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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    • @ben

      The gimbals mount for the PI cam is a 3-d printed shell that is the same size of a go-pro, with less weight of course.  You need an extended ribbon cable which I purchased from ebay.  You still need a bit of weight to make it work, and I had to adjust the PIDs on the gimbals to keep it from oscillating, but it ended up working great.  

      Here's a link to a video I make with the setup.

      I am working on a new quad (DJI Inspire 3-d printed), where I am trying a similar setup. 

  • you should really checkout the already existing solution for HD FPV with a Raspberry Pi:

    All other methods are just subpar.... 

    Wifibroadcast – Analog-like transmission of live video data
    Wifibroadcast is a project aimed at the live transmission of HD video (and other) data using wifi radios. One prominent use case is to transmit camer…
    • Thanks, but befinitiv is just using gstreamer for video which everybody knows how to do in 2016.

      what we are doing here is creating video + data :)

      Maybe you would like to contribute to the open project?

    • errrr, no.

      instead of using Wifi with Hotspots he only uses the Wifi Chips to send out the Stream without all the 802.11 framing, re-negotitation, etc...

      it's NOT just using gstreamer....

      Also, he already did quite some testing of wifi dongles :-)

    • nstead of using Wifi with Hotspots he only uses the Wifi Chips to send out the Stream without all the 802.11 framing, re-negotitation, etc..

      So UDP streaming using gstreamer.

      it's NOT just using gstreamer....

      Just...So, you are using gstreamer.

      This project will send data + video, yours is only sending video correct? I like what you have done with your research on testing wifi dongles, maybe you would like to help with this open-source project?

      If you have experience with lots of dongles and can say whether they are plug & play that would help lots of people.

      Also, if you are using error-corrected UDP (UDT) then why not help out with showing the world this connection protocol instead of creating your product?

      I like what you did, many people have done great things with UDP streaming who I am grateful to for sharing guides, educating, learning. But without the 'stop what you are doing' statements, or 'ours is better' talk, without providing learning for others you seem like a barrier.

      UDT: Breaking the Data Transfer Bottleneck
      UDT: UDP-based Data Transfer
    • Either you didn't look at wifibroadcast or you didn't understand it.  It's worth looking at.

    • I like it, and I do look at it; my point is, it does not broadcast telemetry data which is what this project is aiming to create, I hope their project promotes this too while encouraging others to learn, it's his defensive stance which worries me, as it does in anything.

    • It doesn't use udp or gstreamer, it bypasses most of the network stack and injects packets at the wifi level so it doesn't suffer from dropped wifi connections.  It has it's own problems of course, but it's a very, very clever take on digital fpv.  It looks like you're just using standard wifi + gstreamer, and then patrick duffy's work/builtin GCS functionality to render the telemetry data at the client end.  This has it's own advantages over wifibroadcast but also major (fatal) flaws inherent with standard associated wifi.  Have you actually tried flying this yet?

      Wifibroadcast also has provision to send telemetry data but does it in a different way:

      Interesting approach you're taking on rcgroups.

      There is no magic bullet, nothing opensource works brilliantly well, yet.  The new connex offering will be very interesting to see but I assume it's closed source.

      Telemetry OSD for wifibroadcast
      This post shows how to add an overlay with telemetry information onto a video stream — Since the last flyaway of my quad having a telemetry link that…
    • thanks Fnoop, I do like the befinitiv project and I think it is the best current solution for HD digital video right now too. For me this project is for my own personal learning and knowledge, which I wish to document and share. I hope to eventually have a low-cost system plan available for everyone to receive HD video and telemetry data (a ghetto lightbridge), the lightbridge system s something that interests me, and from what I have learned is that it has dual wifi signals on the drone, but three wifi + 1 usb/uart on the ground - the 3rd wifi repeats video to the tablet, and usb/uart sends data to the tablet. Obviously, tablets only have 1 wifi so it utilizes usb as second for data/telemetry.

      It seems this (ghetto lightbridge) setup can be achieved for around £60-70/$100 which is a great project to build.

      Thanks for messaging 

    • I use these:
      They work out of the box too (most wifi adapters do these days). I like the small size of yours and external antenna.

      Robot Check
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