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ArduSub Companion on Raspberry Pi Zero W 2


I am currently trying to make the control electronics for an ROV (based off the BlueROV2) fit inside of a 3" enclosure. I have succeeded, but need more space to be comfortable. I recently purchased a Raspberry Pi Zero W 2 (the most recent Pi to be released) in order to free up some space. It uses the same processor as the Pi 3B, so I figured it would be a drop in replacement.

However, that is not the case. The Pi Zero W 2, loaded with the ArduSub 0.0.29 fails to boot past the splash screen. Has anyone been successful in testing ArduSub on the Zero W 2? Is there any support in the works for it? Are there any workarounds?

Thank you!

Hi @legohead259,

ArduSub is the firmware that runs on the flight controller/autopilot board - I assume you’re talking about the Companion software (see our software overview docs).

No we haven’t tried it yet - we have several other high priority projects ongoing at the moment, and given the RPiZero2W only came out 2 weeks ago, and is sold out everywhere, we haven’t yet had a chance to try one out and see if it’s possible to get working with Companion. If I put in a back order for one it would be expected to be available in March next year, so I wouldn’t expect news (from us at least) on this front particularly soon.

A few notes on compatibility:

  • RPi3B has 4xUSB2 ports and an ethernet port, compared to the RPiZero2W’s 1x(micro)USB2 port and no ethernet port, so there may be some difficulties connecting to camera + autopilot board + tether (you’ll likely need a USB hub and a USB to ethernet converter, or a hub that includes an ethernet port (here’s one, if you happen to also be in Australia), together with a microUSB to USB adaptor (or you could modify the hub’s plug from USB to microUSB, to save space))
  • The RPiZero2W also has only half the RAM of the RPi3B, and a 20% lower clock speed, so it’s very possible that performance won’t be as good
  • We haven’t yet officially supported any boards outside of the RPi3B for our Companion software - that’s changing with Companion 1, which is currently in beta, so you’re welcome to try that but we don’t recommend it be used in a production/work environment until it’s officially released
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Thanks for the reply!

I have this pHAT for the Zero W 2 that provides 3 USB ports and an RJ45 connection. I know pushing camera, pixhawk, and tether comms through USB2 may be a limitation, but it’s something to try :slight_smile:.

However, I can confirm that the new Companion 1 BETA image you provided does not work on the Zero W 2. Out of curiosity, have you tested it with the Pi CM3 or CM4? We really need a small form factor companion board for this ROV design.

Is there a guide on manually building the ArduSub companion? Could give that a try.


Hi @legohead259, apologies for the slow response.

Fair enough :slight_smile:

Hmm, ok then. I think the current Companion beta images use a modified kernel, which may be causing some issues.

No, that’s not something we’ve had a chance to try yet. It is in theory expected to work with them though.

If you have an SD card with a fresh Raspberry Pi OS install on it (I just tested with Bullseye, Lite on an RPi4) you should be able to ssh in, connect to wifi, and then download and run the Companion Beta install script :slight_smile: