MC2023 Chapter 6: Making a new timer device

Page created: 2023-06-26 , updated: 2023-08-23

Okay, so learning the C SDK has been an excellent foundational course. But it hasn’t always been very exciting.

It’s time to build something for the whole family that will be legitimately nice to have (and fun!). I’d like to replace our poor, over-used oven timer in the kitchen with a custom one that:

Obviously the dual-core Pico is massive overkill for this project, but I suspect there will be plenty of challenges to keep me busy for a while. User interfaces are always harder than one thinks.

Step one is to replicate the buttons and lights on the breadboard.


Nope, "step one" has changed!

I’m back! What was meant to be a brief pause has turned into two months away from this or any other computer/electronics project. If you want, you can read about that here.

The distance has given me perspective. And perspective has allowed me to realize that my plan to pursue the C SDK into the next few projects was not due to my enjoyment of that environment, but because it represented a sunk cost (

There are two ways I’ve programmed Picos so far:

  • MicroPython

  • C SDK

And of those two, I vastly prefer the MicroPython ecosystem.

Not only is it more fun, it’s also simpler. There’s no cmake incantations or acres of libraries. There’s just one firmware file to install on the device and you’re up and going.

Furthermore, it has an excellent website and documentation:

So tonight I got my microcontroller stuff back out of the basement and made the on-board LED blink with MicroPython.

In a way, that’s just like when I first played with the Pico using the official book as a guide. I’ve regressed?! Well…​

At least one thing was different this time: I did it all at the command line. No Thonny needed.

To be continued…​