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$10 Raspberry Pi Pico Alternative Comes With LCD Screen

Both sides of the T-Display board
(Image credit: LILYGO)

Microcontroller boards based on the RP2040 chipset, the same SoC that powers the $4 Raspberry Pi Pico (opens in new tab)are becoming very popular among makers. Newer boards are popping up with extra features appearing on them, such as this 1.14 inch color display, the $10 LILYGO T-Display spotted by CNX Software (opens in new tab)

Image 1 of 2

LILYGO TTGO T-Display RP2040 Raspberry Pi

(Image credit: LILYGO / Aliexpress)
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The board with its GPIO header and battery cable

(Image credit: LILYGO)

It's not the first (opens in new tab) such board, of course, with the Arducam Pico4ML (opens in new tab) pulling a similar trick - and with a resolution of 240×135 pixels it’s hardly HD - but it comes in at just under $10 with the RP2040 board attached. Along with the ST7789V SPI controller needed to run the screen, you get all the usual Pico accoutrements such as the dual-core Cortex M0+ processor,  2 x UART , 2 x SPI and 2 x I2C connections, along with a generous 4MB of flash storage. Power and data connectivity is via USB-C, a good choice of connector as it is now becoming the norm on maker boards. Where the LILYGO T-Display falls short is the GPIO. The board looks to be wider and a different pin layout to the traditional Raspberry Pi Pico, so creative hacking is required to connect accessories designed for the Pico.

There’s also support for powering the board, and its screen, with a battery thanks to a two-pin 1.25mm pitch JST connector - you get a connector cable in the package along with an expansion header. The board is programmable through MicroPython and C like any other Pico (opens in new tab), and CNX speculates that Arduino support could be coming soon, thanks to the existence of an Arduino-liking ESP32 board (opens in new tab) by the same manufacturer with the same display. Right now CircuitPython support is unknown, but it won't be long until a member of the community ports CircuitPython to this board.

The LILYGO T-Display was available from AliExpress (opens in new tab) for $9.98, but at the time of writing appears to be out of stock.

Ian Evenden
Ian Evenden

Ian Evenden is a UK-based news writer for Tom’s Hardware US. He’ll write about anything, but stories about Raspberry Pi and DIY robots seem to find their way to him.

  • pocketdrummer
    Personally, I'd happily pay double not to have a Chinese board.
    Reply
  • kyzarvs
    pocketdrummer said:
    Personally, I'd happily pay double not to have a Chinese board.
    Pretty much 100% that whatever you are writing that on has components or designs or manufacturing from China.
    Reply
  • pocketdrummer
    kyzarvs said:
    Pretty much 100% that whatever you are writing that on has components or designs or manufacturing from China.

    That doesn't mean I have to choose a Chinese board if I have an option to use something else. I can and do choose alternative products that are made in other countries.
    Reply