Physical Computing with the Pinguino

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Language: English  • Deutsch

This page deals with an introduction to the world of physical computing with the Pinguino.

Note: this is a rough translation of the German page.


There are a number of websites about physical computing and microcontrollers. Please use them to get an overview of the general topic. They have additional information which may answer many of your questions.

What can I do with a Pinguino everything?

In short: everything you can imagine!

There are an incredible number of powerful projects with Pinguino boards and generally Arduino or Arduino-compatible boards. All projects using an Arduino can also be constructed using a Pinguino. However, this may need changes to the program code, but often this is not even necessary.

Here is a small list of websites that can give an overview of the variety of potential projects:

Why buy a Pinguino and not an Arduino?

Most of the available websites dealing with projects build on an Arduino board. This is because Arduino was the first fully functional and available mass-produced microcontroller board to program and so Arduino has formed a large following very quickly. This developed many projects in which to use an Arduino and Arduino makes it even more popular. However, many alternatives to traditional Arduino boards have been developed and produced in recent years and some offset the disadvantages of the original Arduino.

Advantages of the Pinguino over the Arduino

The following data relates to each of the best performing Pinguino (Pinguino 32 (PIC32MX460F512L)) and Arduino (Arduino Mega 2560) boards.

A comparison of Pinguino advantages over the Arduino:


The Pinguino boards run up to 80 MHz while the Arduino Mega 2560 reaches only 16 MHz. The Pinguino IDE also compiles much faster than the Arduino IDE.

Power consumption

Pinguino boards have a number of power saving features that reduce power consumption. The PIC32 chip only runs at 3.3 volts and the clock frequency can be changed between 10Mhz, 20Mhz, 40Mhz and 80Mhz, which further limits the power consumption. In addition, we support a set of power-saving features such as sleep mode.

With these measures power consumption can be limited to a minimum of 40 micro amps while for an Arduino Mega 2560 about 500 micro amps is needed. This advantage is particularly evident in mobile applications with battery supply where a Pinguino lasts much longer.


While the cheapest Arduino costs over 20€ you get the best Pinguino (with more computing power, USB port and a connection for external power sources) already for half.

Disadvantages of the Pinguino against the Arduino

A comparison of Pinguino disadvantages over the Arduino :


The Arduino community is very active for a long time. In recent years, it has grown steadily and offers to help in almost any problem. The Pinguino community is still relatively young and small, but just as helpful when you have problems.


For Arduino there are a much larger number of pre-made components, so-called shields. With the help of these shields complex functions such as LCD displays can be added to an Arduino (usually an Arduino UNO) and used immediately with an included library. Although Arduino shields fit some of the Pinguino boards due to similar dimensions of the Pinguino boards, the associated Arduino program library must be changed for the shield to work with a Pinguino. A detailed list of compatible Shields and libraries can be found on the Pinguino wiki.