DIY Pico GPIO Expan...
 
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DIY Pico GPIO Expansion Board  


Sean451
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I came across THIS wonderful bit of kit, but I was thinking to myself, "I have female and male headers, I have protoboard and I have a soldering iron, so why can't I make this myself?"

Thing is, I have no idea how to start as I've never done anything like it before. From the photos, I'm assuming that the left and right pins on the Pico are extended from the female headers to the male and female headers on each side. It looks like a simple attachment of the pads, but am I missing something?

Any tips you can give me? I figure this will make a good weekend project and all I'm risking is a few cents' worth of stuff I've already got lying around.

Cheers!

--->Sean

pico shield

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byron
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Posted by: @sean451

Any tips you can give me?

You need to design your own PCB.  Download free software from Kicad or EasyEDA and spend time learning to use these tools which will be invaluable to you as you progress your delve into electronics.  Once mastered you can get these sort of board manufactured to your design for a small outlay.  Usually these are manufactured in lots of 3 or 5 so you will have a few space to donate to your DroneBot buddies 😎 


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DroneBot Workshop
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@sean451

Another, very easy, way of doing this is to just use a stripboard. I have a picture here of one from my parts drawers.

IMG 1174

Stripboard is like perfboard, except the rows are interconnected with a copper trace to form strips. So everything soldered into a strip is connected, no wiring required.

There is actually a special tool to break the strip, so you can divide it into sections, but a drill bit also works great. In your case you would cut each row down the middle, and then mount the Pico (probably using female headers) so each pin had its own small strip.

Then you could solder more female headers, plus some male headers, to duplicate the function of the board you saw.

I do this all the time, I have them for Arduino Pro Minis, Nanos, and AT-Tinys. I also use them to adapt connectors from one type to another.

Amazon has this stuff, and I'm sure your local electronics store does as well, it's been around for several decades.

😎

Bill

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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Sean451
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@dronebot-workshop

Thanks Bill. That is exactly what I have at home, I'm just confused in my noobness as to what is a stripboard, perfboard, protoboard, etc.

I've also seen the drill bit trick on some YouTube videos so I'll give that a try. I'm hoping there will be room to label the pins since the Raspberry Pi foundation seems to think we all have superpowers to read through circuit board to see what's printed underneath.

Cheers!

--->Sean

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byron
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Posted by: @sean451

the Raspberry Pi foundation seems to think we all have superpowers

The swiss accent fella kindly donated a right side up rpi pico printout showing the pin labels to print and stick it on the workshop wall for handy ref.  So I attach the file in case it is useful to you.

Pi Pico Pins

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DroneBot Workshop
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Posted by: @sean451

the Raspberry Pi foundation seems to think we all have superpowers to read through circuit board to see what's printed underneath.

Actually, I'll have to give them credit for simplifying the layout in a couple of ways:

  • The GPIO Pins are, for the most part, arranged in order around the board for GP0 - GP28. A couple are missing that are used internally, but otherwise, they are in a logical order.
  • Making all the ground pins evenly spaced, and using square pads for them, really helps you orient yourself when looking at a diagram and counting pin numbers.
  • All of the power pins are grouped together.

 

But I do agree that it would have been a great idea to silkscreen the pin numbers or functions on top of the board.

😎

Bill

This post was modified 2 months ago 3 times by DroneBot Workshop

"Never trust a computer you can’t throw out a window." — Steve Wozniak


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Sean451
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Posted by: @dronebot-workshop

But I do agree that it would have been a great idea to silkscreen the pin numbers or functions on top of the board.

 

Before work this morning, I painted the female headers that face the outside white in prep of writing the pin numbers on them later. I hope that will make things just a bit easier when it comes to building the circuits.

Cheers!

---Sean

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TheOutlander
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Posted by: @byron
Posted by: @sean451

the Raspberry Pi foundation seems to think we all have superpowers

The swiss accent fella kindly donated a right side up rpi pico printout showing the pin labels to print and stick it on the workshop wall for handy ref.  So I attach the file in case it is useful to you.

Pi Pico Pins

Now this, I can read 🙂

"Hardware eventually fails. Software eventually works." - Michael Hartung


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Robo Pi
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There are so many videos on this Pico lately it's very exciting.  

I won't be able to play with these until I get back home which may be some time yet.

I'll wait until their available and then buy a strip of 10 and I'll dive right in.  They look like too much fun to pass up. 🤣 

DroneBot Workshop Robotics Engineer
James


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byron
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Posted by: @robo-pi

They look like too much fun to pass up

Yes, fun to come 😀, but I think this first rpi Pico is just a starter and Arduino have already announced an imminent release of a rpi chip as on the Pico but with the added extra of wifi so that might be worth waiting for.


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Sean451
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So I finally finished the DIY expansion board. I used a protoboard that matches a breadboard to make it easier to create and I also used right angle male headers to give it a bit more room for female connectors when prototyping. I hand-printed the pin ID's on the board and they're easy enough to see so I don't waste time counting from the top or bottom to figure out where the Pico's pins are. I might do something with the power and ground rails in the future, but I'll see what my needs are as I work with it.

pico breakout

 

All in all, it's not perfect, but it'll get the job done and I have immense satisfaction that I did it myself.

Thanks all for the encouragement.

--->Sean

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YurkshireLad
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They do look fun - I have too many other things to play with first, so I think I'll wait a bit and pick one up later in the year.


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