Raspberry Silicon

Raspberry Pi is taking on the world of microcontrollers!

At £3.60/$4 I think this may be the microcontroller I turn to as I’m sure the documentation will be excellent. The same reason I’ve gone for Arduinos over anything else previously. Also I’m seeing the rise of microPython which I’m interested in as Python (or cPython as microPython users like to say) is my preferred language.

@Ed_S mentioned Raspberry Pi giving away Zeros with magazines and they are doing it again with HackSpace magazine.

They are also manufacturing chips for Adafruit, Arduino, Pimoroni and Sparkfun


From the datasheet, for orientation:

Microcontrollers connect the world of software to the world of hardware. They allow developers to write software which interacts with the physical world in the same deterministic, cycle-accurate manner as digital logic. They occupy the bottom left corner of the price/performance space, outselling their more powerful brethren by a factor of ten to one. They are the workhorses that power the digital transformation of our world.

RP2040 is the debut microcontroller from Raspberry Pi. It brings our signature values of high performance, low cost, and ease of use to the microcontroller space.

Should be a very interesting development! Apparently it’s 5V tolerant which means easy interfacing to retrocomputers… and there are mini-gaming and mini-experimenter products too:


The spec reminded me of one of the Teensy boards & it turns out someone’s already compared them. Not quite the same features, but comparable & the Pi is 1/3rd the price!

Apparently Arduino IDE support is coming, not sure about PlatformIO (based on a comment in a PlatformIO GitHub issue).

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The RP2040 chip has some groovy programmable state machines for controlling the GPIOs, and also a much more flexible mapping, such that it can interface to an 8 bit bus very nicely.

It turns out it’s not officially 5V tolerant at all, but seems to tolerate 5V anyway. In a similar vein, it seems to be very overclockable. Thread here, and also HN here.

Those PIO state machines also allow bit-banging of video out. Here’s a cycle-accurate emulation of a BBC Micro:

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Andreas Spiess has a comparison with some existing popular boards in the same price range.
Power consumption in normal running looks good & I think Pi has a wider audience than the other manufacturers, so should be interesting how these take off.