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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Replies to This Discussion

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

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?

yarp. I really like the HDMI in potential, my review here: http://dalybulge.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/comparing-diy-goggle-to-ret...

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.

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. 

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 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.

About 100 hrs of printing. 

Yes, the parts are available.  The original is on thingiverse.com.  There is a group on RCgroups.com 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.

OMyGodness I fixed it....

Tried removing logs: sudo rmdir /dirname

deleted the logs, but still got errno 13 "permission denied"

Listed directories and searched: ls

nothing helpful

Sudo adduser didn't work.

Started throwing random command line rage...

Then: sudo chmod 777 MyCopter

Bingo, working.

Woop! we have a pi Zero V1.3 working on Jessie Lite. Camera & Mavproxy working.

# Download Link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1cVb3uX0f0dWE92R291eV9ldTA

# APMpi_Jessie_Lite_V1_0 - Tested on Pi Zero V1.3 - Also (probably) working for pi2/3 by Benbojangles (27/05/2016)
- This .img file is V1 of a project I am working on. It is available under creative Commons License.

- This .img file is a custom raspbian image created for the Raspberry pi, it includes:
- Raspbian Jessie Lite (version from 24/05/2016)
- Gstreamer
- Mavproxy
- SSH Enabled
- Pi Camera enabled
- Disabled O/S control of Serial port
- Custom config.txt for performance
- Static IP enabled

File fits on 8gb sd card, and has 70% free space. Also fits on larger sd card (you can expand filesystem if wish to)

# How to burn to SD card:
- 1)Burn .img to sd card using win32diskimager.exe
- 2)Boot pi Zero
- 3)Jessie Lite is Command Line, so you plug in monitor & keyboard to setup wifi for ssh
- 4)Connect to your wifi by typing in & then editing: sudo nano /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf
- 4)Guide here: https://thepihut.com/blogs/raspberry-pi-tutorials/83502916-how-to-s...
- 5)Input your wifi SSID & Password, then writeout file by <shift> + o, then exit by shift + x.
- 6)Check you IP, type: ifconfig. it should show as (remember for ssh connection)
- 7)Shutdown pi 2/3/Zero and unplug keyboard/mouse/screen, restart pi 2/3/Zero
- 8)SSH connect: port:22 - username:pi password:raspberry
- 9)run mavproxy & gstreamer with settings as you wish (or use my settings)

- I hope to add more features in future once the groundpi 2/3/Zero is complete, there will not be a need to setup IP.

- Thanks, suggestions/future .img versions to i6mods@gmail.com

That's very useful, thank you. I'm going to download it now.


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