Payload Mounting Interfaces

Smart Dovetail

Smart Dovetail is a payload quick release with mechanical connection and electrical connections for power and data. It's an open standard that implements the Pixhawk Payload Bus.

Smart Dovetail is not hotswap compatible. To avoid damaging Astro or your sensor, please power off the aircraft before attaching or removing a Smart Dovetail payload.


This model contains the entire smart dovetail assembly. You are welcome an encouraged to use this model to Integrate Smart Dovetail into your payload! This also serves as the reference design for the Pixhawk Payload Bus Quick Release.

BOM and Gerber files



Initial design release



Complete model released



Available in store



Plate KEL

Smart Dovetail Plate uses KEL DY11-040L to connect with the Aircraft side. Integrate this connector into your payload (e.g. for mass production).

Pinout is defined in the Pixhawk Payload Bus standard doc. See page 9 for pinout table and pin identification diagram.

Plate ZPD

VBAT is on the IO Panel bus, which includes the XT30, and is protected at 5 A.

Max current per pin is 2 A.

The mating connector needed to build a payload cable is ZPDR-26V-S.

If you need camera trigger or capture feedback on the Payload Adaptor ZPD connect, remove the PCBA from the housing and connect a 0 ohm resistor to R5 for trigger, and to R2 for the capture pin. Pins 24 (capture) and 26 (trigger) can then be used. If you need help configuring Astro to use these pins for your payload, reach out to our support team.

Available Products


No hotswap protection. Do not mate or demate Smart Dovetail while the aircraft is powered.

If the payload has even modest capacitance or other inrush current the connector contacts on both aircraft and payload side will be eroded.

Not all ZPD pins are implemented. Power, ethernet, serial, and usb are present. Please let us know if unimplemented pins are blocking you:

Hard-mounting to Astro chassis requires standoffs (M3 male-female, 8mm length included in the kit). The requirement is due to interference between the cable bundle and Herelink Air Unit.

Astro Vibration Isolator

The Astro Vibration Isolator is designed to be adaptable. By default, it comes preconfigured to work best with the Astro Mapping Payload, and it ships with 4 x 30A durometer isolators. Our engineering team decided this is the best configuration based on real-world testing.

Isolator plates allow up to 8 isolators. Different durometers to the Astro store, which include 30A, 40A, and 50A options.

Here is a ulog of a typical flight with a 1.5kg payload as an example of aircraft vibration.

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