachy via rockbox <> wrote:
> On Sat, Apr 01, 2023 at 12:29:27PM +0200, Michael Sparmann via rockbox
> wrote:
>> I wouldn't see why not - perhaps the RP2040 could also be a good
>> candidate?
> The ESP32 is doable, but just barely -- It has more than enough raw
> compute performance (dual cores _at_~250MHz) but where it falls flat is
> onboard RAM -- It only has 512K on-chip. While it can natively use up to
> 4MB of off-chip SPI-attached PSRAM, that comes at a signficant
> performance penalty.
> So while a simple port to an ESP32 is certianly possible, it's not going
> to yield great results compared to the current set of targets. With a
> lot of additional work, rockbox could be better adapted to handle the
> ESP32's limitations (eg directly execute plugins/codecs from flash) but
> I don't really see that as being worth the effort, especially when you
> consider the lack of a viable portable physical enclousure.
> TBH I think a RPi Zero (or some of its similar form-factor clones [0]) is a
> much better starting point, and they have far, far more capabilities than an
> ESP32, at the same rough price point.
> But circling back, the RP2040 is _way_ too limited -- The advertising
> copy says "plenty of fast on-chip RAM" but in reality that equates to
> just 264KB, an order of magnitude too little for a rockbox port [1] even
> if we re-architect rockbox to execute _all_ code from flash.
> 264KB is even less RAM than the RKNano and ATJ2137-based shovelware mp3
> players out there -- and those sport hardware codec engines!
> That's the problem with microcontrollers in general; even modern ones
> are very RAM limited, and only the highest-end units can work with
> external RAM. By the time you add that external RAM, the BOM cost and
> PCB footprint is such that you're probably better off with a more
> full-featured SoC such as what's on the RPi series, the various Ingenic
> parts we already run on, or Allwinner's FC100/V3 series. (Plus, if that
> "real" SoC runs Linux, a usable port requires relatively little software
> work!)
> [0]
> [1] Or at least a port of anything with sufficient features to be
> recognizable as rockbox.
> - Solomon
> --
> Solomon Peachy pizza at shaftnet dot org (email&xmpp)
> _at_pizza:shaftnet dot org (matrix)
> Dowling Park, FL speachy (
Received on 2023-04-01

Page template was last modified "Tue Sep 7 00:00:02 2021" The Rockbox Crew -- Privacy Policy