Actual text scrolling on Pico Scroll Pack?

A quick question, is there any timeline or work being done to enable actual text display and scrolling on the scroll pack?

At the moment it seems to be something of a poor relation compared to the pHat/Hat versions, and only individual pixel setting is possible, making it less a scroll pack and more a monochrome unicorn pack?

I see @gadgetoid has done some PR’ing to the micro python modules last week, so hopefully things are in progress? Just got mine as a birthday pressie for next week, and looking forward to playing with it to see what can be done!


Hi Darren,
I would love to know that too!

Well looks like we’re on our own with this one, at least for now. No response here, nor by email to support.

Still even with the basic driver set-up, I’ve just had a play with my new Pico and pack and have a little digital clock up and running, using the buttons to set it.

So no scrolling text, but at least the thing is doing something useful and was a fun few hours putting the script together for it (and is now onto tweaking it)…

Yes, guess so. I’ve been working on at least defining some standard texts and having them scroll. I am using MicroPython for this. When I have something that works, I will put it on GitHub…

If you (or anyone else) are interested in the clock code, it’s here on Pastebin.

Uses A/B to set the hour and X/Y to set the minutes, plus A+X together to increase the brightness and B+Y to decrease it.

If the Pico is connected to a shell (RShell or Thonny) that will set the clock automatically, otherwise it defaults to 12:30 for ease of setting with the buttons.

It’s sync’d to the RTC of the pico to keep the seconds count, but as machine.RTC isn’t yet implemented on the Pico there’s no other synchronisation after that.

The seconds bar is a slightly modified version of the code from the ScrollPhatHD example, and the character pixel mapping is inspired by code in this thread with some modifications (but credit where it’s due).

A little rough and ready as I’m still learning Python (and this is first time with MicroPython), so any improvement suggestions welcomed…

Now all it needs is some sort of case and diffuser to look really nice on the desktop!

Editted to update the paste link to correct a small bug in the code.

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Would this work? I’m thinking it might not be big enough.
pHAT Diffuser – Pimoroni

I’ve cut the bigger ones down to fit what I have built.
Pibow Modification Layers (not suitable for Raspberry Pi 4) – Pimoroni

I wish the Unicorn Hat one was a stand alone item. It’s perfect for something like a Sense Hat.

I can relate to the frustration. I buy the Unicorn Mini HD and Hat HD to get color. The down side is it makes it tricky to scroll text. It’s a lot more code to get it done anyway.

The pHat diffuser screws onto the pHats via the pillar holes in the corners - there’s no suitable holes to connect it to on the Pico.

I actually ordered two of them for other Pi Zero’s that I have (a Unicorn and an original ScrollPhat) when I got the Pico and pack, and was pondering adding a third to try on the Pico, but it wouldn’t have worked. It would need some sort of clip or something to hold it in place, and there would be no option for any spacing between the top of the pack and the diffuser.

maybe you could play the game of life while your waiting for scrolling text . :)
Conway's Game of Life on a Pimoroni Pico Scroll Pack (and other accessories!) - Raspberry Pi Pod and micro:bit base

or, Conway's Game of Life for the Raspberry Pi Pico with Pimoroni Pico Scroll pack · GitHub

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The Pico has 4 mounting holes in the corners, they are small though. My 2.5 mm screws are to big. And it looks like the buttons on the scroll pack and unicorn pack are right over those holes.
You could probably fab something up with a couple of diffusers and the long bolt packs. Bolt the Pico to the back one. Then bolt the two difussers with the bolt pack. It wouldn’t be pretty though.
Difusser > PICO > Scroll > difusser.

@Caperjack1953 Saw that, and indeed had a quick play with it :)

@alphanumeric I see what you mean, but as you say it wouldn’t be pretty, and would also have the interesting challenge to still allow access to the buttons (and to not press the bootsel (and in my case Captain Resetti) button on the Pico.The Scrollpack buttons aren’t over the Pico holes, or indeed the Pico at all - they stick out over the ends (A and B are over the fat end of the USB cable plug on mine).

One for the Pimoroni boffins to consider I guess, as they’re the experts on getting these kind of cases together.

Ah Ok, I have the Display Pack, its not attached to my PICO at the moment or I would have likely noticed it being bigger. It’s plugged into my Omnibus, but my PICO is currently in a solderless breadboard. I just took a quick look at the product pictures. You’d be making holes in your difusser to use those anyway. It’s what I did with my Unicorn Mini’s difusser. I used A and B for brightness up down and X for shutdown etc.

I’ve done stuff like this to get around complications of builds.

Made a Pi camera mount. With the Pibow case on the 3A+ it doesn’t look to bad. I just stand it as it is in the picture. It’s good for portrait or landscape with a turn of the case.


Unicorn Hat HD and LED Shim behind the front difusser in this one. It doesn’t look too bad from the front standing up like it is in the picture.


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I think something like that could work yes, but it would be quite complicated to set up without decent equipment for cutting and drilling I think, which I don’t really have access to.

Also found a little bug in the clock code - it gradually drifts slow (a couple of minutes overnight) I think due to the time taken to actually run the code within the loop. So as it was set to sleep for 1s, the overall time per “tick” was a little over 1s and occasionally a minute update was missed.

I’ve updated the code to loop now every 0.5s rather than 1s, and a little flag to stop it updating the minute twice when the seconds wrap around. New paste is here .

Has the added advantage that setting the time with the buttons is quicker too. It also now illuminates the LED on the Pico itself when it’s sync’d from the shell at boot-up.

Yeah, I have a Dremel Tool with cutting disks, sanding drums, and drills etc. I use it a lot for cutting difussers etc.

Great - will have a look at your clock code.
Sorry to be so slow in responding - but progress on the scroll programming has been slow. DID manage to make some 'A’s scroll across the screen - but alas just today I got seriously sidetracked by the arrival of a Tiny 2040 and a Pico Display Pack! :)

Will check it out - wrote my first game of life on a VAX back in the 80s, when I studied computer science at the University of Copenhagen! :)

I should be back into tinkering with this stuff next week some time. I have the PICO Explorer and 3 more PICO’s on the way. I already have the Display Pack and an Omnibus. No having to swap my PICO around now though. I’ll have 4 on the go and can just dedicate one to each setup. I’ll probably run a couple with the Pimoroni Micro Python uf2, one with the Pi Foundation UF2, and one with the Adafruit Circuit Python. That’s the plan anyway. I’m a chronic pain sufferer and its been slowing me down a bit lately. New toys to tinker with usually takes my mind off of it and gets me distracted, in a good way. ;)

My clock also got replicated as part of my other ScrollPi, which is the original one (5x11 LEDs). Normally it’s used to scroll messages from Home Assistant and my Volumio radios, but as it was sitting there blank most of the time I thought it would benefit from a clock display too in such times.

Was actually quite an interesting challenge writing a font and spacing set-up to fit a clock onto that size display, at least for the 10-12 hours.

It’s hit or miss for me. Sometimes I don’t mind spending all day working on something. Other times I need a kick in the but just to get started, lol.
It does help immensely to see code others have done. And a big thumbs up to you others that contribute here. I for one greatly appreciate it. =)

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Anyway, to close this one off, just caught up with the latest uf2 firmware release notes v0.1.5:

  • Added set_pixels, scroll_text, show_bitmap_1d and a 5x7 font to Pico Scroll for scrolly text goodness- thank you @graeme-winter

So indeed many thanks to Graeme - looks like playtime at the weekend!