Raspberry Pi Pico

The Raspberry Pi Pico is the latest Microcontroller Board from Raspberry Pi. Despite its small size, it is lightning fast and is quite Versatile. This Board is Built using the new microcontroller chip designed in the UK.

Costing just Rs.290, the Raspberry Pi Pico has taken the Microcontroller Market by a storm. It is powered by Raspberry Pi’s custom Silicon, the RP2040 SoC. This Microcontroller board is a great choice for powering numerous electronic projects. Unlike other Raspberry Pi Boards, Pico doesn’t run any operating system; instead, it runs a simple code written in MicroPython or C on a Computer which is later uploaded on it.

The RP2040 Chip

RP2040 is the Chip inside Raspberry Pi Pico which includes a dual-core ARM cortex-M0+ processor with 264 KB internal RAM. It supports up to 16MB of off-chip Flash Memory.I2C, SPI, and a PIO (Programmable Input Output) together constitute the range of flexible input-output options. These features support the infinitely possible applications from this affordable and tiny package.

ref: Reichelt Elektronik

The difference from Other Raspberry Pi Boards

It won’t be justified to compare Raspberry Pi Pico with other Raspberry Pi boards because,

Raspberry Pi Pico is not a conventional Raspberry Pi Board, it is not a Linux Computer, instead, it is a Microcontroller similar to Arduino and its main purpose is to be the backbone of Microcontroller based projects for eg. enable motors, control  LEDs, sensors, and numerous other Embedded Project applications.

The Raspberry Pi Pico is an efficient Board as it consumes much less current as compared to other Raspberry Pi boards. The reason for it being more efficient than other Raspberry Pi boards is that it is a Microcontroller, unlike other Boards that are practically Linux Computers.

The Raspberry Pi Pico v/s Arduino Boards

The 40 PIN DIP style PCB package that Raspberry Pi Pico has come up with is nothing new, as DIP packages were used in Arduinos too, but the convenience it brings to the Project Developers is something that gives Pico the upper hand. The Arduino Uno style layout favors a larger layout, but the DIP layout that Raspberry Pi Pico provides is easy to use and easy to embed into a project.

The RP2040 Chip makes Raspberry Pi Pico an elite microcontroller due to a dual-core Arm Cortex M0+ running at up to 133 MHz, which is much faster than Arduino Uno.RP2040’s SRAM is 264 KB which is more than that available in Arduino Uno(2KB). Pico has a Flash Storage of 2MB which outshines Uno’s 32KB of Flash Storage.

But when we compare Arduino Portenta H7 with the Raspberry Pi Pico, H7 overpowers the Pico, with its dual-core ARM processor running at 450Mhz and having flash storage of 2MB along with 1MB RAM. But H7 retails for Rs.7999, which is far more than the much lower price of Pico ie Rs.290

When Power Consumption comes to test, Arduino Uno takes the Upper Hand. A test was conducted wherein the Pico was powered running 12 NeoPixel LEDs from a 5.12 V supply, it was seen that the current and voltage that was consumed was 600mA and 3.1 V which was much more than seen in Arduino Uno with the same setup. It was seen that Uno drew 290mA of Current with 1.5W of power consumed by the board and the LEDs.

Pico

Arduino Uno Rev3

Nano

Portena H7

Microcontroller

RP2040

ATmega328P

ATmega328P

STM32H747

SRAM

264Kb

2Kb

2Kb

8MB

Flash

2Mb

28Kb

32Kb

16MB

Input Power

1.8 - 5.5 V DC

7-12 V DC

7-12 V DC

5V

Price

Rs.290

Rs.1449

Rs.1399

Rs.7999

Comparison with ESP32

Working with Tensilica Xtensa (ESP-WROOM-32) Processor with a 32 bit LX-6 Xtensa Dual-CoreArchitechture, the ESP32 on Chip Microcontroller is believed to be slightly better than the Raspberry Pico Pi. The CPU architecture provides it with a clock speed ranging from 80 Mhz to 240 Mhz which is greater than that offered by Pico.ESP32 offers an SRAM of 520KB and a 4MB flash Storage which is again greater than 256 KB SRAM and 2MB Flash Storage of Pico. As we know that Pico can run commands written in Micropython and C, C++ so can ESP32, and additionally, ESP32 can run Javascript and LUA commands too. Both the boards have an onboard programmable LED and both have inbuilt Temperature sensors, but ESP32 has an additional Hall-effect Sensor. Raspberry Pi Pico has a 2x I2C configuration compared to ESP32’s 1XI2C but Raspberry Pi PIco has no built Wifi and Bluetooth Modules, unlike ESP32.

All in all, with a comparable retail price of both the Microcontroller ESP32, proves to be better in performance but is not as compact as Pico. Thus the use of both these Microcontroller will depend on the type of Project one is trying to build.

Pico

ESP32

Microcontroller

RP2040

ESP-WROOM-32

SRAM

264Kb

520KB

Flash

2Mb

4MB

Input Power

1.8 - 5.5 V DC

5V

Price

Rs.290

Rs.490

Teensy LC vs Raspberry Pi Pico

Running the same 32 bit ARM Cortex-M0+ Architecture, both these microcontroller boards provide a clock speed of 48 Mhz but the Pico can support up to 133Mhz clock speed as it supports dual Core Architecture unlike the single-core support of TeensyLC.

Having a RAM size of merely 8KB and flash storage of 62KB, Teensy LC  is far behind Pico’s 2MB Flash Storage ad 264KB SRAM. Both these Boards have the same 3.3 VDC MCU and GPIO Voltages with a USB 1.1 Interface present on board. Teensy has a 27XDigital I/O pins which is one greater than in Pico but has no sensors present onboard unlike the Pico which has a Temperature Sensor inbuilt.

All other features are almost the same on both boards but the retail price of Teensy LC is Rs.1100  which is quite high than Pico. Cleary Raspberry Pi Pico is a slightly better board than the Teensy LC.

Pico

Teensy LC

Microcontroller

RP2040

Cortex-M0+

SRAM

264Kb

 8KB

Flash

2Mb

62KB

Input Power

1.8 - 5.5 V DC

3.3 V DC

Price

Rs.290

Rs.1100

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