Companion: Pi 2/3/Zero

A discussion page to allow me to add my experiences using a Raspberry Pi 2/3/Zero V1.2/1.3 as a companion computer for Ardupilot/APM/Pixhawk flight boards. I will update my experiences as I learn, feel free to comment and offer tips, it's all free here.



I'm building a github for my experiments:

Drone Unit: Raspberry Pi Zero V1.3 + Pi Camera Module
img file:

Ground Unit: Raspberry Pi 2

img file: <to be added>

Goggles Unit: Raspberry Pi Zero V1.3

img file:

Ardupilot Technical Questions:

Also, if you have any technical code/hardware questions which you feel may take ongoing contributions and help over an extended timeframe, feel free to ask over on technical discussion page here

I will update as I get by, please contribute by offering your 'plug & play' wifi adapters using Raspbian Jessie. Also, if you happen to pick up this project, and are working faster than me, then please send us your own .img file experiments. Thanks.

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    • I have these gimbals too, I really like that they can be software tweaked using the various GUI programs out there. I also like that they can be upgraded to 3-axis easily & cheaply. My 3-axis upgrade:

    • Very impressive build! Are the 3D files available? I'l love to try sometime but don't think my printer is up to that standard.

    • Yes, the parts are available.  The original is on  There is a group on here:

      There are many variations of the original. The one I built was a modification of the original to allow for 17 inch props, 6 cell battery, and the companion RPi with the high-power WiFi adapter.  I also designed the camera gimbals mount.  I'll be posting my version on thingiverse with my other builds. 

      My printer is a Robo 3d R1 printer. It does a great job.

    • Good lord above, you've Shanzhai'd DJI. Incredible piece of home engineering. My 3D printer clogged, but yours looks like it's running just fine. 

      One thing I want to imitate from Inspire/Matrice, is to run my ufl antenna down to the landing skids and use spade/paddle antennas there. 

      Shanzhai (Chinese: 山寨; pinyin: shānzhài; Jyutping: saan1 zaai6) refers to counterfeit consumer goods, including imitation and trademark infringing br…
    • It looks really great. I do like the way the arms go up after take off. How long did it take to print the parts?

    • About 100 hrs of printing. 

    • Very cool, great job!  Do the arms move up and down?

    • Yes, the arms move up and down.   The CG is well below the motors when the arms are up, helps stabilize the craft and gives a 360 deg clear view with the camera.  It removes the need for landing gear and keeps the view clear of the props. It's really quite clever.

      The down side is the extra complexity of the moving parts. It's not an easy build for sure. Took me a month to get it right.

  • FYI, following USB wifi dongles work on raspberry both on 2.4 and 5 ghz:
    all have monitor capability and all apart T2UH have AP mode
    Awus 036AC ext. antenna
    Edimax 7811DAC Directional
    TP-Link T4UH ext. antenna
    TP-Link T2UH ext. antenna
    will get some range test soon

    • thanks I will add to a Github list, I am looking at 5.8ghz devices once I have a pi software setup running smoothly. I think they will be ideal for consumers to use with cheap 2.4ghz controllers.

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