PXFmini, an open autopilot shield for the Raspberry Pi Zero

Following up with the PixHawk Fire Cape (PXF) series that was started a while ago, I'm happy to announce the PXFmini, an open autopilot shield for the Raspberry Pi. This autopilot shield allows anyone to create ready-to-fly autopilots with support for Dronecode’s APM flight stack priced at only 69 €. The shield has been designed with low cost in mind and specially for the Raspbery Pi Zero (it is also compatible with other Raspberry Pi boards). Find below some of its features:

 

A tiny yet powerful design

The PXFmini shield weighs only 15 grams and on it’s 31mm x 71 mm embeds all the power electronics necessary to comply with most of the existing components for drones using its 2xI2C and UART ports.

The design is based on previous iterations with proper APM upstream support and provides 8 PWM output channels as well as a PPMSUM input.

 

A shield for sensing

PXFmini includes a 9 axes IMU (MPU9250), a digital barometer (MS5611) and an ADC for voltage measurements.

 

An improved experience

Forget about breaking those DF13 connectors. We’ve decided to bet on the new JST GH connectors (adopted by the Dronecode Foundation) to provide an amazing new experience. We’ve also partnered with manufacturers to provide DF13 to JST GH converters.

 

Open design

All the schematics are open for you to hack around. They’ll be released as soon as the boards start shipping. Shipping will start in early February 2016.

 

We made a short clip closing the year where we show the board:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXZb2gN9SEg

 

Thanks everyone and merry christmas!

Views: 10422

Comment by Patrick Poirier on December 28, 2015 at 10:14am

Hola Victor,

Nice design , quite impressive to see you going from concept to final product within 3 month.. Congrats !!

Looking get one in February, in the mean time can you answer these:

Power module (JST GH)  = Can you describe this module please
UBlox Neo 7M (JST GH) = Is this the only model compatible ? 

JST GH (4 pins) = What are these needed for ?
JST GH (6 pins)= What are these needed for ?

Concerning these connector, are you selling just the connector , or it is supplied with cable ?

Which chip are you using to drive PWM ?

Best Regards , Happy New Yrear

Comment by Víctor Mayoral on December 28, 2015 at 10:28am

Hey Patrick!

JST GH (4 pins) = What are these needed for ?
JST GH (6 pins)= What are these needed for ?

Connecting to sensors, actuators, transceivers etc. As hardware evolves, we expect JST GH-compatible peripherals to appear. People will demand cables and we've reached agreements to provide them. We are hoping to cut the costs down as we purchase bigger quantities.

Power module (JST GH)  = Can you describe this module please
UBlox Neo 7M (JST GH) = Is this the only model compatible ? 

They are the usual GPS and Power modules you know but include the cable already fixed for direct connection to the PXFmini.

With regard the JST GH connectors, I have to admit I was skeptical about the change at the very beginning but after having worked with them for about a month I have to say i love them! The cost is higher but totally worth it.

Comment by Bjorn Nellerson on December 28, 2015 at 11:51am

Does this replace the PXF 2.0 and/or erle brain 2?

Congrats on the release btw :)


Developer
Comment by Andrew Tridgell on December 28, 2015 at 1:31pm

Fantastic! The smaller form factor will make Linux autopilots viable for a much wider range of vehicles. Well done!


Developer
Comment by Linus on December 28, 2015 at 1:36pm

Nice addition Victor! Looking forward to it.

Comment by Víctor Mayoral on December 28, 2015 at 1:37pm

Hi Bjorn,

I'd say it's a good replacement for the PXF 2.0 and similar shields to create Linux autopilots. The PXFmini is an iteration over the PXF 2.0 and involved relevant design for manufacturing that helped us cut the costs.

Comment by Bjorn Nellerson on December 28, 2015 at 1:42pm

Cool, when will the schematics and layout be available?


Moderator
Comment by Roberto Navoni on December 28, 2015 at 1:48pm

Good Job Victor , i had same idea when i saw the RPI zero ;) But now i'm very busy with VR Maper 300 ;) 

Comment by Víctor Mayoral on December 28, 2015 at 1:50pm

As indicated in the content above, schematics will be released when we start shipping the first boards. As for the layout, there's no plan to release them publicly.

Comment by Tommy Larsen on December 28, 2015 at 1:54pm

Nice!

Can I use Mission Planner to control this one?

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