The new image and stepping through the documentation again was successful with everything I have connected!
I plan to retest the old image as well just to be sure as I noticed a small change in the PXFMini APM binary installation documentation where previously it used to say to do a sudo apt-get install apm-copter-pxfmini for RPi0/RPI1/RPi2 and Rpi3 it now notes that if you have a RPI2/RPi3 to use sudo apt-get install apm-copter-erlebrain instead.
My assumption is because regardless if we're using a PXFMini or not the code you've developed for PXFMini and Erle-Brain is compatible with both and you've localized different development streams for the RPi2/RPi3 with Erle-Brain versus the PXFMini with RPi0(w)/RPi1.
One last question do you notice that QGroundControl would infrequently lose connection after it downloaded the params successfully? That is the only anomaly I noticed that shows any remnant of my old issue.
I'll continue with the rest of the steps and open new threads if I run into further issues.