Adafruit QT Py RP2040: a tiny single board for a wide variety of projects

Not so long ago, we talked about the Adafruit Feather RP2040 single board. It is good for everyone, especially because it is based on a Raspberry chip. It turns out that this is a kind of “raspberry”, but there are more opportunities.

Adafruit has other surprises as well. The company has released two more RP2040-based boards, including the smallest of them, the Adafruit QT Py RP2040. All the details about the new product are under the cut.

What kind of payment is this?

Adafruit QT Py RP2040 proposes an additional analog output, their total amount is 4. It is also equipped with a built-in NeoPixel RGB LED, which is used as an indicator of the board’s operation status. The system is tiny, which means that you should not expect too wide a range of possibilities from it.

Indeed, despite a number of interesting features, the developers had to make sacrifices. Namely, to halve the number of GPIO pins.

Board specifications:

  • Processor: ARM Cortex M0 + running at up to 133Mhz
  • Flash Storage: 8MB QSPI
  • GPIOE 13 GPIO pins. 7 x Digital I / O, 4 x Analog 12-bit ADC, 2 x I2C (including Stemma QT), SPI, UART, Programmable IO, 1 x NeoPixel
  • USB Port: USB C
  • Dimensions: 22 x 18mm

Adafruit QT Py RP2040: how it’s done

QT Py RP2040 is about a third smaller than Pico. The board is convenient for desoldering on larger boards when creating various projects.

In terms of design and capabilities, QT Py RP2040 is similar to Tiny 2040, which is not surprising, given the “kinship” of these single-board devices. The size of both boards is similar, but the GPIO pinouts are different. QT Py RP2040 has the same GPIO pinout as the previous model, SAMD21 power QT Py. If one of your projects used this board, now you can upgrade it.

On the upper side of the single-board, there are two buttons – boot and reset. Adding the latter is a great move as there is no longer any need to unplug the power cord and plug it back in. But the most pleasant thing for developers is another feature is the Stemma QT connector, which is located on the other side of the USB-C port.

How can Adafruit QT Py RP2040 be used?

At the heart of the new board is a system-on-chip from Raspberry, the RP2040. This means that the code written for the “raspberry” is also suitable for this single board. Recall, the code can be written in MicroPython, CircuitPython, C / C ++, and in the near future also on Arduino Core. The most popular among developers is CircuitPython – Adafruit’s version of MicroPython. The language is good because a whole library of extensions and drivers has been created for it.

Writing CircuitPython code is almost the same as writing Python code. The only difference is that you save projects as code.py. When the board is turned on, the system starts up on its own. The board works well: reviewers have already tested it in solving various problems and have not noticed any problems.

An important caveat: Stemma QT is a secondary port. To use it, you need to modify the code by specifying board.SDA1 and board.SCL1. Without this operation, the second port will not work.

In general, the capabilities of QT Py RP2040 are enough for using the board in the course of implementing a large number of “hardware” projects. This can be an additional keyboard, MIDI control, and so on. The board is also applicable in smart home projects.

Its small footprint is ideal for integration with any larger compatible motherboards. But you can also use a single-board unit as an independent unit. The only drawback of the system is the relatively small number of GPIO pins.

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