The DIY computer firm Raspberry Pi has announced its first microcontroller-class product, the Raspberry Pi Pico. The company said that the new $4 product is based on the RP2040 chip which it developed and that it’s ideal for “deep-embedded development” or as a companion to your Raspberry Pi computer.
The new microcontroller is available for purchase now from one of Raspberry Pi’s approved retailers which can be found over on the product’s page. Alternatively, you can buy a copy of HackSpace #39 which comes with a free Pico as well as guides and tutorials that you can follow along with to put your new hardware to use.
Discussing the RP2040, Raspberry Pi said that it had three design goals: high performance, flexible I/O and low cost. The Raspberry Pi Pico was described by the company as the RP2040’s “low-cost breakout board” and pairs the RP2040 with 2MB of memory. The specs for the Pico are:
- RP2040 microcontroller chip designed by Raspberry Pi
- Dual-core Arm Cortex M0+ processor, flexible clock running up to 133 MHz
- 264KB of SRAM, and 2MB of on-board Flash memory
- Castellated module allows soldering direct to carrier boards
- USB 1.1 with device and host support
- Low-power sleep and dormant modes
- Drag-and-drop programming using mass storage over USB
- 26 × multi-function GPIO pins
- 2 × SPI, 2 × I2C, 2 × UART, 3 × 12-bit ADC, 16 × controllable PWM channels
- Accurate clock and timer on-chip
- Temperature sensor
- Accelerated floating-point libraries on-chip
- 8 × Programmable I/O (PIO) state machines for custom peripheral support
If you’re a beginner wondering what to do with the device, the Pico Getting Started page can help you to begin writing MicroPython and C code that can be executed on the Pico. The creator of MicroPython, Damien George, worked with Raspberry Pi to build a polished port for the RP2040 that exposes all of the chip’s hardware features. Support for RP2040 MicroPython was also added to the Thonny IDE by Aivar Annamaa.
If you’ve never bought anything from Raspberry Pi but you’re curious about their products, the Pico seems like a really good place to start with its very low price tag.