How to build a cheap DIY drone at home with a raspberry pi zero and Linux


You hear everyday about drone in different sectors (Agriculture, take pictures, leisure, race...) and want to build your own. You are at the right place.

The bonus in this project is that you'll be able to use the raspberry pi zero, the last one in the raspberry pi family with a small board, a very low consumption, equiped with bluetooth and wifi for all the wireless persons.

To do this, you gonna need some tools:

  • A screwdriver

  • Tape

  • A soldering iron

And also parts for your drone:

  • A Raspberry pi zero (excellent open source board equiped with a processor and extensions to build your DIY projects)

  • An Erle Robotics PXFmini to make the connection between your raspberry pi and the hardware (motors, esc, battery...)

  • And a Hobbyking fpv250 kit that includes (a FPV frame, 4 propollers, 4 motors, wires, a battery, a receiver and 4 ESC ''electronic speed controller)

The software to program your drone are the following:

The Debian based linux operation system is the real time operating system.

The APM flight stack is used with the Erle Robotics PXFmini.

Now we can start assemble the drone:

  • Get the frame together

  • Place the motor with all the screws on the frame top

  • Tied up the ESC on the frame with tape

  • Wire the ESC and the motor.

  • Put the battery underneath the frame and attach it to it.

Now connect the raspberry pi zero and the Erle robotics PXFmini together.

You can now add the Linux kernel and the APM flight stack and the Debian linux kernel to a SD card and plug it to your Raspberry pi.

You can find the kernel with the following link: Erle robotic Artificial brain drone

Connect the the battery's cable to the PXFmini. You can now connect the PWM cables coming from the motors to the ESC and then the ESC to the the Autopilot (Raspberry pi and PXF mini).

Connect ESC 1 to PWM 1, ESC2 to PWM 2 and so on. You can follow the schematic on the next picture and the one above.

Mount the 4 propollers. Two of them are clockwise (motor 3 and 4) and the others counter clockwise (1 and 2).

Now that it's done, you can control your drone via:

  • A RC receiver and transmitter

  • Or via Wifi with an USB dongle add to board

For all of you wishing to know more, they can have all the details with the following link: Build your drone with a Linux board and raspberry pi

A nice video is waiting for you at the end. Enjoy it.

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