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Python with Arduino Boards

Learn about compatibility between the popular Python language and Arduino boards, how to set up your environment, and discover in-depth tutorials and useful links.

Overview

MicroPython is an implementation of the Python programming language that comes with a subset of the Python standard library, and is designed to run on microcontrollers. A great advantage of using MicroPython is that it is easy to learn and has great documentation for a number of boards. At the moment, there are four boards that can be used together with MicroPython, you can read more about them in the compatible boards section.

Arduino officially supports OpenMV's branch of MicroPython, and through the OpenMV IDE you can install MicroPython, connect/disconnect your board and upload your scripts

Arduino boards officially supporting MicroPython.
Arduino boards officially supporting MicroPython.

There's quite the difference between how we program an Arduino board with the Arduino IDE, using the Arduino programming language (based on C++), and how we program it using MicroPython. When uploading what we call a sketch to a board, we first compile the sketch we write, then upload it to the board, replacing the old sketch with a new.

To use MicroPython, we first need to install it on the board. Then, we can load a

script.py
, like the following blink example:

1import time
2from machine import Pin
3
4led = Pin(6, Pin.OUT)
5
6while (True):
7 led.on()
8 time.sleep_ms(250)
9 led.off()
10 time.sleep_ms(250)

As MicroPython is already running on the board, we don't need to compile and upload the code, we only need to provide the instructions (which is done via serial communication).

When installing MicroPython on a board, it can only run MicroPython scripts, until we "uninstall" it. To put the board back in "normal mode" we need to reset the bootloader, which is a unique process for each board. These instructions are available in the compatible boards section in this article.

OpenMV Editor

The Arduino IDE does not yet support Python. Instead, we can use OpenMV, a platform that supports programming Arduino boards with MicroPython. Through the OpenMV editor, we can install MicroPython, and upload scripts directly to the board. There's also a number of examples available directly in the editor.

The OpenMV editor.
The OpenMV editor.

OpenMV Examples

Further down this article, you can find a lot of useful code examples that will help you to get started.

You can also check out the full list of examples in the OpenMV's GitHub repository.

Compatible Boards

There are currently four Arduino boards that officially supports MicroPython. They are listed below:

All of above are also compatible with the OpenMV IDE.

Nano 33 BLE

The Nano 33 BLE
The Nano 33 BLE

If you need help getting started with MicroPython on the Nano 33 BLE board, you can check out the tutorial below:

To reset the bootloader on the Nano 33 BLE board, double tap the reset button quickly. This will reset your board to factory setting.

Nano 33 BLE Sense

The Nano 33 BLE + BLE Sense
The Nano 33 BLE + BLE Sense

If you need help getting started with MicroPython on the Nano 33 BLE Sense board, you can check out the tutorials below:

To reset the bootloader on the Nano 33 BLE Sense board, double tap the reset button quickly. This will reset your board to factory setting.

Nano RP2040 Connect

The Nano RP2040 Connect
The Nano RP2040 Connect

If you need help getting started with MicroPython on the Nano RP2040 Connect board, you can check out the tutorials below:

To reset the bootloader, you will need to short to connect a jumper wire between the REC and GND pin, and press the reset button. More detailed instructions are available in the Nano RP2040 Connect technical reference.

Portenta H7

The Portenta H7
The Portenta H7

If you need help getting started with MicroPython on the Portenta H7 board, you can check out the tutorial below:

Learn Python

As MicroPython is an implementation of the Python language, you can also run a lot of Python scripts directly on the board. For example, running this python script on your computer also works when running it on your board.

1value1 = 2
2value2 = 5
3
4print(value1 + value2)

This means it's time to learn the Python language, which there is a lot of resources for. We recommend taking a look at the following resources to better understand the Python language:

MicroPython Docs

Visit the MicroPython documentation for an understanding on how Python runs on microcontrollers.

Note that many examples will not work directly with Arduino boards, but will provide an understanding of how Python can run on a microcontroller.

API

Below you will find some useful examples that can be used by any Arduino board. For more specific features, such as on-board sensors, connectivity and communication, please refer to the individual guides:

Print

A simple script that will print

"Hello world!"
every second.

1import time
2
3content = "Hello world!"
4
5while True:
6 print(content)
7 time.sleep(1)

Functions

This script prints

"Hello world!"
every second. In addition,
counter_function()
also

1import time
2
3content = "Hello world!"
4count = 0
5
6def counter_function():
7 global count
8 count = count + 1
9
10while True:
11 counter_function()
12 print(content, count)
13 time.sleep(1)

For loop

Simple use of a for loop and functions. This script counts to 10, and then back to 0.

1import time
2
3content = "Hello world!"
4count = 0
5
6def function_increase():
7 global count
8 count = count +1
9 print(count)
10
11def function_decrease():
12 global count
13 count = count -1
14 print(count)
15
16while True:
17 for x in range(10):
18 function_increase()
19 time.sleep(1)
20
21 for x in range(10):
22 function_decrease()
23 time.sleep(1)

Digital Write

Writes a high and low value to a digital pin every one second. Also prints state in the terminal.

1from machine import Pin
2import utime
3
4p2 = Pin(25, Pin.OUT)
5
6while(True):
7 p2.value(0)
8 print("off")
9 utime.sleep(1)
10 p2.value(1)
11 print("on")
12 utime.sleep(1)

Digital Read (pull up)

Reading digital pins with a

PULL_UP
configuration.

1from machine import Pin
2import utime
3
4p2 = Pin(25, Pin.IN, Pin.PULL_UP)
5
6while(True):
7 print(p2.value())
8 utime.sleep(1)

Digital Read (pull down)

Reading digital pins with a

PULL_DOWN
configuration.

1from machine import Pin
2import utime
3
4p2 = Pin(25, Pin.IN, Pin.PULL_DOWN)
5
6while(True):
7 print(p2.value())
8 utime.sleep(1)

Analog Read

Read an analog pin and print it to the terminal with a delay of 0.5 seconds.

1import machine
2import time
3
4# Make sure to follow the GPIO map for the board you are using.
5# Pin 29 in this case is the "A3" pin on the Nano BLE / BLE Sense
6adc_pin = machine.Pin(29)
7adc = machine.ADC(adc_pin)
8
9while True:
10 reading = adc.read_u16()
11 print("ADC: ",reading)
12 time.sleep_ms(500)

PWM

Write a specific duty to a specific pin.

1from machine import Pin, PWM, ADC
2
3pwm = PWM(Pin(15))
4duty = 30000 #between 0-65000
5
6pwm.freq(1000)
7
8while True:
9 pwm.duty_u16(duty)

Delay

To use a simple delay, we can use the

time
module. If we want to write in seconds, we can use
time.sleep(seconds)
, and for milliseconds
time.sleep_ms(milliseconds)
.

1import time
2
3while True:
4 time.sleep(0.5) #or time.sleep_ms(500)
5 print("Hello world!")

Interrupt

Below is an example of a simple interrupt that uses a pull up button and an LED.

The program blinks an LED, until the button is pressed. The button is attached to an interrupt, which turns off an LED for 3 seconds.

1import machine
2from machine import Pin
3import time
4
5interrupt = False
6
7def callback(pin):
8 global interrupt
9 interrupt = True
10
11led = Pin(6, Pin.OUT)
12
13button = machine.Pin(25, machine.Pin.IN, machine.Pin.PULL_UP)
14
15button.irq(trigger=machine.Pin.IRQ_FALLING, handler=callback)
16
17while True:
18
19 led.on()
20 time.sleep(0.5)
21 led.off()
22 time.sleep(0.5)
23
24 if interrupt:
25 state = machine.disable_irq()
26 machine.enable_irq(state)
27 led.off()
28 print("Interrupt: LED off for 3 seconds!")
29 time.sleep(3)
30 interrupt = False

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