Raspberry Pi Pico – what did you think?

The best part of launching a new product is seeing the reaction of the Raspberry Pi community. When we released Raspberry Pi Pico into the world last Thursday, it didn’t take long for our curious, creative crew of hackers and tinkerers to share some brilliant videos, blogs and photos.

If you’ve spotted other cool stuff people have done with Raspberry Pi Pico, do comment with a link at the end of this post so we can check it out.

Graham Sanderson’s BBC Micro emulation

YouTube went wild for this Raspberry Pi Pico-powered BBC Micro and BBC Master emulation. Graham Sanderson‘s little bit of fun with our latest creation emulates the fine detail of the hardware required to get the best games and graphics demos to run.

He’s put together an entire playlist showing off the power of Raspberry Pi Pico, and it’s a retro gamer’s dream.

Alex Glow

Alex Glow went live for almost an hour unboxing our teeny tiny microcontroller, deep-diving into our getting started materials as well.

She has a good look around our launch blog post on camera too, unpacking some of the technical aspects of how Raspberry Pi Pico is powered, and also explaining why it’s so exciting that we’ve built this ourselves.

Jeff Geerling

Jeff Geerling has used his Pico for good, creating a baby-safe temperature monitor for his little one’s bedroom. In his video, he shows you around some of Raspberry Pi Pico’s “party tricks”, and includes the all-important build montage sequence.

If you prefer words to videos, Jeff has also put together a big ole blog post about our new microcontroller board.

Brian Corteil

Brian Corteil took to Twitter to share his eleven-year-old’s pro soldering skills, proving that Raspberry Pi is for everyone, no matter how young, old, or inexperienced, or expert.

Extreme close-up!

Look at the finish on those pins!

16MB Pico modification

Daniel Green did what you were all thinking – desoldered the onboard 2MB QSPI flash chip and replaced it with a 16MB version. Say hello to the first Pico in the world with this special modification. 

Eben himself!

On top of all the brilliant comments, projects, and guidance our community has already shared, Raspberry Pi CEO Eben Upton will be joining the Digital Making at Home crew on Wednesday to show young coders around Raspberry Pi Pico.

Set a reminder for yourself (or your kids) to watch live on YouTube, or join in on Facebook, Twitter or Twitch at 7pm UK time.

63 comments

Avatar

Honestly, it has the potential to be the most EXTRAORDINARY ‘build yourself a synthesizer at home’ platform. I think my Virtual Analog monosynth, digital Polysynth, wavetable synth, a cut-down version of one of my Virtual Pipe organs could all fit in, within CPU and RAM budget, with headroom for a reverb and a delay. I just wish the darned thing had a line-level DAC on it!! But I suppose the aftermarket guys have to be able to upsell with something. But seriously, I’ve read all the docs front to back, it looks like a KILLER piece of kit. Well done you lot.

Avatar

Is better than say STM32 stick? They have various options which includes DAC or FPU. So far I see the advantage of RP2040 in clean documentation and focus the community to develop for one chip (which I expect in future to get more siblings) and some guarantee that it will be manufactured and supported for years. Hardware doesn’t seem to be that special besides the programmable PIO which I haven’t seen before.

Avatar

I’m sure someone will come up with a board with an I2S stereo dac driven with a PIO. Also potentially better quality than you would get from an on-chip dac.

Avatar

Pimoroni did that on launch day!
(Pico Audio Pack PIM544)

Avatar

I’ve been considering the Eurorack modular possibilities since I’m playing in that realm these days. Not sure if I’m a musician or the curator of a collection of musical toys but it helps to stop me climbing the walls in these interesting times :D

Avatar

I’ve been doing some ‘coding in the absence of hardware’, turning oscillators and filters into fixed-point and A/Bing the results against float, and – apart from the lack of DAC – this thing will be a DAZZLING synth platform. Neat.

Avatar

Would be fun to make an arcade like Microsoft MakeCode Arcade! Any recommendations for IPS TFT displays?

Avatar

As usual a very impressive quality product from Raspberry Pi. So easy to use and get up and running quickly that it was a pleasant surprise. Looking forward to dig deeper into the PIO.

Avatar

The BBC Micro emulation made my jaw drop.

Avatar

Amazing projects. Now just waiting for someone to solder an AR9271 to the Programmable I/O pins and write the code to enable wireless for the Pico.

Avatar

The possibilities are mind-boogling. Congratulations. I have not yet seen a version with an RJ45 ethernet jack. What is the simplest & cheapest way to make that happen?

Avatar

I’m new and have a question… can I use these to make an vending machine project? I have no idea where to start! :) anyhow, be well!

Avatar

another microcontroller.

Avatar

love is so much but would love to be able to just by the rp2040 ic

Avatar

They said the standalone RP2040 chip will be available for the masses to buy in the second half of 2021. Probably the first few batches needs to go to Adafruit, Arduino, Pimoroni, Sparkfun, et al to get their products launched.

Avatar

Second *quarter*, actually, though since what my household describes as the 4th Law of Thermodynamics (Everything takes longer and costs more), second half may turn out to be correct.

Avatar

A microcontroller with 16 onboard PWM controllers, which makes it ideal for stepper and servo based applications like 3d printers, CNCs, Robots etc, that makes it somewhat unique.

Avatar

This is a stunning achievement. Price, PIO, the Loading System, CPU Capabilities, … . MicroController vendors beware!

Avatar

Eagerly anticipating delivery of a couple of R-Pi Pico’s in March (New Zealand). I’ve read all the documentation and I think that alone is exceptional so far.

Avatar

Welcome to new era of electronics.

Avatar

The cost is great at only $4, but I think the real game changer is how well it runs MicroPython, with enough RAM to do so.
This could help people get into microcontrollers who are otherwise being put off by having to learn C++.

Avatar

I was hoping to see staggered holes for the headers to avoid soldering (sad state of affairs, our students do not receive training in soldering, nor are there facilities to give it). Could it be had in the next version?

Avatar

Some suppliers can provide Pico’s with pre-soldered headers.

Avatar

I’d love to play with but I’m still waiting for mine. Ordered two from Czech official distributor right in the morning when it was announced. They don’t have stock yet and for now they expect it on 28th but this date is still shifting.

Avatar

Yesterday (26.01.2021) rpishop.cz updated their site to in-stock. I had pre-ordered and today have received notification of delivery.

Avatar

Apart from PIO, RPI2040 doesn’t have anything that doesn’t exist in other microcontrollers. BUT: it has the best combination of those things. It’s like you coupled all the good parts of all microcontrollers, then slapped the most sane output pin configuration AND then added PIO, which is THE best in class when considering size to power ratio. Truly a masterpiece, will replace bluepills for me and one several of my old projects now seem much more possible with this big fella.

Avatar

It is amazing to see all the great products being introduced! The Pico is a great addition to the product family for those projects that can run more effectively on a microcontroller as opposed to a SBC. I already have two projects planned for the Pico and about a dozen videos!

Avatar

I think when you aren’t rushed to market by shareholders, you can do a brilliant job, as you have so clearly demonstrated.

Not just a nicely formed first product (both RP2040 and the Pico), but the SDK, all the documentation you need and you can get started with coding with a choice of languages and IDE’s within minutes.

Other vendors take note, this is how to do it.

Avatar

I’m looking forward to Raspberry Pi Femto.

Avatar

I can’t see it, myself.

Avatar

Well. there’s your project idea, Pico powered electron microscope!

Avatar

I am sure that this is and excellent product but I have just spent hours trying to fathom why some of the pico-examples do not work (using Windows 10 environment), e.g. hello_adc appears to be missing some way of outputting data:
# enable usb output, disable uart output
pico_enable_stdio_usb(hello_adc 1)
pico_enable_stdio_uart(hello_adc 0)
in the CMakeLists.txt file. This allows it to display output using Putty and usb which is rather important!
Some may not persevere as long as I did!

Avatar

This is what a microcontroller SHOULD be. It has the best parts of:
-The Arduino ecosystem, without babying users too much, but not being unapproachable
-An excellent set of peripherals, at a great cost!
-Excellent Speeds, and great power consumption
-Excellent Programmer support via USB!
-A huuuuge ammount of ram for a microcontroller!
-Excellent Documentation
I’ve used the Arduino, in many flavors, the Due, The 2560, the Uno. Either not enough peripherals, too many peripherals, not enough ram, not enough flash, blah blah..this his the sweet spot, especially price!
And it just pairs sooo nicely with my existing raspberry pi’s.

The RaspberryPi ideology and foundation is a game changer.

This way I can get rid of some of the CCC [ Cheap-Ch*na-C*ap ] which is poorly supported, poorly documented, with bad toolchains, proprietary crap, etc.

Avatar

Mine doesn’t reliably read button presses while running micropython. I’m not sure what is going on but seems to have phantom button press values. Only while running circuit python.

Avatar

Circuit python works when micropython doesn’t. I’m not exactly sure what is going on but micropython is reading phantom button value. The button value changes when I just pick up the board or cause the power cable to jiggle a little. Circuit python seems to be fine with it.

Avatar

Perhaps you forgot to turn the internal pullups on!
Its possible circuit python does this automatically, and micropython expects you to code what you want.

Its also possible that circuit python automatically inserts debouncing code, and micropython does not.

Avatar

Hi Lesley,
The MicroPython book, somewher, says that the default for an input pin is pull down enabled. Testing with the author, Gareth, has shown it to be floating. You should add a third parameter to the pin definition so that pull down is enabled. There is errata on the book web page with details at https://hackspace.raspberrypi.org/books/micropython-pico.

Basically, stuff like:
button = machine.Pin(14, machine.Pin.IN)
should be:
button = machine.Pin(14, machine.Pin.IN, machine.Pin.PULL_DOWN)

HTH

Cheers,
Norm.

Avatar

Like the four mounting holes. Wow, some tiny components on this quality small board. No problem fitting one or two of these into an Altoids box.

Avatar

I’ve been meaning to build a low cost keyboard/display device for 3d printers, laser engravers, cnc and the like. Using a PIO to drive a cheap driverless tft panel or even a vga monitor enables that kind of product at very low cost. And a fast dual core 32 bit MCU at this price is an absolute steal! Overall I’m impressed with the level of documentation and the provided libraries for C/C++ development right out of the gate.

Avatar

So, it’s like an ESP32 with fewer ports, less RAM, no WiFi or Bluetooth and higher sleep power consumption, and a reduced instruction set, a fancy castellated edge that won’t fit my breadboard or PCBs BUT half a dollar cheaper. You can probably guess which I shall continue to buy.
I suppose if I’d got loads of Pi stuff and liked interpreted languages, I might want one.

Avatar

You’re not limited to MicroPython. You can use C/C++ instead, if you prefer.

The MicroPython is–so far as I can tell–so that people without experience with languages like C can get started with/use . This is a good thing. It’ll mean more people finding things to do with microcontrollers in general, and Pico (and variants) in particular. Thus growing the field of knowledgeable people.

Ironically, it also means that people (particularly kids) will have a cheap way to experiment with much less risk destruction of a (relatively) expensive full Pi. The exact same argument made about the Pi vs. family PC originally.

Avatar

Well, if you ever make a project that needs no wireless connectivity (lots of projects are like that) and can go through the pain of soldering pins to the Pico (totally doable, can’t see why complain about that) then you know what board to buy. Specially since you’d be saving a dollar!

Avatar

It’s a really cool micro for the prize. Lots of GPIOs, good speed, easy to program (and flashing the UF2 via mass storage is very easy!)
The PIOs are AMAZING (I just coded a 16-universe DMX-512 output in 2 hours after thinking 2 days on how I’d do that). They are really powerful.
I also love that it doesn’t have an USB-to-Serial-Chip with hardcoded USB IDs but instead allows us to do so much more via software!
I mean, of course, it could have more RAM, it doesn’t have WiFi or BTLE but hey, it’s low-power and it’s cheap. Thinking about pairing it with an ESP32 if I need WiFi ;). Very well done!

Avatar

You can run MicroPython on ESP32 with wifi and Bluetooth, no other micro-controller required. However it would be interesting to see other modules based on Pi 2040.

Avatar

RPi didn’t invent the single-board computer, but they did a remarkably good job of reinventing it, with the excellent price drawing a huge crowd that (helped by the RPi website) caused a lot of good positive feedback with real community engagement. Looks like the story will repeat with this microcontroller, except more open with many other board vendors. Good to see!

Avatar

Have just got a couple and started to explore.
My biggest problem is the documentation, 8.5pt type is unreadable, I struggle with 10pt.
Any chance of a large print version of the C SDK, preferably 12pt?
I did OCR the document but there seem to be hundreds of styles.

Avatar

Can you ask them for an epub version? That’s HTML under the hood and you can then either use tools like Calibre to fix their typographic nightmare or use an epub reader on, say, Android that allows stylesheet overrides (e.g. Reasily).

Avatar

I’m having trouble with C version. It seems that I need a cross compiler, and that it clocks in at 2.5 GB. Hmmm. Maybe I should stick with RaspiZero for now.

Avatar

Love you guys , absolutely totally LOVE you guys , but could we have some CM4 forged before the pico plz

Avatar

CM4 and Pico are being assembled in different plants. No contention for assembly line time.

Avatar

That is crazy! Someone desoldered that tiny thing? Did
he send ants to do the job?
Wow!

Avatar

DE-soldering is the easy part. Soldering all those tiny wires in place, however…

Avatar

Great! More Unobtainium! I see sellers limiting this to one per customer. This sounds awfully familiar.

Helen Lynn

Quite a few sellers have decided on a one-unit limit at the moment to stop scalping, but once the initial excitement has died down, the need for that will pass and there should be no problem purchasing boards in greater quantities.

Avatar

Hopefully a $4 board will not create shortages of other RPi products (cough, RPi 4b 2GB, cough).

Avatar

The picture of Eben Upton holding up the Pico reminds me of this one:

http://www.i-team.de/holodoc.jpg

Striking similarity :-)

Avatar

I wish there was easy ways to connect it to other components without soldering. I get that soldering is the way to go for industrial use but for small home tinkering, especially when kids are involved, a way to make simple electronics without soldering would be so useful. I’m not talking only about the Pico BTW, there are lots of other components and projects that presuppose soldering. Jumper wires and breadboards work great in many cases. But couldn’t we also have, like, jumper wires with tiny alligator clips that fit the GPIO holes on the Pico? Or conductive superglue or tape of some sorts. I hope the Raspberry Pi team finds a way to invent something new there too.

Avatar

Put the Pico together with an micro sd card reader into a keyboard and you just have the machine that boots right into Python that Eben Updon always talked about.

Avatar

I have not receive my Pico as of yet, however there has been a bit of discussion on element14 regarding building the code for the Pico using Visual Studio Code on Windows 10. Perhaps mostly due to a lack of knowledge using VS Code, but it has taken some trial and error to get it to work. More guidance in this area might be nice. Also, getting PlatformIO support in VS Code for the Pico would be awesome. I look forward to actually working with the Pico hardware.
Well done!

Avatar

I was planning on using the raspberry pico for a microcontroller class. When I try load the uf2 file to get micropython running I get nothing. Just a beep. Device manager says I have a port 4 working, but no python. Thonny wont load it either. I think its broke.

Avatar

Still It has not come to Turkey ?

Avatar

Bill,
I had the same experience with the MicroPython .uf2 file from Raspberry Pi. The C/C++ examples work; CircuitPython works. flash_nuke.uf2 works but the recommended MicroPython .uf2 will NOT load. I hope this gets fixed soon, as a lot of new folks will be disappointed.

Avatar

Hi There,
I have come across the Raspberry Pi Pico Simulator online. It is still a work in progress but yeah.. it has so many promising examples. Try now!
https://docs.wokwi.com/parts/wokwi-pi-pico#simulator-examples

Leave a Comment

Comments are closed