For $10 Elecfreaks’ WuKong 2040 is an fascinating add on for the Raspberry Pi Pico and Pico W. It brings simple connections for 4 motors, 12 servos, or a combination of sensors and common electronics elements. However there are two issues which make this stand out from the group. Firstly, there’s a massive 18650 battery holder on prime of the board. Because of this a venture will be powered for as much as an hour, and that the battery will be recharged utilizing the onboard micro USB port. Secondly, beneath the board is a Lego appropriate body that can be utilized to combine the board, and your Pico right into a Lego primarily based electronics venture.
All of those options are nice, however do they work and might I construct one thing with them? To study that I put it on the bench and took it for a take a look at.
WuKong 2040 Specs
|Pico Compatibility||Raspberry Pi Pico, Raspberry Pi Pico W and every other board which shares the pinout|
|GPIO||SVG (Sign, Voltage Gnd) pins for GPIO 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,16,17,26,27,28)|
|M1: GPIO 20, 21|
|M2: GPIO 10, 11|
|M3: GPIO 12, 13|
|M4: GPIO 14, 15|
|NeoPixels / WS2812|
|I2C, SPI, UART, PWM, Analog|
|18650 Battery (Not Included)|
|Onboard 18650 charger (1000 mA charging present)|
|Dimensions||87 x 55 x 37 mm|
Setting Up The WuKong 2040
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There’s no software program library to put in for the WuKong 2040, and this implies we’ve got direct entry to the GPIO by way of any appropriate programming language. Inserting the Raspberry Pi Pico into the header pins, my first intuition was to attach the micro USB cable to the micro USB port of the WuKong 2040. This intuition was incorrect. Plainly this explicit port is reserved for charging an 186050 cell (not included).
Talking of 18650s, you’ll want to choose up a battery with a flat prime, not with a tip for the + polarity. A flat prime battery will slide into place with minimal effort, whereas others will produce large power on the spring metal contacts. For those who’ve by no means used an 18650 earlier than, heed this warning. They will retailer quite a lot of energy and will by no means be broken or shorted. Retailer them in a safe plastic container when not in use.
To write down code to the Raspberry Pi Pico, I had to hook up with the Pico’s personal micro USB port. I’m not an enormous fan of this because the variety of plug / unplug cycles will finally scale back the lifetime of the Pico. However that’s simply the best way it’s.
The GPIO is damaged out by way of a sequence of SVG (Sign (Yellow), Voltage (Pink) and Floor (Black)) pins. Because of this there’s entry to 3V and GND for each connection, helpful.
The place it comes into its personal is when a servo is connected. The SVG pinout matches a servo completely, and with a bit of code there will be as much as 12 servos in operation. There are 4 motor terminals, marked M1 to M4. These terminals are related to GPIO pin breakouts for the Raspberry Pi Pico by way of 4 chips. The chips must be some type of H bridge controller, the place the polarity of the motor will be switched to supply ahead and backward movement. However these 75V15 chips have me stumped. I can’t discover a datasheet for them. Nevertheless , they do work in addition to a conventional H bridge motor controller (L298, L3110S, DRV8833 and many others). I related up two Lego appropriate DC motors and wrote a number of traces of MicroPython to spin a robotic round my desk.
The onboard Neopixels are brilliant and straightforward to make use of with MicroPython and CircuitPython. Elecfreaks recommended utilizing Adafruit’s CircuitPython and so that’s what I used for a fast take a look at. That is additionally the place I hit a snag. Usually, I’d save the code to the Pico as code.py, the NeoPixel library can be within the lib folder and all the things would simply work. Nevertheless it didn’t. After a bit of head scratching, I discovered that I needed to swap the micro USB port from the Pico to the WuKong 2040 with the intention to see the NeoPixels illuminate. That’s not an important workflow, and one that might trigger points for newcomers.
Lego Appropriate Chassis
Beneath the mainboard is a Lego appropriate body. This body is designed to work with Technic elements, and can also be appropriate with Lego Spike elements. I connected two Lego appropriate DC motors, bought from Aliexpress for lower than $10 for the pair, then raided my field of Lego Spike elements. 90% of the elements i related weren’t official Lego, however be they official or not, they had been all solidly related. The Lego chassis integration is a key promoting level. It means we are able to make tasks with out the necessity for the greatest 3D printer or a laser cutter.
What Initiatives Can Be Made With Wikong 2040?
At first, this can be a board for Pico robotics. It simply works with robots. Throw a Raspberry Pi Pico W on prime, an 18650 battery in and a while studying Anvil you might have a Wi-Fi managed robotic.
The digital and analog GPIO and specialist protocols additionally tie in properly with the onboard battery system. It signifies that I could make a sensor platform with just some elements, put it in a pleasant case and begin amassing information. A number of servo connections make this a enjoyable board to construct a strolling robotic or a sensor triggered artwork set up which gracefully adjustments kind.
For $10, I can forgive the micro USB situation. Certain it’s annoying however the sheer variety of options and easements current on the WuKong 2040 imply I can have numerous enjoyable. The onboard 18650 battery holder and charging system are helpful, and whereas I don’t get a full GPIO breakout, what I get is loads for my wants.
Printing the GPIO pin reference on the board is helpful, I simply want that it included the I2C, SPI, UART pin references too. The Lego appropriate base is nice enjoyable for Lego followers akin to myself. For those who don’t want it, no worries. Seize a cross head screwdriver and it comes off in a jiffy. In a classroom, makerspace or homebrew venture, the WuKong 2040 is a good all rounder for $10.
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