The PicoBricks is a special board, built by Robotistan for the education sector, combining a RPI Pico (based on the Raspberry Pi Pico) and ten different components on a prewired circuit board design.
A key advantage of this design is that all the components are prewired, so a beginner can start by exploring and coding the components without first doing any wiring. For learners just getting started with electronics, this approach removes the possibility of making frustrating wiring errors, allowing them to be successful from the start. Later, as they grow in confidence and experience, the learner can break apart the board and build selected components into projects.
In short, the PicoBricks board combines the benefits of an all-in-one microcontroller board like the micro:bit with the flexibility of a simple board plus a kit of parts.
These demo programs cover all the components of the PicoBrick board.
DOWNLOAD: PicoBricks Demo Program
DOWNLOAD: PicoBricks Library Demo Program
The board encorporates the following components on its circuit board:
All components are mounted on separate circuit board units attached to the main circuit board and connected to the PICO microprocessor via PCB traces. Each unit can be broken off and used individually. Each unit and the main board also incorporate Grove connectors that are used to connect to the module boards after they have been broken-off. There is also a handy RESET button for the processor.
MicroBlocks has a library for this board. See PicoBricks Library Guide for details.
The MicroBlocks firmware for the Pico and other RP2040 boards uses the default pin assignments shown above for the UART (GP0/GP1), I2C (GP4/GP5) and SPI (GP16-19) functions. Those pins can be also used as general purpose digital pins when the UART, I2C, and SPI functions are not in use.
Note: MicroBlocks firmware supporting the Pico board is still in development. Due to the multiple port assignment options available for the UART, I2C, and SPI Serial services, the actual pin assigments will be in a state of change until finalized. Please refer to special pins for the latest information.
Following is an illustration describing the connectivity options provided with this board, and their main uses.
Modern versions Windows, MacOS, and Linux should automatically install serial drivers for the Pico.
On some older systems (e.g. Windows 7), you might need to install a serial driver manually. While those systems are not officially supported, this post suggests a solution Using Pico on Windows 7/8 is easier than documented #118. (We have not tested that process.)
To install the MicroBlocks firmware on a PicoBricks board, launch MicroBlocks and plug in the board. From the MicroBlocks (gear) menu, select "install firmware on board":
Then select "RP2040(Pico or PicoW)":
As the firmware loads, you will see a progress screen:
Once the firmware is installed, click on the USB icon to connect; a green circle should appear to show that the board is connected.
That may take a few seconds. In rare cases you may need to disconnect and reconnect the board.
To verify that everything is working, try the following:
The LED on your PicoBricks should light up, showing that the board is connected.
If the LED on your board does not light up, it could be that the LED is connected to a different pin on your board. (Different boards connect the user LED to different pins.) You could look up the LED pin number in the data sheet for your board, but it's more fun to write a MicroBlocks program to find it for you:
You're ready to code!