Home Hardware What is the Raspberry Pi Pico

What is the Raspberry Pi Pico

by shedboy71

This is not a SBC like a standard Raspberry Pi, you cannot run an operating system like linux on it. Think of an Arduino Nano from a size point of view but way more powerful and an Arduino from a development point of view

You can experiment by adding hardware like lcds, sensors and other modules to it. Lets look at this new board in more detail.


You will need a USB cable and some headers, this is truly a barebones development.

You do not need an external SD card as your programs are uploaded to the onboard flash

It can be reprogrammed over USB from a Raspberry Pi or other computer using the C/C++ SDK or the official MicroPython port. At the bottom of this article we have various documentation links.

Raspberry Pi Pico PInout

This is the pinout for the Raspberry Pi Pico

raspberry pi pico pinout

raspberry pi pico pinout

Raspberry Pi Pico Specifications

The main chip on board is the ‘RP2040’  which is a ARM Cortex M0+ processor, with a flexible clock running up to 133MHz.

  • RP2040 microcontroller chip designed by Raspberry Pi
  • Dual-core ARM Cortex M0+ processor, flexible clock running up to 133 MHz
  • 264kB of SRAM, and 2MB of onboard Flash memory
  • Castellated module allows soldering directly to carrier boards
  • USB 1.1 Host and Device support
  • Low-power sleep and dormant modes
  • Drag & 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
  • Real-time clock
  • Temperature sensor
  • Accelerated floating-point libraries on-chip
  • 8×Programmable IO  state machines for custom peripheral support


There are already a few add-on boards available from companies like pimoroni

I have purchased these ones and we will be looking at these in future articles

Pico Scroll Pack – A 7×17 grid of individually controllable white LEDs
Pico Display Pack – A 1.14″ IPS LCD screen with four buttons and a RGB LED
Pico Decker (Quad Expander) – attach up to four add-ons to a single Raspberry Pi Pico using an expander board
Pico Omnibus (Dual Expander) – attach two add-ons to a single Raspberry Pi Pico

I will also be looking at various sensors to see if I can get these to work


This is a low cost board which is designed to fill the low cost maker market, similar to an Arduino. The benefits of this is unlike other development boards there is already good documentation and support

You may need a few extras and the board does not have any wifi or bluetooth capabilities but these can be added with other boards. Maybe future variants can add these capabilities.

At under £4 its well worth a purchase to experiment with


Documentation for the Raspberry Pi Pico board and the RP2040 microcontroller:

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