Plasma2040 not recognized

I purchased a Cubey and I have it all assembled, but I’m having issues with it.

First of all, the description in the project page says it tries to connect to a wifi network then will display spooky rainbow colors, but mine lights blue, red, and green colors on the LEDs with some of them not turned on. random LEDs flash white every second or so. Is this what I should expect? You should not use vague descriptions of device behavior in your docs, but clear and detailed descriptions.

Also, I can’t see the Pi Pico W device from my system, in PyCharm or Thonny. I have a Pico W and I connected it and both tools recognize it. When I do the same with the plasma board, neither app recognizes the device. I even rebooted the computer to make sure it was all clean and no change in behavior.

I think the board’s bad. What do I do next? Other suggestions on how to get this working?

I have more than 40 years of experience as a professional software developer with multiple articles published in Make Magazine, MagPi, and others. I also have more than a decade of experience with Arduino, Raspberry Pi and other devices: John M. Wargo Code so I generally have a good idea what I’m doing.

Are you running micropy or circuitpython?

random LED flashes = you may have a grounding issue.

it’s a brand new device, I just received it - it’s running whatever software is on the device from the factory.
As I mentioned, I can’t see it as a Python device

Its a random flashing, different LEDs flash white every so often. Wouldn’t

If you hold down bootselect when plugging it in, can you reinstall the .uf2?

yes, when I hold down bootselect and power it on, it shows up as a drive I can install to it. I haven’t done yet, but I can.

What about my questions? For the cuby project, what’s running on there? Is it a python project? Where’s the source for it so I can put the code back on it after I reinstall the core? Also, are the red, green, and blue colors I’m seeing the ‘spooky’ colors I’m supposed to see?

Well, the first thing to do is to reinstall the uf2 and see if that helps. Use version 19.11 there is a bug with 19.12 which affects the plasma.

Install the uf2 “pimoroni-picow-v1.19.11-micropython.uf2” from Release Version 1.19.11 · pimoroni/pimoroni-pico · GitHub

Then try and open it again in thonny and see what happens when you press the stop button.

Then you should try running some examples from

I believe that its the file that runs as on bootup. And for that to fully work, you need to add the secrets file with your WIFI password etc.
IMHO the example is a good test file.
pimoroni-pico/micropython/examples/plasma_stick at main · pimoroni/pimoroni-pico (

pimoroni-picow-v1.19.11-micropython.uf2 is I think, what I’m running on mine.

Spooky rainbows should be an orange and green triangle wave running up and down the LEDs (I’ll add that to the learn article). The pre-loaded code is, saved as so that it runs automatically. Can we see a photo or video of what yours is doing?

Getting connected via Thonny is definitely the best first step - do you get any errors when you press the stop button?

OK, so I installed that uf2 and it works, I can see the device from Thonny now.

That was it, apparently it didn’t come configured as it was supposed to. @hel thanks for making that update to the learn article, that would have helped me see quicker that the board wasn’t running the right software

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Just a side note.

I actually think this is a problem with thonny, or at least, with micropython. If you have a file saved as (which runs automatically) thonny gives you all sorts of problems for stopping it and opening the file. It also doesn’t appear as a usb drive. With circuitpy, I haven’t experienced either of these problems.

I couldn’t see it in PyCharm either. I think someone didn’t load micropython on it, that it had a C++ app running on it.

Good stuff - glad to hear you got it going!

Sounds like your board missed out on the being preloaded with MicroPython step - sorry about that! If you still have the silver bag that Plasma Stick came in please could you let me know the number (and colour) on the little round batch sticker and I’ll let production know.

In Circuit Python the RP2040 will show up as a Mass Storage Device.
In Micro python it won’t, not unless its in Boot Mode. That’s normal.

If your IDE is using the correct Interpreter, and looking at the correct port, Stop should work. I say “should” because more often than not, for me anyway, it works. Even if I have a running on boot. Every once in a while I end up doing a flash_nuke and starting over. I think that RP2040 was hard locking up.

yes @alphanumeric, I know how its supposed to work. I also know how to select the right interpreter in the appropriate tools. As I mentioned, I tested it against another Pico W and PyCharm and Thonny worked, so I knew I knew how to get a Pico working with tooling.

The one I received from Pimoroni didn’t work → that’s why I was trying to see what could be wrong with it.

@hel antistatic bag with the plasma board didn’t have any sticker (of any color) on it. Must not have gone through any production process.

Thanks for checking!