When the Raspberry Pi Pico arrived in late January 2021, few realised just how popular the $4 microcontroller would become. In a move which disrupted the status quo, Raspberry Pi released its own microcontroller, the RP2040 and partnered with Arduino, Adafruit, Pimoroni and SparkFun to release a plethora of different boards based around this chip. The ongoing chip shortage hasn’t impacted the RP2040. In fact the RP2040 is becoming popular for mass produced projects. Who can blame the savvy makers for choosing a powerful $1 SoC that is actually in stock. Since launch we have seen the RP2040 power a myriad of boards and projects, but to get the most out of the $4 microcontroller we need to get the right accessories.

Luckily, just like with the regular Raspberry Pi, an entire ecosystem of accessories has emerged, including:

  • Add on boards which connect to the GPIO of the Pico and provide extra functionality such as wireless communications, LCD screens and RGB LEDs.
  • Shields / Bases that provide interfaces for extra components.
  • Expanders that provide extra GPIO pins for use with multiple addons at once.
  • All-in-one boards which breakout the Raspberry Pi Pico to a larger form factor featuring many additional features not found on the Pico.
  • Breakout boards for the RP2040 chip, enabling anyone to integrate the RP2040 into their own boards.
  • Project specific boards that are used for specialist projects such as robotics or machine learning.

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