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 currently in Alpha. Geometry and pinout might change.
We don’t have plans for any changes, but this is a testing period. We’re actively implementing Smart Dovetail on the upcoming Astro High Res Mapping gimbal, and testers will be using this dev kit. Testing might uncover an issue requiring a change.


Plate, Integration features

This model contains the critical Smart Dovetail mating features. Use this model to Integrate Smart Dovetail into your payload.
ALPHA_410-01094 Dovetail Mount Universal with Passthrough.STEP
Initial design release
Will be updated with KEL connector location.

Plate, Dev Kit

This is a model of the Dev Kit Plate. Use this model to work with the Dev Kit.
Freefly Smart Dovetail Plate Rev01.STEP
Rev 01
Initial design release


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 5 for pinout table and pin identification diagram.

Plate ZPD

Smart Dovetail Plate offers a ZPD SM26B-ZPDSS-TF(LF)(SN) connector for prototype payloads. The pinout nominally matches the Astro Payload Connector, but some pins are not available yet. Pin assignments may change.
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 more connectors or cables, please write to: [email protected].

What's in the Box

  • Smart Dovetail Receiver (vehicle side)
  • Smart Dovetail Plate (payload side)
  • Fasteners, SHCS M3 x 10, qty 4
  • Payload connector, ZPDR-26V-S
  • Payload Ribbon Cable, 13 conductor, 28 AWG, qty 2


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: [email protected].
Hard-mounting to Astro chassis requires standoffs (M3 male-female, 8mm length). The requirement is due to interference between the cable bundle and Herelink Air Unit.

Get a Dev Kit

Cheese Plate, Vibration Isolated

Last modified 1mo ago