Challenger RP2040 WiFi Datasheet
The Challenger RP2040 WiFi is a small embedded computer equipped with a WiFi module, in the popular Adafruit Feather form factor. It is based on an RP2040 micro controller chip from the Raspberry Pi foundation which is a dual core Cortex M0 that can run on a clock up to 133MHz.
For more information about the RP2040 you can look here.
We paired the RP2040 with a 8MByte high speed flash capable of supplying data up to the max speed. The flash memory can be used both to store instructions for the micro controller as well as data in a file system and having a file system available makes it easy to store data in a structured and easy to program approach.
The device can be powered from a Lithium Polymer battery connected through a standard 2.0mm connector on the side of the board. An internal battery charging circuit allows you to charge your battery safely and quickly. The device is shipped with a programming resistor that sets the charging current to 250mA. this resistor can be exchanged by the user to either increase or decrease the charging current, depending on the battery that is being used.
The WiFi section on this board is based on the Espressif ESP8285 chip which basically is a ESP8266 with 1MByte FLASH memory integrated onto the chip making it a complete WiFi only requiring very few external components.
The ESP8285 is connected to the micro controller using a UART channel and the operation is controlled using a set of standardized AT-commands.
Short introduction to the board
The board is based on a popular form factor called “Feather” which is created and maintained by an American company called Adafruit. The entire specification for the Feather format is available here. The size of the PCB for the module is 50.80mm x 22.86mm but the entire module is a little bit bigger as the Type C USB connector protrudes about 1 mm outside the board.
On the opposite end from the USB connector the WiFi antenna is mounted. When mounting the board into any enclosure you should make sure to keep stuff like cables and/or walls from the enclosure away from the antenna as much as possible. Anything mounted in the vicinity of the antenna will affect its performance.
On each of the longer sides of the PCB there are holes intended for soldering pin header connectors. If you don’t want to use connectors for some reason you can also solder a wire directly into the hole, making a permanent connection to your external device. If you go this way please make sure that the wires are fixed in place, otherwise vibrations can cause the wire to brake at the soldering point.
On each side of the USB connector there is a small indicator LED placed. The LED which is marked CHG is the charge control indicator. This red LED will shine whenever the connected battery is being charged, and when the battery is fully charged the LED will turn off again. If you haven’t connected a battery to the board this LED will not come on at all.
On the other side of the USB connector there is a user programmable green LED. This LED is connected to pin D15 and can easily be controlled by the user program.
Finally there is a neopixel LED on the board. This is an RGB LED with intensity control, run by a single GPIO pin on the board. There are several good example libraries that can be used to drive this LED. Check out the examples section for more detailed information.
The on board micro controller (RP2040) have a number of communication channels that have been routed out to the side (header connector) connectors.
- UART – One UART channel have been routed to the header pins (RX, TX). The micro controller have 2 UARTs, on this board the second UART is used for communicating with the WiFi chip.
- SPI – One SPI channel have been routed to the header pins (SCK, SDO, SDI).
- I2C – One I2C channel have been routed to the header pins (SCL, SDA).
- Analog pins – The micro controller have 4 analog input pins that all are available on the header pins (A0-A3).
- PWM – All pins can be used for PWM.
The pin chart below shows the placement of all pins and their respective functions. When working in an Arduino environment (or Platform IO) use the blue pins when writing your code and when working with CircuitPython use the orange marked pin assignments.
The board can be powered from multiple sources. The most obvious way to run the board is by plugging it in to a USB cable and attach it to your computer. In this mode you can write software and test the board with all its functionality.
There is also a third way to supply the board. This way is more invasive and will disable the onboard 3.3V power regulator.
You will have to pull the EN header pin low and then supply your own 3.3V voltage on the 3.3V header pin. Please note that when disabling the onboard power regulator you will have to supply the 3.3V also when running the system on battery power.
As described earlier the board can be powered from a LiPo battery. The battery can be connected using a standard 2.0mm JST connector through the battery connector on the right side of the board or ff the battery is an integral part of the system that you are designing it is possible to connect the battery through the BAT pin instead.
Switching between the battery voltage and the applied USB voltage or external 5V is done seamlessly by the on board circuitry.
Charging of the battery is done by either connecting a USB cable or by connecting a 5V power source to the header pin marked USB on the board. If you do this make sure you connect your voltage through a 1A schottky diode to avoid any excessive current draw in the system when the two levels are slightly different.
Please note that providing external charger circuitry could destroy the internal charger on the Challenger board.
Connection between MCU and ESP8285 WiFi controller.
The board uses the second UART (UART 1) of the MCU to connect to the ESP8285 as well as two GPIO pins that allows the RP2040 to reset and put the ESP8285 in flash mode. The pins used are as follows.
- GPIO4 acts as UART1 TXD
- GPIO5 acts as UART1 RXD
- GPIO19 is connected to ESP8285 reset and is active low (PIN_ESP8285_RST in the arduino IDE).
- GPIO13 Is connected to the mode pin of the ESP8285. If it is pulled low at the same time the reset signal is going high the chip will enter flash mode (PIN_ESP8285_MODE in the arduino IDE).
The WiFi chip runs an internal AT interpreter, over the UART lines, to do all the wireless communication. It supports baud rates up to 921600 bits/s allowing the system to have a throughput of up to 500Kbit/s TCP traffic and up to 1MBit/s UDP messaging.
|Board Size||50,80 mm x 22,86 mm x 3,20 mm||USB Connector protrudes ~1mm outside PCB|
|Main micro controller||RP2040 from Raspberry Pi||133MHz dual core Cortex M0|
|SPI||One SPI channel configured|
|I2C||One I2C channel configured|
|UART||One UART channel configured||Second UART is for the WiFi chip|
|Analog inputs||4 analog input channels|
|WLAN controller||ESP8285 from Espressif||160MHz single core Tensilica L106|
|FLASH Memory||8MByte 133 MHz|
|SRAM Memory||264KByte||Divided into 6 banks|
|USB 2.0 controller||Up to 12MBit/s full speed||Integrated USB 1.1 PHY|
|JST Battery connector||2.0mm pitch|
|On board LiPo charger||250mA standard charge current|
|Onboard NEOpixel LED||RGB LED|