How to use an MPU-6050 with a Raspberry Pi Pico using MicroPython

Tim Hanewich
3 min readNov 3, 2023
Demo: Raspberry Pi Pico & MPU-6050

During Summer 2023 I developed my own quadcopter flight controller from scratch in MicroPython that runs on a Raspberry Pi Pico. As part of this project, my flight controller needed to continuously collect a stream of telemetry data from an onboard IMU (inertial measurement unit).

I wrote an MPU-6050 driver in MicroPython that allows you to interface with an MPU-6050, an inexpensive three-axis accelerometer and gyroscope, using the I2C protocol. I wrote this for my quadcopter flight controller project mentioned above but this can be used in any application, so I am open-sourcing the code and sharing it broadly here.

Unlike other drivers I found online, my driver is only a single .py file (one module), is designed to be very intuitive to read, modify, and use, and only provides the MPU-6050 telemetry data in native Python value types (tuples).

I’ll explain the basic steps to begin collecting telemetry from an MPU-6050 from a Raspberry Pi Pico with MicroPython below:

Hardware Needed

For my basic example you’ll need:

  • Raspberry Pi Pico (Pico W works as well)
  • MPU-6050
  • Breadboard
  • 4 male-to-male jumper wires
  • USB to plug into your computer

Step 1: Wiring

MPU-6050 hooked up with a Raspberry Pi Pico
  1. Plug your Raspberry Pi Pico into the breadboard
  2. Plug your MPU-6050 into the breadboard directly below the Raspberry Pi Pico
  3. Connect the MPU-6050’s VCC pin to the Raspberry Pi Pico’s VBUS pin (pin 40)
  4. Connect the MPU-6050’s GND pin to one of the Raspberry Pi Pico’s GND pins (I am using pin 38 here)
  5. Connect the MPU-6050’s SCL pin to GP15 (pin 20) on the Raspberry Pi Pico
  6. Connect the MPU-6050’s SDA pin to GP14 (pin 19) on the Raspberry Pi Pico

Step 2: Upload Module to Pico

Below is the MicroPython driver for the MPU-6050: MicroPython driver

You can use the code in the snippet above, but any updates to this code will be available in my MicroPython-Collection repo on GitHub here.

To upload this code snippet to your Raspberry Pi Pico, follow the steps below:

  1. Download the file from the snippet above and save to your computer as
  2. Plug your Raspberry Pi Pico (with MicroPython already installed on it) into your computer with a USB cable. Open Thonny
  3. Find the file you downloaded in step 1 above in the Files pane in the top right, right click on it, and select Upload to /:
Upload to your Pico

4. After uploading the file to your Raspberry Pi Pico, you should see it now in the Pico's directory: is now on your Pico

Step 3: Capture Telemetry!

With the module now loaded onto the Pico, you are now ready to begin collecting telemetry from the MPU-6050! Open a new code file in Thonny by clicking on the new button at the top left of the window. Paste in the following test code:

Sample code to collect telemetry from your MPU-6050 from the Raspberry Pi Pico in MicroPython

Next, click the green Run current script button at the top left and watch your Raspberry Pi Pico begin to read telemetry from the MPU-6050 using I2C!