Skip to main content Link Search Menu Expand Document (external link)


Out of the box, the RP2040 present on the pico-ice has built-in features to interact with the FPGA over USB.

But with its specifications the RP2040 can be programmed to support advanced features.

The RP2040 can be programmed with either custom C firmware, or one of many languages such as MicroPython, CircuitPython, Go, Rust, JavaScript, ZeptoForth, Mecrisp Forth, …

Currently C/C++ programming is best suported through the pico-ice-sdk (this page), itself built as a library for the pico-sdk from Raspberry Pi.

Getting Started

This is a guide for how to build application running on the RP2040 microcontroller.

The pico-ice-sdk provides an API for communicating with the pico-ice hardware, also allowing to use the Raspberry Pi pico-sdk directly.

The pico-ice-sdk is organised as a normal pico-sdk project with pico_ice custom board.

The examples show how everything can be to get started.

Here is how to turn an example into a new project:

# copy the whole example directory
cp -r pico-ice-sdk/examples/pico_usb_uart my-new-pico-ice-firmware
cd my-new-pico-ice-firmware

# turn it into a git repository
git init
git remote add origin

# replace the two symlinks by git submodules
rm pico-sdk pico-ice-sdk
git submodule add
git submodule add

# fetch the submodules (using --recursive is very slow)
git -C pico-ice-sdk submodule update --init
git -C pico-sdk submodule update --init lib/tinyusb

# you can now build it as a CMake project
mkdir build && cd build
cmake .. && make

You can now edit the name of the project in the CMakeLists.txt, add new sources, and change the code.


Feel free to join the chat server to ask for help.

Using some RP2040 peripheral cause various bugs.

In order to power the FPGA, some peripherals and GPIO pins are in use by the pico-ice-sdk. In case both the firmware and SDK use the same peripheral, it is possible to use another free peripheral instance, or if none left, disable the feature of the SDK The ice_init() is responsible for setting-up all peripherals used by the SDK. Instead, calling manually each ice_init_<feature>() of interest permits to select what to enable or not in the board, and therefore keeping some more peripherals for the user.

Error: C++ compiler not installed on this system

The pico-sdk is written in C, but uses a single C++ file to enable C++ support in the SDK. This means you need a working C++ cross compiler, often named arm-none-eabi-g++.

Even if this binary is present in your system, it might not be a full C++ installation. If you do not need C++ and want to work around this bug, you can disable the C++ support in the pico-sdk. From your project repo:

$ cd build
$ cmake .. # download the SDK if not yet done
$ sed -i '/new_delete.cpp/ d' _deps/pico-sdk-src/src/rp2_common/pico_standard_link/CMakeLists.txt
$ cmake .. # rebuild the Makefile with the fix

Table of contents