PocketPilot: An Autopilot Based on the $25 PocketBeagle®

There is a new puppy in the family! PocketPilot is a smaller version of the BBBmini Flight Controller.

Categories: Intermediate

There is a new puppy in the family !!

is a smaller versions of the BBBmini (
), designed for use with PocketBeagle (
, a small version of BeagleBone Black). It provides a very small & light-weight open-source ArduPilot based autopilot / flight controller for quadcopter drones & robots.

Summary of Technical Specifications
Processor: Octavo Systems OSD3358 1GHz ARM® Cortex-A8512MB DDR3 RAM integratedIntegrated power management2×32-bit 200-MHz programmable real-time units (PRUs)ARM Cortex-M372 expansion pin headers with power and battery I/Os, high-speed USB, 8 analog inputs, 44 digital I/Os and numerous digital interface peripheralsmicroUSB host/client and microSD connectors

For test and initial developments, I have build a prototype using through-hole components & connectors, with sensor modules soldered directly on the breadboard. Since it doesn’t need any SMD components, this is relatively easy to build, for an experienced builder by following this schematic:

Please note that there is no ESD protection for USB1 on the prototype, so be very carefull if you plan to use it. We will implement proper protection on a PCB release.

The initial flight test was performed on a 450 class quadcopter == Youtube videoPlease note this is flying indoor using optical flow (Lidar Lite V3 and PX4FLOW)

Integration on a 180 size quadcopter

In order to reflect the compactness of the PocketPilot , I have integrated the prototype into a KingKong 188 (Aliexpress) quadcopter with these components:4 x Multistar 1704 and DYS20 A ESC (Blheli) 5 Amp UBEC Micro Flysky PPM receiver900 Mhz Telemetry radio with Pigtail Spring Antenna3S Battery 1800 MAhVL53LX0 TOF RangeFinder

There is no special instructions for the build but you need a good UBEC with a steep voltage rising curve in order to get the PocketBeagle starting becauses of the power/battery management unit.

This is one of the first test on the KingKong, its flying Alt-Hold using the 7$ VlL53L0X TOF RangeFinder

A special thanks to
Mirko Denecke
for having adapted the BBBMINI ArduPilot code to the PocketPilot and
Robert C Nelson
for making the OS Images including: Linux Debian, Kernel with RT patch and the uboot overlays; allowing to define the IO using a configuration file, making the BeagleBone such a powerfull Linux Embedded Computer.

You can read the instructions here:



For anyone interested, we are planning to release a complete sensor cape for the PocketBeagle so stay tuned

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