SparkFun's Pro Micro Range Gets a Little RISCier with the New Pro Micro ESP32-C3 RISC-V Dev Board

With a low-power 160MHz RISC-V core and both Bluetooth 5 Low Energy and Wi-Fi radios, this compact dev board packs in the features.

Gareth Halfacree
5 months agoHW101 / Internet of Things

SparkFun has launched a new entry in its Pro Micro development board family, and this time it's housing the Espressif ESP32-C3 RISC-V microcontroller — with breadboard and surface-mount-compatible pin headers and a Qwiic connector for solder-free projects.

"The newest Pro Micro development board to join our cast of characters […] features the robust ESP32-C3 from Espressif," SparkFun's Chris McCarty writes of the company's latest development board design. "This is an incredibly fast, single-core RISC-V wireless development platform that can fit into most, if not all, project spaces, especially when size and weight are a concern."

SparkFun's latest Pro Micro board has an Espressif ESP32-C3 at its heart, packing 160MHz of RISC-V power. (📹: SparkFun)

The Espressif ESP32-C3 at the heart of SparkFun's latest Pro Micro was announced back in November 2020, following a leak, as the company's first microcontroller to feature a primary processor core built on the free and open source RISC-V instruction set architecture — the success of which would lead the company to move exclusively to RISC-V and away from its previous proprietary core IP.

On the compact SparkFun Pro Micro, the ESP32-C3 — in the form of an ESP32-C3-MINI-1 module — clocks its single 32-bit processor core in at up to 160MHz, features 400kB of static RAM (SRAM) of which 16kB is used as cache, an additional 8kB of SRAM in the real-time clock (RTC), and 384kB of on-die ROM plus 4MB on-package flash.

As you'd expect from an ESP32, there's wireless connectivity: single-band IEEE 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi plus Bluetooth 5 Low Energy (BLE) with Bluetooth Mesh support, the radios for both of which share a single on-board antenna. The module's various features are then brought out to castellated pin headers in the Pro Micro format, with 22 user-accessible general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins and SPI, UART, I2C, I2S buses, a TWAI controller compatible with CAN 2.0, and pulse-width modulation (PWM) plus analog to digital converter (ADC) pins.

"The Pro Micro ESP32-C3 taps into the power of Espressif's open source ESP-IDF," McCarty says of the board's software support, "a robust ecosystem brimming with libraries, tools, and a supportive community. Plus, you can leverage the familiar Arduino IDE for a smooth development experience."

The SparkFun Pro Micro is now available to buy on the company store, priced at $9.95 before volume discounts.

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