Raspberry Pi uses its own silicon for $4 board

Raspberry Pi uses its own silicon for $4 board

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has designed its own chip to enable a $4 (€3.30, £3.09) board.

The Raspberry Pi Pico board is built around a new chip, the dual core RP2040 microcontroller, similar to the previous Compute module but integrating more memory, ADC and sensors to bring down the cost. The chip supports large on-chip memory of 264KB and 30 I/Os with dedicated I/O hardware, while the board includes 2MB of on-board QSPI Flash and 26 general purpose I/O pins and USB1.1 support.

There is an on-board power supply to generate 3.3V for RP2040 and external circuitry. A wide input voltage range, from 1.8V to 5.5V, gives designers the flexibility to select their preferred power source. 

It supports simple drag and drop programming via micro-USB. 3-pin Serial Wire Debug (SWD) for interactive debugging. Comprehensive C SDK, mature MicroPython port, and extensive examples and documentation.

The board will ship from Farnell from next Monday, Jan 25th for USD4.00. This will allow existing designs on the original boards and Compute modules to move down to a more cost effective implementation. Over 36m boards have been shipped, with many used for IoT designs as a low cost controller.

The Foundation says it learned a lot from using Broadcom’s chips in the previous boards.

“With Raspberry Pi Pico, and RP2040, we have been able to draw on insights drawn from a decade of using other vendors’ microcontrollers, and to create an innovative silicon platform for our customers,” said James Adams, Chief Operating Officer, Raspberry Pi Trading. “People have used Raspberry Pi to create a broader spread of projects and products than we could have imagined a decade ago; we’re sure the same will be true of Raspberry Pi Pico.”

The RP2040 microcontroller uses two ARM Cortex-M0+ cores clocked at 133 MHz with dedicated hardware for commonly used peripherals alongside a programmable I/O subsystem for extended peripheral support. It also includes a four-channel analog-to-digital converter (ADC) with internal temperature sensor and the USB 1.1 with host and device support.

Next: Raspberry Pi Pico availability

“Since the launch of the first Raspberry Pi in 2012, this market-leading brand has become synonymous with ease of use and value for money. Raspberry Pi Pico is the newest and smallest addition to the family, bringing with it the potential to transform the microcontroller market in the same way that the original board did for single board computing. At just $4, Pico provides incredible flexibility and opportunity for design engineers,” said Lee Turner, Global Head of Semiconductors and SBC at Farnell

Farnell is the largest manufacturer and distributor of the Raspberry Pi and has sold more than 15 million units to date.

The Raspberry Pi Pico is available for USD $4.00 from Farnell in EMEA, Newark in North America and element14 in Asia Pacific, from Monday 25th January. Orders from RS Components are schedule to ship from the 28th and it is also available from Okdo.

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