When the Raspberry Pi Pico arrived in late January 2021, few realised simply how fashionable the $4 microcontroller would change into. In a transfer which disrupted the established order, Raspberry Pi launched its personal microcontroller, the RP2040 and partnered with Arduino, Adafruit, Pimoroni and SparkFun to launch a plethora of various boards primarily based round this chip. The continuing chip scarcity hasn’t impacted the RP2040. In reality the RP2040 is turning into fashionable for mass produced tasks and has sparked a development the place makers search to combine the chip into ever extra outlandish tasks. Who can blame the savvy makers for selecting a strong $1 SoC that’s truly in inventory. Since launch we’ve seen the RP2040 energy a myriad of boards and tasks, however to get essentially the most out of the $4 microcontroller we have to get the fitting equipment.
Fortunately, similar to with the common Raspberry Pi, a complete ecosystem of equipment has emerged, together with:
- Add on boards which hook up with the GPIO of the Pico and supply additional performance equivalent to wi-fi communications, LCD screens and RGB LEDs.
- Shields / Bases that present interfaces for additional elements.
- Expanders that present additional GPIO pins to be used with a number of addons without delay.
- All-in-one boards which breakout the Raspberry Pi Pico to a bigger type issue that includes many further options not discovered on the Pico.
- Breakout boards for the RP2040 chip, enabling anybody to combine the RP2040 into their very own boards.
- Mission particular boards which might be used for specialist tasks equivalent to robotics or machine studying.
General, these are the perfect Raspberry Pi Pico equipment. It doesn’t matter what your wants or challenge, you’ll positively need a few of these.
The Finest Raspberry Pi Equipment You Can Purchase At the moment
When studying electronics and coding we’ve heaps to tackle board, however what if we might simplify the electronics slightly? Seeed’s Grove Protect, retailing for $4 has been designed to just do that. It supplies a sequence of Grove connectors, designed to work with Grove elements that we will merely join utilizing the keyed connectors and begin constructing tasks.
Seeed’s universe of Grove elements consists of dozens of merchandise, starting from microphones to thermal cameras and motor drivers. Grove works with Arduino, Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi Pico so your funding within the format will not be locked to only one machine. If you have already got Grove elements and wish to delve into the Raspberry Pi Pico, then the Seeed Grove Protect is a worthwhile funding.
Neopixels are a maker’s favourite means to make issues “blink”. They are often any coloration, talk information and even be used to construct fundamental video games. Pimoroni’s Pico Unicorn options 112 RGB LEDs and 4 push buttons all in a neat “pack” that matches to the GPIO pins of the Raspberry Pi Pico.
Utilizing the Pico Unicorn will block entry to the GPIO, however it’s a must to admit, it appears nice. Programming the Pico Unicorn is feasible by way of C/C++, MicroPython and CircuitPython. We examined the Pico Unicorn with a sequence of quick animations, together with a “disco” mode which modified the colour of a random pixel as rapidly as doable.
The Pico Unicorn is likely one of the finest Raspberry Pi Pico add-ons as a result of it’s a easy and mild introduction to utilizing add-ons along with your Raspberry Pi Pico. The MicroPython module is simple and the rapid outcomes will captivate the creativeness of keen coders.
Probably the greatest Raspberry Pi Pico equipment for maximizing your components library, the Crimson Robotics Pico 2 Pi allows you to use of equipment designed for the Raspberry Pi by offering the identical 40-pin GPIO format you discover on common Raspberry Pis. Pico 2 Pi can be utilized with a floor soldered Pico, or with the elective header to allow straightforward elimination of your Pico.
The Pico 2 Pi adaptor has the identical footprint as a Raspberry Pi Zero W and we will simply safe HATs and pHATs to the 40 pin GPIO and the M2.5. We examined Pico 2 Pi with a variety of boards and the easier boards “simply labored”, however the extra complicated a board, the extra work there may be to make the software program work.
In use, the Pico 2 Pi Adaptor is easy; it merely breaks out the Pico’s GPIO pins right into a Raspberry Pi appropriate pinout. It isn’t a vastly technical gadget, and that’s what we love about it, a easy repair for a easy situation.
Pimoroni’s Omnibus (twin) and Pico Decker (quad) expanders are designed to work with Pimoroni’s “Pack” add on boards, a few of that are among the many finest Raspberry Pi Pico equipment. If you wish to use a number of packs along with your Pico, these extenders are easy breakouts, with no additional tech, simply the identical pins damaged out to a number of headers.
The simplicity of the Omnibus / Pico Decker does spotlight one situation; boards generally share GPIO pins and, if that’s the case, then you might encounter points. In case you are utilizing I2C or SPI, there are not any points as these protocols use addresses to establish gadgets. However for less complicated connections, equivalent to fundamental digital IO and boards that depend on PWM on sure pins, there might be troublesome choices to be made.
The professionals far outweigh the cons and these expanders are important for working with a number of packs, and for hacking the GPIO of a operating gadget.
It is a small IPS LCD display screen on a microcontroller no larger than a stick of gum; let that sink in! Pimoroni’s Pico Show is a 1.14 inch 240 x 135 pixel IPS LCD display screen flanked by 4 pushbuttons and a single RGB LED. It connects to all 40 pins of the Raspberry Pi Pico’s GPIO however in actuality it makes use of only some, so it could work nice with Pimoroni’s Omnibus and Pico Decker expanders.
Writing code for the Pico Show is by way of MicroPython or C/C++ and, for our exams, we wrote a easy challenge to scroll textual content throughout the display screen, randomly altering the colour of the textual content and RGB to match. We then added just a few extra traces to learn enter from the buttons and set off completely different actions.
The MicroPython library is simple to make use of. Simply just be sure you get a really feel for it earlier than creating a fancy challenge. The Pimoroni Pico Show comes pre-soldered and you may have a challenge working in only a few minutes. In case you are focused on rendering video and graphics along with your Raspberry Pi Pico, then the Pico Show is the perfect Raspberry Pi Pico add-on for the duty.
Spend simply $10 for an entire electronics studying platform, together with a Raspberry Pi Pico? That’s the immense worth provided by Cytron’s Maker Pi Pico and it’s why it is likely one of the finest Raspberry Pi Pico equipment you can get. Embedded within the middle of the Maker Pi Pico is a Raspberry Pi Pico, and the encompassing board has pre-connected breakouts for each GPIO pin, many linked to additional elements equivalent to a microSD card reader, audio output / buzzer and a sequence of Grove connectors, the identical as these used on Seeed’s Grove Protect which allow quick and easy digital circuit growth.
Programmable by way of C/C++, MicroPython or CircuitPython, we discovered that the Maker Pi Pico is simple to work with and the plethora of embedded elements on supply is astounding. Of nice curiosity in an ESP01 header used to attach an ESP8266 to the board for fundamental WiFi. On the time of the assessment, this interface was nonetheless experimental however evidently utilizing some Arduino libraries, the Maker Pi Pico can now be a part of an IoT challenge. Additional including to the worth provided by this nice board.
The Raspberry Pi Pico will not be the very first thing that involves thoughts for Machine Studying tasks, however because of TinyML, designed for microcontrollers, the 133 MHz CPU of the Raspberry Pi Pico is able to fundamental picture recognition and, with the Uctronics TinyML Studying Package, we’ve a 2MP SPI digital camera which can be utilized with a educated mannequin to establish objects and even folks.
In use, the 2MP digital camera runs at 1 FPS which can not sound like a lot however it’s round 10x quicker than an Arduino. Machine Studying with the RP2040 processor is ready to be an enormous factor and that’s why this equipment is likely one of the finest Raspberry Pi Pico equipment.
Constructing a Stream deck with Raspberry Pi Pico is extremely easy because of CircuitPython however wiring up the buttons will be such a chore. Prepared-made options equivalent to Pimoroni’s Pico RGB Keypad present a easy means to attain our objectives. Offering 16 inputs, every with their very own RGB LED, this board requires a Raspberry Pi Pico (bought individually) and just a bit CircuitPython code to create a easy deck. The board will be coded in MicroPython, however on the time of writing there is no such thing as a USB HID library obtainable for that programming language.The Pico RGB Keypad comes as a equipment which is held in place with 4 screws. The Raspberry Pi Pico is on the far finish of the keypad, on present for all to see which is each a professional and con relying in your standpoint.
As an inexpensive and straightforward to make use of Stream Deck, the Pico RGB Keypad is a good Raspberry Pi Pico accent. However for slightly more cash you may get the upcoming Keybow 2040.
Generally the perfect Raspberry Pi Pico accent is the best and Captain Resetti is each a easy and low-cost answer to an issue. When the Raspberry Pi Pico was launched, there was one lacking function. A reset button.
How vital is the reset button? To flash new firmware (MicroPython / CircuitPython / C/C++) we have to unplug the Pico, press and maintain BOOTSEL then plug the Pico again into our machine. Doing this usually will add put on and tear to the mechanical USB ports of the board.
Soldered between the RUN and GND pins, when pressed the button will trigger the RUN pin to be pulled low and that in flip will gracefully cease energy to the RP2040 chip. For $2 Captain Resetti is a should have to maintain your Picos operating for a few years to return.
The $30 Pimoroni Pico Explorer is an “embedded circuit experimental enviornment” which affords a sequence of GPIO pins, a small LCD display screen, twin motor outputs and two breakouts appropriate with Breakout Backyard boards. The purpose of the Pico Explorer Base is to be a spot for experimentation with digital elements, a purpose shared with the Explorer HAT vary of boards for the Raspberry Pi.
Our Raspberry Pi Pico sits proudly within the nook of the board, and we see a GPIO breakout for the GPIO pins of the Pico, and for the onboard DRV8833 motor controller, so sure you possibly can construct a robotic with this board! The onboard LCD display screen is just like that discovered on the Pico Show, and it makes use of the identical software program library. Two Breakout Backyard slots allow use of Pimoroni’s breakout boards, basically I2C / SPI boards designed to “simply work” with the board.
The additional value of the Pico Explorer versus Cytron’s Maker Pi Pico is justified given the motor controller, display screen and breakouts. In case you are simply beginning with the Raspberry Pi Pico, the Pico Explorer is likely one of the finest Raspberry Pi Pico equipment that can develop as your expertise do.
The Raspberry Pi is lacking one key function, Wi-Fi and whereas we will hack our personal answer utilizing a Feather board designed for Adafruit’s Feather RP2040. It isn’t the smartest of approaches. Pimoroni’s Pico Wi-fi is a “pack”, designed to connect to all 40 pins of the GPIO as if it had been a backpack. This does forestall entry to the GPIO, however we acquire 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, micro SD card reader, RGB LED and a person programmable button.
Pimoroni present a MicroPython module which allows fundamental use of the board, however utilizing CircuitPython is the place we noticed the largest return on our funding. We had been quickly pulling information from distant APIs and utilizing them in our Pico powered tasks.