Author Archives: smittytone

About smittytone

Tech Author and Writer

Review: Picoprobe PCB Kit 1.0 👎🏻

I haven’t been using a Picoprobe for a while because I needed to rebuild mine and issues with the code’s dependencies and a lack of updates from the Raspberry Pi Foundation meant I haven’t been able to get it to work properly. But I did spot this doohickey: a PCB you can solder a Pico and a header. It’s a much neater way to assemble a Picoprobe than breadboard and jumper wires.

Streamline your Picoprobe setup into a single, slim board
Streamline your Picoprobe setup into a single, slim board
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How to use the RP2040’s Flash in CircuitPython apps

Here’s a very useful technique if you’re working on a CircuitPython program that you need to store data on the host microcontroller’s Flash — and to continue to be able to mount and access the device from your computer. I’ve used it with a Raspberry Pi RP2040-based board, but it should work with other CircuitPython devices too.

A typical mounted CircuitPython device: files are accessible, but the app can’t access the Flash
A typical mounted CircuitPython device: files are accessible, but the app can’t access the Flash
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How to copy files to a Pico on a Ventura Mac error free

macOS 13.0.0 Ventura introduced an irritating problem for all us Mac-based Raspberry Pi Pico programmers: Finder no longer allows you to copy .uf2 files to a mounted Pico. It’s not a forbidden operation, but it does trigger an error that prevents the copy from taking place. This is undoubtedly the ‘new normal’, so here are some ways to circumvent the error. I’ll save the best one until last.

The macOS Ventura copy-to-Pico-in-Finder error
The macOS Ventura copy-to-Pico-in-Finder error
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How to talk to I2C sensors, displays from… Linux

T’other week, I wrote about my work on building a Raspberry Pi RP2040-based I²C host device and some macOS client software to control it. I mentioned that I might get the latter running under Linux too. I now have, and it does.

The matrix display client and the CPU activity display example running on a Raspberry Pi 400
The matrix display client and the CPU activity display example running on a Raspberry Pi 400
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Review: Kitronic Pico Pin Breakout 👍🏻

A short post, this, to recommend Kitronic’s Pico Pin Breakout: an add-on that makes it really easy to make sure you’re wiring up a Raspberry Pi Pico’s pins correctly. It looks like this:

The Kitronics Pico Pin Breakout makes all the Pico's pins highly visible
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How to talk to I2C sensors, displays from a Mac

This post was originally going to be about building a tool to access I²C devices on a Mac, reaching them via USB and an Excamera Labs I2CMini adaptor board. But then I accidentally snapped the pins and board traces off my I2CMini, so I had to go back to the drawing board. Now it’s about accessing I²C devices on a Mac using a Raspberry Pi Pico, or any other RP2040-based board, as the adaptor.

An I2C matrix display showing my Mac's CPU utilisation graphically
I2C antics: a CPU utilisation readout using an RP2040-based board as an I2C bridge to a matrix LED
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Preview JSON files with macOS’ QuickLook and PreviewJson

I’m pleased to announce the latest in my PreviewApps series: PreviewJson. It taps into macOS’ QuickLook feature to provide at-a-tap previews of JSON files and generates Finder icon thumbnails for them too. There are some updates out too.

Now available from the Mac App Store: PreviewJson
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How to manage multiple serial devices on a Mac

I connect to my Mac many USB devices that communicate over a serial (UART) bus to send debug information to the host or to receive data and code. You know, Raspberry Pi Picos, Adafruit Feathers, FTDI cables — that kind of thing. Often I have more than one connected. Is there an easy way to see what’s connected without listing /dev every time and to remember connected devices’ paths?

A USB serial device attached to my Mac
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ARM Assembly on the Pi Pico: Stack attack

This time round, I’ll wrap up my coverage of the key ARMv6-M Thumb instructions and mnemonics that you can use to command the Raspberry Pi RP2040. There are not many instructions left that were not covered in parts one and two, and I won’t be including all the remaining mnemonics, only those you’re likely to use frequently.

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The Golden Age of Wireless: Adopting Raspberry Pi’s Pico W

I was travelling when the Raspberry Pi Foundation launched the Pico W, so I had to wait to get back before I could get my hands on one. I have one now, and to try it out, I decided to port my network-oriented PicoWeather app, this time creating a MicroPython version — it was released for CircuitPython.

Raspberry Pi Pico WiFi IoT Device remade with the Pico W
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