DFRobot Launches Compact Beetle RP2040 Board for Space-Constrained Microcontroller Projects

At just $6.90, the Beetle RP2040 is an affordable small form factor RP2040 board with beginner-friendly soldering pads.

Gareth Halfacree
19 days agoHW101

DFRobot's Beetle family of compact development boards now includes a model based around Raspberry Pi's popular RP2040 — and boasting oversized pads to make soldering a cinch.

"DFRobot Beetle RP2040 is a development board built around the RP2040 chip," the company explains of its latest board design. "It has a compact size of 27mm×20mm [around 1.06×0.79"], which is easy to be embedded into small devices or projects. [The] RP2040 features a dual-core ARM Cortex-M0+ processor with up to 133MHz clock and 264kB internal RAM, and supports USB 1.1 devices, which allows users to focus on function implementation instead of spending too much time and effort on improving codes."

In addition to the RP2040 at the heart of the board, DFRobot has included 2MB of off-chip flash storage, an on-board user-addressable LED, and physical reset and boot-selection buttons. Eight of the RP2040's general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins are brought out to oversized pads around the outer edges of the board, with a gold immersion finish the company claims will make them easier to solder for a beginner.

Of those eight GPIO pins, two can act as analog inputs; there are two UART buses, two I2C buses, and one SPI bus available. A USB Type-C connector provides power and data, while the board can also be powered by a direct 3.3-5V input — though, as with the majority of RP2040-based boards, the pins themselves used 3.3V logic and are not 5V safe. For software, the Beetle supports all the usual platforms — including MicroPython, CircuitPython, Arduino, and straight C/C++ programming.

The Beetle RP2040 is DFRobot's second Beetle board this year, after the launch of the Beetle ESP32-C3 back in April. While the two share compact dimensions, their layout is noticeably different — and the compact prototyping board designed for use with the Beetle ESP32-C3 is incompatible with the new Beetle RP2040.

The Beetle RP2040 is now available on the DFRobot web store, priced at $6.90 — a $2.90 premium over the larger Raspberry Pi Pico.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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