The Picon Zero is an add-on for the Raspberry Pi. It has the same size as a Raspberry Pi Zero, making it ideal to function as a pHat. Of course, it can be used on any other Raspberry Pi via a 40-pin GPIO connector.
As well as two full H-Bridge motor drivers, the Picon Zero has several Input/Output pins giving you multiple configuration options. That allows you to easily add outputs or analog inputs to your Raspberry Pi without any complicated software or kernel-specific drivers. At the same time, it opens up 5 GPIO pins from the Raspberry Pi, and it provides the interface for an HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensor.
The Picon Zero comes with all components, including the headers and screw terminals, fully soldered. Soldering isn't required. You can use it right out of the box.
- pHat format PCB: 65 mm x 30 mm
- Two full H-Bridge motor drivers. Drive up to 1.5 A continuously per channel, at 3 V - 11 V.
- Each motor output has both a 2-pin male header and a 2-pin screw terminal.
- The motors can be powered from the Picon Zero's 5 V or an external power source (3 V - 11 V).
- The Picon Zero's 5 V can be selected to be from the Raspberry Pi's 5 V line, or a USB connector on the Picon Zero. That means that you can effectively have 2 USB battery banks: one to power the servos and motors on the Picon Zero and the other to power the Pi.
- 4 Inputs that can accept up to 5 V. These inputs can be configured as follows:
- Digital inputs
- Analog inputs
- 6 Outputs that can drive 5 V and be configured as:
- Digital Output
- PWM Output
- NeoPixel WS2812
- All Inputs and Outputs use GVS 3-pin male headers.
- 4-pin female header that connects directly to an HC-SR04 ultrasonic distance sensor.
- 8-pin female header for Ground, 3.3 V, 5 V, and 5 GPIO signals allowing you to add their additional features.
Picon Zero has two jumpers for setting the hardware configuration. Ensure that you have placed them in the correct position.
- JP1 – Board 5 V Selector.
This jumper selects where to get the 5 V power from for the Picon Zero Outputs. The options are:
JP2 – Motor Power Selector.
- Jumper at the top between RPI and 5 V. The 5 V power for the board is taken from the Raspberry Pi pins on the GPIO connector. Because of the low power output devices and the 5 V motors, all devices can be powered with a single 5 V power input.
- Jumper at the bottom between USB and 5 V. The 5 V power is taken from the microUSB connector on the Picon Zero. Useful for higher power output devices, since you can provide extra power through the micro-USB connector on the board
This jumper selects where the motors get the power. The two options here are the following:
- Jumper at the top between MotorPower and Vin. The motors are driven via the 2-pin screw terminal. The voltage can be between 3 V and 11 V. Useful for motors that require a voltage different from 5 V, or that require more current than is available on either of the USB input connectors
- Jumper at the bottom between 5 V and MotorPower. The motors are driven from the board's 5 V.
Raspberry Pi Configuration
The Picon Zero is an I²C device. Make sure your Raspberry Pi is set up correctly to use I²C and SMBus:
sudo apt-get install python-smbus python3-smbus python-dev python3-dev
sudo nano /boot/config.txt Add the following lines at the end of the file
- Press Ctrl-X and use the default prompts to save
Plugin the Picon Zero onto the Pi and run
i2cdetect -y 1
If everything goes well, you will see the Picon Zero showing up as address 22 as shown below: