RP2040 Thing Plus Hookup Guide

Contributors: Nick Poole, santaimpersonator
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Hardware Assembly

USB Programming

The USB connection is utilized for programming and serial communication. Users only need to plug their RP2040 Thing Plus into a computer using a USB-C cable.

The SparkFun Thing Plus - RP2040 attached to a computer. (Click to enlarge)


Users can enter BOOTSEL mode by holding down the BOOT button, when the USB connection is made to a computer. The board will remain in this mode until it power cycles (happens automatically after uploading a .uf2 firmware file) or the RESET button is pressed. The board will appear as a USB mass storage device under the name RPI-RP2.

Holding down BOOT button on SparkFun Thing Plus - RP2040
Hold down BOOT button to enter BOOTSEL mode on The SparkFun Thing Plus - RP2040. (Click to enlarge)


For remote applications, the RP2040 Thing Plus can be powered through its 2-pin JST battery connector. Additionally, users may be interested in utilizing a solar panel and USB-C cable to recharge their battery.

Battery connected to the SparkFun Thing Plus - RP2040
The SparkFun Thing Plus - RP2040 with a battery attached. (Click to enlarge)
Solar Panel Charger - 10W

Solar Panel Charger - 10W

$18.95 $14.21
USB 3.1 Cable A to C - 3 Foot

USB 3.1 Cable A to C - 3 Foot


Note: DO NOT remove batteries by pulling on their wires. Instead, it is recommended that pair of dikes (i.e. diagonal wire cutters), pliers, or tweezers be used to pull on the JST connector housing, to avoid damaging the battery wiring.

Disconnect battery w/ dikes
Using a pair of dikes to disconnect a battery. (Click to enlarge)


The pins for the RP2040 Thing Plus are broken out to 0.1"-spaced pins on the outer edges of the board. When selecting headers, be sure you are aware of the functionality you need. If you have never soldered before or need a quick refresher, check out our How to Solder: Through-Hole Soldering guide.

Soldering headers
Soldering headers to the RP2040 Thing Plus.

The Feather Stackable Header Kit is a great option as it allows users to stack shields (w/ Feather footprint) or it can be placed on the a breadboard; while, the pins are still accessible from the female/male headers.

Qwiic Devices

The Qwiic system allows users to effortlessly prototype with a Qwiic compatible I2C device without soldering. Users can attach any Qwiic compatible sensor or board, with just a Qwiic cable. (*The example below, is for demonstration purposes and is not pertinent to the board functionality or this tutorial.)

Qwiic devices connected to SparkFun Thing Plus - RP2040
The Qwiic GPS receiver and distance sensor connected to the SparkFun Thing Plus - RP2040.