Maker Pi Pico STEM board mini review with CircuitPython

In my early list of third-party Raspberry Pi RP2040 boards, I shortly mentioned Cytron Maker Pi Pico baseboard for Raspberry Pi Pico that exposes all pins via female headers, includes LEDs for all GPIOs pin, six Grove connectors, three user push-buttons, one RGB LED, a piezo buzzer, an audio jack, a MicroSD card, and an ESP-01 socket to add WiFi connectivity. The beta version sold for $5, and at the time I missed that included Raspberry Pi Pico board as well, so basically you got a free baseboard. The Malaysian company has now sent me a review sample to play around with, so let’s have a closer at the hardware and code samples for the board. Maker Pi Pico Unboxing and Specifications I received the board in Cytron package together with a pinout diagram for Raspberry Pi Pico, and we can see the latter is already soldered to Maker Pi Pico. Maker Pi Pico specifications: Based on Raspberry Pi Pico […]

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TTGO T-Watch-2020 V3 ESP32 watch adds microphone for voice control

Lilygo TTGO T-Watch-2020 is a thin, ESP32 smartwatch programmable with Arduino that was introduced last year. The WiFi and Bluetooth-connected watch is equipped with a 1.54-inch LCD capacitive touch screen, a Class-D amplifier, buzzer, accelerometer, RTC, and a battery. The watch is one of the top-selling devices on Lilygo’s Aliexpress store, and they must have had requirements for voice control, so the company has now launched TTGO T-Watch-2020 V3 based on the same design but adding a PDM microphone. As far as I can TTGO T-Watch-2020 V3 specifications are the same as last year’s model, except for the microphone: SoC – Espressif ESP32 dual-core wireless processor with 520KB SRAM System Memory – 8MB PSRAM Storage – 16MB QSPI flash Display – 1.54-inch LCD capacitive touch screen Audio – Max98357 Class-D amplifier, buzzer/speaker, PDM microphone Connectivity – 802.11b/g/n WiFi 4 and Bluetooth 4.x/5.1 via ESP32 Sensors – BMA423 three-axis accelerometer with built-in step counting algorithm, activity recognition/tracking, advanced gesture recognition. Misc […]

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Person Detection on Raspberry Pi Pico with ArduCAM and TensorFlow Lite

ArduCAM is popular for camera-based applications with various boards ranging from Arduino to Raspberry Pi. We also saw the company’s tiny coin-sized Raspberry Pi compatible module 5 years ago. Now, it also supports the newly launched Raspberry Pi Pico for real-time video applications. Raspberry Pi Pico is compatible with the ArduCAM Mini 2MP Plus camera featuring an OV2640 2MP CMOS image sensor that supports automatic image control functions including Automatic Exposure Control (AEC) and Automatic Gain Control(AGC). The camera also comes with an onboard JPEG encoder for image compression. The company has provided a Github repository with two demo applications: a video streaming application and an example for basic person detection with the probability percentage of detection. There is also an option of directly using the UF2 files for flashing with Raspberry Pi Pico, if you don’t want to build the demo from the source code yourself. The application runs on the Windows 10 environment for a real-time video streaming […]

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Watchy Pebble-like Smartwatch with E-paper display, ESP32 processor launched on Crowd Supply

Pebble smartwatch was introduced in 2012 on Kickstarter. The Bluetooth smartwatch came with an E-Paper display, would connect to your Android smartphone or iPhone to receive notifications or other info, and the company also released an SDK for further customization. It was quite popular at the time having sold over one million units, the Pebble Time followed in 2015 with a color display, as well as other models. But despite selling millions of watches, the company folded in 2016, and the Pebble was discontinued after the intellectual property was purchased by Fitbit. Watchy is a new smartwatch that reminds me of the original pebble. It is based on ESP32 WiFi & Bluetooth SoC, equipped with a 1.54-inch E-Paper display with 200×200 resolution, and the usual accelerometer for activity tracking and gesture detection. Watchy key features and specifications: SIP – Espressif Systems ESP32-PICO-D4 system-in-package with ESP32 dual-core processor with Bluetooth LE 4.2/5.x and WiFi 4 connectivity, 4MB SPI flash Display – […]

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microByte ESP32 portable game console comes with a 1.3-inch display (Crowdfunding)

We’ve previously seen programmable, portable game consoles powered by Espressif Systems ESP32 processor with the likes of ODROID-GO or WiFiBoy32 both equipped with a 2.4-inch display, and design to play retro games or create IoT projects with a small display thanks to I/O headers. But if for some reason, you’d like an even more compact ESP32 portable game console based on the WiFi & Bluetooth SoC, Byte-Mix Labs microByte may be what you are looking for thanks to a tiny 1.3-inch square display. microByte specifications: Wireless module – ESP32-WROVER-E module with ESP32 dual-core processor @ 240 MHz, 8 MB PSRAM, 16 MB flash, and integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antenna Storage – MIcroSD card slot Display – 1.3-inch ST7789 IPS Screen with 240 x 240 pixel resolution, 60 Hz max refresh frequency Audio – On-board speaker powered by a MAX98357AETE+T I2S amplifier Controls – 13x onboard buttons with 8x Inductive direction and action buttons with rubber membranes, 3x additional buttons (Start, […]

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A closer look at Raspberry Pi RP2040 Programmable IOs (PIO)

The popularity of Raspberry Pico board powered by RP2040 microcontroller has made every reader wanting to know more about the board and chip. So today we will be talking about RP2040’s Programmable IOs, a feature that makes it different from most other microcontroller boards. The two PIO blocks or let’s call it the hardware interfaces in the RP2040 have four state machines each. These two PIO blocks can simultaneously execute programs to manipulate GPIOs and transfer raw data.  Now, what do these state machines do? Well, the PIO state machines execute the programs fetched from various sources. Sometimes the programs are taken from the PIO library (UART, SPI, or I2C) or user software. Why Programmable I/O? All the boards usually come with hardware support for digital communications protocols such as I2C, SPI, and UART. However, if you plan to use more of these interfaces than what is available on the board, you can use the programmable IOs provided in RP2040 […]

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Getting Started with Raspberry Pi Pico using MicroPython and C

Raspberry Pi Pico board was just launched last Thursday, but thanks to Cytron I received a sample a few hours after the announcement, and I’ve now had time to play with the board using MicroPython and C programming language. I went to the official documentation to get started, but I had to look around to achieve what I wanted to do, namely blinking some LEDs, so I’ll document my experience with my own getting started guide for Raspberry Pi Pico using a computer running Ubuntu 20.04 operating system. The instructions will be similar for Windows and Mac OS. Preparing the hardware In theory, we could just get started with the board alone, but since I got some headers with my board, I also took the opportunity to try out Pine64 Pinecil soldering iron powered by MINIX NEO P2 USB-C power supply. The soldering iron worked great for about one minute, and then I started to have problems with soldering… Looking […]

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$4 Raspberry Pi Pico board features RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ MCU

The Raspberry Pi Foundation introduced the Linux capable Raspberry Pi board in 2012  to teach programming and computers. Since then, the company has introduced models with faster processors, more memory, faster interfaces, culminating with the launch of Raspberry Pi 4 in 2019. The board also comes with a 40-pin header to teach electronics, but relying on a Linux SBC to blink a LED, gather data from sensors, or controlling servos is a bit over the top. So the Raspberry Pi Foundation decided to create their own MCU board called Raspberry Pi Pico powered by RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller designed in-house by the foundation. Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller Before we look at the board, let’s check out RP2040 specifications highlights: Core – Dual Cortex M0+ cores up to 133 MHz (48MHz default) Memory – 264 kB of embedded SRAM in 6 banks Peripherals 30 multifunction GPIO 6 dedicated IO for SPI Flash (supporting XIP) Dedicated hardware for commonly used peripherals Programmable […]

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