ESP8266 Deep Sleep Energy Saving

After reading many post of people getting months of ESP8266 running time off batteries I decided to set up my own to see why my battery life was terrible:

Node MCU ESP8266 (CH349G Serial Chip, AMS1117 Voltage Regulator)
LiPo Battery: 2S 850mAh (7.4V)
ADS1115 ADC (to measure voltage, 500K Voltage divider)

Test setup:
Two ESP8266 setups were completed, one ESP was standard and the other had the LED and Serial Chip disconnected to conserve Battery.

Test Program:
ESP Wake every 20 seconds (with radio disabled)
Take voltage reading and store in RTC memory
Deep Sleep
Every 5 minutes (15 wake cycles)
Take voltage reading
Connect to network and transmit all data to Influx Database.
Disconnect from network
Deep Sleep

You can see from the below screenshot the battery voltage over the duration of the test:

Unmodified ESP8266:
Time from 8.36V to 7.28V (97% to 7% of Li-Po capacity) was 87hrs and 20mins (3.6 Days)

Modified ESP8266: (No LED or Serial Chip)
Time from 8.36V to 7.28V (97% to 7% of Li-Po capacity) was 101hrs and 16mins (4.2 Days)

Months of usage seem far from achievable with a minimal setup and all precautions taken. Actually the ESP seems pretty unusable on a battery for anything more than a measurement every few hours.

Further Improvements:
The stock voltage regulator is a known power drain, an alternative is recommended but I did not get around to that yet.

That’s it!

InfluxDB Backup Database (2 methods)

It makes sense to periodically backup InfluxDB to an external drive in-case of corruption of onboard memory. I am using a USB memory stick.

A simple cronjob can take care of this (every night 2am), open Crontab:

sudo crontab -e

and insert the below line: (change for your storage device)

0 2 * * * influxd backup -portable /media/usb/drive

Backup names start with the date it was generated but it can get messy after a few weeks.

Long term its better to run a backup script to put backups in individual directories and catch errors etc., create a python file for this and use the below example:

nano /home/pi/influx_scripts/
import os
from datetime import date

today =

d1 = today.strftime("%Y_%m_%d")
print("Date", d1)

command = "mkdir /media/usb-backup/" + d1

command = "influxd backup -portable /media/usb-backup/" + d1

command = "kapacitor backup /media/usb-backup/"+d1+"/kapacitor.db"
os.system("echo Backups Done!")
sudo crontab -e
0 2 * * * python /home/pi/influx_scripts/

You can keep an eye on the USB memory stick size by the below snip of script which can be logged to InfluxDB. A Grafana alarm keeps an eye on the size and alerts if getting close to capacity.

if [ -d "$DIRECTORY" ]; then
    usb_mem_usage=$(du -s $DIRECTORY | awk 'NR==1{print $1}')
echo $usb_mem_usage

All done!

Setup HTTPS for Grafana

By default Grafana operates over HTTP but for added security you can operate over HTTPS. For my use case I am using a self generated certificate as not using a public domain.

Generate Keys: (a key.pem and files will be generated)

openssl req -newkey rsa:2048 -new -nodes -x509 -days 3650 -keyout key.pem -out cert.pem

Put the keys in /home/pi/ directory. It did not work for me in the /etc/grafana/ directory.

sudo mv cert.pem /home/pi/
sudo mv key.pem /home/pi/

Change permissions of the keys:

sudo chmod -R 777 /home/pi/cert.pem
sudo chmod -R 777 /home/pi/key.pem 

Edit Grafana Config File:

sudo nano /etc/grafana/grafana.ini

Ensure the server protocol is updated and the key locations listed:

# Protocol (http, https, socket)
protocol = https

# https certs & key file
cert_file = /home/pi/cert.pem
cert_key = /home/pi/key.pem

Reboot system and all done!