Strap yourself in, we're launching in T-minus 10 seconds...Destination? A new Class M planet called MACROPAD! M here, stands for Microcontroller because this 3x4 keyboard controller features the newest technology from the Raspberry Pi sector: say hello to the RP2040. It's speedy little microcontroller with lots of GPIO pins and a 64 times more RAM than the Apollo Guidance Computer. We added 8 MB of flash memory for plenty of storage.

Get ready to upgrade your desk's mission control station with a CircuitPython or Arduino powered Macropad - complete with 12 buttons, OLED display, speaker and rotary encoder. Customize it for your spacecraft to help guide you through the great reaches of the unknown. (Or just have it type out your favorite emojis.)

Each of the 12 sockets can accept a Cherry MX-compatible key switch. No soldering required, just snap it in! Use any key switch you like - but we recommend ones with slots that will allow the matching twelve NeoPixels underneath to shine through.

This space-ship is also fitted with a 128x64 monochome OLED for a crisp heads-up display that can be used in Arduino or CircuitPython to display keymaps, stats, computer performance, etc. There's also a rotary encoder with push-button soldered in. Twist and turn it or push to change volume or monitor brightness or scroll: whatever you like! A tiny speaker can give audio feedback or play fun bleepy tunes. 

Want to add more hardware? No worries - a STEMMA QT port on the side lets you connect any I2C add-on peripherals from the massive STEMMA QT / Qwiic family of plug in boards.

Please note, the RP2040 chip does not currently have QMK support - this macropad is designed to be programmed in Arduino or CircuitPython! If QMK eventually does add RP2040 as a supported chipset (no ETA and no plans that we know of), we'll update this page.

TL;DR?

  • Raspberry Pi RP2040 Chip + 8MB Flash memory - Dual core Cortex M0+ at ~130MHz with 264KB of RAM. Runs CircuitPython, Arduino or MicroPython with ease and lots of space for development code and files
  • USB C Connector for Power/Data - of course this can act as an HID device but also can be MIDI, UART, etc.
  • 3x4 Mechanical key switch sockets - accepts any Cherry MX-compatible switches. Individually tied to GPIO pins (not matrix wired)
  • One NeoPixel RGB LED per switch, on north side
  • Rotary encoder, 20 detents per rotation, with push-switch on GPIO pin. Push switch is also used for entering bootloader mode when held down on power-up or reset.
  • 128x64 SH1106 Monochrome OLED display - On high speed hardware SPI port for quick updates
  • 8mm Speaker/Buzzer - With Class D amplifier and RC filter, can be used to make simple beeps and sounds effects.
  • STEMMA QT Connector - Allows adding any I2C sensors/displays/devices with plug-and-play cables.
  • Reset button - On the side, for quick restarting of code
  • Four M3 mounting bosses - Make custom enclosures easily

The MacroPad RP2040 is full of macropad deliciousness. It has some great features beyond the keys. Time for tour!

PDF of the pinouts image above is available here.

Key Switch Sockets

On the MacroPad, laid out in a 3x4 grid, are the Cherry-MX compatible key switch sockets. They are mounted on the back of the board so the socket points through to the front. The key switch sockets are individually tied to GPIO pins (i.e. not matrix-wired).

Simply press any compatible key switch into the socket from the top of the board. You can add a dab of glue to keep the switch in place; hot glue or a dot of epoxy will work.

Rotary Encoder / BOOT Button

We snuck the BOOT button in as the button switch in the rotary encoder. Press the rotary encoder to engage the BOOT button!

On the top right corner of the board (when viewed from the top), is the rotary encoder / BOOT button. The rotary encode has 20 detents per rotation. The BOOT button is required to enter the bootloader (needed for both CircuitPython and Arduino), and is also available as a user input in code. To use the button, simply press the rotary encoder down.

The rotary encoder is available in CircuitPython at board.ROTA and board.ROTB. It is available in Arduino as PIN_ROTA and PIN_ROTB.

The BOOT button is available in CircuitPython at board.ENCODER_SWITCH. It is available in Arduino at PIN_SWITCH.

OLED Display

On the top left corner of the board (when viewed from the top), is the 128x64 SH1106 Monochrome OLED display. The ribbon cable for the display goes through a hole in the board to the back, where it is inserted into the display connector. This OLED is on high-speed hardware SPI to ensure quick updates.

NeoPixel LEDs

Above each set of key switch sockets, are RGB NeoPixel LEDs laid out in the same 3x4 grid. These reverse-mount LEDs are mounted to the back of the board to shine through to the front (to allow for the key switches to sit flush against the front of the board!).

The NeoPixel LEDs are available in CircuitPython as board.NEOPIXEL. They are available in Arduino as PIN_NEOPIXEL.

RP2040 Microcontroller

The large square on the back of the board, at the top-center, is the RP2040 microcontroller. This is the brain of the board.

QSPI Flash

The little square above the RP2040 microcontroller is the 8MB QSPI flash.

QSPI is neat because it allows you to have 4 data in/out lines instead of just SPI's single line in and single line out. This means that QSPI is at least 4 times faster. But in reality is at least 10x faster because you can clock the QSPI peripheral much faster than a plain SPI peripheral. In CircuitPython, the QSPI flash is used natively by the interpreter and is read-only to user code, instead the flash just shows up as the writable disk drive!

Speaker

The grey square a bit to the right of the center of the board on the back is the 8mm speaker/buzzer. With a Class D amplifier and RC filter, it can be used to make simple beeps and sounds effects.

The speaker is available in CircuitPython at board.SPEAKER. It is available in Arduino at PIN_SPEAKER.

The speaker must be enabled to work in code. The speaker enable pin in CircuitPython is board.SPEAKER_SHUTDOWN. In Arduino, it is PIN_SPEAKER_ENABLE.

STEMMA QT Connector

In the top right corner of the back of the board, below the mounting boss, is the STEMMA QT connector. This Qwiic-compatible I2C connector is designed to make it super simple to connect up STEMMA QT sensors and breakouts.

USB C Connector

At the top-center of the board, visible from both sides, is the USB Type C connector. This connector is used both for transferring data from your computer (e.g. updating your CircuitPython code.py file, or uploading an Arduino sketch) and powering the board.

Red LED

On the top edge of the back of the board, to the right of the USB Type C connector is the red LED. You can control this in your code.

The red LED is available in CircuitPython at board.LED. It is available in Arduino at PIN_LED.

Reset Button

On the right edge of the back of the board (visible from the front), below the STEMMA QT connector, is the reset button. Tap once to reset the board. When combined with the boot button, the reset button allows the board to enter the bootloader.

Mounting Bosses

Arranged in the top two corners of the board, and towards the bottom two corners are four mounting bosses to allow for using the MacroPad enclosure kit or designing your own enclosures.

The Macropad features hot-swap sockets for the switches -- gone are the days of having to commit to one type of switch and solder it down! Now, you can plug in your Cherry MX red keyswitches, use them for a while, get bored, decide its time to test out some lubed, filmed, re-sprung Invyr Holy Pandas, and swap them just like that!

Switches into Plate

First, insert a couple pf keyswitches through the keyswitch plate. The plate mechanically connects the switches to each other, which lends some nice lateral stability to the keys.

Connect to Board

Carefully press the two switches into the switch sockets, being very careful to align the legs so none bend!

Add Switches

Continue adding switches, being mindful of their orientation.

Backplate

You can add the optional backplate using four M3 x 6mm screws.

Keycaps

Now, you can add your keycaps! simply press them onto the keyswitch stems until they are fully seated.

CircuitPython is a derivative of MicroPython designed to simplify experimentation and education on low-cost microcontrollers. It makes it easier than ever to get prototyping by requiring no upfront desktop software downloads. Simply copy and edit files on the CIRCUITPY drive to iterate.

CircuitPython Quickstart

Follow this step-by-step to quickly get CircuitPython running on your board.

Click the link above to download the latest CircuitPython UF2 file.

Save it wherever is convenient for you.

The BOOT button is the button switch in the rotary encoder! To engage the BOOT button, simply press down on the rotary encoder.

To enter the bootloader, hold down the BOOT/BOOTSEL button (highlighted in red above), and while continuing to hold it (don't let go!), press and release the reset button (highlighted in blue above). Continue to hold the BOOT/BOOTSEL button until the RPI-RP2 drive appears!

If the drive does not appear, release all the buttons, and then repeat the process above.

You can also start with your board unplugged from USB, press and hold the BOOTSEL button (highlighted in red above), continue to hold it while plugging it into USB, and wait for the drive to appear before releasing the button.

A lot of people end up using charge-only USB cables and it is very frustrating! Make sure you have a USB cable you know is good for data sync.

You will see a new disk drive appear called RPI-RP2.

 

Drag the adafruit_circuitpython_etc.uf2 file to RPI-RP2.

The RPI-RP2 drive will disappear and a new disk drive called CIRCUITPY will appear.

That's it, you're done! :)

Safe Mode

You want to edit your code.py or modify the files on your CIRCUITPY drive, but find that you can't. Perhaps your board has gotten into a state where CIRCUITPY is read-only. You may have turned off the CIRCUITPY drive altogether. Whatever the reason, safe mode can help.

Safe mode in CircuitPython does not run any user code on startup, and disables auto-reload. This means a few things. First, safe mode bypasses any code in boot.py (where you can set CIRCUITPY read-only or turn it off completely). Second, it does not run the code in code.py. And finally, it does not automatically soft-reload when data is written to the CIRCUITPY drive.

Therefore, whatever you may have done to put your board in a non-interactive state, safe mode gives you the opportunity to correct it without losing all of the data on the CIRCUITPY drive.

Entering Safe Mode in CircuitPython 6.x

This section explains entering safe mode on CircuitPython 6.x.

To enter safe mode when using CircuitPython 6.x, plug in your board or hit reset (highlighted in red above). Immediately after the board starts up or resets, it waits 700ms. On some boards, the onboard status LED (highlighted in green above) will turn solid yellow during this time. If you press reset during that 700ms, the board will start up in safe mode. It can be difficult to react to the yellow LED, so you may want to think of it simply as a slow double click of the reset button. (Remember, a fast double click of reset enters the bootloader.)

Entering Safe Mode in CircuitPython 7.x

This section explains entering safe mode on CircuitPython 7.x.

To enter safe mode when using CircuitPython 7.x, plug in your board or hit reset (highlighted in red above). Immediately after the board starts up or resets, it waits 1000ms. On some boards, the onboard status LED (highlighted in green above) will blink yellow during that time. If you press reset during that 1000ms, the board will start up in safe mode. It can be difficult to react to the yellow LED, so you may want to think of it simply as a slow double click of the reset button. (Remember, a fast double click of reset enters the bootloader.)

In Safe Mode

Once you've entered safe mode successfully in CircuitPython 6.x, the LED will pulse yellow.

If you successfully enter safe mode on CircuitPython 7.x, the LED will intermittently blink yellow three times.

If you connect to the serial console, you'll find the following message.

Auto-reload is off.
Running in safe mode! Not running saved code.

CircuitPython is in safe mode because you pressed the reset button during boot. Press again to exit safe mode.

Press any key to enter the REPL. Use CTRL-D to reload.

You can now edit the contents of the CIRCUITPY drive. Remember, your code will not run until you press the reset button, or unplug and plug in your board, to get out of safe mode.

Flash Resetting UF2

If your board ever gets into a really weird state and doesn't even show up as a disk drive when installing CircuitPython, try loading this 'nuke' UF2 which will do a 'deep clean' on your Flash Memory. You will lose all the files on the board, but at least you'll be able to revive it! After loading this UF2, follow the steps above to re-install CircuitPython.

Mu is a simple code editor that works with the Adafruit CircuitPython boards. It's written in Python and works on Windows, MacOS, Linux and Raspberry Pi. The serial console is built right in so you get immediate feedback from your board's serial output!

Mu is our recommended editor - please use it (unless you are an experienced coder with a favorite editor already!)

Download and Install Mu

Download Mu from https://codewith.mu. Click the Download or Start Here links there for downloads and installation instructions. The website has a wealth of other information, including extensive tutorials and and how-to's.

 

Using Mu

The first time you start Mu, you will be prompted to select your 'mode' - you can always change your mind later. For now please select CircuitPython!

The current mode is displayed in the lower right corner of the window, next to the "gear" icon. If the mode says "Microbit" or something else, click the Mode button in the upper left, and then choose "CircuitPython" in the dialog box that appears.

Mu attempts to auto-detect your board, so please plug in your CircuitPython device and make sure it shows up as a CIRCUITPY drive before starting Mu

You can now explore Mu! The three main sections of the window are labeled below; the button bar, the text editor, and the serial console / REPL.

Now you're ready to code! Let's keep going...

One of the best things about CircuitPython is how simple it is to get code up and running. In this section, we're going to cover how to create and edit your first CircuitPython program.

To create and edit code, all you'll need is an editor. There are many options. We strongly recommend using Mu! It's designed for CircuitPython, and it's really simple and easy to use, with a built in serial console!

If you don't or can't use Mu, there are basic text editors built into every operating system such as Notepad on Windows, TextEdit on Mac, and gedit on Linux. However, many of these editors don't write back changes immediately to files that you edit. That can cause problems when using CircuitPython. See the Editing Code section below. If you want to skip that section for now, make sure you do "Eject" or "Safe Remove" on Windows or "sync" on Linux after writing a file if you aren't using Mu. (This is not a problem on MacOS.)

Creating Code

Open your editor, and create a new file. If you are using Mu, click the New button in the top left

Copy and paste the following code into your editor:

import board
import digitalio
import time

led = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.LED)
led.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT

while True:
    led.value = True
    time.sleep(0.5)
    led.value = False
    time.sleep(0.5)
The QT Py and the Trinkeys do not have a built-in little red LED! There is an addressable RGB NeoPixel LED. The above example will NOT work on the QT Py or the Trinkeys!

If you're using QT Py or a Trinkey, please download the NeoPixel blink example.

The NeoPixel blink example uses the onboard NeoPixel, but the time code is the same. You can use the linked NeoPixel Blink example to follow along with this guide page.
If you are using Adafruit CLUE, you will need to edit the code to use board.D17 as shown below!

For Adafruit CLUE, you'll need to use board.D17 instead of board.LED. The rest of the code remains the same. Make the following change to the led = line:

led = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.D17)
If you are using Adafruit ItsyBitsy nRF52840, you will need to edit the code to use board.BLUE_LED as shown below!

For Adafruit ItsyBitsy nRF52840, you'll need to use board.BLUE_LED instead of board.LED. The rest of the code remains the same. Make the following change to the led = line:

led = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.BLUE_LED)

It will look like this - note that under the while True: line, the next four lines have spaces to indent them, but they're indented exactly the same amount. All other lines have no spaces before the text.

Save this file as code.py on your CIRCUITPY drive.

On each board (except the ItsyBitsy nRF52840) you'll find a tiny red LED. On the ItsyBitsy nRF52840, you'll find a tiny blue LED.

The little LED should now be blinking. Once per second.

Congratulations, you've just run your first CircuitPython program!

Editing Code

To edit code, open the code.py file on your CIRCUITPY drive into your editor.

 

Make the desired changes to your code. Save the file. That's it!

Your code changes are run as soon as the file is done saving.

There's just one warning we have to give you before we continue...

Don't Click Reset or Unplug!

The CircuitPython code on your board detects when the files are changed or written and will automatically re-start your code. This makes coding very fast because you save, and it re-runs.

However, you must wait until the file is done being saved before unplugging or resetting your board! On Windows using some editors this can sometimes take up to 90 seconds, on Linux it can take 30 seconds to complete because the text editor does not save the file completely. Mac OS does not seem to have this delay, which is nice!

This is really important to be aware of. If you unplug or reset the board before your computer finishes writing the file to your board, you can corrupt the drive. If this happens, you may lose the code you've written, so it's important to backup your code to your computer regularly.

There are a few ways to avoid this:

1. Use an editor that writes out the file completely when you save it.

Recommended editors:

Recommended only with particular settings or with add-ons:

  • vim / vi safely writes all changes. But set up vim to not write swapfiles (.swp files: temporary records of your edits) to CIRCUITPY. Run vim with vim -n, set the no swapfile option, or set the directory option to write swapfiles elsewhere. Otherwise the swapfile writes trigger restarts of your program.
  • The PyCharm IDE is safe if "Safe Write" is turned on in Settings->System Settings->Synchronization (true by default).
  • If you are using Atom, install the  fsync-on-save package so that it will always write out all changes to files on CIRCUITPY.
  • SlickEdit works only if you add a macro to flush the disk.

We don't recommend these editors:

  • notepad (the default Windows editor) and Notepad++ can be slow to write, so we recommend the editors above! If you are using notepad, be sure to eject the drive (see below)
  • IDLE in Python 3.8.0 or earlier does not force out changes immediately
  • nano (on Linux) does not force out changes
  • geany (on Linux) does not force out changes
  • Anything else - we haven't tested other editors so please use a recommended one!
If you are dragging a file from your host computer onto the CIRCUITPY drive, you still need to do step 2. Eject or Sync (below) to make sure the file is completely written.

2. Eject or Sync the Drive After Writing

If you are using one of our not-recommended-editors, not all is lost! You can still make it work.

On Windows, you can Eject or Safe Remove the CIRCUITPY drive. It won't actually eject, but it will force the operating system to save your file to disk. On Linux, use the sync command in a terminal to force the write to disk.

You also need to do this if you use Windows Explorer or a Linux graphical file manager to drag a file onto CIRCUITPY

Oh No I Did Something Wrong and Now The CIRCUITPY Drive Doesn't Show Up!!!

Don't worry! Corrupting the drive isn't the end of the world (or your board!). If this happens, follow the steps found on the Troubleshooting page of every board guide to get your board up and running again.

Back to Editing Code...

Now! Let's try editing the program you added to your board. Open your code.py file into your editor. We'll make a simple change. Change the first 0.5 to 0.1. The code should look like this:

import board
import digitalio
import time

led = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.LED)
led.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT

while True:
    led.value = True
    time.sleep(0.1)
    led.value = False
    time.sleep(0.5)

Leave the rest of the code as-is. Save your file. See what happens to the LED on your board? Something changed! Do you know why? Let's find out! 

Exploring Your First CircuitPython Program

First, we'll take a look at the code we're editing.

Here is the original code again:

import board
import digitalio
import time

led = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.LED)
led.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT

while True:
    led.value = True
    time.sleep(0.5)
    led.value = False
    time.sleep(0.5)

Imports & Libraries

Each CircuitPython program you run needs to have a lot of information to work. The reason CircuitPython is so simple to use is that most of that information is stored in other files and works in the background. The files built into CircuitPython are called modules, and the files you load separately are called libraries. Modules are built into CircuitPython. Libraries are stored on your CIRCUITPY drive in a folder called lib.

import board
import digitalio
import time

The import statements tells the board that you're going to use a particular library in your code. In this example, we imported three modules: board, digitalio, and time. All three of these modules are built into CircuitPython, so no separate library files are needed. That's one of the things that makes this an excellent first example. You don't need any thing extra to make it work! board gives you access to the hardware on your board, digitalio lets you access that hardware as inputs/outputs and time let's you pass time by 'sleeping'

Setting Up The LED

The next two lines setup the code to use the LED.

led = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.LED)
led.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT

Your board knows the red LED as LED. So, we initialise that pin, and we set it to output. We set led to equal the rest of that information so we don't have to type it all out again later in our code.

Loop-de-loops

The third section starts with a  while statement. while True: essentially means, "forever do the following:". while True: creates a loop. Code will loop "while" the condition is "true" (vs. false), and as True is never False, the code will loop forever. All code that is indented under while True: is "inside" the loop.

Inside our loop, we have four items:

while True:
    led.value = True
    time.sleep(0.5)
    led.value = False
    time.sleep(0.5)

First, we have led.value = True. This line tells the LED to turn on. On the next line, we have time.sleep(0.5). This line is telling CircuitPython to pause running code for 0.5 seconds. Since this is between turning the led on and off, the led will be on for 0.5 seconds.

The next two lines are similar. led.value = False tells the LED to turn off, and time.sleep(0.5) tells CircuitPython to pause for another 0.5 seconds. This occurs between turning the led off and back on so the LED will be off for 0.5 seconds too.

Then the loop will begin again, and continue to do so as long as the code is running!

So, when you changed the first 0.5 to 0.1, you decreased the amount of time that the code leaves the LED on. So it blinks on really quickly before turning off!

Great job! You've edited code in a CircuitPython program!

What Happens When My Code Finishes Running?

When your code finishes running, CircuitPython resets your microcontroller board to prepare it for the next run of code. That means any set up you did earlier no longer applies, and the pin states are reset.

For example, try reducing the above example to led.value = True. The LED will flash almost too quickly to see, and turn off. This is because the code finishes running and resets the pin state, and the LED is no longer receiving a signal.

To that end, most CircuitPython programs involve some kind of loop, infinite or otherwise

What if I don't have the loop?

If you don't have the loop, the code will run to the end and exit. This can lead to some unexpected behavior in simple programs like this since the "exit" also resets the state of the hardware. This is a different behavior than running commands via REPL. So if you are writing a simple program that doesn't seem to work, you may need to add a loop to the end so the program doesn't exit.

The simplest loop would be:

while True:

    pass

And remember - you can press to exit the loop.

See also the Behavior section in the docs.

More Changes

We don't have to stop there! Let's keep going. Change the second 0.5 to 0.1 so it looks like this:

while True:
    led.value = True
    time.sleep(0.1)
    led.value = False
    time.sleep(0.1)

Now it blinks really fast! You decreased the both time that the code leaves the LED on and off!

Now try increasing both of the 0.1 to 1. Your LED will blink much more slowly because you've increased the amount of time that the LED is turned on and off.

Well done! You're doing great! You're ready to start into new examples and edit them to see what happens! These were simple changes, but major changes are done using the same process. Make your desired change, save it, and get the results. That's really all there is to it!

Naming Your Program File

CircuitPython looks for a code file on the board to run. There are four options: code.txt, code.py, main.txt and main.py. CircuitPython looks for those files, in that order, and then runs the first one it finds. While we suggest using code.py as your code file, it is important to know that the other options exist. If your program doesn't seem to be updating as you work, make sure you haven't created another code file that's being read instead of the one you're working on.

One of the staples of CircuitPython (and programming in general!) is something called a "print statement". This is a line you include in your code that causes your code to output text. A print statement in CircuitPython looks like this:

print("Hello, world!")

This line would result in:

Hello, world!

However, these print statements need somewhere to display. That's where the serial console comes in!

The serial console receives output from your CircuitPython board sent over USB and displays it so you can see it. This is necessary when you've included a print statement in your code and you'd like to see what you printed. It is also helpful for troubleshooting errors, because your board will send errors and the serial console will print those too.

The serial console requires a terminal program. A terminal is a program that gives you a text-based interface to perform various tasks.

If you're on Linux, and are seeing multi-second delays connecting to the serial console, or are seeing "AT" and other gibberish when you connect, then the modemmanager service might be interfering. Just remove it; it doesn't have much use unless you're still using dial-up modems. To remove, type this command at a shell:
sudo apt purge modemmanager

Are you using Mu?

If so, good news! The serial console is built into Mu and will autodetect your board making using the REPL really really easy.

Please note that Mu does yet not work with nRF52 or ESP8266-based CircuitPython boards, skip down to the next section for details on using a terminal program.

First, make sure your CircuitPython board is plugged in. If you are using Windows 7, make sure you installed the drivers.

Once in Mu, look for the Serial button in the menu and click it.

Setting Permissions on Linux

On Linux, if you see an error box something like the one below when you press the Serial button, you need to add yourself to a user group to have permission to connect to the serial console.

On Ubuntu and Debian, add yourself to the dialout group by doing:

sudo adduser $USER dialout

After running the command above, reboot your machine to gain access to the group. On other Linux distributions, the group you need may be different. See Advanced Serial Console on Mac and Linux for details on how to add yourself to the right group.

Using Something Else?

If you're not using Mu to edit, are using ESP8266 or nRF52 CircuitPython, or if for some reason you are not a fan of the built in serial console, you can run the serial console as a separate program.

Windows requires you to download a terminal program, check out this page for more details

Mac and Linux both have one built in, though other options are available for download, check this page for more details

Once you've successfully connected to the serial console, it's time to start using it.

The code you wrote earlier has no output to the serial console. So, we're going to edit it to create some output.

Open your code.py file into your editor, and include a print statement. You can print anything you like! Just include your phrase between the quotation marks inside the parentheses. For example:

import board
import digitalio
import time

led = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.LED)
led.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT

while True:
    print("Hello, CircuitPython!")
    led.value = True
    time.sleep(1)
    led.value = False
    time.sleep(1)

Save your file.

Now, let's go take a look at the window with our connection to the serial console.

Excellent! Our print statement is showing up in our console! Try changing the printed text to something else.

Keep your serial console window where you can see it. Save your file. You'll see what the serial console displays when the board reboots. Then you'll see your new change!

The Traceback (most recent call last): is telling you the last thing your board was doing before you saved your file. This is normal behavior and will happen every time the board resets. This is really handy for troubleshooting. Let's introduce an error so we can see how it is used.

Delete the e at the end of True from the line led.value = True so that it says led.value = Tru

Save your file. You will notice that your red LED will stop blinking, and you may have a colored status LED blinking at you. This is because the code is no longer correct and can no longer run properly. We need to fix it!

Usually when you run into errors, it's not because you introduced them on purpose. You may have 200 lines of code, and have no idea where your error could be hiding. This is where the serial console can help. Let's take a look!

The Traceback (most recent call last): is telling you that the last thing it was able to run was line 10 in your code. The next line is your error: NameError: name 'Tru' is not defined. This error might not mean a lot to you, but combined with knowing the issue is on line 10, it gives you a great place to start!

Go back to your code, and take a look at line 10. Obviously, you know what the problem is already. But if you didn't, you'd want to look at line 10 and see if you could figure it out. If you're still unsure, try googling the error to get some help. In this case, you know what to look for. You spelled True wrong. Fix the typo and save your file.

Nice job fixing the error! Your serial console is streaming and your red LED Is blinking again.

The serial console will display any output generated by your code. Some sensors, such as a humidity sensor or a thermistor, receive data and you can use print statements to display that information. You can also use print statements for troubleshooting. If your code isn't working, and you want to know where it's failing, you can put print statements in various places to see where it stops printing.

The serial console has many uses, and is an amazing tool overall for learning and programming!

The other feature of the serial connection is the Read-Evaluate-Print-Loop, or REPL. The REPL allows you to enter individual lines of code and have them run immediately. It's really handy if you're running into trouble with a particular program and can't figure out why. It's interactive so it's great for testing new ideas.

To use the REPL, you first need to be connected to the serial console. Once that connection has been established, you'll want to press Ctrl + C.

If there is code running, it will stop and you'll see Press any key to enter the REPL. Use CTRL-D to reload. Follow those instructions, and press any key on your keyboard.

The Traceback (most recent call last): is telling you the last thing your board was doing before you pressed Ctrl + C and interrupted it. The KeyboardInterrupt is you pressing Ctrl + C. This information can be handy when troubleshooting, but for now, don't worry about it. Just note that it is expected behavior.

If there is no code running, you will enter the REPL immediately after pressing Ctrl + C. There is no information about what your board was doing before you interrupted it because there is no code running.

Either way, once you press a key you'll see a >>> prompt welcoming you to the REPL!

If you have trouble getting to the >>> prompt, try pressing Ctrl + C a few more times.

The first thing you get from the REPL is information about your board.

This line tells you the version of CircuitPython you're using and when it was released. Next, it gives you the type of board you're using and the type of microcontroller the board uses. Each part of this may be different for your board depending on the versions you're working with.

This is followed by the CircuitPython prompt.

From this prompt you can run all sorts of commands and code. The first thing we'll do is run help(). This will tell us where to start exploring the REPL. To run code in the REPL, type it in next to the REPL prompt.

Type help() next to the prompt in the REPL.

Then press enter. You should then see a message.

First part of the message is another reference to the version of CircuitPython you're using. Second, a URL for the CircuitPython related project guides. Then... wait. What's this? To list built-in modules, please do `help("modules")`. Remember the libraries you learned about while going through creating code? That's exactly what this is talking about! This is a perfect place to start. Let's take a look!

Type help("modules") into the REPL next to the prompt, and press enter.

This is a list of all the core libraries built into CircuitPython. We discussed how board contains all of the pins on the board that you can use in your code. From the REPL, you are able to see that list!

Type import board into the REPL and press enter. It'll go to a new prompt. It might look like nothing happened, but that's not the case! If you recall, the import statement simply tells the code to expect to do something with that module. In this case, it's telling the REPL that you plan to do something with that module.

Next, type dir(board) into the REPL and press enter.

This is a list of all of the pins on your board that are available for you to use in your code. Each board's list will differ slightly depending on the number of pins available. Do you see LED? That's the pin you used to blink the red LED!

The REPL can also be used to run code. Be aware that any code you enter into the REPL isn't saved anywhere. If you're testing something new that you'd like to keep, make sure you have it saved somewhere on your computer as well!

Every programmer in every programming language starts with a piece of code that says, "Hello, World." We're going to say hello to something else. Type into the REPL:

print("Hello, CircuitPython!")

Then press enter.

That's all there is to running code in the REPL! Nice job!

You can write single lines of code that run stand-alone. You can also write entire programs into the REPL to test them. As we said though, remember that nothing typed into the REPL is saved.

There's a lot the REPL can do for you. It's great for testing new ideas if you want to see if a few new lines of code will work. It's fantastic for troubleshooting code by entering it one line at a time and finding out where it fails. It lets you see what libraries are available and explore those libraries.

Try typing more into the REPL to see what happens!

Returning to the serial console

When you're ready to leave the REPL and return to the serial console, simply press Ctrl + D. This will reload your board and reenter the serial console. You will restart the program you had running before entering the REPL. In the console window, you'll see any output from the program you had running. And if your program was affecting anything visual on the board, you'll see that start up again as well.

You can return to the REPL at any time!

As we continue to develop CircuitPython and create new releases, we will stop supporting older releases. Visit https://circuitpython.org/downloads to download the latest version of CircuitPython for your board. You must download the CircuitPython Library Bundle that matches your version of CircuitPython. Please update CircuitPython and then visit https://circuitpython.org/libraries to download the latest Library Bundle.

Each CircuitPython program you run needs to have a lot of information to work. The reason CircuitPython is so simple to use is that most of that information is stored in other files and works in the background. These files are called libraries. Some of them are built into CircuitPython. Others are stored on your CIRCUITPY drive in a folder called lib. Part of what makes CircuitPython so awesome is its ability to store code separately from the firmware itself. Storing code separately from the firmware makes it easier to update both the code you write and the libraries you depend.

Your board may ship with a lib folder already, it's in the base directory of the drive. If not, simply create the folder yourself. When you first install CircuitPython, an empty lib directory will be created for you.

CircuitPython libraries work in the same way as regular Python modules so the Python docs are a great reference for how it all should work. In Python terms, we can place our library files in the lib directory because it's part of the Python path by default.

One downside of this approach of separate libraries is that they are not built in. To use them, one needs to copy them to the CIRCUITPY drive before they can be used. Fortunately, we provide a bundle full of our libraries.

Our bundle and releases also feature optimized versions of the libraries with the .mpy file extension. These files take less space on the drive and have a smaller memory footprint as they are loaded.

Installing the CircuitPython Library Bundle

We're constantly updating and improving our libraries, so we don't (at this time) ship our CircuitPython boards with the full library bundle. Instead, you can find example code in the guides for your board that depends on external libraries. Some of these libraries may be available from us at Adafruit, some may be written by community members!

Either way, as you start to explore CircuitPython, you'll want to know how to get libraries on board.

You can grab the latest Adafruit CircuitPython Bundle release by clicking the button below.

Note: Match up the bundle version with the version of CircuitPython you are running - 3.x library for running any version of CircuitPython 3, 4.x for running any version of CircuitPython 4, etc. If you mix libraries with major CircuitPython versions, you will most likely get errors due to changes in library interfaces possible during major version changes.

If you need another version, you can also visit the bundle release page which will let you select exactly what version you're looking for, as well as information about changes.

Either way, download the version that matches your CircuitPython firmware version. If you don't know the version, look at the initial prompt in the CircuitPython REPL, which reports the version. For example, if you're running v4.0.1, download the 4.x library bundle. There's also a py bundle which contains the uncompressed python files, you probably don't want that unless you are doing advanced work on libraries.

After downloading the zip, extract its contents. This is usually done by double clicking on the zip. On Mac OSX, it places the file in the same directory as the zip.

Open the bundle folder. Inside you'll find two information files, and two folders. One folder is the lib bundle, and the other folder is the examples bundle.

Now open the lib folder. When you open the folder, you'll see a large number of mpy files and folders

Example Files

All example files from each library are now included in the bundles, as well as an examples-only bundle. These are included for two main reasons:

  • Allow for quick testing of devices.
  • Provide an example base of code, that is easily built upon for individualized purposes.

Copying Libraries to Your Board

First you'll want to create a lib folder on your CIRCUITPY drive. Open the drive, right click, choose the option to create a new folder, and call it lib. Then, open the lib folder you extracted from the downloaded zip. Inside you'll find a number of folders and .mpy files. Find the library you'd like to use, and copy it to the lib folder on CIRCUITPY.

This also applies to example files. They are only supplied as raw .py files, so they may need to be converted to .mpy using the mpy-cross utility if you encounter MemoryErrors. This is discussed in the CircuitPython Essentials Guide. Usage is the same as described above in the Express Boards section. Note: If you do not place examples in a separate folder, you would remove the examples from the import statement.

If a library has multiple .mpy files contained in a folder, be sure to copy the entire folder to CIRCUITPY/lib.

Example: ImportError Due to Missing Library

If you choose to load libraries as you need them, you may write up code that tries to use a library you haven't yet loaded.  We're going to demonstrate what happens when you try to utilise a library that you don't have loaded on your board, and cover the steps required to resolve the issue.

This demonstration will only return an error if you do not have the required library loaded into the lib folder on your CIRCUITPY drive.

Let's use a modified version of the blinky example.

import board
import time
import simpleio

led = simpleio.DigitalOut(board.D13)

while True:
    led.value = True
    time.sleep(0.5)
    led.value = False
    time.sleep(0.5)

Save this file. Nothing happens to your board. Let's check the serial console to see what's going on.

We have an ImportError. It says there is no module named 'simpleio'. That's the one we just included in our code!

Click the link above to download the correct bundle. Extract the lib folder from the downloaded bundle file. Scroll down to find simpleio.mpy. This is the library file we're looking for! Follow the steps above to load an individual library file.

The LED starts blinking again! Let's check the serial console.

No errors! Excellent. You've successfully resolved an ImportError!

If you run into this error in the future, follow along with the steps above and choose the library that matches the one you're missing.

Library Install on Non-Express Boards

If you have a Trinket M0 or Gemma M0, you'll want to follow the same steps in the example above to install libraries as you need them. You don't always need to wait for an ImportError as you probably know what library you added to your code. Simply open the lib folder you downloaded, find the library you need, and drag it to the lib folder on your CIRCUITPY drive.

You may end up running out of space on your Trinket M0 or Gemma M0 even if you only load libraries as you need them. There are a number of steps you can use to try to resolve this issue. You'll find them in the Troubleshooting page in the Learn guides for your board.

Updating CircuitPython Libraries/Examples

Libraries and examples are updated from time to time, and it's important to update the files you have on your CIRCUITPY drive.

To update a single library or example, follow the same steps above. When you drag the library file to your lib folder, it will ask if you want to replace it. Say yes. That's it!

A new library bundle is released every time there's an update to a library. Updates include things like bug fixes and new features. It's important to check in every so often to see if the libraries you're using have been updated.

These are some of the common questions regarding CircuitPython and CircuitPython microcontrollers.

As we continue to develop CircuitPython and create new releases, we will stop supporting older releases. Visit https://circuitpython.org/downloads to download the latest version of CircuitPython for your board. You must download the CircuitPython Library Bundle that matches your version of CircuitPython. Please update CircuitPython and then visit https://circuitpython.org/libraries to download the latest Library Bundle.

I have to continue using an older version of CircuitPython; where can I find compatible libraries?

We are no longer building or supporting library bundles for older versions of CircuitPython. We highly encourage you to update CircuitPython to the latest version and use the current version of the libraries. However, if for some reason you cannot update, here are points to the last available library bundles for previous versions:

Is ESP8266 or ESP32 supported in CircuitPython? Why not?

We dropped ESP8266 support as of 4.x - For more information please read about it here!

https://learn.adafruit.com/welcome-to-circuitpython/circuitpython-for-esp8266

We do not support ESP32 because it does not have native USB. We do support ESP32-S2, which does.

Is there asyncio support in CircuitPython?

We do not have asyncio support in CircuitPython at this time. However, async and await are turned on in many builds, and we are looking at how to use event loops and other constructs effectively and easily.

My RGB NeoPixel/DotStar LED is blinking funny colors - what does it mean?

The status LED can tell you what's going on with your CircuitPython board. Read more here for what the colors mean!

What is a MemoryError?

Memory allocation errors happen when you're trying to store too much on the board. The CircuitPython microcontroller boards have a limited amount of memory available. You can have about 250 lines of code on the M0 Express boards. If you try to import too many libraries, a combination of large libraries, or run a program with too many lines of code, your code will fail to run and you will receive a MemoryError in the serial console (REPL).

What do I do when I encounter a MemoryError?

Try resetting your board. Each time you reset the board, it reallocates the memory. While this is unlikely to resolve your issue, it's a simple step and is worth trying.

Make sure you are using .mpy versions of libraries. All of the CircuitPython libraries are available in the bundle in a .mpy format which takes up less memory than .py format. Be sure that you're using the latest library bundle for your version of CircuitPython.

If that does not resolve your issue, try shortening your code. Shorten comments, remove extraneous or unneeded code, or any other clean up you can do to shorten your code. If you're using a lot of functions, you could try moving those into a separate library, creating a .mpy of that library, and importing it into your code.

You can turn your entire file into a .mpy and import that into code.py. This means you will be unable to edit your code live on the board, but it can save you space.

Can the order of my import statements affect memory?

It can because the memory gets fragmented differently depending on allocation order and the size of objects. Loading .mpy files uses less memory so its recommended to do that for files you aren't editing.

How can I create my own .mpy files?

You can make your own .mpy versions of files with mpy-cross.

You can download  mpy-cross for your operating system from https://adafruit-circuit-python.s3.amazonaws.com/index.html?prefix=bin/mpy-cross/. Builds are available for Windows, macOS, x64 Linux, and Raspberry Pi Linux. Choose the latest `mpy-cross` whose version matches the version of CircuitPython you are using.

To make a .mpy file, run ./mpy-cross path/to/yourfile.py to create a yourfile.mpy in the same directory as the original file.

How do I check how much memory I have free?

import gc
gc.mem_free()

Will give you the number of bytes available for use.

Does CircuitPython support interrupts?

No. CircuitPython does not currently support interrupts. We do not have an estimated time for when they will be included.

Does Feather M0 support WINC1500?

No, WINC1500 will not fit into the M0 flash space.

Can AVRs such as ATmega328 or ATmega2560 run CircuitPython?

No.

Commonly Used Acronyms

CP or CPy = CircuitPython
CPC = Circuit Playground Classic
CPX = Circuit Playground Express

From time to time, you will run into issues when working with CircuitPython. Here are a few things you may encounter and how to resolve them.

As we continue to develop CircuitPython and create new releases, we will stop supporting older releases. Visit https://circuitpython.org/downloads to download the latest version of CircuitPython for your board. You must download the CircuitPython Library Bundle that matches your version of CircuitPython. Please update CircuitPython and then visit https://circuitpython.org/libraries to download the latest Library Bundle.

Always Run the Latest Version of CircuitPython and Libraries

As we continue to develop CircuitPython and create new releases, we will stop supporting older releases. You need to update to the latest CircuitPython..

You need to download the CircuitPython Library Bundle that matches your version of CircuitPython. Please update CircuitPython and then download the latest bundle.

As we release new versions of CircuitPython, we will stop providing the previous bundles as automatically created downloads on the Adafruit CircuitPython Library Bundle repo. If you must continue to use an earlier version, you can still download the appropriate version of mpy-cross from the particular release of CircuitPython on the CircuitPython repo and create your own compatible .mpy library files. However, it is best to update to the latest for both CircuitPython and the library bundle.

I have to continue using CircuitPython 5.x, 4.x, 3.x or 2.x, where can I find compatible libraries?

We are no longer building or supporting the CircuitPython 2.x, 3.x, 4.x or 5.x library bundles. We highly encourage you to update CircuitPython to the latest version and use the current version of the libraries. However, if for some reason you cannot update, you can find the last available 2.x build here, the last available 3.x build here, the last available 4.x build here, and the last available 5.x build here.

CPLAYBOOT, TRINKETBOOT, FEATHERBOOT, or GEMMABOOT Drive Not Present

You may have a different board.

Only Adafruit Express boards and the Trinket M0 and Gemma M0 boards ship with the UF2 bootloader installed. Feather M0 Basic, Feather M0 Adalogger, and similar boards use a regular Arduino-compatible bootloader, which does not show a boardnameBOOT drive.

MakeCode

If you are running a MakeCode program on Circuit Playground Express, press the reset button just once to get the CPLAYBOOT drive to show up. Pressing it twice will not work.

MacOS

DriveDx and its accompanything SAT SMART Driver can interfere with seeing the BOOT drive. See this forum post for how to fix the problem.

Windows 10

Did you install the Adafruit Windows Drivers package by mistake, or did you upgrade to Windows 10 with the driver package installed? You don't need to install this package on Windows 10 for most Adafruit boards. The old version (v1.5) can interfere with recognizing your device. Go to Settings -> Apps and uninstall all the "Adafruit" driver programs.

Windows 7 or 8.1

Version 2.5.0.0 or later of the Adafruit Windows Drivers will fix the missing boardnameBOOT drive problem on Windows 7 and 8.1. To resolve this, first uninstall the old versions of the drivers:

  • Unplug any boards. In Uninstall or Change a Program (Control Panel->Programs->Uninstall a program), uninstall everything named "Windows Driver Package - Adafruit Industries LLC ...".

We recommend that you upgrade to Windows 10 if possible; an upgrade is probably still free for you: see the link.

 

  • Now install the new 2.5.0.0 (or higher) Adafruit Windows Drivers Package:
  • When running the installer, you'll be shown a list of drivers to choose from. You can check and uncheck the boxes to choose which drivers to install.

You should now be done! Test by unplugging and replugging the board. You should see the CIRCUITPY drive, and when you double-click the reset button (single click on Circuit Playground Express running MakeCode), you should see the appropriate boardnameBOOT drive.

Let us know in the Adafruit support forums or on the Adafruit Discord if this does not work for you!

Windows Explorer Locks Up When Accessing boardnameBOOT Drive

On Windows, several third-party programs we know of can cause issues. The symptom is that you try to access the boardnameBOOT drive, and Windows or Windows Explorer seems to lock up. These programs are known to cause trouble:

  • AIDA64: to fix, stop the program. This problem has been reported to AIDA64. They acquired hardware to test, and released a beta version that fixes the problem. This may have been incorporated into the latest release. Please let us know in the forums if you test this.
  • Hard Disk Sentinel
  • Kaspersky anti-virus: To fix, you may need to disable Kaspersky completely. Disabling some aspects of Kaspersky does not always solve the problem. This problem has been reported to Kaspersky.
  • ESET NOD32 anti-virus: We have seen problems with at least version 9.0.386.0, solved by uninstallation.

Copying UF2 to boardnameBOOT Drive Hangs at 0% Copied

On Windows, a Western DIgital (WD) utility that comes with their external USB drives can interfere with copying UF2 files to the boardnameBOOT drive. Uninstall that utility to fix the problem.

CIRCUITPY Drive Does Not Appear

Kaspersky anti-virus can block the appearance of the CIRCUITPY drive. We haven't yet figured out a settings change that prevents this. Complete uninstallation of Kaspersky fixes the problem.

Norton anti-virus can interfere with CIRCUITPY. A user has reported this problem on Windows 7. The user turned off both Smart Firewall and Auto Protect, and CIRCUITPY then appeared.

Device Errors or Problems on Windows

Windows can become confused about USB device installations. This is particularly true of Windows 7 and 8.1. We recommend that you upgrade to Windows 10 if possible; an upgrade is probably still free for you: see this link.

If not, try cleaning up your USB devices. Use Uwe Sieber's Device Cleanup Tool. Download and unzip the tool. Unplug all the boards and other USB devices you want to clean up. Run the tool as Administrator. You will see a listing like this, probably with many more devices. It is listing all the USB devices that are not currently attached.

Select all the devices you want to remove, and then press Delete. It is usually safe just to select everything. Any device that is removed will get a fresh install when you plug it in. Using the Device Cleanup Tool also discards all the COM port assignments for the unplugged boards. If you have used many Arduino and CircuitPython boards, you have probably seen higher and higher COM port numbers used, seemingly without end. This will fix that problem.

Serial Console in Mu Not Displaying Anything

There are times when the serial console will accurately not display anything, such as, when no code is currently running, or when code with no serial output is already running before you open the console. However, if you find yourself in a situation where you feel it should be displaying something like an error, consider the following.

Depending on the size of your screen or Mu window, when you open the serial console, the serial console panel may be very small. This can be a problem. A basic CircuitPython error takes 10 lines to display!

Auto-reload is on. Simply save files over USB to run them or enter REPL to disable.
code.py output:
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "code.py", line 7
SyntaxError: invalid syntax



Press any key to enter the REPL. Use CTRL-D to reload.
 

More complex errors take even more lines!

Therefore, if your serial console panel is five lines tall or less, you may only see blank lines or blank lines followed by Press any key to enter the REPL. Use CTRL-D to reload.. If this is the case, you need to either mouse over the top of the panel to utilise the option to resize the serial panel, or use the scrollbar on the right side to scroll up and find your message.

This applies to any kind of serial output whether it be error messages or print statements. So before you start trying to debug your problem on the hardware side, be sure to check that you haven't simply missed the serial messages due to serial output panel height.

CircuitPython RGB Status Light

Nearly all Adafruit CircuitPython-capable boards have a single NeoPixel or DotStar RGB LED on the board that indicates the status of CircuitPython. A few boards designed before CircuitPython existed, such as the Feather M0 Basic, do not.

Circuit Playground Express and Circuit Playground Bluefruit have multiple RGB LEDs, but do NOT have a status LED. The LEDs are all green when in the bootloader. They do NOT indicate any status while running CircuitPython.

Here's what the colors and blinking mean:

  • steady GREEN: code.py (or code.txt, main.py, or main.txt) is running
  • pulsing GREEN: code.py (etc.) has finished or does not exist
  • steady YELLOW at start up: (4.0.0-alpha.5 and newer) CircuitPython is waiting for a reset to indicate that it should start in safe mode
  • pulsing YELLOW: Circuit Python is in safe mode: it crashed and restarted
  • steady WHITE: REPL is running
  • steady BLUE: boot.py is running

Colors with multiple flashes following indicate a Python exception and then indicate the line number of the error. The color of the first flash indicates the type of error:

  • GREEN: IndentationError
  • CYAN: SyntaxError
  • WHITE: NameError
  • ORANGE: OSError
  • PURPLE: ValueError
  • YELLOW: other error

These are followed by flashes indicating the line number, including place value. WHITE flashes are thousands' place, BLUE are hundreds' place, YELLOW are tens' place, and CYAN are one's place. So for example, an error on line 32 would flash YELLOW three times and then CYAN two times. Zeroes are indicated by an extra-long dark gap.

ValueError: Incompatible .mpy file.

This error occurs when importing a module that is stored as a mpy binary file that was generated by a different version of CircuitPython than the one its being loaded into. In particular, the mpy binary format changed between CircuitPython versions 2.x and 3.x, as well as between 1.x and 2.x.

So, for instance, if you upgraded to CircuitPython 3.x from 2.x you’ll need to download a newer version of the library that triggered the error on import. They are all available in the Adafruit bundle.

Make sure to download a version with 2.0.0 or higher in the filename if you're using CircuitPython version 2.2.4, and the version with 3.0.0 or higher in the filename if you're using CircuitPython version 3.0.

CIRCUITPY Drive Issues

You may find that you can no longer save files to your CIRCUITPY drive. You may find that your CIRCUITPY stops showing up in your file explorer, or shows up as NO_NAME. These are indicators that your filesystem has issues.

First check - have you used Arduino to program your board? If so, CircuitPython is no longer able to provide the USB services. Reset the board so you get a boardnameBOOT drive rather than a CIRCUITPY drive, copy the latest version of CircuitPython (.uf2) back to the board, then Reset. This may restore CIRCUITPY functionality.

If still broken - When the CIRCUITPY disk is not safely ejected before being reset by the button or being disconnected from USB, it may corrupt the flash drive. It can happen on Windows, Mac or Linux.

In this situation, the board must be completely erased and CircuitPython must be reloaded onto the board.

You WILL lose everything on the board when you complete the following steps. If possible, make a copy of your code before continuing.

Easiest Way: Use storage.erase_filesystem()

Starting with version 2.3.0, CircuitPython includes a built-in function to erase and reformat the filesystem. If you have an older version of CircuitPython on your board, you can update to the newest version to do this.

  1. Connect to the CircuitPython REPL using Mu or a terminal program.
  2. Type:
>>> import storage
>>> storage.erase_filesystem()

CIRCUITPY will be erased and reformatted, and your board will restart. That's it!

Old Way: For the Circuit Playground Express, Feather M0 Express, and Metro M0 Express:

If you can't get to the REPL, or you're running a version of CircuitPython before 2.3.0, and you don't want to upgrade, you can do this.

       1.  Download the correct erase file:

       2.  Double-click the reset button on the board to bring up the boardnameBOOT drive.
       3.  Drag the erase .uf2 file to the boardnameBOOT drive.
       4.  The onboard NeoPixel will turn yellow or blue, indicating the erase has started.
       5.  After approximately 15 seconds, the mainboard NeoPixel will light up green. On the NeoTrellis M4 this is the first NeoPixel on the grid
       6.  Double-click the reset button on the board to bring up the boardnameBOOT drive.
       7.  Drag the appropriate latest release of CircuitPython .uf2 file to the boardnameBOOT drive.

It should reboot automatically and you should see CIRCUITPY in your file explorer again.

If the LED flashes red during step 5, it means the erase has failed. Repeat the steps starting with 2.

If you haven't already downloaded the latest release of CircuitPython for your board, check out the installation page. You'll also need to install your libraries and code!

Old Way: For Non-Express Boards with a UF2 bootloader (Gemma M0, Trinket M0):

If you can't get to the REPL, or you're running a version of CircuitPython before 2.3.0, and you don't want to upgrade, you can do this.

       1.  Download the erase file:

       2.  Double-click the reset button on the board to bring up the boardnameBOOT drive.
       3.  Drag the erase .uf2 file to the boardnameBOOT drive.
       4.  The boot LED will start flashing again, and the boardnameBOOT drive will reappear.
       5.  Drag the appropriate latest release CircuitPython .uf2 file to the boardnameBOOT drive.

It should reboot automatically and you should see CIRCUITPY in your file explorer again.

If you haven't already downloaded the latest release of CircuitPython for your board, check out the installation page You'll also need to install your libraries and code!

Old Way: For non-Express Boards without a UF2 bootloader (Feather M0 Basic Proto, Feather Adalogger, Arduino Zero):

If you are running a version of CircuitPython before 2.3.0, and you don't want to upgrade, or you can't get to the REPL, you can do this.

Just follow these directions to reload CircuitPython using bossac, which will erase and re-create CIRCUITPY.

Running Out of File Space on Non-Express Boards

The file system on the board is very tiny. (Smaller than an ancient floppy disk.) So, its likely you'll run out of space but don't panic! There are a couple ways to free up space.

The board ships with the Windows 7 serial driver too! Feel free to delete that if you don't need it or have already installed it. Its ~12KiB or so.

Delete something!

The simplest way of freeing up space is to delete files from the drive. Perhaps there are libraries in the lib folder that you aren't using anymore or test code that isn't in use. Don't delete the lib folder completely, though, just remove what you don't need.

Use tabs

One unique feature of Python is that the indentation of code matters. Usually the recommendation is to indent code with four spaces for every indent. In general, we recommend that too. However, one trick to storing more human-readable code is to use a single tab character for indentation. This approach uses 1/4 of the space for indentation and can be significant when we're counting bytes.

MacOS loves to add extra files.

Luckily you can disable some of the extra hidden files that MacOS adds by running a few commands to disable search indexing and create zero byte placeholders. Follow the steps below to maximize the amount of space available on MacOS:

Prevent & Remove MacOS Hidden Files

First find the volume name for your board.  With the board plugged in run this command in a terminal to list all the volumes:

ls -l /Volumes

Look for a volume with a name like CIRCUITPY (the default for CircuitPython).  The full path to the volume is the /Volumes/CIRCUITPY path.

Now follow the steps from this question to run these terminal commands that stop hidden files from being created on the board:

mdutil -i off /Volumes/CIRCUITPY
cd /Volumes/CIRCUITPY
rm -rf .{,_.}{fseventsd,Spotlight-V*,Trashes}
mkdir .fseventsd
touch .fseventsd/no_log .metadata_never_index .Trashes
cd -

Replace /Volumes/CIRCUITPY in the commands above with the full path to your board's volume if it's different.  At this point all the hidden files should be cleared from the board and some hidden files will be prevented from being created.

Alternatively, with CircuitPython 4.x and above, the special files and folders mentioned above will be created automatically if you erase and reformat the filesystem. WARNING: Save your files first! Do this in the REPL:

>>> import storage
>>> storage.erase_filesystem()

However there are still some cases where hidden files will be created by MacOS.  In particular if you copy a file that was downloaded from the internet it will have special metadata that MacOS stores as a hidden file.  Luckily you can run a copy command from the terminal to copy files without this hidden metadata file.  See the steps below.

Copy Files on MacOS Without Creating Hidden Files

Once you've disabled and removed hidden files with the above commands on MacOS you need to be careful to copy files to the board with a special command that prevents future hidden files from being created.  Unfortunately you cannot use drag and drop copy in Finder because it will still create these hidden extended attribute files in some cases (for files downloaded from the internet, like Adafruit's modules).

To copy a file or folder use the -X option for the cp command in a terminal.  For example to copy a foo.mpy file to the board use a command like:

    cp -X foo.mpy /Volumes/CIRCUITPY
  

(Replace foo.mpy with the name of the file you want to copy.) Or to copy a folder and all of its child files/folders use a command like:

cp -rX folder_to_copy /Volumes/CIRCUITPY

If you are copying to the lib folder, or another folder, make sure it exists before copying.

# if lib does not exist, you'll create a file named lib !
cp -X foo.mpy /Volumes/CIRCUITPY/lib
# This is safer, and will complain if a lib folder does not exist.
cp -X foo.mpy /Volumes/CIRCUITPY/lib/

Other MacOS Space-Saving Tips

If you'd like to see the amount of space used on the drive and manually delete hidden files here's how to do so.  First list the amount of space used on the CIRCUITPY drive with the df command:

Lets remove the ._ files first.

Whoa! We have 13Ki more than before! This space can now be used for libraries and code!

Device locked up or boot looping

In rare cases, it may happen that something in your code.py or boot.py files causes the device to get locked up, or even go into a boot loop. These are not your everyday Python exceptions, typically it's the result of a deeper problem within CircuitPython. In this situation, it can be difficult to recover your device if CIRCUITPY is not allowing you to modify the code.py or boot.py files. Safe mode is one recovery option. When the device boots up in safe mode it will not run the code.py or boot.py scripts, but will still connect the CIRCUITPY drive so that you can remove or modify those files as needed.

The method used to manually enter safe mode can be different for different devices. It is also very similar to the method used for getting into bootloader mode, which is a different thing. So it can take a few tries to get the timing right. If you end up in bootloader mode, no problem, you can try again without needing to do anything else.

For most devices:
Press the reset button, and then when the RGB status LED is yellow, press the reset button again.

For ESP32-S2 based devices:
Press and release the reset button, then press and release the boot button about 3/4 of a second later.

Refer to the following diagram for boot sequence details:

A lot of our boards can be used with multiple programming languages. For example, the Circuit Playground Express can be used with MakeCode, Code.org CS Discoveries, CircuitPython and Arduino.

Maybe you tried CircuitPython and want to go back to MakeCode or Arduino? Not a problem

You can always remove/re-install CircuitPython whenever you want! Heck, you can change your mind every day!

Backup Your Code

Before uninstalling CircuitPython, don't forget to make a backup of the code you have on the little disk drive. That means your main.py or code.py any other files, the lib folder etc. You may lose these files when you remove CircuitPython, so backups are key! Just drag the files to a folder on your laptop or desktop computer like you would with any USB drive.

Moving Circuit Playground Express to MakeCode

On the Circuit Playground Express (this currently does NOT apply to Circuit Playground Bluefruit), if you want to go back to using MakeCode, it's really easy. Visit makecode.adafruit.com and find the program you want to upload. Click Download to download the .uf2 file that is generated by MakeCode.

Now double-click your CircuitPython board until you see the onboard LED(s) turn green and the ...BOOT directory shows up.

Then find the downloaded MakeCode .uf2 file and drag it to the ...BOOT drive.

Your MakeCode is now running and CircuitPython has been removed. Going forward you only have to single click the reset button

Moving to Arduino

If you want to change your firmware to Arduino, it's also pretty easy.

Start by plugging in your board, and double-clicking reset until you get the green onboard LED(s) - just like with MakeCode

Within Arduino IDE, select the matching board, say Circuit Playground Express

Select the correct matching Port:

Create a new simple Blink sketch example:

// the setup function runs once when you press reset or power the board
void setup() {
  // initialize digital pin 13 as an output.
  pinMode(13, OUTPUT);
}

// the loop function runs over and over again forever
void loop() {
  digitalWrite(13, HIGH);   // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
  delay(1000);              // wait for a second
  digitalWrite(13, LOW);    // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
  delay(1000);              // wait for a second
}

Make sure the LED(s) are still green, then click Upload to upload Blink. Once it has uploaded successfully, the serial Port will change so re-select the new Port!

Once Blink is uploaded you should no longer need to double-click to enter bootloader mode, Arduino will automatically reset when you upload

CircuitPython is a programming language that's super simple to get started with and great for learning. It runs on microcontrollers and works out of the box. You can plug it in and get started with any text editor. The best part? CircuitPython comes with an amazing, supportive community.

Everyone is welcome! CircuitPython is Open Source. This means it's available for anyone to use, edit, copy and improve upon. This also means CircuitPython becomes better because of you being a part of it. It doesn't matter whether this is your first microcontroller board or you're a computer engineer, you have something important to offer the Adafruit CircuitPython community. We're going to highlight some of the many ways you can be a part of it!

Adafruit Discord

The Adafruit Discord server is the best place to start. Discord is where the community comes together to volunteer and provide live support of all kinds. From general discussion to detailed problem solving, and everything in between, Discord is a digital maker space with makers from around the world.

There are many different channels so you can choose the one best suited to your needs. Each channel is shown on Discord as "#channelname". There's the #help-with-projects channel for assistance with your current project or help coming up with ideas for your next one. There's the #showandtell channel for showing off your newest creation. Don't be afraid to ask a question in any channel! If you're unsure, #general is a great place to start. If another channel is more likely to provide you with a better answer, someone will guide you.

The help with CircuitPython channel is where to go with your CircuitPython questions. #help-with-circuitpython is there for new users and developers alike so feel free to ask a question or post a comment! Everyone of any experience level is welcome to join in on the conversation. We'd love to hear what you have to say! The #circuitpython channel is available for development discussions as well.

The easiest way to contribute to the community is to assist others on Discord. Supporting others doesn't always mean answering questions. Join in celebrating successes! Celebrate your mistakes! Sometimes just hearing that someone else has gone through a similar struggle can be enough to keep a maker moving forward.

The Adafruit Discord is the 24x7x365 hackerspace that you can bring your granddaughter to.

Visit https://adafru.it/discord to sign up for Discord. We're looking forward to meeting you!

Adafruit Forums

The Adafruit Forums are the perfect place for support. Adafruit has wonderful paid support folks to answer any questions you may have. Whether your hardware is giving you issues or your code doesn't seem to be working, the forums are always there for you to ask. You need an Adafruit account to post to the forums. You can use the same account you use to order from Adafruit.

While Discord may provide you with quicker responses than the forums, the forums are a more reliable source of information. If you want to be certain you're getting an Adafruit-supported answer, the forums are the best place to be.

There are forum categories that cover all kinds of topics, including everything Adafruit. The Adafruit CircuitPython and MicroPython category under "Supported Products & Projects" is the best place to post your CircuitPython questions.

Be sure to include the steps you took to get to where you are. If it involves wiring, post a picture! If your code is giving you trouble, include your code in your post! These are great ways to make sure that there's enough information to help you with your issue.

You might think you're just getting started, but you definitely know something that someone else doesn't. The great thing about the forums is that you can help others too! Everyone is welcome and encouraged to provide constructive feedback to any of the posted questions. This is an excellent way to contribute to the community and share your knowledge!

Adafruit Github

Whether you're just beginning or are life-long programmer who would like to contribute, there are ways for everyone to be a part of building CircuitPython. GitHub is the best source of ways to contribute to CircuitPython itself. If you need an account, visit https://github.com/ and sign up.

If you're new to GitHub or programming in general, there are great opportunities for you. Head over to adafruit/circuitpython on GitHub, click on "Issues", and you'll find a list that includes issues labeled "good first issue". These are things we've identified as something that someone with any level of experience can help with. These issues include options like updating documentation, providing feedback, and fixing simple bugs.

Already experienced and looking for a challenge? Checkout the rest of the issues list and you'll find plenty of ways to contribute. You'll find everything from new driver requests to core module updates. There's plenty of opportunities for everyone at any level!

When working with CircuitPython, you may find problems. If you find a bug, that's great! We love bugs! Posting a detailed issue to GitHub is an invaluable way to contribute to improving CircuitPython. Be sure to include the steps to replicate the issue as well as any other information you think is relevant. The more detail, the better!

Testing new software is easy and incredibly helpful. Simply load the newest version of CircuitPython or a library onto your CircuitPython hardware, and use it. Let us know about any problems you find by posting a new issue to GitHub. Software testing on both current and beta releases is a very important part of contributing CircuitPython. We can't possibly find all the problems ourselves! We need your help to make CircuitPython even better.

On GitHub, you can submit feature requests, provide feedback, report problems and much more. If you have questions, remember that Discord and the Forums are both there for help!

ReadTheDocs

ReadTheDocs is a an excellent resource for a more in depth look at CircuitPython. This is where you'll find things like API documentation and details about core modules. There is also a Design Guide that includes contribution guidelines for CircuitPython.

RTD gives you access to a low level look at CircuitPython. There are details about each of the core modules. Each module lists the available libraries. Each module library page lists the available parameters and an explanation for each. In many cases, you'll find quick code examples to help you understand how the modules and parameters work, however it won't have detailed explanations like the Learn Guides. If you want help understanding what's going on behind the scenes in any CircuitPython code you're writing, ReadTheDocs is there to help!

You've been introduced to CircuitPython, and worked through getting everything set up. What's next? CircuitPython Essentials!

There are a number of core modules built into CircuitPython, which can be used along side the many CircuitPython libraries available. The following pages demonstrate some of these modules. Each page presents a different concept including a code example with an explanation. All of the examples are designed to work with your microcontroller board.

Time to get started learning the CircuitPython essentials!

In learning any programming language, you often begin with some sort of Hello, World! program. In CircuitPython, Hello, World! is blinking an LED. Blink is one of the simplest programs in CircuitPython. It involves three built-in modules, two lines of set up, and a short loop. Despite its simplicity, it shows you many of the basic concepts needed for most CircuitPython programs, and provides a solid basis for more complex projects. Time to get blinky!

LED Location

The red LED is located on the top edge of the back of the board, to the left of the USB connector.

Blinking an LED

Save the following as code.py on your CIRCUITPY drive.

"""CircuitPython Blink Example - the CircuitPython 'Hello, World!'"""
import time
import board
import digitalio

led = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.LED)
led.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT

while True:
    led.value = True
    time.sleep(0.5)
    led.value = False
    time.sleep(0.5)

The built-in LED begins blinking!

Note that the code is a little less "Pythonic" than it could be. It could also be written as led.value = not led.value with a single time.sleep(0.5). That way is more difficult to understand if you're new to programming, so the example is a bit longer than it needed to be to make it easier to read.

It's important to understand what is going on in this program.

First you import three modules: time, board and digitalio. This makes these modules available for use in your code. All three are built-in to CircuitPython, so you don't need to download anything to get started.

Next, you set up the LED. To interact with hardware in CircuitPython, your code must let the board know where to look for the hardware and what to do with it. So, you create a digitalio.DigitalInOut() object, provide it the LED pin using the board module, and save it to the variable led. Then, you tell the pin to act as an OUTPUT.

Finally, you create a while True: loop. This means all the code inside the loop will repeat indefinitely. Inside the loop, you set led.value = True which powers on the LED. Then, you use time.sleep(0.5) to tell the code to wait half a second before moving on to the next line. The next line sets led.value = False which turns the LED off. Then you use another time.sleep(0.5) to wait half a second before starting the loop over again.

With only a small update, you can control the blink speed. The blink speed is controlled by the amount of time you tell the code to wait before moving on using time.sleep(). The example uses 0.5, which is one half of one second. Try increasing or decreasing these values to see how the blinking changes.

That's all there is to blinking an LED using CircuitPython!

The CircuitPython digitalio module has many applications. The basic Blink program sets up the LED as a digital output. You can just as easily set up a digital input such as a button to control the LED. This example builds on the basic Blink example, but now includes setup for a button switch. Instead of using the time module to blink the LED, it uses the status of the button switch to control whether the LED is turned on or off.

LED and Button

  • The red LED (highlighted in red) is located on the top edge of the back of the board, to the left of the USB connector.
  • The button (highlighted in green) is located in the rotary encoder - to use the button, simply press down on the rotary encoder.

Controlling the LED with a Button

Save the following as code.py on your CIRCUITPY drive.

"""CircuitPython Digital Input example for MacroPad"""
import board
import digitalio

led = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.LED)
led.direction = digitalio.Direction.OUTPUT

button = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.BUTTON)
button.switch_to_input(pull=digitalio.Pull.UP)

while True:
    if not button.value:
        led.value = True
    else:
        led.value = False

Now, press the button. The LED lights up! Let go of the button and the LED turns off.

Note that the code is a little less "Pythonic" than it could be. It could also be written as led.value = not button.value. That way is more difficult to understand if you're new to programming, so the example is a bit longer than it needed to be to make it easier to read.

First you import two modules: board and digitalio. This makes these modules available for use in your code. Both are built-in to CircuitPython, so you don't need to download anything to get started.

Next, you set up the LED. To interact with hardware in CircuitPython, your code must let the board know where to look for the hardware and what to do with it. So, you create a digitalio.DigitalInOut() object, provide it the LED pin using the board module, and save it to the variable led. Then, you tell the pin to act as an OUTPUT.

You include setup for the button as well. It is similar to the LED setup, except the button is an INPUT, and requires a pull up.

Inside the loop, you check to see if the button is pressed, and if so, turn on the LED. Otherwise the LED is off.

That's all there is to controlling an LED with a button switch!

To use the keypad module, you must be running at least CircuitPython 7.0.0-alpha.4!

Using the keys on the Adafruit MacroPad in CircuitPython is super simple, thanks to the keypad module. This module allows you to print the key number, and read key press and releases. The rotaryio module allows you to read the rotation of the rotary encoder, and digitalio allows you to read the rotary encoder button switch presses. All of these modules are built into CircuitPython, meaning to use them, you do not need to load any separate libraries onto your MacroPad.

However, the following example involves the NeoPixel LEDs, which do require a separate library - Adafruit CircuitPython NeoPixel.

Save the following to your CIRCUITPY drive as code.py.

Click the Download Project Bundle button below to download the necessary libraries and the code.py file in a zip file. Extract the contents of the zip file, find your CircuitPython version, and copy the matching entire lib folder and code.py file to your CIRCUITPY drive.

"""Keypad and rotary encoder example for Adafruit MacroPad"""
import board
import digitalio
import rotaryio
import neopixel
import keypad
from rainbowio import colorwheel


key_pins = (board.KEY1, board.KEY2, board.KEY3, board.KEY4, board.KEY5, board.KEY6,
            board.KEY7, board.KEY8, board.KEY9, board.KEY10, board.KEY11, board.KEY12)
keys = keypad.Keys(key_pins, value_when_pressed=False, pull=True)

encoder = rotaryio.IncrementalEncoder(board.ROTA, board.ROTB)
button = digitalio.DigitalInOut(board.BUTTON)
button.switch_to_input(pull=digitalio.Pull.UP)

pixels = neopixel.NeoPixel(board.NEOPIXEL, 12, brightness=0.2)

last_position = None
while True:
    if not button.value:
        pixels.brightness = 1.0
    else:
        pixels.brightness = 0.2

    position = encoder.position
    if last_position is None or position != last_position:
        print("Rotary:", position)
    last_position = position

    color_value = (position * 2) % 255

    event = keys.events.get()
    if event:
        print(event)
        if event.pressed:
            pixels[event.key_number] = colorwheel(color_value)
        else:
            pixels[event.key_number] = 0

Now try pressing any of the keys to see a message printed out. The corresponding NeoPixel will light up. To change the color of the NeoPixel and see a value printed out, rotate the rotary encoder. To temporarily increase the brightness of the NeoPixel, press down on the rotary encoder.

Note that the key numbers start at 0, so the printed key numbers are 0-11. The CircuitPython pin names are KEY1 - KEY12. KEY1 is key number 0, KEY2 is key number 1, etc, through KEY12 being key number 11.

The Adafruit MacroPad has a number of great features, all of which work great with CircuitPython. The Adafruit CircuitPython MacroPad library wraps all of those features into one place to make it super simple to get started using CircuitPython with your Adafruit MacroPad.

This section provides a few examples of using the MacroPad CircuitPython library to read key presses, the rotary encoder values and rotary encoder switch state, and to send HID and MIDI commands.

The MacroPad library is easy to use. Simply import it, and then create an instance of it in your code. To do this, you include the following two lines at the beginning of your program.

from adafruit_macropad import MacroPad

macropad = MacroPad()

Then, you're ready to access all the features of the library using macropad. Each of the examples will show you how to access different features of the library.

First, you'll want to install the MacroPad library and its dependencies.

MacroPad Library Installation

To use the MacroPad library, you'll need to install it and a few other CircuitPython libraries on your CIRCUITPY drive.

There are two ways to get the necessary libraries onto your CIRCUITPY drive. You can click the Download Project Bundle button at the top of each example, open the 7.x folder within, and copy the code.py file and the lib folder to your CIRCUITPY drive.

Alternatively, you can follow the instructions below.

Download the latest Adafruit CircuitPython Bundle that matches the version of CircuitPython you're using.

Extract the zip and navigate to the lib folder found within. Drag the necessary libraries from the zip lib folder to the lib folder on your CIRCUITPY drive.

At a minimum, the following libraries are required to use the MacroPad CircuitPython library. Drag the following files and folders to the lib folder on your CIRCUITPY drive:

  • adafruit_macropad.mpy - A helper library for using the features of the Adafruit MacroPad.
  • adafruit_debouncer.mpy - A helper library for debouncing pins. Used to provide a debounced instance of the rotary encoder switch.
  • adafruit_simple_text_display.mpy - A helper library for easily displaying lines of text on a display.
  • neopixel.mpy - A CircuitPython driver for NeoPixel LEDs.
  • adafruit_display_text/ - A library to display text using displayio. Used for the text display functionality of the MacroPad library that allows you easily display lines of text on the built-in display.
  • adafruit_hid/ - CircuitPython USB HID drivers.
  • adafruit_midi/ - A CircuitPython helper for encoding/decoding MIDI packets over a MIDI or UART connection

There is an example included that uses a library that is not required for the MacroPad library to work, but provides a convenient way to layout text in grid. The following library is recommended as well:

  • adafruit_displayio_layout - A library that includes a grid layout helper.

The Adafruit MacroPad RP2040 features a 3x4 key pad with NeoPixel LEDs, and a rotary encoder with push switch. This example reads the key presses, the relative position of the rotary encoder and the state of the rotary encoder switch, and prints the information to the serial console.

Update your code.py to the following.

Click the Download Project Bundle button below to download the necessary libraries and the code.py file in a zip file. Extract the contents of the zip file, open the folder that matches your CircuitPython version, and copy the entire lib folder and the code.py file to your CIRCUITPY drive.

# SPDX-FileCopyrightText: Copyright (c) 2021 Kattni Rembor for Adafruit Industries
#
# SPDX-License-Identifier: Unlicense
"""
Simpletest demo for MacroPad. Prints the key pressed, the relative position of the rotary
encoder, and the state of the rotary encoder switch to the serial console.
"""
import time
from adafruit_macropad import MacroPad

macropad = MacroPad()

while True:
    key_event = macropad.keys.events.get()
    if key_event and key_event.pressed:
        print("Key pressed: {}".format(key_event.key_number))
    print("Encoder: {}".format(macropad.encoder))
    print("Encoder switch: {}".format(macropad.encoder_switch))
    time.sleep(0.4)

Now, connect to the serial console. Try pressing keys, rotating the rotary encoder, and pressing the rotary encoder switch to see the results printed out.

To use the MacroPad library, you need to import it and instantiate it with the following code:

from adafruit_macropad import MacroPad

macropad = MacroPad()

Once, instantiated as macropad, you have access to all the features of the MacroPad library. To use the features of the library, you include macropad.feature_name in your code. This example uses the following features:

  • keys - The keys on the MacroPad. Uses events to track key number and state, e.g. pressed or released. You must fetch the events using keys.events.get() and then the events are available for usage in your code. Each event has three properties: key_number, pressed, and released.
  • encoder - The rotary encoder relative rotation position. Always begins at 0 when the code is run, so the value returned is relative to the initial location.
  • encoder_switch - The rotary encoder switch. Returns True when pressed.

Therefore, to read the rotary encoder, you would include macropad.encoder in your code.

In this example, you first import time, then the MacroPad library, and instantiate the library as macropad.

Inside the loop, the first thing you do is setup to look for the key press by creating the key_event variable and assigning it to macropad.keys.events.get(). Then, you check to see if there is a key_event (i.e. a key being pressed) and if it is a key being pressed (key_event.pressed). Then, if so, print the key number (key_event.key_number) being pressed to the serial console.

Then, you print to the serial console the relative position of the rotary encoder (with macropad.encoder) and the state of the encoder switch (with macropad.encoder_switch).

Finally, you include a time.sleep(0.4) to print the information every 0.4 seconds to keep the serial console results readable.

That's all there is to reading the key presses, rotary encoder relative position, and rotary encoder switch state on the Adafruit MacroPad using the CircuitPython MacroPad library!

The Adafruit MacroPad RP2040 features a 3x4 key pad with NeoPixel LEDs, a rotary encoder with push switch, and a display. This example reads the key presses, the relative position of the rotary encoder and the state of the rotary encoder switch, and displays the information on the display.

Update your code.py to the following.

Click the Download Project Bundle button below to download the necessary libraries and the code.py file in a zip file. Extract the contents of the zip file, open the folder that matches your CircuitPython version, and copy the entire lib folder and the code.py file to your CIRCUITPY drive.

# SPDX-FileCopyrightText: Copyright (c) 2021 Kattni Rembor for Adafruit Industries
#
# SPDX-License-Identifier: Unlicense
"""
Simpletest demo for MacroPad. Displays the key pressed, the relative position of the rotary
encoder, and the state of the rotary encoder switch to the built-in display. Note that the key
pressed line does not appear until a key is pressed.
"""
from adafruit_macropad import MacroPad

macropad = MacroPad()

text_lines = macropad.display_text(title="MacroPad Info")

while True:
    key_event = macropad.keys.events.get()
    if key_event and key_event.pressed:
        text_lines[0].text = "Key {} pressed!".format(key_event.key_number)
    text_lines[1].text = "Rotary encoder {}".format(macropad.encoder)
    text_lines[2].text = "Encoder switch: {}".format(macropad.encoder_switch)
    text_lines.show()

Now, check out the display!

If you rotate the rotary encoder, the number will change. It doesn't matter where the rotary encoder is, it will begin at 0. The number provided is a relative position.

If you press the rotary encoder switch down, it will display True.

Note that the key press line does not show up initially. Try pressing a key!

To use the display_text feature of the MacroPad library, you need to instantiate it by assigning it to a variable, e.g. text_lines = macropad.display_text(title="MacroPad Info"). Once created, the title cannot be updated. Note that if you want to be able to dynamically update the title, simply instantiate it without a tittle (text_lines = macropad.display_text()), and treat the first line of text as the title, which can be dynamically updated.

Once you've instantiated it, you can create lines of text below the title with dynamic information in them, such as the key number being pressed or the relative position of the rotary encoder. To do this, you use the text_lines object, and provide it a line number and a string to display. Remember, Python begins counting at 0. For example, to display a line of text with the rotary encoder relative position below the title, you would include text_lines[0].text = "Rotary encoder {}".format(macropad.encoder) in your code. To include a second line of code, you would use text_lines[1].text = and provide a string to display.

This feature uses the Simple Text Display library; for advanced usage check out the Simple Text Display documentation.

In your code, first, you import the MacroPad library, and then instantiate it.

Then, you create a text_lines variable, initialise the display_text feature by assigning text_lines = macropad.display_text(), and, inside the parentheses, provide it the title as a string, e.g. title="MacroPad Info".

Inside the loop, the first thing you do is setup to look for the key press by creating the key_event variable and assigning it to macropad.keys.events.get(). Then, you check to see if there is a key_event (i.e. a key being pressed) and if it is a key being pressed (key_event.pressed). Then, if so, if so, update the first line of text to appear on the display showing which key number (key_event.key_number) was pressed.

Next, you display two more lines of text - one for the rotary encoder relative position and one for the rotary encoder switch state. Each of these updates when you rotate the rotary encoder or press on the rotary encoder switch.

Finally, you call text_lines.show() to make the lines of text show up on the display.

That's all there is to displaying lines of text on the built-in display of the Adafruit MacroPad using the CircuitPython MacroPad library!

The Adafruit MacroPad comes with a built in display. The MacroPad library makes it super simple to display a CircuitPython-compatible bitmap image on the display. To learn more about how to create a CircuitPython-compatible bitmap, check out this guide - the difference here is, the MacroPad display is monochrome, so you'll want a black and white image.

You can easily update the code to use any compatible bitmap you'd like, but for this example, download the following image and save it to your CIRCUITPY drive as blinka.bmp.

Update your code.py to the following.

Click the Download Project Bundle button below to download the necessary libraries and the code.py file in a zip file. Extract the contents of the zip file, open the folder that matches your CircuitPython version, and copy the entire lib folder and the code.py file to your CIRCUITPY drive.

# SPDX-FileCopyrightText: Copyright (c) 2021 Kattni Rembor for Adafruit Industries
#
# SPDX-License-Identifier: Unlicense
"""
MacroPad display image demo. Displays a bitmap image on the built-in display.
"""
from adafruit_macropad import MacroPad

macropad = MacroPad()

macropad.display_image("blinka.bmp")

while True:
    pass

Check out the display!

To use the display_image feature of the MacroPad library, you import and instantiate the library as usual, and then include macropad.display_image("image_name.bmp") in your code, where image_name is the name of your bitmap image.

In this example, you import and instantiate the MacroPad library.

Then, you include macropad.display_image("blinka.bmp").

Inside the loop, you simply include a pass.

That's all there is to displaying a CircuitPython-compatible bitmap image on the built-in display of the Adafruit MacroPad using the CircuitPython MacroPad library!

The Adafruit MacroPad RP2040 features a 3x4 key pad with NeoPixel LEDs, and a display. This example reads key presses, lights up NeoPixel associated the key pressed, and prints to the display which key is pressed.

The keys are numbered 0 through 11 (remember Python begins counting at 0), beginning at the top left of the keypad, and ending at the lower right, numbered along each row reading left to right. The NeoPixels are numbered the same way, left to right, top to bottom. The image below shows the standard key and pixel numbering.

The MacroPad lends itself to many different projects, most of them using the MacroPad as shown above. What if you'd rather use it in a different orientation? Perhaps a 90 degree rotation to have a 4x3 keypad with the rotary encoder and display on the left. What about a 180 degree rotation to put the display and the rotary encoder on the bottom. Or a 270 degree rotation to have the rotary encoder on the bottom right below the display. This type of rotation involves remapping the keys and the NeoPixels and rotating the display to match. Sound like a lot of work? It is. And the MacroPad library does all the work for you!

The MacroPad library makes it simple to rotate your MacroPad. When you instantiate the library after import, instead of simply doing macropad = MacroPad(), you include a rotation. The supported rotation options are:

  • 0 - This is the default. This is the MacroPad in a standard orientation with the USB connector pointing upward.
  • 90 - This is the MacroPad with the USB connector pointing to the left.
  • 180 - This is the MacroPad with the USB connector pointing towards the bottom.
  • 270 - This is the MacroPad with the USB connector pointing to the right.

Any other rotation value will cause an error.

For example, to rotate the MacroPad 90 degrees, you would import and instantiate the library as follows.

from adafruit_macropad import MacroPad

macropad = MacroPad(rotation=90)

This rotates the display 90 degrees and remaps the keys and NeoPixels to match. The rest of your code will now read the keys and NeoPixels, left to right, top to bottom beginning at the key closest to the rotary encoder. What does that look like? Check out the following example.

Rotation Example

Update your code.py to the following.

Click the Download Project Bundle button below to download the necessary libraries and the code.py file in a zip file. Extract the contents of the zip file, open the folder that matches your CircuitPython version, and copy the entire lib folder and the code.py file to your CIRCUITPY drive.

# SPDX-FileCopyrightText: Copyright (c) 2021 Kattni Rembor for Adafruit Industries
#
# SPDX-License-Identifier: Unlicense
"""
MacroPad rotation demo. Rotates the display 90 degrees and remaps the NeoPixels and keys to match.
Lights up the associated pixel when the key is pressed. Displays the key number pressed and the
rotary encoder relative position on the display.
"""
from rainbowio import colorwheel
from adafruit_macropad import MacroPad

macropad = MacroPad(rotation=90)

text_lines = macropad.display_text(title="MacroPad \nInfo")

while True:
    key_event = macropad.keys.events.get()
    if key_event:
        if key_event.pressed:
            text_lines[1].text = "Key {}!".format(key_event.key_number)
            macropad.pixels[key_event.key_number] = colorwheel(
                int(255 / 12) * key_event.key_number
            )
        else:
            macropad.pixels.fill((0, 0, 0))
    text_lines[2].text = "Encoder {}".format(macropad.encoder)
    text_lines.show()

Now, rotate your MacroPad 90 degrees, and try pressing the keys and rotate the rotary encoder! The 90 degree orientation is when the rotary encoder is in the upper left corner. The key and NeoPixels are numbered starting on the key closest to the rotary encoder.

This example rotates the MacroPad 90 degrees. Remember, when the MacroPad is in a sideways orientation, the display is 64x128 pixels (instead of the standard 128x64 pixels). Any text displayed needs to be shortened to fit on the display. So, this example puts the title on two lines to shorten it up and uses shorter strings than the Display Text example.

In your code, you first import colorwheel from rainbowio.

Next, you import and instantiate the MacroPad library, specifying the 90 degree rotation with rotation=90.

Then, you create a text_lines variable, initialise the display_text feature by assigning text_lines = macropad.display_text(), and, inside the parentheses, provide it the title as a string, e.g. title="MacroPad\nInfo". Note the \n which puts Info on a separate line.

Inside the loop, the first thing you do is setup to look for the key press by creating the key_event variable and assigning it to macropad.keys.events.get(). Then, you check to see if there is a key_event (i.e. a key being pressed). If it is a key being pressed (key_event.pressed), you print to the display the key number pressed and light up the key using the key_number to generate a colorwheel() value. Otherwise when the key is released, turn off the LEDs.

Then, you print the relative encoder value to the display.

Finally, you call text_lines.show() to make the lines of text show up on the display.

Other Rotations

Simply updating the rotation= in the MacroPad library instantiation allows you to view the other orientation options.

For example, to rotate this example to 180 degrees, you would change the line of code from macropad = MacroPad(rotation=90) to the following:

macropad = MacroPad(rotation=180)

Rotate the MacroPad so the USB connector is pointed downwards and try pressing the keys to see the key number printed to the display.

To rotate this example to 270 degrees, you would change the line of code from macropad = MacroPad(rotation=180) to the following:

macropad = MacroPad(rotation=180)

Rotate the MacroPad so the USB connector is pointed to the left and try pressing the keys to see the key number printed to the display.

Once rotated, you can include any other features of the MacroPad library using the matching key and NeoPixel map with the MacroPad oriented in whatever way you like!

That's all there is to rotating the MacroPad using the CircuitPython MacroPad library!

The Adafruit MacroPad RP2040 features a 3x4 key pad with NeoPixel LEDs, and a small buzzer/speaker This example plays a different tone for each key pressed, and lights up each key a different color while pressed.

Update your code.py to the following.

Click the Download Project Bundle button below to download the necessary libraries and the code.py file in a zip file. Extract the contents of the zip file, open the folder that matches your CircuitPython version, and copy the entire lib folder and the code.py file to your CIRCUITPY drive.

# SPDX-FileCopyrightText: 2021 Kattni Rembor for Adafruit Industries
#
# SPDX-License-Identifier: Unlicense
"""
MacroPad tone demo. Plays a different tone for each key pressed and lights up each key a different
color while the key is pressed.
"""
from rainbowio import colorwheel
from adafruit_macropad import MacroPad

macropad = MacroPad()

tones = [196, 220, 246, 262, 294, 330, 349, 392, 440, 494, 523, 587]

while True:
    key_event = macropad.keys.events.get()

    if key_event:
        if key_event.pressed:
            macropad.pixels[key_event.key_number] = colorwheel(
                int(255 / 12) * key_event.key_number
            )
            macropad.start_tone(tones[key_event.key_number])

        else:
            macropad.pixels.fill((0, 0, 0))
            macropad.stop_tone()

Now, press any key! It plays a unique tone and lights up a different color of the rainbow while pressed.

The MacroPad library includes the ability to play tones, either for a specified duration, for example, 0.5 seconds, or until you tell it to stop in your code, for example, the duration of a key press.

The common thing required for playing a tone, regardless of which method you choose, is to specify the tone frequency in Hz as an integer (meaning a whole number without a decimal). For example, to play a "middle C" tone, you would specify 262.

To play that tone for a specified duration of 0.5 seconds, you would include macropad.play_tone(262, 0.5) in your code.

This example uses the start_tone and stop_tone features of the MacroPad library. The first, start_tone, requires only a tone frequency in Hz. However, when you call it in your code, it will play until you tell it to stop. So, if you call start_tone without calling stop_tone(), it will continue to play indefinitely! So, you always want to call stop_tone() somewhere after start_tone.

In this example, you import colorwheel from rainbowio, and you import and instantiate the MacroPad library.

Next, you create a list of 12 tone frequencies in Hz. You must include 12 for it to work properly, as there are 12 keys. You can customise the tones easily by changing the numbers.

Inside the loop, the first thing you do is setup to look for the key press by creating the key_event variable and assigning it to macropad.keys.events.get(). Then, you check to see if there is a key_event (i.e. a key being pressed). If it is a key being pressed (key_event.pressed), you light up the key using the key_number to generate a colorwheel() value, and you start playing the tone from the list that is the same number in the list as the key number being pressed. Remember that Python begins counting from 0. So if you press the first key, the first tone will be played, 196Hz. If you press the fifth key, the fifth tone in the list will be played, 294Hz.

Otherwise, as soon as the key is no longer being pressed (i.e. released), you turn off all the LEDs, and stop playing the tone.

That's all there is to playing a tone using the CircuitPython MacroPad library!

The Adafruit MacroPad RP2040 features a 3x4 key pad and a rotary encoder with push switch. This example uses the first few keys to send different types of HID commands, the rotary encoder switch to send a right mouse click, and the rotary encoder to move the mouse left and right.

Update your code.py to the following.

Click the Download Project Bundle button below to download the necessary libraries and the code.py file in a zip file. Extract the contents of the zip file, open the folder that matches your CircuitPython version, and copy the entire lib folder and the code.py file to your CIRCUITPY drive.

Be aware that this an HID demo, which means it will be sending key commands and moving your mouse! Once you hit save, make sure your cursor is in a text editor of some sort so you can see the results typed out.
# SPDX-FileCopyrightText: 2021 Kattni Rembor for Adafruit Industries
#
# SPDX-License-Identifier: Unlicense
"""
MacroPad HID keyboard and mouse demo. The demo sends "a" when the first key is pressed, a "B" when
the second key is pressed, "Hello, World!" when the third key is pressed, and decreases the volume
when the fourth key is pressed. It sends a right mouse click when the rotary encoder switch is
pressed. Finally, it moves the mouse left and right when the rotary encoder is rotated
counterclockwise and clockwise respectively.
"""
from adafruit_macropad import MacroPad

macropad = MacroPad()

last_position = 0
while True:
    key_event = macropad.keys.events.get()

    if key_event:
        if key_event.pressed:
            if key_event.key_number is 0:
                macropad.keyboard.send(macropad.Keycode.A)
            if key_event.key_number is 1:
                macropad.keyboard.press(macropad.Keycode.SHIFT, macropad.Keycode.B)
                macropad.keyboard.release_all()
            if key_event.key_number is 2:
                macropad.keyboard_layout.write("Hello, World!")
            if key_event.key_number is 3:
                macropad.consumer_control.send(
                    macropad.ConsumerControlCode.VOLUME_DECREMENT
                )

    macropad.encoder_switch_debounced.update()

    if macropad.encoder_switch_debounced.pressed:
        macropad.mouse.click(macropad.Mouse.RIGHT_BUTTON)

    current_position = macropad.encoder

    if macropad.encoder > last_position:
        macropad.mouse.move(x=+5)
        last_position = current_position

    if macropad.encoder < last_position:
        macropad.mouse.move(x=-5)
        last_position = current_position

Try pressing the first key, it will type out a lowercase "a". Press the second key, it will type out an uppercase "B". Press the third key, it will type out the string "Hello, World!". Press the fourth key, it will decrease the volume. Press down on the rotary encoder switch to send a right mouse click. Rotate the rotary encoder clockwise to move the mouse cursor to the right, and counterclockwise to move it to the left.

The MacroPad library wraps in the ability to send HID commands to your computer, such as key presses, strings, consumer control commands (e.g. volume increase or decrease), and mouse clicks and movement. The library also makes it simple to read key presses and the rotary encoder position, and makes a debounced version of the rotary encoder switch available.

In your code, first, you import the MacroPad library, and then instantiate it.

Then you create a last_position variable to track the rotary encoder position, and set it to 0.

Inside the loop, the first thing you do is setup to look for the key press by creating the key_event variable and assigning it to macropad.keys.events.get(). Then, you check to see if there is a key_event (i.e. a key being pressed) and if it is a key being pressed (key_event.pressed). Then do the following based on key number. Remember, key 0 is the first key - Python begins counting at 0.

  • If key 0 is pressed, send the letter "a".
  • If key 1 is pressed, send "shift+b" to send "B".
  • If key 2 is pressed, send the string "Hello, World!"
  • If key 3 is pressed, decrease the volume.

Next, you include macropad.encoder_switch_debounced.update() in your code to continually check the state of the switch. This line is required to use the debounced encoder switch. Once you include the update() line, you can check for two states:

  • macropad.encoder_switch_debounced.pressed - True when the switch is pressed. Sends only one press event per switch press.
  • macropad.encoder_switch_debounced.released - True when the switch is released. Sends only one release event per switch release.

In this case, you check to see if the rotary encoder is pressed, and if so, send a right mouse click. Using the debounced version of the rotary encoder ensures that the mouse click is only sent one time per switch press.

Then, you set current_position = macropad.encoder so you have the current position of the rotary encoder to work with.

Next, you check to see if the encoder position is greater than the last_position (which starts at 0), which is to say, has it been rotated clockwise. If so, move the mouse to the right, and set the last position equal to the current position so you can begin tracking again.

Finally, you do the same again, except this time you're checking whether the encoder position is less than the last position, which is to say, has it been rotated counterclockwise. If so, move the mouse to the left, and set last_position = current_position.

That's all there is to using the Adafruit MacroPad to send HID commends with the CircuitPython MacroPad library!

This code shows how you can send USB MIDI messages using the Macropad.

Save the following to your CIRCUITPY drive as code.py.

Click the Download Project Bundle button below to download the necessary libraries and the code.py file in a zip file. Extract the contents of the zip file, find your CircuitPython version, and copy the matching entire lib folder and code.py file to your CIRCUITPY drive.

# SPDX-FileCopyrightText: 2021 John Park for Adafruit Industries
# SPDX-License-Identifier: MIT
# Macropad MIDI Tester
# Play MIDI notes with keys
# Click encoder to switch modes
# Turn encoder to adjust CC, ProgramChange, or PitchBend
from adafruit_macropad import MacroPad
from rainbowio import colorwheel

CC_NUM = 74  # select your CC number

macropad = MacroPad(rotation=180)  # create the macropad object, rotate orientation

# --- Pixel setup --- #
key_color = colorwheel(120)  # fill with cyan to start
macropad.pixels.brightness = 0.1
macropad.pixels.fill(key_color)

# --- MIDI variables ---
mode = 0
mode_text = ["Patch", ("CC #%s" % (CC_NUM)), "Pitch Bend"]
midi_values = [0, 16, 8]  # bank, cc value, pitch
# Chromatic scale starting with C3 as bottom left keyswitch (or use any notes you like)
midi_notes = [
            57, 58, 59,
            54, 55, 56,
            51, 52, 53,
            48, 49, 50
            ]

# --- Display text setup ---
text_lines = macropad.display_text("Macropad MIDI Tester")
text_lines[0].text = "Mode: Patch {}".format(midi_values[0]+1)  # Patch display offset by 1
text_lines[1].text = "Press knob for modes"
text_lines.show()

last_knob_pos = macropad.encoder  # store knob position state


while True:

    key_event = macropad.keys.events.get()  # check for key press or release
    if key_event:
        if key_event.pressed:
            key = key_event.key_number
            macropad.midi.send(macropad.NoteOn(midi_notes[key], 120))  # send midi noteon
            macropad.pixels[key] = colorwheel(90)  # light up green
            text_lines[1].text = "NoteOn:{}".format(midi_notes[key])

        if key_event.released:
            key = key_event.key_number
            macropad.midi.send(macropad.NoteOff(midi_notes[key], 0))
            macropad.pixels[key] = key_color  # return to color set by encoder bank value
            text_lines[1].text = "NoteOff:{}".format(midi_notes[key])

    macropad.encoder_switch_debounced.update()  # check the knob switch for press or release
    if macropad.encoder_switch_debounced.pressed:
        mode = (mode+1) % 3
        if mode == 0:
            text_lines[0].text = ("Mode: %s %d" % (mode_text[mode], midi_values[mode]+1))
        elif mode == 1:
            text_lines[0].text = ("Mode: %s %d" % (mode_text[mode], int(midi_values[mode]*4.1)))
        else:
            text_lines[0].text = ("Mode: %s %d" % (mode_text[mode], midi_values[mode]-8))
        macropad.red_led = macropad.encoder_switch
        text_lines[1].text = " "  # clear the note line

    if macropad.encoder_switch_debounced.released:
        macropad.red_led = macropad.encoder_switch

    if last_knob_pos is not macropad.encoder:  # knob has been turned
        knob_pos = macropad.encoder  # read encoder
        knob_delta = knob_pos - last_knob_pos  # compute knob_delta since last read
        last_knob_pos = knob_pos  # save new reading

        if mode == 0:  # ProgramChange
            midi_values[mode] = min(max(midi_values[mode] + knob_delta, 0), 127)  # delta + minmax
            macropad.midi.send(macropad.ProgramChange(midi_values[mode]))  # midi send ProgramChange
            key_color = colorwheel(midi_values[mode]+120)  # change key_color as patches change
            macropad.pixels.fill(key_color)
            text_lines[0].text = ("Mode: %s %d" % (mode_text[mode], midi_values[mode]+1))

        if mode == 1:  # CC
            midi_values[mode] = min(max(midi_values[mode] + knob_delta, 0), 31)  # scale the value
            macropad.midi.send(macropad.ControlChange(CC_NUM, int(midi_values[mode]*4.1)))
            text_lines[0].text = ("Mode: %s %d" % (mode_text[mode], int(midi_values[mode]*4.1)))

        if mode == 2:  # PitchBend
            midi_values[mode] = min(max(midi_values[mode] + knob_delta, 0), 15)  # smaller range
            macropad.midi.send(macropad.PitchBend((midi_values[mode]*1024)))  # range * mult = 16384
            text_lines[0].text = ("Mode: %s %d" % (mode_text[mode], midi_values[mode]-8))

        last_knob_pos = macropad.encoder

To test it out, load up a software synthesizer on your computer or iOS/Android device, and press the Macropad keys to play notes. You can find a good list of software to try here, but this will work with any MIDI capable software synth.

Modes

Click the knob to cycle among three modes:

  • Patch select mode
  • CC mode
  • Pitch bend mode

In Patch select mode you can turn the knob to switch synth patch presets, and test out different sounds built into your synth.

In CC mode the knob sends ControlChange messages from 0-127 on CC #74 by default. This is often used to change filter frequency, but you can customize this in your software.

In Pitch Bend mode, turn the knob left and right to bend the pitch!

If you'd like to learn more about how it works, you can watch an in-depth look at things here:

The first step to using Arduino with the MacroPad RP2040, is installing the Earle Philhower Arduino core. Follow the instructions to get it setup and installed.

Then follow the instructions to connect the Arduino IDE to your MacroPad.

Once you have Arduino setup on your MacroPad, you're ready to continue with the following example. First, you'll need to install a few libraries.

Required Libraries

You'll need to install Adafruit SH110X, Adafruit NeoPixel, and RotaryEncoder.

Open the Arduino Library Manager:

Search for SH110X, and install Adafruit SH110X.

When asked to install any dependencies, choose Install all.

Search for NeoPixel and install Adafruit NeoPixel, being sure to double check the name.

Search for RotaryEncoder and install RotaryEncoder.

Example Code

Compile the following and load it onto your board.

If this is the first Arduino sketch you've loaded on your MacroPad, you may need to manually put it into the bootloader by holding the boot button, pressing reset, and continuing to hold the boot button until the RPI-RP2 drive appears.
#include <Adafruit_SH110X.h>
#include <Adafruit_NeoPixel.h>
#include <RotaryEncoder.h>
#include <Wire.h>

// Create the neopixel strip with the built in definitions NUM_NEOPIXEL and PIN_NEOPIXEL
Adafruit_NeoPixel pixels = Adafruit_NeoPixel(NUM_NEOPIXEL, PIN_NEOPIXEL, NEO_GRB + NEO_KHZ800);

// Create the OLED display
Adafruit_SH1106G display = Adafruit_SH1106G(128, 64, &SPI1, OLED_DC, OLED_RST, OLED_CS);

// Create the rotary encoder
RotaryEncoder encoder(PIN_ROTA, PIN_ROTB, RotaryEncoder::LatchMode::FOUR3);
void checkPosition() {  encoder.tick(); } // just call tick() to check the state.
// our encoder position state
int encoder_pos = 0;

void setup() {
  Serial.begin(115200);
  //while (!Serial) { delay(10); }     // wait till serial port is opened
  delay(100);  // RP2040 delay is not a bad idea

  Serial.println("Adafruit Macropad with RP2040");

  // start pixels!
  pixels.begin();
  pixels.setBrightness(255);
  pixels.show(); // Initialize all pixels to 'off'

  // Start OLED
  display.begin(0, true); // we dont use the i2c address but we will reset!
  display.display();
  
  // set all mechanical keys to inputs
  for (uint8_t i=0; i<=12; i++) {
    pinMode(i, INPUT_PULLUP);
  }



  // set rotary encoder inputs and interrupts
  pinMode(PIN_ROTA, INPUT_PULLUP);
  pinMode(PIN_ROTB, INPUT_PULLUP);
  attachInterrupt(digitalPinToInterrupt(PIN_ROTA), checkPosition, CHANGE);
  attachInterrupt(digitalPinToInterrupt(PIN_ROTB), checkPosition, CHANGE);  

  // We will use I2C for scanning the Stemma QT port
  Wire.begin();

  // text display tests
  display.setTextSize(1);
  display.setTextWrap(false);
  display.setTextColor(SH110X_WHITE, SH110X_BLACK); // white text, black background

  pinMode(PIN_SPEAKER, OUTPUT);
  digitalWrite(PIN_SPEAKER, LOW);
  // tone(PIN_SPEAKER, 988, 100);  // tone1 - B5
  // delay(100);
  // tone(PIN_SPEAKER, 1319, 200); // tone2 - E6
  // delay(200);
}

uint8_t j = 0;
bool i2c_found[128] = {false};

void loop() {
  display.clearDisplay();
  display.setCursor(0,0);
  display.println("* Adafruit Macropad *");
  
  encoder.tick();          // check the encoder
  int newPos = encoder.getPosition();
  if (encoder_pos != newPos) {
    Serial.print("Encoder:");
    Serial.print(newPos);
    Serial.print(" Direction:");
    Serial.println((int)(encoder.getDirection()));
    encoder_pos = newPos;
  }
  display.setCursor(0, 8);
  display.print("Rotary encoder: ");
  display.print(encoder_pos);

  // Scanning takes a while so we don't do it all the time
  if ((j & 0x3F) == 0) {
    Serial.println("Scanning I2C: ");
    Serial.print("Found I2C address 0x");
    for (uint8_t address = 0; address <= 0x7F; address++) {
      Wire.beginTransmission(address);
      i2c_found[address] = (Wire.endTransmission () == 0);
      if (i2c_found[address]) {
        Serial.print("0x");
        Serial.print(address, HEX);
        Serial.print(", ");
      }
    }
    Serial.println();
  }
  
  display.setCursor(0, 16);
  display.print("I2C Scan: ");
  for (uint8_t address=0; address <= 0x7F; address++) {
    if (!i2c_found[address]) continue;
    display.print("0x");
    display.print(address, HEX);
    display.print(" ");
  }
  
  // check encoder press
  display.setCursor(0, 24);
  if (!digitalRead(PIN_SWITCH)) {
    Serial.println("Encoder button");
    display.print("Encoder pressed ");
    pixels.setBrightness(255);     // bright!
  } else {
    pixels.setBrightness(80);
  }

  for(int i=0; i< pixels.numPixels(); i++) {
    pixels.setPixelColor(i, Wheel(((i * 256 / pixels.numPixels()) + j) & 255));
  }
  
  for (int i=1; i<=12; i++) {
    if (!digitalRead(i)) { // switch pressed!
      Serial.print("Switch "); Serial.println(i);
      pixels.setPixelColor(i-1, 0xFFFFFF);  // make white
      // move the text into a 3x4 grid
      display.setCursor(((i-1) % 3)*48, 32 + ((i-1)/3)*8);
      display.print("KEY");
      display.print(i);
    }
  }

  // show neopixels, incredment swirl
  pixels.show();
  j++;

  // display oled
  display.display();
}





// Input a value 0 to 255 to get a color value.
// The colours are a transition r - g - b - back to r.
uint32_t Wheel(byte WheelPos) {
  if(WheelPos < 85) {
   return pixels.Color(255 - WheelPos * 3, 0, WheelPos * 3);
  } else if(WheelPos < 170) {
   WheelPos -= 85;
   return pixels.Color(0, WheelPos * 3, 255 - WheelPos * 3);
  } else {
   WheelPos -= 170;
   return pixels.Color(WheelPos * 3, 255 - WheelPos * 3, 0);
  }
}

The NeoPixel LEDs light up in a rainbow. Try pressing each key to see a message on the display, and the corresponding pixel turn white. Rotate the rotary encoder to see the value change on the display. Press the rotary encoder to see the NeoPixels get brighter. If you have an I2C device attached via the STEMMA QT port, you'll see the address printed as well.

That's all there is to using the MacroPad with Arduino!

The first step to getting the Earle Philhower core to run on your RP2040 device is to install it.

First, open the Arduino IDE.

Then, navigate to File -> Preferences and paste the link below into Additional Board Manager URLs. If the field is initially blank, just paste the link in and press OK. If there are already one or more URLs there, add a comma to the last one and paste the link there and press OK.

The link to copy and paste:

https://github.com/earlephilhower/arduino-pico/releases/download/global/package_rp2040_index.json

Click “OK” to save these preferences. Then, go to Tools -> Board -> Board Manager and type pico into the search bar, and hit enter. Select Raspberry Pi Pico/RP2040 by Earle F. Philhower, III and press Install. Then press close and you should be all set to connect your RP2040.

Now that you've successfully installed the core, you can move on to connecting your RP2040 to the Arduino IDE.

To connect your RP2040 microcontroller-based board, connect it to your computer via a known good USB power+data cable. Hold down the BOOTSEL button when you're plugging it in to enter the bootloader. It should then show up as a USB drive with the name RPI-RP2 (or something similar) in your computer File Explorer / Finder (depends on operating system).

You only need manually to enter the bootloader the first time you load an Arduino sketch onto your Pico. It is not necessary to manually enter the bootloader to load subsequent sketches once you are already running an Arduino sketch.

Then in the Arduino IDE, go to Tools -> Board -> Raspberry Pi RP2040 Boards and select the board you are using.

Now, you're going to want to select the correct port to use. Open Tools -> Port, and select the right port. On my computer, it was /dev/ttyS0. If it only gives you the options to use a port with ACM (Linux) in it, as in /dev/ttyACM0 or usbmodem (Mac/OSX), as in /dev/tty.usbmodem14301 then try unplugging it and plugging it back in, making sure to hold down the BOOTSEL button as you do so. On Windows, serial ports show up as COM ports.

Note that after you flash your first sketch, the board will not show up as a USB drive and will use ports such as /dev/ttyACM0, COM, or /dev/tty.usbmodem14301. Make sure to change the port in Tools -> Port.

Original MacroPad Demo

The code that shipped on the MacroPad is the example included in the Arduino section of this guide.

Alternatively, you can download the following UF2 file and load it onto your MacroPad.

Schematic

Fab Print

3D Model

This guide was first published on Jun 30, 2021. It was last updated on 2021-07-29 15:09:16 -0400.