Self-described “electronics engineering technologist” Michael Rangen has put together what he claims is an “enhanced’ alternative to the Raspberry Pi Pico development board: the imaginatively-named RP2040 Dev Board.
“An open-hardware development board for the [Raspberry Pi] RP2040, designed to be an enhanced version of the Pico,” Rangen writes of his latest board design. “Perfect for WS2812 “Neopixel” projects powered by a USB battery-pack.”
The RP2040 Dev Board aims to deliver an “enhanced” Raspberry Pico, with a number of improvements. (📷: Michael Rangen)
The RP2040 Dev Board isn’t Rangen’s first PCB: Last year the maker unveiled the M4-Breadstick, a fork of the Adafruit ItsyBitsy M4 Express, which took the gumstick format to its extreme. Designed to slot down the entire middle column of a solderless breadboard, the board was unusually long and thin — a form factor not shared by its RP2040-based successor.
The RP2040 Dev Board shares a form factor with the Raspberry Pi Pico on which it’s based, though loses the handy castellated pin headers that allowed for attachment to a PCB as a surface-mounted device as well as breadboard or fly-wire use. The micro-USB socket is gone, though, replaced with a more modern USB Type-C connector offering up to 15W of power draw when hooked up to a USB Power Delivery (PD) charger, while the off-chip quad-SPI flash memory has been increased from 2MB to a more generous 16MB.
Rangen’s redesign fixes one of the biggest flaws of the Raspberry Pi Pico: The underside silkscreen labels. (📷: Gareth Halfacree)
The biggest change comes not in the circuit itself, though, but on top of it: Rangen’s spin includes silkscreen labels on every single pin on the top side of the board, fixing a flaw in the original Raspberry Pi Pico, which sees the labels placed on the underside and thus hidden from view as soon as you attach the board to a breadboard.
The RP2040 Dev Board is available to order from Rangen’s Tindie store now at $14 with bundled but not-soldered male headers; the design files have been published to GitHub under the permissive MIT license.