Long time web programmer now getting into electronics as hobby projects and perhaps small custom productions.

I'm partial to using microcontrollers instead of Pi's, because I'm thinking I don't need the complexity of a full OS for most things. With Rasberry Pi, I can use my familiar technology stack, but with MCU's it's naturally much lower level.

So my question is, which platform should I go with in your opinion? I'm looking at Mongoose OS, based on it being somewhat unified and Javascript based, and also the Arduino ecosystem, based on the larger community and tutorials, but C based which I'd need to adjust to.

Apart from the priviledge of license fees of Mongoose, what do I actually get? And is the large fragmentation of Ardiuno libraries a problem? Many libraries doing the same thing, more or less.

What will be your recommendation for this noob with a tech background?

  • 1
    Asking for opinions is explicitly off topic for pretty much all Stack Exchange sites.
    – hardillb
    Feb 2 at 11:16
  • Opinion = technical advice on choosing a platform. I hope no one takes offence. Feb 2 at 12:11
  • 3
    It’s probably impossible to answer in a generic way. It will depend on what exactly you are trying to do, with what hardware, what constraints (e.g. running on battery which implies deep sleep which can be a challenge), and more. ESP32-based boards give you a wide choice, including Arduino (C/C++), Espruino or low.js (JavaScript), microphython (Python), or the native ESP-IDF (and many more). Some environments can be used on nearly any ESP32 board, others only on specific boards (out of the box). Some can be reused with other MCUs, others are ESP32-only...
    – jcaron
    Feb 2 at 14:11
  • Do you want plug & play hardware for sensors, motors, etc, or are you comfortable with soldering? Mar 6 at 10:22

If you are familiar with the RPi but don't want the full OS overhead, then the newly launched Raspberry Pi Pico would be an obvious choice.

It is a microcontroller, without an OS but with a good range of support tools.
It has a similar I/O capability to its bigger brothers, but no on-board WiFi or Bluetooth.
Also, it costs less than a cup of frothy coffee.

I've started playing about with them. Making new scoreboards for my local club.


Since you ask on iot.stackexchange rather than electronics.stackexchange I suggest that you start with relatively modular platforms that work out-of-the-box and are cheap enough that you won't give up if you accidently release the magic smoke out of a device and it stops working.

MicroPython is definitely the easy alternative to C if you know neither, and is available on many platforms, usually with the advantage that you don't need to master a massive IDE (unless you prefer that way of working).

You can get modules that support MicroPython from, for example, Adafruit (they renamed their version CircuitPython), and M5Stack, built around the ESP32. They are complete in themselves but also have lots of optional extension peripherals. And of course, Raspberry Pi just released their microcontroller board, the pico.


It depends on what you want to learn. You already knew that ! Of course, the Pi and Arduino are the common things. But if you want to go a bit off the beaten path but still stay industry relevant (somewhat), you can try one of the boards that can support FreeRTOS. Here's what AWS was trying to say they support from an IoT perspective, for FreeRTOS support.

Like you asked, just an opinion! On second thought, you should probably start with a Pi or Arduino!

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