It’s always nice when something new arrives in the post and it’s unexpected! Andrew Gale from PocketMoneyTronics has done great things in the past with his subscription-based soldering kits. This time, he has created a carrier board for the Raspberry Pi Pico which helps you to get going on coding with simple components. It is called the Pico 360 and it comes as a solder-it-together-yourself kit.
The components are as follows:
- The PCB
- 6 red LEDs
- 1 yellow LED
- 1 green LED
- Resistors for all those LEDs
- 2 momentary buttons/switches
- 1 piezo buzzer
- 1 trim potentiometer
- 2 sets of female header pins (for the Pico to plug into)
- 1 set of male header pins (to breakout some extra pins)
- 3 sticky nubs to go on the bottom
The genius move in this case is to include 5 pads which can be attached to with crocodile clips, making this excellent for education where re-use is as important as anything else.
Putting it together
Soldering it together was simple and is best done, in my opinion, in the following order (from lowest height to highest height):
- Male header
- Female headers
The components are all through-hole, so it should be easy for someone with even “beginner” soldering skills. The only thing I did find was that some of the pads are quite close together. I only had one “oops” and needed a solder sucker. That’s about average for me, anyway!
Once soldered together, I plugged in a Raspberry Pi Pico (which I had already soldered male headers onto).
Example code and video
To my delight, I was able to get all of the included components working straight-off-the-bat by using CircuitPython (which happened to be loaded onto the Pico). My code is here on GitHub as a Gist and you can see the code in action in the video below. If you want a MicroPython demo program, you can find that on Andrew’s website.
Summary and recommendation
This is a great idea for education, especially, and for beginner hobbyists just getting started with the Pico. There are enough components to keep the ideas flowing, and it’s a breeze to solder together. The soldering might put off some educators, of course, but I daresay it will be popular anyway. Who knows? There could be enough demand to do a surface-mount pre-assembled version…
Either way, great job, Andrew! This comes highly recommended!