Meet the Raspberry Pi Pico: a $ 4 ARM microcontroller



The Raspberry Pi Foundation today announced the Raspberry Pi Pico, the company’s first microcontroller. Like other Raspberry Pi products, the new Raspberry Pi Pico is incredibly affordable at just $ 4, but it features the Foundation’s first custom chip: the RP2040.

When designing the RP2040, the Raspberry Pi Foundation set three goals. They wanted the chip to have high performance to handle entire workloads, flexible I / O options to support most external devices, and low cost to reduce the barrier to entry. What they designed is two square millimeters, is manufactured on a 40nm process node, and features a dual-core ARM Cortex-M0 + processor with 264KB of on-chip RAM. QFN-56 7x7mm package also contains multiple I / O options, 2MB flash memory, power chip supporting input voltages 1.8-5.5V, one button- push button and a single LED.

RP2040 specifications

  • Dual core Cortex-M0 + arm at 133 MHz
  • 264 KB (remember the kilobytes?) Of on-chip RAM
  • Supports up to 16MB of off-chip flash memory via dedicated QSPI bus
  • DMA controller
  • Interpolator and integer divisor devices
  • 30 GPIO pins, 4 of which can be used as analog inputs
  • 2 × UART, 2 × SPI controllers and 2 × I2C controllers
  • 16 × PWM channels
  • 1 × USB 1.1 and PHY controller, with host and device support
  • 8 × Raspberry Pi PIO state machines (programmable I / O)
  • USB mass storage boot mode with UF2 support, for drag and drop programming

The Raspberry Pi Pico is programmable in C / C ++ and MicroPython, and the Raspberry Pi Foundation provides a full C SDK, GCC-based toolchain, and Visual Studio Code integration. Interestingly, there is even a port of TensorFlow Lite available, in case you want to run machine learning programs on the Pico.

For $ 4, the Raspberry Pi Pico with its RP2040 chip has a lot to offer. If you’re looking to build a simple project at home to control your devices, the Pi Pico seems like an easy, inexpensive way to get into microcontroller programming.

You can view the full board specs, datasheet, pinout diagram, on-device boot ROM, and other documents on the Raspberry Pi Foundation website. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has also put together a book to teach beginners how to get started with MicroPython on the new Pi Pico. You can purchase the Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller and ship it starting today from any authorized Raspberry Pi reseller. If you are a subscriber to HackSpace magazine, you will receive a free Pico with the February issue.

    Raspberry Pi Pico

    The Raspberry Pi Pico is a $ 4 microcontroller board with Raspberry’s internal ARM-based RP2040 chip. It is programmable in C and MicroPython and offers I / O options such as I2C, SPI and PIO.

You can also get one of the other cheap boards from Adafruit, Arduino, Pimoroni or Sparkfun that use the RP2040 silicon platform.


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