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What Makes the Raspberry Pi Pico Different?

What Makes the Raspberry Pi Pico Different?

The Raspberry Pi Pico is one of the newer boards in the Raspberry Pi family and is considerably different to the rest of the boards. It uses the Raspberry Pi Foundations new RP2040 chip which features an Arm Cortex based processor meaning the Pico is more like a standard microcontroller. The lack of peripheral connections and WiFi connectivity means it's also the smallest and cheapest Raspberry Pi board to date costing under £4.

Raspberry Pi Pico - Component

It's an extremely versitile little board. Designed for everyone, from beginners learning to code to engineers creating embedded industrial applications. The board doesn't use flashy Linux operating systems, its programmable in both C and MicroPython using your favourite IDEs.

The RP2040 microcontroller chip

A small, cheap and user friendly microcontroller chip designed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. The RP2040 features a Arm Cortex-M0+ clocking in at up to 133MHz with 256kb of internal RAM and has a variety of I/O options including the standard I2C, SPI and programmable I/O pins. The chip itself is available for purchase seperately, offering makers the chance to to add the RP2040 to their designs and take advantage of the chips high performance, low cost and ease of use.

Raspberry Pi RP2040 Microcontroller Chip (Max 10 per customer) - Component

Connections

Unlike most other Raspberry Pi boards the Pico doesn't have a video or audio output. Aside from the USB programming/power port there are no other ports like you'd expect from a standard Pi except for the boards pins. Which contain:

  • 26 x Multipurpose I/O pins
  • 2 x SPI pins
  • 2 x I2C pins
  • 2 x UART pins
  • 3 x 12-bit ADC pins
  • 16 x Controllable PWM channels

Pico R3 SDK11 Pinout

 

 What will you make with the Pico?

There's a wide range of products designed to expand the possible uses of the Pico and others that utilise the power of the RP2040 microcontroller chip. We'll link some of our favourites below.

Designed for the Raspberry Pi Pico:

 
Grove Starter Kit for Raspberry Pi Pico - Component
Maker Pi Pico Base (without Raspberry Pi Pico) - Component
Get Started with MicroPython on Raspberry Pi Pico - Component
Grove Starter Kit for Raspberry Pi Pico Maker Pi Pico Base Get Started with MicroPython on Pico

Designed Using the RP2040:

 
Pro Micro - RP2040 - Component
Feather RP2040 - Component
Seeeduino XIAO RP2040 - Component
Pro Micro - RP2040 Feather RP2040 Seeduino XIAO RP2040

 

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