What Is a Raspberry Pico W and What Can You Use It For?

When Raspberry Pi launched the unique Pico in January 2021, it was properly acquired as a robust, low-cost ($4) microcontroller growth board. Powered by Raspberry Pi’s personal RP2040 system-on-chip (SoC) based mostly on two Arm Cortex-M0+ cores operating at 133MHz, it options 2MB of onboard flash storage, 264kB of RAM, and 40 pins—together with three analogue inputs and the distinctive Programmable I/O subsystem.


Nevertheless, one evident omission is the dearth of onboard Wi-Fi. Launched on the finish of June 2022, the $6 Pico W rectifies that with built-in wi-fi connectivity. Let’s take a more in-depth have a look at the Pico W’s capabilities and what you should use it for.

Raspberry Pi Pico W {Hardware}

The Pico W board is identical dimension as the usual Pico, however the three SWD (Serial Wire Debug) pins have been moved in from the sting to make room for a silver sq. housing the Infineon CYW43439 wi-fi LAN chip.

On the specs entrance, other than the addition of onboard Wi-Fi, the Pico W is an identical to the usual Pico mannequin. So it ought to work with all current Pico add-ons.

As you’ll be able to see, there’s loads of help for traditional digital communication protocols: I2C, SPI, and UART. As well as, as on the usual Pico, there’s a singular Programmable I/O subsystem which helps you to customise the I/O interface. In addition to enabling you to connect with non-standard peripherals, the independently operating PIO blocks can be utilized to take the pressure of the principle processor for different functions—even rendering composite video.

The usual Pico and Pico W boards don’t include male pin headers, so you may must solder on appropriate 0.1″ headers. Alternatively, there are Pico H and Pico WH fashions obtainable with headers already hooked up. Within the picture beneath, the Pico, Pico H, and Pico W fashions are proven from left to proper.

Firmware for Pico W

All Pico fashions might be programmed utilizing C/C++ or MicroPython (and in addition CircuitPython). The usual Pico C/C++ SDK contains wi-fi networking help. To make use of Pico W’s Wi-Fi performance in MicroPython, you may want to put in the particular Pico W firmware UF2 file downloadable from the Raspberry Pi documentation. Holding the Pico’s BOOTSEL button as you join it by way of its micro USB port to a pc, you then drag the UF2 file over to it. For extra particulars, try our getting began with MicroPython on Raspberry Pi Pico information.


To make use of Pico W’s wi-fi functionality to connect with your Wi-Fi community in MicroPython or C/C++, comply with the directions in Raspberry Pi’s connection information (PDF). In MicroPython, the community library is used to connect with Wi-Fi.

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Potential Pico W Tasks

Together with your Pico W related to Wi-Fi, you’ll be able to work together with different community units and ship and obtain knowledge from the web. So there’s nice potential for all kinds of IoT initiatives—check out our Arduino IoT initiatives for some inspiration, or you can strive including wi-fi performance or an internet interface to one in all these Raspberry Pi Pico initiatives.

Listed below are a number of extra venture concepts to get you began…

Internet Server: The Raspberry Pi Basis’s step-by-step venture information reveals you the right way to flip your Pico W into an internet server to regulate digital outputs from a browser, and to obtain sensor knowledge.

Community Scanner: Richard Hayler’s network scanner (Twitter) makes use of an LED strip to point close by networks detected, with color-coding for safe networks, hidden SSIDs, and insecure open networks.

Storage Door Sensor: Jeff Geerling’s easy sensor venture on GitHub sends knowledge regionally to House Assistant to indicate whether or not his storage door is open or closed, viewable on an internet dashboard.

Go Wi-fi With Pico W

Like the usual Raspberry Pi Pico, the Pico W microcontroller growth board is right for controlling electronics initiatives and has a really low energy requirement, however it provides onboard Wi-Fi connectivity to make use of in a wide range of thrilling IoT initiatives. There’s an enormous vary of prospects with Pico W and you can use it so as to add wi-fi performance to regulate an current Pico venture from the native community or web.

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