Arduino Announces Board Based On Raspberry Silicon

The Raspberry Pi Pico burst onto the microcontroller scene last month with much fanfare, and is already popping up in projects left, right and center. Notable for its high clock speed and exciting IO features, it’s a breath of fresh air in a market slowly weaning itself onto ARM architectures and away from 8-bit staples. Not one to miss out on a slice of the action, Arduino have announced their own upcoming board based on the Pico’s RP2040 chip.

The board is named the Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect, a moniker that’s not just a mouthful but likely to be confused with existing Arduino Nano products. It sports several differences to the Raspberry Pi Pico, namely packing WiFi, Bluetooth, and an IMU on board which should make developing motion-sensitive and IoT projects easier, particularly in cases where the Pico’s flexible IO could be useful.

Naturally, Arduino IDE integration will be a major plus point that gets many makers on board, and we can imagine there will be swift development of libraries leveraging the RP2040’s PIO subsystem. If you still haven’t gotten the low down on the Raspberry Pi Pico yet, though, never fear – our own [Elliot Williams] can tell you everything you need to know!

[Thanks to Darrell Flenniken for the tip, via Tom’s Hardware]

62 thoughts on “Arduino Announces Board Based On Raspberry Silicon

      1. Do not want wifi. Why does it have wifi? Needs to not have wifi.

        Are they going to offer more than only this version and also do so at a reasonable price point? If not then even adding IDE and so on over isn’t going to really be that helpful as it will be finally time to move to C++ and MicroPython and assembly and basically just move over to a better platform at a much better price point as well.

        How long is it going to take for the IDE to actually be upgraded and released as well?

        1. Arduino IS C++. Just because they give you a library with a bunch of pre-written functions and the IDE inserts it’s own main() function doesn’t make it not C++. If it did then pretty much every GUI library would make C++ not C++.

        2. Raspberry Pi comes out with the Pico board with the RP2040 microcontroller. Half the people on Hackaday say “why no WiFi? It must have WiFi or it’s useless to me.” Then Arduino comes up with an RP2040 board with WiFi, and … this.

          Keep in mind, when Arduino adds this board to the IDE, they will also add the Pico. There is no good reason for Arduino to just duplicate what Raspberry Pi has already done, especially since there’s no way they’re going to try to compete on price. So they’re trying to compete on features.

    1. Not sure they are staying relevant at least in the hardware side. The Nano 33 BLE was cool, but to be honest the Feather nrf52840 Sense does everything it can and more. The ide and core libraries are useful for various groups still, but even there, for prototyping CircuitPython is often easier and way faster.

      1. Nobody’s out to kill anyone. Each has their niche. RPi says, “oh, you like bare metal? Here’s some bare metal!”, and Ardruino and Adafruit say, “not sure how to use this? Don’t worry, we’ll hold your hand.”

    1. Imagine that this new Arduino board contains an actual ESP32 that is there just to provide WiFi and BT communication for the RP2040. So basically it is an ESP32 board with an additional RP2040 added for no clear reason :-)

    2. So I’m about 80% sure that the wireless module on the end is actually an esp32 acting as a WiFi coprocessor over SPI – both Arduino and Adafruit use the same firmware (different modules though) for that purpose.

      From what I’ve heard, at least the native C++ sdk for the RP2040 chip is more flexible and less opinionated than the esp32 idf, which might be appealing, even though I’ve heard great things about the idf.

  1. I’m going to guess that the Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect will contain:
    o RP2040
    o 16MB flash
    o LSM9DS1 9-axis IMU (3D accelerometer, 3D gyroscope, 3D magnetometer)
    o MP34DT05-A microphone (MEMS audio sensor omnidirectional digital microphone)
    o u-blox NINA WiFi and Bluetooth module (Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11b/g/n single-band 2.4 GHz operation, Bluetooth BR/EDR, and Bluetooth low energy)

    The microphone is green chip above with the gold ring, which makes it stand out.

    1. Ooh, I like your guesses, they all seem plausible. For the Espressif fans, let’s point out that the Nina module almost certainly is the one based on an esp32 connected over spi.

    1. That sounds great right now while the Pico is still in it’s “can’t keep em in stock” phase. Once that’s over how long are you willing to wait on shipping in order to save money on something that’s only $4 to begin with? Doesn’t the Pi group deserve anything for their design work?

      1. TBH, I’m waiting for the Pico to become available. I have some applications in mind, but nothing I envision making will make me try to save $2. For me, $4 is just fine, and I will pay that gladly to have some confidence in it. If I come up with something that needs WiFi, then I’ll have to look at the options, since Arduino has always been overpriced.

        I expect a lot of wringing of hands in the community when Raspberry Pi eventually comes up with a Pico W for $8 or so, and everybody else’s wireless 2040 board is over $20.

      2. If the Pi foundation can’t keep em in stock but the Chinese producers can make them and keep them in stock, why not go for them? If you really want to support the Pi foundation for their work, nothing is stopping you from donating a buck or two to the Pi foundation for each Chinese board board you buy. In the end though Pi is still getting a cut, cause Pi makes the chips, unless the Chinese start cloning those too.

  2. I hope they will implement advanced control over power usage of all the sub components. I.e. being able to completely switch off components that are unused. Take them completely off the power rails.

      1. Yes they have. They’re working on a Feather (with Stemma QT), an Itsy-Bitsy, and a qt py (with Stemma QT). Sounds like they’re just waiting for availability of the bare ic on reels to start production: the prototypes have already been shown off doing stuff, so they must be pretty usable already.

  3. I think those Arduino guys are gone insane. I understand putting all the different sensors and add-ons onto manufacturers demo boards or pricy FPGA devboards, where the added sensors cost is just a fraction of the whole BOM cost. But why do they integrate all that to a project board is beyond my mind. It reminds me of that Homer Simpson designed supercar: Great, but pricy and useless.

    1. It would make sense if the peripherals were any good. If they had 2 opto inputs, an H bridge with I2C diagnostics, a 24v buck regulator, solar charging, an RGB LED driver, or something like that I’d be all for it.

      The problem is that they aim for flashy educational use cases that get boring in a hurry, and never really go all the way to being an integrated board for something actually cool. You still need some bulky messy manual soldering for even basic stuff like power management most of the time.

      Like, I just want to send a command over WiFi that moves a motor or something. It goes into a project, it’s not a project by itself. I want the inside to be clean, professional, and trivially repeatable with no fiddly manual dexterity. Then I can screw the case shut and get back to the actual project.

  4. Wow, this is a great hobby to have right now. Lots of interesting micros and boards popping up left and right. I’m inventing projects just to justify playing with the new boards and parts. I’m sure that’s not unusual. I say keep everything coming. Sometimes abundance is the mother of invention.

  5. I wonder who will be the first to write a WiFi “bug” application for the Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect. Or even using 8 of them as wireless microphones, for 7.1 surround sound recording.

  6. Not sure there’s going to be much more confusion about Nano. By now that’s just a form factor description like Feather or Arduino shield shape. Unfortunately unlike Feather, it wasn’t envisioned as a form factor so there is a board just called Arduino Nano (and millions of clones), instead of Nano 328 or something. But, there’s also the Nano 33 BLE and Nano 33 Sense (no clue where the 33 came from on these nrf52840 boards) and the Nano 33 iot (which is newer avr plus a WiFi module I think?). Made sense to me, anyway, that Arduino would make a Nano rp2040 just like Adafruit is making a feather 2040. Wonder if they’ll make one Uno shaped, or if they’ll leave it to someone else. Could be a great replacement for the Leonardo since it’s got native USB.

  7. I have a couple of ESPies laying around but I have never tried to use them yet. Maybe the power consumption is a whole lot lower than I expect? It’s hard for me to believe. I’ve spent a lot of time messing with Arduino power settings trying to get the sleeps just right and turning off the right combination of peripherals so that my project doesn’t suck a battery dry in minutes yet still wakes up and works when it is supposed to.

    I can’t imagine doing this AND running a WiFi transceiver! Are people using these for projects that plug into the wall or what? If I’m going to be tethered like that I’d rather just use Ethernet and so have a reliable network connection that doesn’t suck.

  8. ESP32 going to RISC V will be a step in the right direction for the open community in general. This first step (well second, there’s a RISC V in the ULP off the current offering) is only single core, equivalent to the ESP8266. Obviously just taking baby steps before going multicore again.
    A different league to the Arm device but drops in nicely below Arm for low power and inexpensive devices; aka IOTs. I just love the open core direction… coming from Linux…

  9. I simply like the idea of ‘choice’. Thanks Arduino for introducing a new board! I currently don’t need Wifi (at the moment) and just enjoy working with my RPI Pico(s) in C. Wonderful. But someone else will jump on the Arduino because it does have Wifi and meet their criteria for a project. Any maybe more comfortable with the Arduino C like IDE environment. Others will go the Python route for programming. Choices! In my mind this is a great time for hobbyists and we have more ‘things’ to pick from for our projects….Also really NONE of the boards/parts currently in production are price prohibitive with capabilities that we really didn’t have that many ago — in such small easy to use packages. A great time to be in this hobby!

  10. I’m sad that it apparently uses an ARM Cortex core.
    I thought that after Nvidia got the rights to ARM, the world would boycott ARM for good and move on.
    We’ve just started living in a highly technology-dependent society, so at least the embedded stuff should avoid being based on a proprietary monopoly like ARM. If things can’t be open-hardware (RISV-V etc), they should at least inherent diversity, as they did in the 1980s, when several dozen incompatible home computers were around.
    That would make sure that not a single company gains so much power. Nvidia+ARM is akin to what MS+x86 used to be, IMHO. It’s heart-breaking.

    1. You hit the nail on the head right at the end there, without realising the implication. M$ USED to be in complete control dominant – but because x86/amd64 became so much a standard within the general computer world good alternatives become possible – GNU,Linux,BSD etc can’t flourish if all the devs have a different very incompatible machine from each other, it requires far to much duplicated effort to get each platform to the same point.

      Nobody should want heaps of incompatible devices – that just generates e-waste when you can’t get your old x working with y, and are still not being in the position to do anything about it (Which can be true even if its all open source – not everyone has the skills AND time to make a go of such a project – but if work done by Bob for his different brand is close enough it can easily be made compatible (or is even just directly compatible anyway) the one human with both time and skill can do the job for everyone…).

      If and when Arm becomes impossible to use/license etc there will be a shift to something else, till then who ever owns it doesn’t really matter, until they abuse that ownership there is no need to rush out and learn something new.

    2. I am not sad Ardunio/RPI went with ARM. ARM is a well defined architecture and is mature and used everywhere. Tools are available for it, we no how to easily work with it. Like x86-64 is to the macro world, ARM is to the micro/mini world. As said by Foldi-one, until there is abuse, no worries. Meanwhile work on RISC-V can continue, and if it gains traction, great!

  11. A new silicon without WiFi/BLE? I think STM32 with arm CM3 is already good enough. However, since the Pi Pico comes with excellent support of MicroPython, that’s good for beginners to get started. I do prefer to code in python other than C/C++.

    If you need WiFi for Pico, add an ESP-01 with AT command support, that’s just $1 extra cost. Here is the source code I found and should run on Pi Pico + ESP01:

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.