It has been quite a bit since the announcement of its own chip from the Raspberry Foundation, and a lot of boards with this microcircuit came out. There are relatively expensive, there are – not very. One of the least expensive boards is the SparkFun Pro Micro RP2040. Its price is $ 10.
It works well for both professional and home projects. The developers have equipped it with both a GPIO and a Qwiic connector, which allows it to be connected to other systems. In the sequel – details.
Briefly about the main thing
SparkFun has a whole line of RP2040 boards. But the system described here is the most typical representative of the line. It is inexpensive, it is a recognizable form factor, plus characteristics comparable to competitors. By the way, it is similar to the Adafruit Feather RP2040 board we have already described, but the new model has 16MB of flash memory.
- SoC: ARM Cortex M0 + c 133 MHz.
- SRAM: 264KB
- Internal memory: 16 MB
- GPIO: 20 GPIO pins of the following configuration – 10 x PWM, 10 x Digital I / O, 4 x Analog 12-bit ADC, 1 x I2C (Qwiic), SPI, 2 x UART, programmable IO, 1 x WS2812 / NeoPixel.
- USB: USB C
SparkFun Pro Micro RP2040 Design
Almost the same size as Adafruit’s ItsyBitsy RP2040, the SparkFun Pro Micro RP2040 has a distinctive design ideal for use in a breadboard. But the system is also perfect for working on home projects – it can be easily unsoldered or connected to anything (well, almost).
The bright red color of the board makes it stand out from the abundance of black and green boards. The GPIO pins are silk-screened on both sides of the board, so you won’t get confused. Power can be supplied via the USB-C port as well as RAW / + and GND. True, the characteristics of 5V and 600 mA cannot be exceeded. At the opposite end of the board is the Qwiic connector.
These connectors are compatible with the Adafruit Stemma QT format, allowing you to connect a wide variety of other boards, sensors, sensors, and displays to the board. There are also adapters that further expand the possibilities for connecting additional systems. Well, access to the UART, SPI pins is carried out via GPIO.
Using SparkFun Pro Micro RP2040
Tests were conducted with the latest versions of MicroPython and CircuitPython. Basic GPIO functionality was tested for CircuitPython using an LED and a button. It all worked without issue. The second test was to connect WS2812 / NeoPixel, install neopixel CircuitPython library. All this took a few minutes, after which everything worked as required.
The third test is connecting a capacitive touch sensor using a Qwiic / Stemma QT cable. With MicroPython, we were able to test the use of I2C devices through the Qwiic connector. The first such device was an OLED screen, which was programmed to display a series of graphics and animations. The fourth test is connecting a four-digit, seven-segment display powered by the TM1637. An adapter was already required here. In general, there were no problems in this case either. A four-digit random number generator and text scrolling were used.
SparkFun’s Pro Micro RP2040 combines the best features of two Adafruit RP2040 boards: ItsyBitsy RP2040 and QT Py RP2040. Like Adafruit’s ItsyBitsy RP2040, SparkFun’s Pro Micro RP2030 offers a large selection of GPIO pins, as well as a Qwiic / Stemma QT and USB-C header just like QT Py.
Board use cases
As mentioned above, it is great for any project. You can make, for example, a robot. A Qwiic connector and 16MB flash memory allow the Pro Micro RP2040 to be used in data collection projects.
Priced at $ 10 like ItsyBitsy RP2040, this board has additional features including a large number of GPIO pins and a Qwiic / Stemma QT connector. Moreover, the dimensions of the board are very small.
If you are looking for a good mid-range motherboard with a decent selection of features, then the SparkFun Pro Micro RP2040 is your best bet.