Banana BPI-Bit-S2 is a board for the education market that’s compatible with the BBC Micro:bit V2, but offers WiFi connectivity instead of Bluetooth LE through an Espressif Systems ESP32-S2 wireless microcontroller.
The BPI-Bit-S2 succeeds the earlier Banana Pi BPI-Bit with ESP32 WiFi & BLE microcontroller that was a closer match to the original BBC Micro:bit than the new ESP32-S2 board for which I see little benefit, except for the slightly lower price tag.
Banana BPI-Bit-S2 specifications:
- Wireless MCU – Espressif Systems ESP32-S2FN4R2 single core LX7 microcontroller with 320 kB SRAM, 2MB PSRAM, 4MB flash, 2.4 GHz WiFi connectivity
- LEDs – 25x RGB LED matrix
- USB – 1x USB Type-C port for power and programming
- Sensors – 2x light sensors, 1x thermistor sensor
- Expansion – 3x I/O rings, 3V/GND rings, 20-pin edge connector (compatible with BBC Micro:bit V2 design) with up to 16x GPIO, I2C, SPI, 3.3V, and GND
- Misc – 2x user buttons (A/B), Reset button, BOOT button, buzzer
- Power Supply
- 5V via USB-C port
- 3.3V via power rings (3V/GND)
- Dimensions – 50 x 50mm
Just like its predecessors, the BPI-Bit-S2 board supports Webduino (Blocky) to develop programs in a web browser using a visual editor, as well as MicroPython, CircuitPyhon, and the Arduino IDE. You’ll find instructions to get started in the Wiki.
While the board is compatible with the BBC Micro:bit V2, it’s not exactly a clone since it supports WiFi instead of Bluetooth LE, features a beefier microcontroller, and Banana Pi is also offering a slightly different set of features as shown in the table below.
Red LEDs are replaced by RGB LEDs, battery support is lacking, and the microphone and motion sensor are gone, with Banana Pi featuring two photosensitive sensors instead.
Banana Pi sells the BPI-Bit-S2 board for $19 plus shipping on Aliexpress. For reference, the BPI-bit initially launched for $19.50 plus shipping, but it does not seem to be sold anymore, and BBC Micro:bit V2.2 goes for around $20 provided it’s in stock.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
Why use the single core only WiFi b/g/n ESP32-S2 instead of the dual core WiFi b/g/n + BT v5.0 ESP32-S3 module? The S3 module costs just $0.08 cents more than the S2, the S3 has lots more SRAM (8MB) compared to the S2 (328kB), and the S3 has Bluetooth while the S2 doesn’t. Yeah the S2 has 2MB PSRAM while the S3 has none, but if using the radios with RTOS I much prefer the S3 with two cores instead of the S2 with only one.