Released at the beginning of 2021, the Raspberry Pi Pico is a microcontroller, the first of its kind developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, usually known for its microcomputers. An innovative device, the Raspberry Pico is useful for a wide range of different activities. Here is everything you need to know about the Raspberry Pi Pico.
What is a microcontroller?
Microcontrollers are a common tool used in everyday life. You’ll find a microcontroller in most electrical devices, including televisions and keyboards. Microcontrollers are embedded in devices and control a single function in that device. Typically, a microcontroller includes a processor, memory, and input/output on a single chip.
It’s different from a Raspberry Pi
Though it was created by the same company, the Raspberry Pi is a different type of device from a Raspberry Pi. While the Raspberry Pi is a microcomputer that is good for activities like gaming and browsing the internet, the Raspberry Pi Pico is designed for specific projects, rather than a range of different tasks. As a result, the Raspberry Pi is a smaller and cheaper device. At The Pi Hut, a Raspberry Pi Pico costs just £3.60, making it a very accessible device for those looking to get into computer programming. Though different from a Raspberry Pi, the Pico can be programmed with a Pi or any other computer.
It’s different from other microcontrollers
What sets the Raspberry Pi Pico apart from other microcontrollers is the RP2040 chip. Designed in-house by the Raspberry Foundation with the aim of putting a large amount of power and functionality into a small device, the RP2040 chip makes the Pico an incredibly powerful microcontroller in a small package (board dimensions are 21mm x 51.3mm) and at a low price point.
Key features of the Raspberry Pi Pico:
- Micro-USB port
- Dual ARM Cortex M0+ at 133 MHz
- 40 pins with through-holes and 30 GPIO pins
- 3-pin ARM Serial Wire Debug port
- 264kb of SRAM and 2MB of flash memory- this is notable as many microcontrollers have significantly less flash memory.
What can you do with the Raspberry Pi Pico?
The Pico is a very flexible device, and you can use it for a variety of different projects. The Pico is designed to be accessible for newcomers to programming as well as experts. You can use the Pico in any number of projects, from light systems to burglar alarms to fans, and everything in between. You can find many free guides to what you can do with the Pico online, that are suitable for all abilities, as well as a range of accessories and add-ons that will help you get the most out of your Pico.
The microcontroller with a wide variety of uses. Designed using the advanced RP2040 chip, it’s perfect as an introduction for newcomers looking to get into computer programming but can also be used by experts. With a wide variety of add-ons available, you can tailor your Pico to be the perfect component for whatever project you’re working on.