Raspberry Pi refresh the Pico with WiFi for $6: Raspberry Pi Pico W

Following the release of the RP2040 and the Raspberry Pi Pico last year, Raspberry Pi has refreshed the Pico with 3 new versions. The Pico W, Pico H and Pico WH. The most interesting model is the Pico W which adds 2.4GHz WiFi 4 functionality thanks to an on board Infineon CYW43439 chip. As you can see from the images of this board, Raspberry Pi have essentially budged all the standard Pico components up the board and placed the CYW43439 at the bottom.

The Raspberry Pi Pico W is currently available for $6 which is well below the price point of competing WiFi-enabled RP2040 boards. The board is available from the typical Raspberry Pi distributers (Pi Hut, Pimoroni etc in the UK).

The Raspberry Pi Pico W

The addition of the Infineon CYW43439 chip is pretty much the only difference from the original Pico. This chip supports both WiFi 4 and Bluetooth 5.2 (and BLE) however, the Bluetooth support is not supported on the Pico W at launch. This is a strange omission as the module supports Bluetooth. When we get a board we are going to test whether this is simply a Pico-SDK limitation or something tied into the firmware of the CYW43439. We will update this article if we find out.

Raspberry Pi Pico W pin-out

At first glance, the Pico W appears to have exactly the same pin-out as the original Pico and technically it does. However, the on board LED has been moved from GPIO 25 and is attached to the CYW43439 chip. This may require some modifications of existing Pico programs to account for this. Also the debug pins have had to be moved from the end of the board to the middle. This might alter some PCB layouts of carrier boards.

The Pico W retains the same form factor as the original Pico

The specifications of the Pico W are much the same as the original Pico:

  • Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ microcontroller @ up to 133 MHz
  • 264KB SRAM
  • 2MB Flash (QSPI)
  • 802.11b/g/n WiFi 4 via the Infineon CYW43439
  • Micro USB 1.1 connector
  • 3-pin Arm Serial Wire Debug (SWD) port
  • 1x button (boot select)
  • Green user LED
  • 51 x 21mm

Unfortunately, Raspberry Pi have kept the worst parts of the original Pico (to keep costs down). These being the lack of a reset button and a Micro-USB connector.

Pico H & WH

The Pico H version comes with pre-installed headers as well as a new 3 pin debug connector (datasheet available here). The WH SKU adds headers and the debug connector to the Pico W. The H and WH versions of the Pico will be available for $5 and $7 respectively. The WH model is not yet available and should be available in August.

Conclusions

This board improves on the original Pico by adding good connectivity and with only a marginal bump in price. At the low price of $6, this board may have just killed off the numerous 3rd party, low(er) volume manufacturers producing WiFi equipped boards such as Invector Labs and their Challenger RP2040 WiFi.

We can’t wait to get our hands on this board to check it out and give you a review. We have a board on the way and we will put it to the test shortly! Keep your eyes peeled for a video and written review – coming soon.

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