Working with PiicoDev/Thonny on a chromebook

I’ve been doing some simple piico dev stuff with my daughter (8yo) it’s fine on my laptop, but she’s got a chromebook (lenovo chromebook duet 10") and we’d like her to be able to work on that.

From what I can tell it seems the process is"

  1. Enable linux on chromebook
  2. Install thonny for linux
  3. Run thonny
  4. connect to pico plugged in via USB
  5. success!

Unfortunately I get stuck on step 4. Whatever I’ve tried I can’t connect to the pico. If I put it in boot loader mode then copy the UF2 file, but I can’t connect with thonny.

Is there a thonny alternative, or something chromeOS native? Or an android app?

Another alternative might be plugging it into a spare Raspberry Pi zero 2W I have, then have the pico plugged into that. Is there a command line/console equivalent to thonny? Not as plug and play as I’d like, but potentially doable.

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Hi Doug,

I stumbled across this forum topic where some other Makers had success: https://forums.raspberrypi.com/viewtopic.php?t=301252
Extrapolating a bit I think the key points are that Chrome OS is updated to the latest version and so is Thonny - from there open terminal and verify that the Pico is being detected by using the lsusb command.
(also making sure to select the correct Port in the ‘Run’ Menu)

Liam

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Hi Liam,

I’ve just realised a potentailly workable alternative: Circuit Python

Looking at GitHub - adafruit/circuitpython: CircuitPython - a Python implementation for teaching coding with microcontrollers I can see it might be possible.

Would the PiicoDev libraries work with Circuit Python? With some modification? Or would this fork be too hard? I’ve got 30+ years as a software developer, though it’s mostly dotnet, I only dabble in python

Looking at the CE-PiicoDev-UNified repo, I think I’d have to add a, I2CCircuitPython class as a starting point, but after that it’d be board by board

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Hi Doug,

I’ve only dabbled in the smallest amount of Circuitpython, they’re both Pythonic languages so I’d be surprised if there is much friction between them.
The path of least resistance might be to use VNC on the Zero 2 W and program that way.

PiicoDev is also built for the Pi so you might be able to experiment on the Pi then copy over the code to the Pico once complete - assuming you don’t use any Python only libraries!

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Hi Doug,

I actually use PyCharm as my MicroPython IDE, it’s more work than Thonny but can autocomplete and a few more features. The only reason I mentioned it is I had to do a few extra steps:

  • Make sure I was part of the “dialout” user group in linux (this makes sure your non-root user (the one that runs GUI applications) can use serial ports
  • Go find which serial port the Pico is using (or whether it pops up at all): Run ls /dev/tty* (lists all terminal/serial devices), and see if anything new pops up when you plug in the Pico and re-run the command. My Pico pops up as ttyACMx where x is usually 0, 1, or 2, but this varies from system to system so yours might be different

If it is showing up as a serial device, and you’re part of the dialout group, and Thonny still can’t see it, you could potentially give PyCharm Community Edition a go, but I wouldn’t recommend it, it isn’t as intuitive as Thonny

-James

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Thanks, I’ve checked the dialout group, but I’ll also check the /dev/tty* and see how I go, though I think I’ve tried that and only got /dev/tty but nothing on the end just the bare tty. Anyway I’ll give it another try tonight.

Thanks again :slightly_smiling_face:
Doug

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