Raspberry Pi Pico: is it Good?


The Raspberry Pi Foundation always knows how to please or surprise us and push other manufacturers to make interesting steps and solutions for good competition.

On Thursday (fish day, by the way), January 21, 2021, a new microcontroller RP2040 and a small board using it, called Raspberry Pi Pico, were announced.

To be honest, I read this news and didn't plan to do anything about it. But then I accidentally noticed a few features of this microcontroller, which piqued my curiosity and prompted me to buy a couple of boards for further experiments. It was the PIO blocks and lots of PWM. In all fairness, PWM can be solved somehow, but PIO is worth playing around with.

Unfortunately, I have not mastered PIO well enough, so PIO features are beyond the scope of this article. But if it will be very interesting for the community, I may continue it after sharing something.

The Raspberry Pi Pico is a board with an RP2040 microcontroller.

Bear in mind it's not a PC running a grown-up OS like Linux. It's a microcontroller, and as such, the Pico has different uses than the Raspberry Pi Zero and other older Raspberry Pi family products.

Here are some of the specifications:

Two Arm Cortex-M0+ cores @ 133MHz
264 KB memory (284 KB if you disable XIP caching and use USB memory)
2MB flash memory with XIP caching. The RP2040 has no onboard flash memory, so the chip is soldered onto the board. The RP2040 has support for up to 16MB of external flash memory
DMA controller
4 x 12-bit analog inputs (3 are user-accessible on the Pico)
2 × UART
2 × SPI
2 × I2C
16 × PWM channels
Built-in temperature sensor
Total of 30 GPIO pins (3.3 volts)
MicroUSB B port with USB 1.1 controller and host support
2 × PIO blocks for their own interfaces
2 x PLL (one for USB, the other for the rest)
UF2 support for binary downloads
SWD support for loading and debugging
Support for hibernation and reduced frequency to reduce consumption


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