As the first phase of the drone project nears an end, I’m looking at some non-technical fine tuning; specifically, can I make the RPi and it’s PiBow like custom case any smaller and lighter?
First step is was to flatten the RPi Model A – the drone has no need of audio output nor analogue video, so both of those are gone. Also the GPIO pins have been replaced by a crimp connector directly soldered to the board. Now the tallest thing on the board is the cylindrical electrolytic capacitor near the micro-USB power plug.
Next step is to start from the Model B PiBow case design, and take out two of the rows, and modify several of the others to close the holes for audio, video and ethernet, move the GPIO cable hole lower, and redesign the camera CSI cable outlet. As a first step I needed to test the fit of the skinny RPi model A in the standard PiBow model B case:
In addition, I found this super micro-SD to SD adapter which meant I could close the SD hole on the case reducing the risk of the SD card being damaged or falling out during a flight – a low risk, yes, but me and Murphy’s law are long standing acquaintances!
I picked up a second hand, unused copy of Adobe Illustrator CS2 for £40 off ebay (the current one is many hundreds). So I made the tweaks mentioned above to the standard PiBow using it, and got it cut by http://www.cut-tec.co.uk/.
Here’s the end result: a model A height card, but minimal holes in the lid, bolts in the corners, micro-SD card locked in, audio and video holes shut, and GPIO and camera cables fed neatly out the sides. I’m well chuffed. I’m only going to fit it though once quadcopter is stable!