New to navio+

So I’m awaiting my Navio+. I’ve run pixhawks and apm before and quit familiar to mission planner. BUT I’m new to raspberry pi. Just not sure how all of it is going to come together. am i correct to assume that i just assemble the pi and the navio+, insert the sd card. and configure the setup via radio or wifi, then the unit is ready to fly? Im assuming that APM firmware is already installed.if I get a wifi dongle in the mean time, can i to get configured? Is there a step by step tutorial some where. i have been poring through the docs reading all i can about the rpi and the Navio+. Any help is appreciated.

Click the DOCS link and look at Navio+ hardware setup. The two significant differences from Pixhawk are:

  1. The “firmware” is a Linux program. So you skip that part of setup (it does not “download” via the GCS software, you do that yourself in Linux). Choice of frame type is made by the particular variant of the executable you run, e.g. plane/copter-quad/hex/etc… All the other parts of setup are done the same way via the Mission Planner or APM Planner 2 software.
  2. The RC receiver is not powered from the mainboard. The servo rail is completely isolated as a power output, so another BEC/ESC 5v input is required to get not only servos (as with Pixhawk) but also the RC receiver running (unlike Pixhawk).
  3. You can use the BEC on the servo rail as a failover input, but you can’t connect multiple inputs. With Pixhawk this had similar limitations, but I would be more careful with Navio. So double-check all but one of your ESCs has the power cable removed from the servo connector, if they have built-in BECs.
  4. If you do have servos, then don’t expect one motor ESC to power them properly. All devices have a limit, so if you have gimbal servos or something like that, best get a separate BEC with a higher output (I guess the design of most ESCs is to provide just enough power for a receiver).

I don’t plan on using any servos. Each of my esc have a BEC but I plan on removing all the red wires but one to power the servo rail. That will power my rc recover correct? I currently don’t have any radio telemetry so connecting mavlink will be tough. Can j get a mavlink connection through a wifi dongle? How do I do that. So really my question is, how do I connect to the natvio+ when running mission planner on my laptop?

Yes that’s the common setup. Both the low frequency serial link radio and Wifi will give you telemetry. The radio is easier to setup and longer range (comparing standard equipment) but obviously not as fast as wifi. Because of the cost and you can fly/failsafe with a lost link maybe you should experiment with cheap wifi adapters first then buy radios or a long range wifi solution if you are not happy with it.

Personally I have two types of configuration. The legacy (in my opinion) Pixhawk with the usual 433mhz radio for Europe. Then the “next gen” RasPi Navio stuff which leans towards computer hardware so wifi instead of radios. I’m building up to a configuration with the most intelligence and least components. It’s silly to have 3 radios to fly a drone (fpv, rc and telemetrly). I am still testing different aerial and wifi combinations looking for the one with the least latency and best range balance for fpv.

If this is your first drone get the radio it’s just a lot less hassle to setup. I buy the Hobby King clones (HKPilot32) so if you do that this sort of equipment is not that expensive to try.

To sum up, assemble pi and navio. Insert micro sd with emlid raspian. Log in. Execute what frame (quad)the navio is going in. Then connect via radio to configure the rest? Anything I’m missing? Thanks again for your help!


The radios have their own configuration tool and firmware. There is an “optional config” part of Mission Planner but it doesn’t work for many people. Goto the APM Web site downloads menu then advanced user tools then sort by date descending and select the newest 3DR Radio Config Tool (a.k.a. SiK). To flash firmware you will need local USB connection for both, so do this before you install it in you quad unless you have easy access.

When playing around with settings it’s easy to become disconnected (remote half doesn’t always update).

Follow links/docs for the 3DR radio v2 on the APM site because some of the values are required by law in your region. Personally I found a lower number of hopping channels together with max baud and air speed BUT without error correction (just the pesimistic resend) is MUCH faster and longer range than the defaults. But you need to set the APM UART parameter to the higher baud rate too else it won’t play.

Just start with defaults then you can hack around with it later. If your drone is really packed consider a small usb extension hanging out until you find the perfect config/speed/range combination.

Thanks Tony! Now I have a great idea what to expect when I get my Navio+.

Hey question guys, will a micro sd card with the emlid/raspian image be included with the board along with the appropriate spacers and screws. Trying to prep for the arrival of the Navio+.

Spacers and screws: Yes

MicroSD with image: No

When choosing an SD card, go for one of the UHS 3 cards, which recently dropped in price. You can tell them by the little U logo which has a 3 embedded. The problem with the older cards is you had to pay a lot of money for the faster speed, e.g. UHS-I U1 at 90MB/s transfer is “special”, compared to UHS-I U3 which already meets 90MB/s at basic prices. I’ve tested both Kingston Extreme U3 (relatively cheap) and Samsung PRO U1 (was expensive at the time) and actually the Samsung was a bit (few MB/s) faster on a PC in ATTO disk benchmark (comparison mode) but the Kingston was cheaper in price per GB. But I’m not sure about the RasPi2 because the SD card interface there surely has some limitation much lower than a PC. So any of the UHS 3 will be good. And they are all “Class 10” because that’s only mentioned for backwards compatibility, but don’t buy a Class 10 only because thats like 20-odd MB/s or worse. UHS is the main deal :wink:

I’m having issues installing apm. Im following the instructions I’ve downloaded APM with-wget ‘

and when i proceed to sudo dpkg -i apm.deb.
There is an error processing. the pi is telling meno such file or directory. I’m really lost!

The complete line in the docs reads:

wget ‘’ -O apm.deb

perhaps you cut the last part off.

I had problems with the firmware from the apm.deb. It was complaining about pigpio missing, although pigpio is not needed anymore.

I then downloaded the firmware from and it worked.

can you provide the complete line again.

wget ‘’ -O apm.deb

not working, how come this line is different form the one here

Sorry, I do not know what you mean. I copied the line from the docs. The line you posted was missing the “-O apm.deb” part

My bad, my Mac was cutting off part of the line. I was missing the -O at the end.

looks like I got everything installed and running. I tried the auto boot per instrustions, all it did was save a start up log. not sure how to auto log in and auto boot. any tips. thanks

The Raspberry pi should boot as soon as you apply power. There is no need to auto login at the console. If you want to start APM automatically after boot, you need to add the lines mentioned in the docs to the rc.local file:

sudo nano /etc/rc.local

then add the line to start your version of APM:

sudo ArduCopter-quad -A udp: -C /dev/ttyAMA0 > /home/pi/startup_log &

Adapt -A and -C to suit you setup.

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Thank you all for your help to get my Navio going. This is such a neat platform! Not sure what i can do with this much computing power but its cool nonetheless.

So you gott it working?