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Author Topic: RPi Pico Microcontroller  (Read 631 times)

tiffy

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RPi Pico Microcontroller
« on: April 13, 2021, 01:11:43 PM »

Anyone having a "dabble" with the recently introduced RPi Pico Microcontroller?

As a self confessed RPi enthusiast and "dabbler" who has every model of RPi produced, couldn't resist getting one at the unbelievable cost of £3.60 + P&P!
Currently just playing around with Micro Python via "Thonny" on Win 10 desktop PC, this interface of course can be achieved perfectly well with any RPi model, Mac or Linux platform.

Considering applications, lots of information available on line, great little toy.
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: RPi Pico Microcontroller
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2021, 02:32:15 PM »

I'm a little disappointed it doesn't have 640K, purely for the amusement factor of having such a cheap tiny device with as much RAM as early PCs.

In all seriousness though, those specs are insane for the price, I'm just not sure what I'd use it for.  I was dabbling with the ESP devices but they are a PITA to work with and the software triggers the virus scanner.  If this had WiFi it would have been an ideal replacement, as I just wanted to build a few wireless temperature/humidity sensors around the house for cheap.
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tiffy

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Re: RPi Pico Microcontroller
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2021, 09:10:58 PM »

Yes, absolutely unbelievable at the cost, would struggle to get a cup of coffee and a cake for that!
I like the 3 X 12 bit ADC's, suitable for all sorts of analogue input applications.
Received 2 cheap miniture OLED displays today, going to have a play around with driving these from the Pico.

For anyone looking for a basic overview of the Pico this is very good:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peLH-HNza44

Use this handy breadboard kit with the Pico:
https://thepihut.com/products/raspberry-pi-pico-breadboard-kit

As with all toys, one thing is inclined to lead to another!

Edit: Terminology correction.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2021, 08:14:22 AM by tiffy »
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Alex Atkin UK

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Re: RPi Pico Microcontroller
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2021, 10:34:36 PM »

I have a few OLED displays knocking around myself that I was also going to use on those sensors, but I could never get them to work.

I'm not great at coding, mostly a copy/paste/hack hobbyist.
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tiffy

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Re: RPi Pico Microcontroller
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2021, 04:07:04 PM »

I have a few OLED displays knocking around myself that I was also going to use on those sensors, but I could never get them to work.

I'm not great at coding, mostly a copy/paste/hack hobbyist.

Using these miniture OLED displays:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0777HHQDT/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B076BJZ42H/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

and guided by this tutorial:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zy64kZEM_bg
found it quite easy to get the displays working on a breadboard either in parallel on the same I2C port or individually from separate I2C ports of the Pico, very basic programming but certainly a start in project development.

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vic0239

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Re: RPi Pico Microcontroller
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2021, 05:55:40 PM »

This is something that interests me. I love ploutering with this kind of stuff and found the video fascinating. :-[ Did you buy your Pico as part of a kit? I wouldn’t know where to start otherwise.  :)
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tiffy

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Re: RPi Pico Microcontroller
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2021, 11:54:53 PM »

Don't really need anything other than the Pico and a suitable miniture usb to usb-c cable, will power from the USB port of the programming device, I usually get my RPi bits from the Pi Hut:
https://thepihut.com/collections/raspberry-pi/products/raspberry-pi-pico
Do really need the header pins fitted, if you don't feel competent with soldering these can buy pre-fitted for a few quid extra.

Pimoroni is also a very good source of everything RPi related:
https://shop.pimoroni.com/

Can interface with the Pico from Windows via "Thonny", free to download and use, also comes pre-loaded on most RPi GUI program revisions so can be driven from any normal RPi.
Have no experience with MAC but I'am sure there is an interface for that also.

If you don't have a "breadboard" setup already then something like this is ideal for experimentation and program development:
https://thepihut.com/products/raspberry-pi-pico-breadboard-kit
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vic0239

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Re: RPi Pico Microcontroller
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2021, 07:08:02 AM »

Many thanks for the info and links, I'll start on my shopping list. :)  Don't mind soldering, I once constructed a Pantry Transmitter from a kit and was astonished that it worked first time!
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tiffy

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Re: RPi Pico Microcontroller
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2021, 10:01:33 AM »

The Pico with pre-soldered pins was not initially available and from illustrations seems to have the pins attached "downwards" which is correct for breadboard insertion and unlike the normal RPi arrangement.
At £3.60 + £1.00 for a set of pins it's hardly worth the effort of soldering with the fitted version costing £6.00!

Soldering was second nature to me but unfortunately eyesight does not improve with age and can be a severe limitation despite all available forms of optical magnification.

If you do decide to go down the Pico dedicated breadboard route be sure to order some extra male to female jumpers or male to male jumpers if a normal breadboard is used.
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vic0239

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Re: RPi Pico Microcontroller
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2021, 03:38:10 PM »

I initially ordered the Pico Explorer Base from Pimoroni, but, at first, couldn't fathom it out due to the components on the board using a bespoke library in MicroPython. So to make things easier for novice me I also bought this Starter Kit from the PiHut. Using this I can follow the examples in the accompanying manual and also those in the "Get Started" book.
Such fun!, as I've often heard said.  :)
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tiffy

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Re: RPi Pico Microcontroller
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2021, 06:21:34 PM »

The Pimoroni breadboard kit looks good, similar principle to the breadboard unit I use as suggested earlier but with the integral OLED display.
I found that the Arduino ESP32 information from here:
https://randomnerdtutorials.com/getting-started-with-esp32/
was equally applicable to the Pico and was certainly helped with the Micro Python code required to get the OLED displays operational.

With the current weather improvement, outdoor activities are now taking priority (not complaining) so further development, or swanning around as the wife would put it is presently on hold, however, have enjoyed and hopefully even learned something for a very modest outlay.

Enjoy your RPi Pico.
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tiffy

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Re: RPi Pico Microcontroller
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2021, 12:00:23 PM »

Promotion by Pimoroni this weekend, 50% reduction, that's £1.80 for a Pico or £3.00 with pre-soldered headers!
https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/raspberry-pi-pico?variant=32402092294227

Would highly recommend their reset push button add on, saves wear on the micro USB socket and much easier to implement a reset while experimenting.
https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/captain-resetti-pico-reset-button
I fitted this to my already soldered header, first removed the solder from the 3 pins with a solder sucker then re-soldered switch & pins, quite easily fitted with moderate soldering skills even with my (not as good as it used to be) eye sight.

Pimoroni has quite modest Royal Mail P&P charges and there are lots of RPi "goodies" that can be added to the order so it won't be the case that the goods value is less than the P&P charges!

Noted on my last order from Pimoroni that they were the first "main land" company to date which actually displayed a customs declaration to N.I. on the package, one of the few mail order companies to be up to speed with the inevitable Brexit Irish Sea border situation. 

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vic0239

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Re: RPi Pico Microcontroller
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2021, 12:29:23 PM »

Thanks for the reminder, my order is in along with a few other project "necessities"! I have to say I am quite hooked on these since your introduction :) just as well they are inexpensive! Working my way through the basics as well as dipping into some more complex examples. My wife, like yours no doubt, is quite unimpressed when I ask her to push a few buttons to illuminate an LED or beep the piezo. "Is that all it does, what use is that?!" quickly deflates my newfound pride! :(
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tiffy

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Re: RPi Pico Microcontroller
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2021, 01:43:26 PM »

@vic0239:
Glad you are enjoying your Pico, the unit cost is unbelievable even before the current 50% reduction!
Yes, wives/partners in general are inclined to be somewhat sceptical of our technical achievments but at least it keeps us out of mischief!

I'am currently experimenting with a rotary encoder, lots of related Micro Python code available for the Arduino, not so much for Pico as yet.
Don't have any firm projects in mind just yet but hopefull all the elements will come together at some stage in a useful application, in the mean time, having lots of fun and keeping the brain active.

Would imagine the Pico will be very much welcomed by the Robotics fraternity with it's low cost, size and low power consumption.

Edit: Terminology correction.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2021, 07:48:39 PM by tiffy »
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