Get USB-C with This Raspberry Pi Pico Clone
Whenever you want to learn a new creative skill, replication is a great way to practice. If you want to pick up painting, you can try reproducing Van Gogh's Starry Night. If you're learning CAD, try to create a 3D model of something sitting on your desk. Redditor EnviousMedia is learning about microcontrollers and PCB design. To practice their skills, they designed this Raspberry Pi Pico clone that features a USB-C port.
The Raspberry Pi Pico hit the market earlier this year and created quite the stir. It is Raspberry Pi's first foray into the microcontroller development board market and the Pico's RP2040 is their first microcontroller. The RP2040 is far more powerful than most other microcontrollers, including the Microchip ATmega328P found in the ultra-popular Arduino Uno. It is also very affordable. That means that several companies — even Arduino — are releasing their own boards based on the RP2040. EnviousMedia's board may just be a clone of the Pico, but it does swap out the annoying micro USB port with a modern USB-C port.
EnviousMedia designed this board, dubbed EnvOpenPico, to take advantage of USB-C and to gain some PCB design experience. They created the design in KiCAD, which is popular open source PCB design software. It is almost identical to the Pico. Aside from the USB port, the only differences are larger SMD components that are easier to solder and a few changes to the pin pads. The debug pins, for example, are not castellated. They also chose a cool black solder mask and there are other color options when you order custom PCBs.
If you want to make your own EnvOpenPico boards, EnviousMedia uploaded the PCB files to GitHub. Unfortunately, they haven't tested the boards yet. Bare RP2040 microcontrollers are still difficult to source and EnviousMedia hasn't been able to get their hands on any. But if you are lucky enough to acquire some, you can use the Gerber files on GitHub to fabricate your own boards.