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: https://github.com/benb0jangles/Companion-Pi

Drone Unit: Raspberry Pi Zero V1.3 + Pi Camera Module
img file: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1cVb3uX0f0dQTZzSmVISFdYd3M

Ground Unit: Raspberry Pi 2

img file: <to be added>

Goggles Unit: Raspberry Pi Zero V1.3

img file: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1cVb3uX0f0dakFpaTAyVF9HV2s

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 Ardupilot.org technical discussion page herehttp://discuss.ardupilot.org/t/companion-pi-2-3-zero/9460

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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Brief comparison of pi2 size next to my TK1:

The pi2 is of course the cheap go-to board for most first timers coming to the single board computer. It probably has the most support for using peripherals, or finding out which ones work on the pi2 forums. There are some downsides to using the pi2 as it arrives though. I found that the usb ports don't really provide very much power to devices, and that can render some devices unusable without usb port modification. I found that my USB 4g dongle won't power up, or high power wifi adapters won't run as they should. I'm sure there is a hardware 5v hack possible.

You can use a Turnigy SBEC rated for up to 26V input w/ 5/6 volt switchable output @5A. As opposed to a UBEC that burns power to output the right voltage, a Switching Battery Eliminator Circuit will only use what is asked from it and at lower input cost. You can get one that will take up to 40V DC, as well. Power seems to be reliable, unit stays relatively cool.


As with everything, highly recommend that when connecting you double check input polarity and output polarity. Also, I think default jumper was 6V, so make sure to change that.

So is possible to connect like this?

Theoretically, yes. I don't know what requirements are of the wifi board. It *might* need ground between the rpi and the wifi board? 

I believe the rpi will consume as much as 2A and an happily run a USB wifi module like this guy: https://www.adafruit.com/products/1030?gclid=Cj0KEQjw6My4BRD4ssKGvY...

Many others to choose from, of course.

BTW, I just cut and soldered an old short micro-usb cord from a backup battery I had. I can't stress enough that checking polarity is important. With really crappy stuff coming out of china you could easily have black and red wires reversed, so be careful.

Thanks for advice. The wifi module I am looking to is:
2.5ghz module


5.8ghz module

with this usb adapter

I would try to power using the sbec. 

The modules I link to have 500mw/1000mw of power, I can't see anywhere on the tp-link device that shows output power? Most generic wifi modules are under 100mw

Did not know! Any idea is this is the same on the rpi 3?

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