The Raspberry Pi Pico powered Maker Pi Pico is our Editor’s Choice for Raspberry Pi Pico projects. For $9.90 we had a Raspberry Pi Pico and a lot of extra features. Today Cytron have announced the Maker Pi RP2040 board to the range, a smaller board that eschews the Raspberry Pi Pico form factor of the original and goes straight for the RP2040 chip itself. Oh and it can make robots too! This new board may just disrupt our list of best Raspberry Pi Pico accessories.
Maker Pi RP2040 is Cytron’s second RP2040 board, and the form factor is similar to the earlier Maker Pi Pico but with a few subtle changes.
- Onboard LiPo / Li-Ion charging
- 2 x DC motor outputs (via MX1508 H-bridge)
- Motor quick test buttons
- Four servo connections
- No direct GPIO access
- Seven Grove connectors
The Maker Pi RP2040 comes with an additional Grove connector, two RGB LEDs, and a Piezo buzzer. the board also incorporates LEDs to identify the status of GPIO pins. The elephant in the room is the loss of general GPIO access, something the Maker Pi Pico offered. The loss should not be seen as a negative, far from it. The board distils down to exactly what we need to build robots and motorized projects. The onboard MX1508 motor controller and two DC motor outputs can be used to make simple robots, or we can use the MX1508 to drive a water pump in a Grove sensor based plant monitoring projects. The onboard LiPo / Li-Ion charging is an interesting feature. It could offer a similar battery backup for a project / battery power experience as Pimorini’s Pico LiPo and it would be invaluable for robotics projects.
Maker Pi RP2040 comes with CircuitPython 6.2 pre-loaded and ready to use but as this is an RP2040 based board we can use MicroPython or C with it. In our review of the Maker Pi Pico we noted that CircuitPython was the ideal fit for this project focused board, and the same should be true of the Maker Pi RP2040.
The price of the Maker Pi RP2040 is $9.90 direct from Cytron and Tom’s Hardware have one on the workbench for a forthcoming review.