Tiny Seeeduino XIAO board gets Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU

Seeduino XIAO RP2040

Seeeduino XIAO is a tiny Arduino Zero compatible board with battery support that was launched last year with Microchip SAMD21G18 ARM Cortex-M0+ microcontroller at up to 48MHz. Seeed Studio has now launched the XIAO RP2040 board with the same form factor but upgrading to a more powerful Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller clocked at up to 133 MHz. XIAO RP2040 specifications: MCU – Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex M0+ up to 133 MHz, or even 252 MHz (48MHz default) with 264 kB SRAM Storage – 2MB SPI flash USB – 1x USB type C port for power and programming Expansion I/Os 2x 7-pin headers with 11x 4x analog inputs, 11x digital I/Os / PWM, 1x DAC, SPI, UART, and I2C; 2.54mm pitch 3.3V I/O voltage (not 5V tolerant) Misc – 1x user LED, power LED, 2x LEDs for serial port downloading, Reset Button/ Boot Button, RGB LED, SWD pads […]

PlasticArm is a functional, non-silicon, flexible Cortex-M0 microcontroller

PlasticArm Cortex-M0 plastic MCU

Four years ago, we wrote about PragmatIC’s ultrathin and flexible plastic electronics circuit, with news that an ultra-cheap ARM Cortex M0 MCU made of plastic materials was coming soon. In this case, “soon” means about four years, but Arm has now finally announced PlasticArm, an ultra-minimalist, fully functional Cortex-M0-based SoC, with 128 bytes of RAM and 456 bytes of ROM that, with 18,000 gates, is twelve times more complex than previous state-of-the-art flexible electronics. PlasticArm specifications are similar to a standard Cortex-M0+ core with some notable exceptions: Cortex-M core in PlasticARM ARMv6-M architecture ISA – 16-bit Thunb and subset of 32-bit Thumb 32-bit data access and address width 86 instructions 2-stage pipeline Architectural register file mapped to RAM external to the CPU (instead of inside the CPU) Runs code from other Cortex-M CPUs 0.8-μm process There are two main advantages of PlasticArm. First, It’s flexible and integrated into paper, plastic, […]

MicroMod Teensy brings Teensy 4.0 board to M.2 form factor

MicroMod Teensy

Teensy 4.0, a low-cost board based on NXP i.MX RT1062 Arm Cortex-M7 crossover processor, is now getting a little brother with MicroMod Teensy following the same M.2 form factor as other Sparkfun MicroMod boards. Born from a collaboration between PJRC and Sparkfun, MicroMod Teensy has essentially the specs of Teensy 4.0 but with larger flash memory, and the board will be fully supported by the Teensyduino add-on to the Arduino IDE as noted by Paul Stoffregen on Twitter. MicroMod Teensy specifications: SoC – NXP i.MX RT1062 Arm Cortex-M7 processor at 600 MHz with  1024KB RAM (512KB is tightly coupled), Storage – 16MB serial flash (instead of 2MB on Teensy 4.0) M.2 MicroMod connector with USB Device up to 480Mbit/sec: Capable of enumerating as a USB keyboard, mouse, joystick, MIDI, audio, and more USB Host up to 480Mbit/sec: Capable of interfacing to USB flash drives, mice, keyboards, and more 7x Serial […]

Pico Wireless Pack adds ESP32 WiFi & Bluetooth module to Raspberry Pi Pico

Pico Wireless Pack for Raspberry Pi Pico

Pimoroni Pico Wireless Pack is an add-on board for Raspberry Pi Pico adding a MicroSD card socket and ESP32 WiFi & Bluetooth module to the popular MCU board. While it’s a nice idea to add wireless connectivity to Raspberry Pi Pico, ESP32 is a dual-core Xtensa LX6 processor clocked at 160 to 240 MHz with WiFi, Bluetooth, and plenty of I/Os that should be able to handle most tasks better than Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ processor clocked at 48 MHz by default, although we’ve also seen it overclocked up to 252 MHz. It comes with female headers that allow it to be inserted directly to the back of Raspberry Pi Pico has shown above, or into a “GPIO expander” board like the Pico Omnibus shown below through an SPI interface. Pico Wireless Pack specifications: Wireless module – ESP32-WROOM-32E WiFi 4 & Bluetooth 4.2/5.x module with PCB antenna, 4 MB […]

Arm introduces Open-CMSIS-Pack and Keil Studio Cloud for MCU software development

Keil Studio Cloud Beta

Arm has just announced two new initiatives that aim to boost the productivity embedded, IoT, ML, and MCU software developers: the Open-CMSIS-Pack project and Keil Studio Cloud. The Open-CMSIS-Pack Project The Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) packs have been around for years providing a vendor-independent hardware abstraction layer for microcontrollers, mostly Cortex-M based, but others too, and currently support close to 9000 different microcontrollers. I always assumed CMSIS was open-source as the source code is available in Github under an Apache 2.0 license. But apparently, not all components are, and Arm has now announced the Open-CMSIS-Pack project that will move part of CMSIS into the open project in collaboration with the Linaro IoT and Embedded Group. Linaro, Arm, and other partners like STMicro and NXP will initially focus their work on command-line tools and CMake workflows, with the ultimate goal of making the CMSIS-Pack technology into a true open […]

You can now buy Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU for one dollar

Buy Raspeberry Pi RP2040

Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller is not exactly new, as it was introduced with Raspberry Pi Pico board last January. But until now, you had to get samples from the Raspberry Pi Foundation due to limited supplies. What has changed today is that you can more easily buy Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU for one dollar either in single quantity or reels with the following pricing: Reel/Tape with 3400 pcs for $3400 US Reel/Tape with 500 pcs for $500.00 US Raspberry Pi RP2040 cut tape (single unit):  $1.00 US The math geniuses among us will have quickly figured out there isn’t any volume discount, so it’s one dollar per chip whether you buy one or thousands. [Update: See comment from Raspberry Pi Foundation below explaining pricing for reels is still to be determined] That’s about all there’s new. If you have not quite followed recent Pico news, here’s a summary of Raspberry […]

Quad GPIO Expander for Raspberry Pi Pico adds battery, display module, sensors, etc…

Raspberry Pi Pico with OLED display, 18650 battery

People are normally using MCU boards for their low cost, low-power consumption, low price and/or real-time ability. The Raspberry Pi Pico is no exception, but if you don’t care about using a large board, Waveshare created a 177 x 62 mm “expander” board for the Raspberry Pi Pico that can take four modules. The company’s Quad GPIO Expander board includes a set of female headers for RPi Pico, and four sets of 2×20 male headers for extra modules that bring support for 14500 batteries, OLED displays, RTC, relays, and other compatible modules. The expansion board also has a Micro USB port for power, and to leave the Micro USB OTG port on the Raspberry Pi Pico for other purposes. Each header pin is clearly labeled, which could be useful if using some of the pins with jumper wires instead of modules. Waveshare has hundreds of different modules and somehow decided […]

The Tiniest Raspberry Pi RP2040 Boards – Tiny 2040 & Adafruit QT Py RP2040

Smallest RP2040 boards

The Raspberry Pi Pico officially board for RP2040 MCU has a lot of free space on the PCB. So when third parties made their own board they either added features like camera, display, and sensors as found on like on Arducam Pico4ML board, while others “cut the fat” to the minimum. Some of the tiniest Raspberry Pi RP2040 boards are Pimoroni Tiny 2040 & Adafruit QT Py RP2040, both of which come with the dual-core Cortex-M0+ MCU, a USB-C port, two buttons, some I/O ports, and not much else. Tiny 2040 Pimoroni Tiny 2040 specifications: MCU – Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ [email protected] up to 133Mhz with 264kB of SRAM Storage – 8MB QSPI flash USB – USB Type-C port for power, data, and programming I/Os – 2x 8-pin castellated and through holes for 12 I/Os pins including 4x analog inputs, SPI, I2C, UART, 5V, 3.3V, and GND Debugging – […]