Skip to content

What are the Similarities and Differences of the Raspberry Pi Pico Variants?

Raspberry Pi Pico is a microcontroller development board produced by Raspberry pi foundation. This low-cost and versatile board was constructed around the RP2040 chip. The Raspberry foundation designed the RP2040 chip in-house.  

In January 2021, the RP2040 chip was released. Since then, this development board has gained popularity among the DIY community. More than a year after the first board was released, a few variants of the Pico board was released by the Raspberry Pi foundation. The few variants include Pico WH, Pico W and Pico H. We will be discussing all of these variants, their similarities, and their differences.

Raspberry Pi Pico-Cortex Development Board

This is a new low-cost microcontroller development board produced by Raspberry Pi Foundation. It is sold for $4. The silicon RP2040 SoC powers the Raspberry Pico. The RP2040 SoC comes with an Arm Cortex M0+ processor that runs at about 133 MHz. Also, its SRAM is 264K and onboard storage is 2MB. The Raspberry Pi Pico is an ideal choice for any DIY project.

Unlike other boards earlier developed by the Raspberry Pi foundation, the Raspberry Pi Pico isn’t an SBC that can manage a full OS.  It can be programmed in C programming or MicroPython languages since it is a microcontroller development board.

The RP2040 offers unparalleled reliability and flexibility to professional s. It features deterministic bus fabric, a large on-chip memory, rich peripheral set, symmetric dual-core processor complex, and deterministic bus fabric. Also, this development board is a great option for hobbyist and beginners due to its UF2 bootloader in ROM and a detailed documentation.

Microcontrollers are very small computers, however, they don’t have large volume storage. Also, they have no peripheral devices that can be plugged in like normal computers.  The Raspberry Pi Pico comes with GPIO pins, which is similar to a Raspberry Pi computer. This means you can use this microcontroller development board to regulate and as well receive input from various electronic devices.

Raspberry Pis were single-board computers that could run an operating system before the advent of Raspberry Pi Pico. Despite, the low cost of Pico, it is a capable device. Pico has a pin header with 40 connections which enables you to directly analyze programs from another computer.  The Pico ushers users into a new era of Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Pico W and WH

Raspberry Pi Pico board

In as much as the Raspberry Pi Pico offers a wide range of power features, it has got its own drawbacks. The main disadvantage of this development board is that it lacks wireless connectivity unlike its competitors ESP8266 or ESP32. However, the Raspberry Foundation decided to solve this problem by providing a solution to this problem in the new Pico WH and Pico H. These development boards have wireless connectivity. Therefore, this gives it a better advantage over Raspberry Pi Pico.

The newly developed Pico W features an Infineon CYW43439 chip. This chip is designed to offer to support to Bluetooth LE 5.2. and 2.4 GHz WiFi 4. Although the Chip supports Bluetooth 5.2, it is not functional at this time. In the future, the Raspberry Pi foundation may enable it through some firmware updates.

Asides the recent addition of the Wi-Fi module and antenna, the Raspberry Pi Pico W and WH has similar design with the Pico. Furthermore, the user CYW43439 now connects to the LED, however, the wireless chip can still be controlled from the RP2040 SDK.  Also, it is pin-to-pin compatible with the Raspberry Pi Pico. Therefore, add-ons or carrier boards already existing should be able to work without any modifications.

The Pico W has a buck converter that can be changed to meet the new power requirements. Rather than using the RT6150B as its power regulator, the new Pico integrates the RT6154A by Richtek . Also, the debug port moved close to the SoC to create space for the Wi-Fi antenna.

Pico W has similar size with Pico. This board features many GPIO and supports MicroPython. Also, this board has a wireless interface of 2.4GHz.

Raspberry Pi Pico H

Raspberry Pi 3B
Raspberry Pi 3B

This microcontroller development board shares similar properties with the original Raspberry Pi Pico. These two boards have no differences in terms of their functionality. However, there is a slight difference. Raspberry Pi Pico H doesn’t have the old gold-plated castellated holes in Raspberry Pi Pico. Also, the header pins in Raspberry are pre-soldered.

Also, another difference in these boards is the new debug connector. The Raspberry Pico features 2.54mm standard header pi for debug. On the other hand, the new Pico H comes with a 3-pin SM03B-SRSS-TB connector. This connector is ideal for 2-wire serial debug interfaces or UART. Asides these differences, the Pico H and original Pico has everything else in common. Even the physical dimensions and pinout are the same for both boards.

Specifications and Usage of Raspberry Pico

Pico has impressive specifications. These include:

  • A dual-core processor that operates fast
  • 16 PMW channels
  • Excellent eight programmable I/O
  • Onboard flash memory of 2MB
  • 26 I/O pins which comprises 3 analog inputs
  • Dormant and low-power sleep modes
  • SRAM of 264Kb
  • Clock and timer on-chip
  • USB 1.1 Host and Device support
  • Temperature sensor
  • Drag and drop programming that makes  use of mass storage
  • Castellated modules that enable direct soldering to carrier boards

Although Pico doesn’t feature an onboard Bluetooth and Wi-Fi since these consume much power. However, these features aren’t really necessary. Users can maximize the features of this device, especially professionals. However, Pico is ideal for beginners. Also, beginners can program Pico in MicroPython or CircuitPython.

More Facts about the Raspberry Pi Pico

FULL PCB MANUFACTURING Quote

The Raspberry Pi Pico is ideal for DIY projects. This microcontroller development board is very versatile. In terms of the capabilities of programmable Input/Output (PIO), Pico bridges the gap between hardware and software.

Raspberry Pico has proved itself to be an impressive tool over time. Although it is new, it has got more features and benefits than other Raspberry Pis. The serial wire debug (SWD) header in Pico enables debugging, which helps you track down issues in programs.

Pi Pico features power pins which either power the peripherals and sensors from the pico or power the Pico from the power source.

Best Projects of Raspberry Pi Pico

LCD display interface

With Pico, you can make use MicroPython programming for interfacing an LCD display. This practical upgrade is a great addition to your device since you can make use of LCD displays for several projects.

LoRaWAN

Pico has no native wireless capability. It integrates LoRaWAN. This helps to keep the package low-powered and also interface with real-world sensors. LoRa is a wide-area networking ideal for Internet of Things. Therefore, it can connect low-power devices over impossible distances.

Flashing LED

Pico works differently from Arduino. Flashing LED may not be exciting for some users. However, these projects are easy and quick to run. Also, these small projects helps in setting up and integrating  MicroPython on the Pico.

Color Mandlebrot set

You can easily locate some simple guides on how to link TFT display to a Pico. The Raspberry Pi Pico is much more interesting as it has several new thing to learn about mathematical programming, TFT graphics, and analog input control.

USB foot pedal

This project is useful for hands-free pause when integrating software. The USB foot pedal in Raspberry Pi is ideal for your computer needs. Also, this project is great to pick for several levels of Raspberry Pi users.

SMARS Robot

The I/O  and processing capabilities of Pico makes it easy to build SMARS Robot. The popular modular SMARS robot series is a great project in Pico.

Gaming

This is one of the best projects the Raspberry Pi Pico can handle. The result you get from this project offers you a great method to learn how to transfer designs from various platforms like Arduino.

Music Box

Pico users will love to handle this project. Who doesn’t love to play some nice music. The MP3 is a creative microcontroller application.

What is the Difference Between Arduino and Raspberry Pi Pico?

The Raspberry Pico and Arduino Uno have been compared together several times since the release of Pico in early 2021. This type of comparison will go on for log since there are many factors to consider in this comparison. Both Arduino Uno and Pico are great microcontrollers, but there are some differences.

There are some differences between these two microcontrollers in terms of memory, power consumption, CPUs, programming languages, pins & I/Os and ease of use. When it comes to price and size, the Arduino Uno isn’t as great as the new Raspberry Pi Pico. However, the specifications of Arduino is a bit similar to that of Raspberry Pi Pico.

For instance, it is easy to program in Arduino since its IDE (integrated development environment) is user-friendly. Arduino devices integrate a variation of C++. Pico integrates a 40-pin DIP style board. This is an added advantage for Pico users. This means Pico has rows of pins with rectangular housing directly soldered on it.

One advantage of this feature is that you can attach Pico to various project pieces. Also, it can be combined with a breadboard. The processor of Raspberry Pi Pico is stronger than Arduino. This means the Pico consumes more power than Arduino. Pico has a better processing power than Arduino , which makes Pico a beast.

Furthermore, the coding language integrated by Raspberry Pi Pico is MicroPython. This language is very easy to pick up. The C and C++ programming language isn’t recommended for beginners. This is because Pico doesn’t have a beginner friendly IDE.

Also, the programmable Input/Output pins are capable of simulating communication protocols and peripherals. You won’t find this feature in Arduino Uno.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Raspberry pi into a Router

Can I Connect a Raspberry Pi Pico to the internet?

Raspberry Pi co W has an Infineon CYW43439 2.4GHz Wi-Fi chip. With this feature users can get exceptional Wi-Fi reception without lots of wires.

Can Raspberry Pi Pico function as a computer?

Raspberry Pi  can copy several devices and the Pico isn’t left out. Eric Badger reveals the ability of Pico to copy a 6502 computer and shows a comparison of the Pico running close to an Apple II computer.

What is the major difference between Raspberry Pi and Pico?

These two boards have no differences in terms of their functionality. However, there is a slight difference. Raspberry Pi Pico H doesn’t have the old gold-plated castellated holes in Raspberry Pi Pico. Also, the header pins in Raspberry are pre-soldered.

How long can Pico’s battery last?

Pico uses a LiPO battery specifically designed for the UPS Pico. The capacity of this battery is more than 3000 mAh. Therefore, this allows users to use the Raspberry Pi Pico for about 8 hours with no power supply connected.

Which is a better option, Arduino Uno or Raspberry Pi Pico?

Arduino Uno and Raspberry Pico both have their advantages and disadvantages. Although Pico is newer than Arduino, these microcontrollers both feature different specifications and this makes them unique. However, the Raspberry Pi Pico is a stronger microcontroller in terms of its processor, PIO pins, and memory. This microcontroller features more pins. Also, its DIP design is very impressive. However, the choice of which microcontrollers you opt for depends on your preference. Another aspect the Pico is a better option is in terms of its PIO pins. The programmable I/O pins can help in combining basic assembly programs.

Conclusion

The Raspberry Pi Pico comes with GPIO pins, which is similar to a Raspberry Pi computer. This means you can use this microcontroller development board to regulate and as well receive input from various electronic devices. Despite the low cost of Pico, it is a capable device. Pico has a pin header with 40 connections which enables you to directly analyze programs from another computer.  

Raspberry Pis were single-board computers that could run an operating system before the advent of Raspberry Pi Pico. Despite the low cost of Pico, it is a capable device.

 

 

 

                Get Fast Quote Now