BBBMINI a Linux autopilot based on ArduPilot and BeagleBone Black

I want to introduce the BBBMINI.

BBBMINI is for people who want to build a Linux autopilot based on ArduPilot themselves. BBBMINI is based on a BeagleBone Black connected to a MPU-9250 IMU and a MS5611 barometer. Both the IMU and barometer sensor can be purchased ready soldered on a breakout board by many manufacturers.

Objectives of the project:

- DIY project, build a Linux autopilot based on ArduPilot with a minimum of hardware

- no SMD soldering required

- DIY friendly 2.54 mm pin header to connect external hardware (other can also be used)

- connection to ground station via (wireless) LAN, or other telemetry radio

- easy start to develop ArduPilot for Linux

- inexpensive

First successful test flight already done.

BBBMINI is already a build target in the ArduPilot master branch:

ArduPilot for Linux is experimental, so please take care, it comes with absolutely no warranty.

For more information please check:

Views: 4844

Comment by Víctor Mayoral on March 24, 2015 at 3:19pm

Good work with BBBMINI Mirko! It's great having more support for the BBB. Go Beagles!

Comment by Gary McCray on March 24, 2015 at 5:32pm

Great job Mirko,

I am afraid that the BBB approach somewhat stalled when it turned out that the Fire Cape was going to cost as much as an entire Pixhawk.

Great to see the approach you are taking here.

Best Regards,


Comment by Crashpilot1000 on March 24, 2015 at 7:57pm

"ArduPilot for Linux is experimental, so please take care, it comes with absolutely no warranty." BTW Arducopter or Ardupilot software has a warranty of any kind?

Comment by Andrew Tridgell on March 24, 2015 at 10:48pm

Great work Mirko! I told people about your BBBMINI port at the Embedded Linux Conference today, so I hope you'll get a few new users from that. I think it is a really great way to get started on the Linux ArduPilot port.

Cheers, Tridge

Comment by Víctor Mayoral on March 24, 2015 at 11:19pm


That's an interesting comment. How much are you willing to pay for the PixHawk Fire Cape?

Comment by Chris on March 25, 2015 at 6:58am

Hi Victor,

I think you'll find that is what is stopping people, I understand that it is still a WIP but at it's current pricing it wont really move.

I believe that the PXF cape has more sensors than the pixhawk (I think it has 3 barometers, is that right, vs the 2 in the pixhawk?) so it would naturally have additional costs, but the PXF cape doesn't have the processors that are on a Pixhawk, so I find it hard to see how 200 euro is a good starting point.  I can say that I personally would pay around $150-200AUD, that puts the current pricing around 40% to high.  Note that I would have bought one already if it was $150-200, in fact I would have picked up a 2nd one as I just received my 2nd Pixhawk (have several APM2.x's).

I know its a case of lack of economies of scale, limited production runs I'm guessing so therefore high cost per unit.

I also realise people will expect everything to work when they buy it, so if it stays at this current price but reduces once all the hardware is supported that would most likely be acceptable.  

To keep costs down, an idea might be to offer a cutdown board with only 2 sensors of each type on it (if they choose the best two after some testing), or we have to wait for someone to take the design and manufacture a larger batch.....


Comment by Phillip Schmidt on March 25, 2015 at 7:32am

There should be a PXF lite.  One MPU9250 and a single barometer.  It should cost ~$60USD.  This will allow people people who already have a BBB to get into a linux based FC for a minimal investment which will massively increase the pool of people interested and contributing to this aspect of the project.

A kit should be offered for ~$100USD that includes this PXF lite and a mast mounted GPS+magnetometer.

Boom! in 6 months even kids in sub-Saharan Africa will be flying linux based aircraft.

Comment by Sergey Kirillov on March 25, 2015 at 11:15am

Good work. It is not clear from the docs how are you doing RC Output?

Comment by Gary McCray on March 25, 2015 at 2:51pm

Hi Victor,

Please, in no way think I am disparaging the huge work you and your team have put into this.

I know you have all put in a huge effort to get it working well and are now continuing with your ROS integration effort.

But a lot of the initial promise of the BBB-Fire concept was that we could leverage off of the inexpensive (and partially subsidized) BBB to end up with both a more powerful and more affordable option than the Pixhawk.

On the surface, it seems that a board that contains only the sensors should cost less than the complete board with microcontrollers and additional IO.

I know that you guys need to make a profit, but a lot of us (most of us in fact who had already bought BBB's in anticipation of the Fire) are now really disappointed that the price point seems to completely nullify that potential advantage.

Without the price advantage, there is really not much incentive at this time for the majority of us to feel a need to convert to the BBB system since it (for most of us) doesn't at this time provide any significant enhanced capability, while in fact costing more than a Pixhawk, even if you already own a BBB.

I do know the big advantage is in the enhanced capability provided by both Linux and the available processor power, but that is really significant at this time for only a tiny handful of very capable developers. 

I had actually expected the Fire Cape to be priced more in line with the BBB itself or even a bit more, but at 199 Euros, it isn't even close.

I had actually looked at producing a small quantity of the cape myself, but it is a very nicely designed 6 layer board and the economics would have demanded too large a lot to be produced to make it economically feasible for me to undertake.

My consideration was that they needed to be sold for under $100.00 each with some room for profit and that that could certainly be done, but the up front cost and quantity was too high for me.

I do think if you could find a way to sell them for $100.00 or so sales would pick up a lot - count me in.

Best regards,


Comment by Martin Poller on March 25, 2015 at 3:26pm

 +1 with what Gary said, and count me in for in for one too at a more reasonable price, my BBB is gathering dust on a shelf here waiting for a cape.


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