5 Euro Microcontroller with ARM Cortex-M0+ Dual-Core

Raspberry Pi Micro-Controller Board Raspberry Pi Pico: 5 Euro Microcontroller with ARM Cortex-M0+ Dual-Core

In the Raspberry Pi Pico, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has for the first time, a self-developed Chip instead of a Broadcom SOC: heart of the micro-controller boards, the Chip RP2040, an ARM Cortex-M0+ Dual-Core with 2 x 133 MHz clock.


Raspberry Pi Pico: with self-developed micro-controller Chip RP2040 in the middle.
Raspberry Pi Pico: with self-developed micro-controller Chip RP2040 in the middle.

(Image: Reichelt Elektronik)

The Raspberry Pi Pico is the first micro-controller product of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and the First with the brand-new Raspberry Pi micro-controller RP2040. Raspberry Pi Pico costs only 5 euros and can be used directly in end product use. It occurs in competition with the Arduino microcontroller boards such as the Arduino Nano.

“No matter, whether you are looking for a stand-alone Board for Deep-Embedded development or a companion for your Raspberry Pi Computer, or if you make your first steps with a micro-controller, this is the Board for you,” says James Adams, COO of Raspberry Pi Trading (the area of the non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation for the marketing of the Raspberry Pis are responsible).

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Like the other Raspberry Pi models, such as the Linux PC-Board Raspberry Pi 4, or the Industrial version, the Compute Module 4, A also provides the mikocontroller Board Raspberry Pico, a number of in – and outputs and is suitable for a wide range of microcontroller applications.

First MCU in-house development of the Foundation

At the heart of the micro-controller Board, Raspberry Pi Pico the RP2040, a Raspberry Pi, a self-developed micro-controller. “We had three main goals for the Design of the RP2040,” says James Adams: “High-performance, in particular, for Integer Workloads; flexible I/Os, so that we can communicate with almost any external device; and, of course, low cost, in order to eliminate barriers to entry.

A incredibly powerful little Chip that packs all this in a 7 mm x 7 mm QFN-56-housing with only two square millimeters 40-nm silicon has come. With six independent RAM benches and a fully connected to the Switch, in the heart of the Bus structure, you can leave the cores and the DMA Engines to easily run in parallel, without conflicts.“

The technical data at a glance

  • Chip: RP2040-micro-controller Chip, developed by the Raspberry Pi in the UK; Dual-Core ARM Cortex M0+, up to 133 MHz clock
  • Memory: 264 KB SRAM (SRAM 0 to 3: 64 KB SRAM 4 / 5: 4 KB)
  • 2 MB QSPI Flash memory for Code and data storage
  • Connections: 2 x 20 I/O Pinleiste, 30 x GP IO, 4 analog channels, usable, 16 x PWM, Micro-USB for power and data transfer, 2 x SPI, 2 x I2C, 2 x UART, 3 x 12-Bit ADC, 16 x controllable PWM channels
  • 3-pin connector ARM Serial Wire Debug (SWD)
  • USB 1.1 Host and Device support
  • Miscellaneous: Power – saving Sleep and Dormant mode
  • Drag & Drop programming with mass storage via USB
  • The RTC / Timer, 4 alarms
  • Accelerated floating-point libraries on the Chip
  • 8 x programmable I/O state machines (PIO) for customer-specific peripheral support
  • Developer tools: A simple Drag-and-Drop programming via Micro-USB. 3-pin SWD port (Serial Wire Debug) for interactive Debugging. Comprehensive C-SDK, advanced micro Python Port, and extensive examples and documentation
  • Programming language: Micro Python, C/C++
  • Dimensions: (LxWxH): 51,3 x 21 x 3.9 mm

Why the Foundation is a microcontroller Board developed

The SBC Raspberry Pi, with over 37 million copies sold, the most popular single-Board computer Board in the world. Because Raspberry Pi is not only suitable as a Maker, learning and office computers with access to the Internet, but via assumes the GPIO Pins, the device is also a wide variety of tasks in the industry, such as Measurement and control, for example, in automation and Embedded systems. Furthermore, the Raspberry Pi holds even in extremely harsh conditions, such as a visit to the stratosphere stand.

However, there are limits to the SBC, Raspberry Pi, so that several users combine it with a microcontroller, such as James Adams stressed: “Even in the lowest power consumption mode needed [der Energiesparer unter den Pis,] the Raspberry Pi Zero, about 100 milliwatts; the Raspberry Pi itself does not support analog inputs; and though it is possible to “Bare Metal”Software on a Raspberry Pi to run, is not the Software, the operating system such as Linux runs on a General-purpose, suitable, good for the control of individual I/O Pins, low-latency.”

The SBC Raspberry Pi – the Flagship model, the Raspberry Pi 4 offers up to 4 x 1,5 GHz clock and up to 8 GB of RAM in combination with a micro controller, complex calculations, manages about LAN and Wi-Fi access, allows for high-definition Vision projects and provides for large files to the memory, while a micro-controller processed analog inputs and I/Os with low latency and at times a Standby mode with very low power consumption provides.

James Adams summarizes: “Raspberry Pi Pico it is designed as our low price Breakout Board for RP2040. It combines the RP2040 with 2-MB Flash memory, and a power supply Chip that supports input voltages between 1.8 – 5.5 V. So you can provide your Pico from a variety of sources with electricity, for example, of two or three series-connected AA cells or a single Lithium-ion cell.

The Pico has a single button that can be enabled when booting the USB mass storage mode, and also as a General input is used, and a single LED. 26 of the 30 GPIO Pins of the RP2040, including three of the four analog inputs that are placed on Pads with 0.1″Grid; you can solder the strips on these Pads, pen or the honeycomb edges use to solder Pico directly onto a carrier Board“

Tips from James Adams

“For beginners and users who prefer high-level languages, we have with Damien George, the developer of Micro Pythonworked together to create a sophisticated port for the RP2040; it provides all of the Hardware features of the chip, including our innovative PIO subsystem. And our friend Aivar Annamaa has the RP2040 micro Python-support to the popular Thonny IDE added.

With two fast cores and a large amount of On-Chip RAM, the RP2040 is a great platform for Machine Learning applications. You Pete Wardens porting of Google’s tensor flow Lite Framework can this Link find. Keep Learning in the coming months, be on the lookout for additional content to the machine.

For Power Users, we provide a complete C-SDK, a GCC-based Toolchain and the Integration of Visual Studio Code.

Since the Cortex-M0+ is a floating-point unit is missing, we have Owen in Mark, the author of the popular Qfplib Librariesoptimized floating-point functions are given in the order; these are much faster than your GCC library equivalents, and are licensed for use on any RP2040-based product.“

An important note, we found also on the page Reichelt ElektronikWhile you put Pico into a USB socket, you need to press it is imperative that the BOOTSEL button on the Board, and only release it when the Board is plugged into the USB socket.

Raspberry Pi Pico is offered by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, without exception, as the Tape& Reel product (Board in an ESD-compliant Kunststofför about Farnell, which is the largest manufacturer and Distributor of the Raspberry Pi, as well as Reichelt Elektronik, Conrad and Elektor.

This article first appeared on our partner portal Electronics Practice.