Setting up PicoBricks for Use with MicroBlocks

edited November 2022 in Hardware Support


Let's review the two way you can connect a PICO to the computer:

  1. BOOTSEL button pressed and then plugged into the USB port (used for firmware updates).
  2. Plugged into the USB without pressing the BOOTSEL button (for normal programming mode).


When you connect using option #1, your board will show up in the Windows Device Mgr as a disk drive, named: RPI RP2 USB Device

This is the method you should use to do a PICO firmware update from MicroBlocks.

Important point to remember - you need to:

  • UNPLUG the PICO from the USB port
  • Press and hold the BOOTSEL button
  • And while holding it down, plug it into the USB port.
  • At the moment you plug it in, you should hear a system sound indicating the USB port activation and subsequently the PICO should appear as a drive in your Windows system.
  • Now you can let go of the button and proceed to firmware update.
  • Please note that while in the firmware update mode, your MicroBlocks program will not be operational due to the fact that the IDE and the Pico board are in a mode to exchange firmware data.
  • After the firmware update is completed, it is important to redo the USB connection. If you really want to be sure, just unplug and replug your board to your PC.

Normal programming mode:

When you connect using option #2, your board will show up in the Windows Device Mgr as a COM port, named: USB serial Device (COMnn). nn will vary in each system.

This method is used when programming the PICO from the MicroBlocks IDE.

Users experiencing "Pico not being visible or working within the system" in either mode might be due to several things:

Pico is not visible as a drive when plugged as in #1 above, or as a COM port when plugged in as in #2 above could be a hardware issue, as it has to do with assignment of drive or port status from Windows. The PICO board might be bad, or Windows might be having a problem activating the board. Contact Robotistan to assist you in resolving the issue.

Referring to "not working after update" might be interpreted / caused by one of the following:

  • If by "not working any more", you mean that when you first plugged PICO in, you were getting the environmental statistics display on the OLED screen; but after the update of MicroBlocks firmware, it did not display any more; this is normal. The initial display is done by a burned in Python program when the PICO was shipped. Once you do a firmware update, you overwrite this original program and there is no program running to display the stats. At this point, the PICO is ready to be programmed by you from scratch or via one of the examples in the Guide provided. A simple test you can do immediately is to get into MicroBlocks and click the USB icon and make sure you have a green USB connection icon.
  • Then select the "set user LED <true>" block. Click it and you should see the LED on the PICO light up.
  • After a firmware update, you did not reinstate the USB port into a connected mode (green USB icon). Simply redo the USB connectivity.
  • For some reason the firmware update was NOT successful. You can verify the update success by checking the firmware versions before and after:

If you cannot get the USB icon to go green, then you need to make sure the firmware on the PICO is up-to-date or installed at all (new boards will not have it installed). Go through the firmware update and try the USB connect icon again. If you get it to go green, then you should be able to program it.

If you have a green USB icon, then you can also get a display of the IDE and firmware versions by selecting about from the wheel icon menu. You should see something like:

Report these numbers when you are asking for assistance to enable us to help you better.

I hope this sequence of trouble-shooting will help you identify if the problem is a bad hardware or a problematic firmware update.


  • The above works for Windows computers.

    With Linux (Mint), if you use the Bootsel option, you will see your Raspberry Pi Pico in your file manager.

    and/or you will get an icon on your desktop.

    When the firmware is updated the icon disappears just like the device that was previous visible.

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