Getting Started With Raspberry Pi Pico

What Is the Raspberry Pi Pico / Pico W : The Raspberry Pi Pico is a low-cost, high-performance micro-controller board supporting a number of popular digital interfaces. The Raspberry Pi Pico is built around the RP2040 micro-controller chip designed by Raspberry Pi Foundation in the United Kingdom.

Raspberry Pi Pico W

The RP2040 which is the brain of the Pico, is a dual-core Arm Cortex M0+ processor with a flexible clock running up to 133 MHz. The Raspberry Pi Pico W on the other hand is a wireless-enabled version of the RP2040-based board, adding 2.4GHz 802.11n WiFi connectivity. At the heart of the Pico W is the same RP2040 chip used in the original Raspberry Pi Pico, featuring two ARM Cortex-M0+ cores clocked at 133MHz with 256KB RAM; 30 GPIO pins; paired with 2MB of onboard QSPI Flash memory for code and data storage including a broad range of interfacing options.

Check out the following video to learn more about the Raspberry Pi Pico.

Explaining Computers on Raspberry Pi Pico

Here are the technical specifications of the Raspberry Pi Pico (From the Raspberry Pi Foundation website)-

  1. 21 mm × 51 mm form factor
  2. RP2040 micro-controller chip designed by Raspberry Pi in the UK
  3. Dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ processor, flexible clock running up to 133 MHz
  4. 264kB on-chip SRAM
  5. 2MB on-board QSPI flash
  6. 2.4GHz 802.11n wireless LAN (Raspberry Pi Pico W and WH only)
  7. 26 multi-function GPIO pins, including 3 analogue inputs
  8. 2 × UART, 2 × SPI controllers, 2 × I2C controllers, 16 × PWM channels
  9. 1 × USB 1.1 controller and PHY, with host and device support
  10. 8 × Programmable I/O (PIO) state machines for custom peripheral support
  11. Supported input power 1.8–5.5V DC
  12. Operating temperature -20°C to +85°C (Raspberry Pi Pico and Pico H); -20°C to +70°C (Raspberry Pi Pico W and Pico WH)
  13. Castellated module allows soldering direct to carrier boards (Raspberry Pi Pico and Pico W only)
  14. Drag-and-drop programming using mass storage over USB
  15. Low-power sleep and dormant modes
  16. Accurate on-chip clock
  17. Temperature sensor
  18. Accelerated integer and floating-point libraries on-chip

Here are some additional links if you are keen to learn more about the Raspberry Pi Pico and Raspberry Pi Pico W –

  1. Pico v/s Pico W
  2. Pico W Features and Specs
  3. Pico Information at the Pi Foundation Website

Getting Started with the Pi Pico – The Raspberry Pi Foundation has been bringing to market some very powerful maker boards supported by good documentation, large ecosystem of vendors and a supportive community that is just unbeatable. I would like to think that the Raspberry Pi Foundation will continue to deliver in all of those areas when it comes to the Pi Pico.

The Raspberry Pi Pico can be programmed in both MicroPython and C/C++ which is absolutely fantastic. While i appreciate the power of C/C++, i just love working with Python and am a huge advocate of Python. MicroPython on the Pi Pico makes it super easy to get started with physical computing and there are tons of reasons you should be giving it a go.

There are tons of tutorials available out there on the internet to get you started and while that can be a boon it can also be a huge challenge, especially if you are just starting out. If you’ve never programmed with MicroPython before and have never played around with a micro-controller before we would recommend picking up one of the basic starter kits which comes with a bunch of LED’s, sensors, breadboards, etc. and most importantly with documentation to help you get started with your learning journey.

Here’s a few links to Raspberry Pi Pico kits which could get you going with your learning journey. Please note that we are not affiliated to any of these vendors, kit manufacturers and you should do your own homework before you invest in any of these kits.

The Kitronik Discovery Kit for the Raspberry Pi PicoLink [Tutorials & Documentation]

Kitronik Pico Discovery Kit

Monk Makes Electronic Kit for the Raspberry Pi Pico<Link> [Tutorials & Documentation]

Monk Makes Electronics Kit for the Pi Pico

Here are a couple of additional links to kits which you might find helpful.

Elecrow’s Pico Starter Kit

Raspberry Pi Pico Starter Kit by Elecrow<Link> [Tutorials & Documentation]

Sunfounders Thales Pico Starter Kit

Sunfounder’s Thales Pico Basic Starter Kit<Link> [Tutorials & Documentation]

If you live in Australia, intend to just dip your feet into the world of physical computing with Pico / Micropython and don’t know if an electronics kit is the way to go then here’s some links to get you started. Please do note, it’s always cheaper to get started with an electronics kit however an electronics kit in most cases won’t give you enough of the basic hardware you would need to build more complex projects which you will want to do once you progress with your learning, have moved beyond blinking an LED, playing around with some of the sensors, etc.

The following links will get you some basic hardware you need to get working on the Pi Pico.

  1. Breadboard : https://core-electronics.com.au/solderless-breadboard-830-tie-point-zy-102.html
  2. Dupont wires Female – Female : https://core-electronics.com.au/jumper-wires-connected-6-f-f-20-pack.html
  3. Dupont wires Male – Male : https://core-electronics.com.au/jumper-wires-connected-6-m-m-20-pack.html
  4. Dupont wires Male – Female : https://core-electronics.com.au/jumper-wires-connected-6-m-f-20-pack.html
  5. Raspberry Pi Pico W : https://core-electronics.com.au/raspberry-pi-pico-w-wireless-wifi.html (Pick this or the Pi Pico below)
  6. Raspberry Pi Pico : https://core-electronics.com.au/raspberry-pi-pico-soldered-headers.html

Here’s link to some off the shelf sensors, LED’s, etc. that you can purchase from Jaycar –

  1. LED module :  https://www.jaycar.com.au/10mm-red-led-for-linker-kit/p/XC4566
  2. PIR Sensor : https://www.jaycar.com.au/arduino-compatible-pir-motion-detector-module/p/XC4444?pos=1&queryId=d15256b7ba2ddb77d681abaa90d233de
  3. Buzzer module : https://www.jaycar.com.au/linker-buzzer-module-for-arduino/p/XC4580
  4. 7 segment module : https://www.jaycar.com.au/linker-4-digit-7-segment-module-for-arduino/p/XC4569
  5. Potentiometer : https://www.jaycar.com.au/linker-rotary-potentiometer-module-for-arduino/p/XC4578
  6. Temperature module : https://www.jaycar.com.au/linker-temperature-module-for-arduino/p/XC4576

You will also need a USB micro cable to connect your Raspberry Pi Pico to your development machine or laptop.

  1. Get access to all of the FREE learning resources at the Pi foundation website through the following link – <Pico Tutorials at Pi Foundation website>.
  2. We’ve also got a bunch of FREE learning resources at KidzCancode.com which is the website we use in class with our kids (CoderDojo Altona North). You can access KidzCanCode through the following link – Learning.KidzcanCode.com
  3. If you are keen to explore MicroPython on the Raspberry Pi Pico then we would recommend you download the “Get Started with MicroPython on the Raspberry Pi Pico” book here – <Link>

There are tons of different projects you can build with the Raspberry Pi Pico or Pico W, you are only limited by your own creativity and imagination. Here’s a video that shows how to build a Wireless Weather Station with a Raspberry Pi Pico W using a BME280 Pressure, Temperature and Humidity sensor –

Explaining Computers on using the Pi Pico to build a wireless weather station

We hope this article has given you enough direction in terms of getting you going with your learning journey on the Raspberry Pi Pico. If you have any questions reach out to us at trevor at hack2 dot live.

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