Olimex introduces the new Raspberry Pi Pico with even more GPIOs

Olimex, a provider of development tools and programmers for embedded devices, has announced their upcoming RP2040-based board, the RP2040-PICO30. The board, which retains the Raspberry Pi Pico's pinout, provides even more GPIO pins. The creation of this board was motivated by the challenge of building a modern MOS 6502 CPU peripheral computer at the lowest cost possible.

Raspberry Pi Pico and Raspberry Pi Pico W's standard pinout has 26 user-controllable GPIO pins. Four pins are set aside for power control (GPIO23), USB detection (GPIO24), status LED (GPIO25), and power monitoring (GPIO29). Raspberry Pi Pico has a total of 40 pins, with the remaining 10 used for multiple GND, 3.3V, 5V, and ADC voltage reference connections. The RP2040-PICO30 eliminates four GND connections to include a few more GPIO pins in the pinout while maintaining overall compatibility. A welcome addition to the RP2040-PICO30 is a USB-C connector for data and power, which I prefer over micro USB because it's sturdier, and I don't have to worry about guessing the correct orientation. USB-C also provides a power source that can supply up to 3A, and a SY8089A CC to CC voltage regulator will ensure that there's 3.3V at 3A.

The additional GPIO pins on the RP2040-PICO30 are for another Olimex project, the Neo6502. According to Olimex founder Tsvetan Usunov, this project is an attempt to see "if it is possible to build a modern 6502 peripheral computer at the lowest cost possible." The Neo6502 is an attempt to merge the old and the new into one package. The old is represented by the MOS 6502 processor, a processor popular in the early 21st century's era of personal computers. New is the RP2040, which will emulate RAM, programmable clock, video, USB host, storage, and SID reader. The Neo6502 project aims to pack all of this into a board that will cost around $25-$30.

The RP2040-PICO30 is currently in prototype stage, with a goal of launching by late May 2023. There are two versions, a 2MB flash model for €4.50/€6 with headers soldered and a 16MB flash model for €6.50/€8 with headers soldered.

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