Raspberry Pi Pico released: microcontroller launches RP2040 chip

Chris Burns - Jan 21, 2021, 10:56am CST
Raspberry Pi Pico released: microcontroller launches RP2040 chip

Today the first Raspberry Pi microcontroller was released for approximately $4 USD. This device is the Raspberry Pi Pico, built on RP2040, a “brand-new chip” developed at Raspberry Pi. This device bridges the gap between the still relatively heavyweight computation handled by the Raspberry Pi proper, and the computing that should be handled by a much lower power microcontroller. Today Raspberry Pi began rolling forth into the microcontroller universe.

The Raspberry Pi Pico is built on the Raspberry Pi-designed RP2040. RP2040 is a 40 nm silicon chip, 2 square millimeters in size jammed into a 7 × 7 mm QFN-56 package. This chip has the following specifications:

Raspberry Pi RP2040 chip specs:
• Dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ @ 133MHz
• 264KB (remember kilobytes?) of on-chip RAM
• Support for up to 16MB of off-chip Flash memory via dedicated • QSPI bus
• DMA controller
• Interpolator and integer divider peripherals
• 30 GPIO pins, 4 of which can be used as analogue inputs
• 2 × UARTs, 2 × SPI controllers, and 2 × I2C controllers
• 16 × PWM channels
• 1 × USB 1.1 controller and PHY, with host and device support
• 8 × Raspberry Pi Programmable I/O (PIO) state machines
• USB mass-storage boot mode with UF2 support, for drag-and-drop programming

Raspberry Pi Pico is the “low-cost breakout board for RP2040” according to Raspberry Pi. This device pairs the chip with 2MB flash memory and 1.8-5.5V power supply chip input support. This tiny baby has a single push button, a single LED light, and 26 exposed pins (of RP2040’s potential 30 GPIO pins.) Other key specifications for this device are as follows.

Raspberry Pi Pico specs:
• RP2040 microcontroller chip designed by Raspberry Pi in the United Kingdom
• Dual-core Arm Cortex M0+ processor, flexible clock running up to 133 MHz
• 264KB of SRAM, and 2MB of on-board Flash memory
• Castellated module allows soldering direct to carrier boards
• USB 1.1 with device and host support
• Low-power sleep and dormant modes
• Drag-and-drop programming using mass storage over USB
• 26 × multi-function GPIO pins
• 2 × SPI, 2 × I2C, 2 × UART, 3 × 12-bit ADC, 16 × controllable PWM channels
• Accurate clock and timer on-chip
• Temperature sensor
• Accelerated floating-point libraries on-chip
• 8 × Programmable I/O (PIO) state machines for custom peripheral support

If you’re looking for Raspberry Pi Pico documentation and user guidance, take a peek at the official getting started page over at Raspberry Pi right now.

This device can be purchased directly from Raspberry Pi right this minute or from a collection of “Approved Resellers” now and in the near future. The Raspberry Pi Pico should be available for approximately $4 USD per device. This device will also be available via HackSpace magazine – each copy of “this month’s” HackSpace magazine comes with a free Pico.


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