The Raspberry Pi Foundation recently announced a new member of their Raspberry Pi family of products.
Unlike the previous items, this one is not running Linux, but it oriented toward the maker and IOT audience. The new Pi Pico boards were hard to find but I found a local dealer who let me have them for a good price.
Youtube provided a wealth of information including some project guides. I built a simple thermometer with some leds based on one of the videos from Jeff Geerling. Below is an image of my little test board.
There is very little on the board, which is reflected partially in the price of less than $5 list. You see there is the new custom processor, a memory chip, and a few odds and ends.
The board can be programmed in C/C++ and also in python. At the time of this writing I have only used the python/thonny system. I have not used any arduino based tools yet.
21 mm × 51 mm form factor
RP2040 microcontroller chip designed by Raspberry Pi in the UK
Dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ processor, flexible clock running up to 133 MHz
264KB on-chip SRAM
2MB on-board QSPI Flash
26 multifunction GPIO pins, including 3 analogue inputs
2 × UART, 2 × SPI controllers, 2 × I2C controllers, 16 × PWM channels
1 × USB 1.1 controller and PHY, with host and device support
8 × Programmable I/O (PIO) state machines for custom peripheral support
Supported input power 1.8–5.5V DC
Operating temperature -20°C to +85°C
Castellated module allows soldering direct to carrier boards
Drag-and-drop programming using mass storage over USB
Low-power sleep and dormant modes
Accurate on-chip clock
Accelerated integer and floating-point libraries on-chip
This is a two core processor, which is novel in this space. The ESP32 have two core but I have not seen any other low cost dev boards like this with two cores. Pretty cool to have two cores. There are also a couple of state machines that can be programmed to run IO subsystems at high speed. The board is lacking lots of the goodies I have come to expect from the feather types of machines, such as battery charging and battery connectors. There are a couple of feather type boards in the works.
The feather types of boards will possibly be of greater use for the rocket and balloon testing boards. Larger flash memory will allow potentially for data to be written to the flash
As of right now, this board is not very useful for my balloon and rocket work compared to the feather boards and arduino boards. Time will tell if this chip works out, but it has some potential for sure.