rp2040 chip

Top 8 Raspberry Pi’s RP2040 Chip Based Boards

The RP2040 chip is the Raspberry Pi’s first entry into the world of microcontrollers. This chip is small, low-power, and high-performance, and is capable of running complex projects without huge costs. But the best part is that the RP2040 is available to any manufacturer who wants to use it for their own products.

This quickly brought a wide range of RP2040-based boards onto the market, but what do these SBCs do?

Raspberry Pi RP2040 chip

Pico Arm processor

Built around a dual-core ARM Cortex-M0+ processor running at 133MHz, the RP2040 microcontroller is a surprisingly powerful chip for its small size. Of course, this chip has more specifications than just its CPU.

  • memory: 264 KB on a SRAM chip
  • I/O: 2 x UART, 2 x SPI controllers, 2 x IC2 controller, 16 x PWM channels, 1 x USB 1.1 controller
  • power entrance: 1.8 to 5.5 VDC

Besides these specifications, the RP2040 chip also features drag-and-drop programming over USB, low-power sleep mode and sleep, an on-chip minute clock, and a temperature sensor. This gives you access to onboard components that usually come separately from other microcontrollers.

Here are the top eight of the best RP2040-based boards available today.

1. Raspberry Pi Pico Controller Board

Raspberry pie“”>

Raspberry Pi Pico, Pico H, and Pico W.
Image credit: Raspberry pie

The Raspberry Pi Corporation is best known for producing its popular line of single-board computers, however RPi Pico do not fall under this category. Instead, the Pico is a microcontroller board built around the company’s RP2040 chip.

This board serves as a good reference design for an RP2040-based microcontroller board, providing access to all of the chip’s onboard I/O ports with a few bells and whistles that make it stand out from the crowd. The Pico is a good alternative to Arduino boards such as the Uno or Pro Micro.

You can buy a Raspberry Pi Pico with or without pre-soldered GPIO headers, and you can choose a version of the board with 2.4GHz 802.11n wireless (Raspberry Pi Pico W and WH only).

2. Adafruit RP2040 Bare Bones Macropad

Adafruit MacroPad RP2040 Starter Kit running 05
Image credits: Tina Saber

Founded in 2005 with the goal of creating a place for people of all backgrounds to learn about electronics, Adafruit is one of the most popular microcontroller vendors on the web.

Macropads are mini keyboards that improve productivity by giving you easy access to hotkeys and macros in the software you’re using. the Adafruit RP2040 Bare Bones Macropad is an affordable and easy way to build your own Macropad without having to learn how to code or wired keyboard switches.

The board comes with a built-in OLED display, 12 hot-swappable MX-style keyboard switches, and a rotary encoder. This makes it possible to switch between different macro profiles on the go using the pre-written code that Adafruit provides with this board. But the best is that it’s easy to do Learn how to build a MacroPad RP2040 to yourself.

3. Adafruit Feather RP2040 microcontroller


Feather Adafruit 2040
Image credit: adafruit

Adafruit’s Feather/Wing system has been on the market for some time, but the addition of the RP2040 Feather will appeal to a lot of makers. The Feathers are microcontroller boards that act as the brains of your device, while the Wings are daughter boards that connect to your Feather to add more components.

Unlike the RPi Pico, the Feather Adafruit RP2040 It features 8MB of SPI flash memory for code storage, RGB LED indicator for detailed diagnostics, and a host of other features that make it easy to take advantage of the RP2040 chip you’re using.

4. Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect


Arduino - rp2040 - connect
Image credit: Arduino

While it may come as a surprise to see Arduino on this list, this company does not produce its own silicon chips for its boards, and it makes sense to use the RP2040. This is good news for anyone looking for an expert in the microcontroller industry to build their own RP2040 boards.

the Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect It’s a relatively basic microcontroller without the extra features that come with some of the other boards on this list. However, it is one of the only RP2040 boards on the market that features native WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Besides WiFi, the Connect also has a separate 16MB flash memory on the RP2040 chip, a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, and an omnidirectional microphone. This board is great for working on embedded AI solutions from the comfort of your desk.

5. SparkFun MicroMod RP2040


Sparkfun rp2040 seal
Image credit: SparkFun

Much like Adafruit, Sparkfun is a company built on a simple principle; Having fun with electronics. This company produces its own line of interesting and unique microcontroller boards, many of which use the RP2040 chip.

the SparkFun MicroMod RP2040 Similar to Adafruit Feather Microcontroller; It is a microcontroller board designed to work with plug-in PCBs. SparkFun has taken a different approach to Adafruit, though, and the MicroMod RP2040 connects to carrier boards using an M.2 connection.

This board is incredibly simple, offers the basic I/O found on the RP2040 chip, and so much more. Once added to a carrier board, such as the SparkFun Machine Learning Carrier Board, it will take on a new role, with enhanced features and components for you to take advantage of.

6. Display of the Pimoroni Badger RP2040 e-ink badge


2040 - Nada
Image credit: Pemoroni

Pimoroni is a UK based electronics company which is equipped with its own state of the art product line. This enables this brand to branch out into creating a wide range of extraordinary PCBs and microcontroller boards with lots of different features.

The next RP2040 is more specialized than the others we’ve looked at. It comes with five buttons, an e-ink display, a battery pack, and the entire product is designed to function as a digital ID card.

You can store multiple profiles on Pemoroni Badger RP2040Scroll through with the press of a button. This product is fairly recent, offering a cool and unique way to identify yourself at work, events, and anywhere else you want to communicate.

7. Pimoroni Plasma Stick 2040 W


pimoroni plasma wand
Image credit: Pemoroni

the Pemoroni plasma stick 2040 watts It is a modified Raspberry Pi Pico W, meaning it comes with all the same features as the Pico W, including Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity. Besides, this board also has everything you need to work with Neopixel / WS2812 / SK6812 LEDs.

This product is only intended for those who work with LEDs, which makes it a somewhat specialized board. Work with LEDs and microcontrollers Quite popular, this means that a lot of makers will be able to take advantage of this simple board for themselves.

8. Pimoroni Motor 2040 Quad Motor Controller


pimoroni motor controller
Image credit: Pemoroni

Using a microcontroller to power motors usually requires additional motor control components, however Pemoronian 2040 engine It packs everything you need into one palette. This device is ideal for those who make RC cars, 3D printers, and any other projects that require multiple motors

Choosing the right RP2040 board for you

The RP2040 chip is incredibly powerful and versatile, but we’ve only scratched the surface of the various boards available with this chip. It’s worth checking out each of the brands we covered to see if they have a board that matches your project requirements, along with looking at other companies for a broader view.

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