A while back, the Raspberry Pi Foundation released a new version of their microcontroller-based board, the Raspberry Pi Pico. This Pi Pico W features the same RP2040 microcontroller, which is the same as that used in all Zeros of the Pi, but it also includes WiFi as well as Bluetooth and an extremely small co-processor. It’s an excellent combination for anyone who is a fan of microcontrollers regardless of the level.
Invector Labs took this idea and ran with it and created an identical board that has the same capabilities however, in a format that’s more familiar to those who are hardware enthusiasts. The Challenger RP2040 WiFi/BLE utilizes the same chipset as it’s predecessor, the Pi Pico, but adds an ESP32 C3FN4 with WiFi and BLE functions. It also works with the Adafruit Feather format and includes one cell LiPo battery charger, and everything charging using the USB-C connector.
There’s a lot of heft in the Feather ecosystem. If you’re in search of an Arduino-based microcontroller that can be powered by batteries there’s not any more powerful. The code is excellent also, as it comes featuring Micropython support, an bootloader UF2 embedded in ROM and a wealth of documentation.
In the wireless aspect of things the Challenger RP2040 WiFi/BE comes with a RISC-V microcontroller, as well as 2.4GHz radio equipped with an AT interpreter that provides basic TCP/UDP capabilities, a MQTT server, web server, and various other client-related functions. This is all available to the RP2040 via the high-speed SPI or UART channel.
If you’re looking to get into microcontrollers, then the RP2040 is a good starting point, and it’s Challenger RP2040 WiFi/BLE offers a number of functions at the price of a low amount.