Intro to Programming Database Internet of Things IT Project Management Networking Web Development For Research Students

The Arduino MKR 1000/Nano RP 2040 Connect Series

The Arduino MKR 1000/Nano RP 2040 Connect is an example of one type of common IoT board, the single-board microcontroller (SBM). SBMs are simple devices that do not come with an operating system. They are good for performing simple IoT tasks like reading from sensors and activating simple actuators.

These activities revolve around the Arduino MKR 1000 IoT/Nano RP 2040 Connect Bundle. These are exercises that introduce students to the various physical sensors/devices and programming the Arduino.

The current contents are:

Any questions or comments should be directed to: The creator's email

Basic Arduino Programming

This material introduces students to basic non-IoT Arduino elements. These include how to connect components to a breadboard, how to program an Arduino board, how to process data on the serial port, and how to manage data streams.

Arduino First Time Setup

For the Arduino MKR 1000

If this is your first time using an Arduino MKR 1000 on your personal computer, you need to do the following things:

  1. Go to: https://www.arduino.cc/en/software
  2. Download the latest Arduino IDE.
  3. It gives you a bunch of options. Make sure everything is checked.
  4. During install, it will ask if you wish to install drivers. Always say yes.
  5. Open the Arduino IDE.
  6. Go to Tools\Board\Boards Manager.
  7. Install Arduino SAMD Boards.
  8. If it asks you to install a driver, accept.
  9. Set the board to the Arduino MKR 1000. Go to Tools\Board\Arduino SAMD\Arduino MKR 1000.
  10. Plug your Arduino into your PC with the USB cable.
  11. Go to Tools\WiFi101 Firmware Updater\Update Firmware.
  12. Go to Tools\Port\Whatever port your Arduino is on.
  13. Go to Tools\Manage Libraries.
  14. Search for WiFi101.
  15. Install the WiFi101 library.
  16. Go to File\Examples\Basic\01. Blink.
  17. Go to Sketch\Verify/Compile.
  18. Go to Sketch\Upload.
  19. If the little yellow light next to the 5V pin turns on and off every second, things are working.
  20. Some organizations block access to their WiFi unless the ethernet address of your device is registered. If this is the case, you need to contact your IT department with the Arduino's ethernet address. It is on the Arduino as "Mac ID."

For the Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect

Unfortunately, as of this writing, there is not a lot of good support for the Nano RP 2040 Connect on Python as it is so new. A lot of the required actions taken to get this working are obscure. If this is your first time using an Arduino Nano RP 2040 on your personal computer, you need to do the following things:

  1. Remove RP2040 from foam case
  2. Insert it into breadboard as pictured
  3. insert red jumper cable to connect the ground and reset pin. The ground pin is the one with the white marking. See picture
  4. Plug RP2040 into USB. Press reset switch. The RP2040 should become a disk drive on your computer.
  5. Download the latest firmware for the Arduino
  6. Copy the UF2 file into the Arduino disk
  7. Download the code to make the colored LED blink
  8. Copy the UF2 file into the Arduino disk. This is just so the Arduino is running something.
  9. Install OpenMV IDE. We actually don't want to use this IDE. However, it comes packaged with firmware we need.
  10. Click on the "connect" symbol at the bottom of the left toolbar.
  11. A popup will appear. Select "Reset Firmware to Release Version"
  12. Close OpenMV.
  13. Install Thonny
  14. Once Thonny is installed, Run\Configure Interpreter Micropython(generic). Make sure you use Micropython (generic) not Micropython (RP2040).
  15. Identify the COM port your Arduino is connected to, then close Thonny.
  16. Install the Arduino-FWUploader
  17. Download the latest WiFiNINA (the WiFi module) firmware. Note the firmware options from the Arduino IDE are out of date as of this writing.
  18. Go to your OS's shell and use Arduino-FWUploader to update the RP2040 to the latest NINA firmware.
    arduino-fwuploader firmware flash -b arduino:mbed_nano:nanorp2040connect -a <port> -m NINA@<version>
    When I ran it, I used:
    arduino-fwuploader firmware flash -b arduino:mbed_nano:nanorp2040connect -a COM5 -m NINA@1.5.0
  19. Open Thonny again.
  20. In Thonny, type the following:
    import network, socket
    sta_if = network.WLAN(network.STA_IF)
    ap = network.WLAN(network.AP_IF) # create access-point interface
    ap.active(False) # deactivate the interface
    if not sta_if.isconnected():
       print('connecting to network...')
       sta_if.active(True)
       sta_if.connect('Your WIFI SSID', 'your WIFI password') # ADAPT
       while not sta_if.isconnected():
         pass
    print('network config:', sta_if.ifconfig()) # Connection info
    a = sta_if.config('mac')
    print('MAC {:02x}:{:02x}:{:02x}:{:02x}:{:02x}:{:02x}'.format(a[0],a[1],a[2],a[3],a[4],a[5]))
    s=socket.socket(socket.AF_INET, socket.SOCK_STREAM)
    #host_ip = s.gethostbyname('cecilchua.online')
    s.connect(socket.getaddrinfo('cecilchua.online', 80)[0][-1])
    print("connected")
    s.write('GET /ist6336.htm HTTP/1.1\nHost: cecilchua.online\nsocket: close\n\n')
    print("written")
    reply= s.recv(4096)
    print(reply.decode('asc'))
    s.close()

    If it produces the code for a simple web page, you did everything right.

Introduction to IoT and the Arduino MKR 1000/Nano RP 2040 Connect

These slides introduce students to the concept of IoT, the physical layout of an Arduino MKR 1000 and basic commands to make an LED blink on and off.

These slides do the same thing, but are catered to the Nano RP 2040 Connect.

Making an LED Blink On and Off

Arduino MKR 1000

This lab is the standard introductory lab used for almost all Arduino boards. The official version can be found here. The version in this lab is specific to the MKR 1000 and shows screenshots of how the various components should be connected to the breadboard.

Arduino Nano RP 2040 Connect

This lab teaches students how to make the RP 2040 LED light blink. While variants of this lab exist for other Pico and RP 2040 boards, I can't find a version for the Nano RP 2040 Connect.

The Serial Port

These are lecture notes on the serial port and how to send messages through the serial port to debug code with. Note, the lecture is oriented around the MKR 1000, because while the same issues occur with the Nano RP 2040 Connect, the issues are hidden by the print command which sends information through the serial port without the programmer needing to know how it is done.

Making the Arduino Read a Switch

Arduino MKR 1000

This is patterned after the standard second lab for Arduino boards. Here, we teach the student how to connect a simple input device (a switch) to the Arduino. The official version can be found here.

Note there are certain key differences between the version in this tutorial versus the official one. First, this lab assumes the Arduino MKR 1000 rather than the Arduino Uno. Second, students are instructed to build their pushbutton circuit on top of the LED circuit. This is because in future labs, they will use the pushbutton and LED together.

The lab teaches two important concepts. First, the lab introduces students to the idea of data streams- the pushbutton sends a data stream. Second, the lab introduces students to the idea of debugging using messages from the serial port.

Arduino Nano RP 2040 Connect

This is the equivalent lab for the Nano RP 2040 Connect. The programming style of this lab differs, because interpreted Python is substantially slower than C++. Using the standard approach, the serial I/O bufer will fill too quickly and we can't see the switch work.

Processing Data Streams With Interrupts

This set of slides explains the idea of interrupts and how we use interrupts to manage the data stream coming from the pushbutton.

The LED and the Pushbutton

MKR 1000

This exercise teaches students how to turn the LED on and off with a pushbutton with the MKR 1000. The exercise employs an interrupt on the pushbutton such that every odd push turns the LED on, every even push turns it off.

Nano RP 2040 Connect

This exercise teaches students how to turn the LED on and off with a pushbutton with the Nano RP 2040 Connect in Python. The exercise employs an interrupt on the pushbutton such that every odd push turns the LED on, every even push turns it off.

Basic IoT Programming

These activities teach students how to send and receive messages over the Internet using the MKR 1000/Nano RP 2040 Connect. Students learn how to directly communicate between Arduinos (which only works within an Intranet) and how to make Representational State Transfer (REST) requests to a server using an Arduino.

Intranet Based Arduino Server

Note the following labs are compatible with each other. It is possible for a student using the MKR 1000 to connect to another student's Nano RP2040 Connect and vice-versa.

MKR 1000

This exercise demonstrates to students how an Arduino MKR 1000 can be configured as a server listening to messages on a port. Once the Arduino is programmed, students can test their code using TCP-based communication software like PuTty or Netcat. In the end, students form pairs and have their individual devices communicate with each other.

Nano RP 2040 Connect

This exercise demonstrates to students how a Nano RP 2040 Connect can be configured as a server listening to messages on a port. Once the Arduino is programmed, students can test their code using TCP-based communication software like PuTty or Netcat. In the end, students form pairs and have their individual devices communicate with each other.

Internet Based Arduino Communication

Communication over the Internet requires much more work. In this case, students communicate on a server on the Internet. The video demonstrates the server with an older version of the switch to LED device. I have since refined the lab to make the wiring neater.


The server uses Representational State Transfer (REST) to register the Arduino MAC ID. The server employs the following REST commands:

The server also comes with a set of screens to display various things. An instance of the server can be found here:

The various files for this exercise include:

Electronic Components

These exercises teach students how to connect and use various electronic components with the Arduino. It is necessary for students to be exposed to a range of electronic components to perform a meaningful project.

The TMP-36 Temperature Sensor

MKR 1000

This exerise teaches students how to read temperature readings from a TMP-36 temperature sensor and convert the readings to Celsius and Farenheit. Note while the Arduino 5V pin says it is a 5V pin, my experience is it seems to only generate 3.3V. This is important in calibrating the TMP-36 temperature sensor.

MKR 1000

This exerise teaches students how to read temperature readings from a TMP-36 temperature sensor and convert the readings to Celsius and Farenheit. A reasonable question to ask is why bother with the TMP-36 when the Nano RP 2040 Connect has its own internal temperature sensor. This is a useful exercise for a number of reasons. First, it teaches students how to perform analog to digital conversion using the analog pins. Second, the internal temperature sensor is vulnerable to processing issues on the board. When the board gets hot, the temperature sensor reading rises regardless of the ambient temperature.

The Light Sensor

This exercise: teaches students how to read light readings from a phototransistor.

The Piezoelectric Buzzer

MKR 1000

This exercise:teaches the student how to manipulate a simple speaker that allows your Arduino to play music.

Nano RP 2040 Connect

This exercise:teaches the student how to manipulate a simple speaker that allows your Arduino to play music.

The DC Motor and the L293D

MKR 1000

This exercise teaches you how to operate a motor using the Arduino. To operate the motor, we will need to use a simple integrated circuit (IC) that allows us to convert variable strength values into electronic pulses to make the motor run fast or slow.

Nano RP 2040 Connect

This exercise teaches you how to operate a motor using the Arduino. To operate the motor, we will need to use a simple integrated circuit (IC) that allows us to convert variable strength values into electronic pulses to make the motor run fast or slow.

The LCD Display

This is the official lab for running the LCD display from Arduino. The lab employs an Arduino Uno as the board, but it works fine with the MKR 1000.

The Gyroscope and the Accelerometer

This lab teaches students how to use the Arduino's gyro and accelerometer. Students learn how to program the Arduino so tilting the Arduino left and right, up and down causes a horse on screen to move left, right, up and down respectively. The horse in this exercise is found at cecilchua.online/arduino/gyrohorse.htm. This horse is controlled by a PHP file gyroread.php. Sending:

The exercise involves teaching students how to read the gyroscope sensor to interpret the equivalent of left, right, up and down to then send to gyroread.php.

USB Rubber Ducky

A USB Rubber Ducky is a physical device one attaches onto the victim's USB port. The device then hacks the victim's computer. Rubber Duckies are identified as keyboards/mice. This is important, because many organizations will (for example) block USB disks from computers, but they won't block keyboards and mice because the organization will use USB keyboards and mice.

You can buy commercial rubber duckies, but they are quite easy to make using the Arduino Micro. The Micro is an Arduino board that is used to develop input peripherals like keyboards, mice and joysticks.

The below video shows how easy it is to create your own rubber ducky.


Broker

In the previous exercises, students hard code the IP address the Arduino is supposed to connect to. But with the Internet of Things, ideally, we want to arbitrarily connect Internet devices to each other. This lesson introduces students to the idea of brokers. Real life brokers include MQTT servers, Node Red enabled machines, Google Nest, or the Alexa Dot. In this lesson, students explore a simple broker created in Python. Python is used, because I assume students are writing code for the Nano RP 2040 Connect using Python in the Thonny IDE. We use the Thonny IDE, because Thonny specializes in MicroPython, i.e., Python for circuit boards.

The exercise assumes students have available one of the Intranet-based devices they have developed.

Students are arranged so some students (1/3rd or less of the class) are brokers. These students load and execute the attached Python code to their Thonny IDE. Broker students announce their IP addresses to the rest of the class who change their code to point to the brokers. The remaining students are then assigned as either input devices, or output devices. Output devices announce their IP addresses to the brokers who key them in. Students can then observe how an input device can be arbitrarily connected to any output device. The broker simply changes the IP address of the output device.

Students who are brokers should go to Run\Configure Interpreter in Thonny and change from MicroPython to Local Python to execute the code.

This exercise immediately precedes the Node Red exercises.