I wasn't sure what would be involved in getting a simple gimbal (in my case, just a tilt platform really) hooked up and working, but it was dead easy.

My wife recently made me a present of a GoPro Hero 2 and a tilt-mount.

This is a cheap little thing, but it fits the frame I have and it comes with the servo, and it was a gift - so you can't complain.

Took a look at the ArduCopter docs and was a touch intimidated, but as it turns out, it is really easy to get working. Once it was on the frame (took a little sanding and force), all I did was plug the servo into output 11 on the APM2.

If I had something that did roll as well as pitch, I would have plugged the roll servo into output 10 as well.

Where it gets really nice is that the Mission Planer has direct setting support for the gimbal now (as opposed ot what the docs say). I went to Mission Planner->Configuration->Camera Gimbal (duh).

On this screen, you can enable Tilt, Roll, and Pan individually, and can choose which channels to use for each. In my case, I enabled only Pitch, and set it to use "RC11" - this naming convention is a little confusing since RC indicates Radio, but it really is just the output pin number. I left the defaults for the limits. I chose Input channel "RC6" - which actually is a radio input channel.

I have channel 6 on my TX set to a pot for use in tuning, so I chose to use it here. Note - to use Channel 6 for the gimbal, you will want to make sure it is set to CH6_NONE in the ArdiCopter Config screen.

So in theory, channel 6 should set the angle of the mount and then the APM will maintain that angle to counter the pitch of the quad.

As soon as I picked up the quad, the gimbal worked. I could set the angle with the pot and it compensated for pitch as I tipped the quad back and forth. If only everything was this easy.

Once it stops raining in March next year, maybe I'll get to fly it. 

Views: 3582


Developer
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on November 13, 2012 at 5:06pm

I have that gimbal, but after playing with a it a bit I didn't bother installing it on anything because it seemed hopeless.  The servo is pretty jittery and I didn't like the vibration damping implementation.  But your results, not bad!  I'm surprised.

Comment by firerescue41 on November 13, 2012 at 5:10pm

Who makes that unit do you have a link

Thanks

Comment by Scott Berfield on November 13, 2012 at 5:11pm

I may replace the servo with something better, but since the whole thing was free (well, a gift from family is sort of my money...) I am not going to be super picky :) I have a anti-vibration polate I may try on it as well. Until we get a dry-ish day, I really can't try flying it to see how it works for real.

What mostly impressed me was how easy it was to hook up and get working. APM and Mission Planner made it a snap.

 

Comment by Scott Berfield on November 13, 2012 at 5:16pm

It's available several places. I was able find it on HobbyKing: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__24714__Camera_Gimbal_Til...

and goodLuckBuy: http://www.goodluckbuy.com/single-axis-camera-gimbal-camera-mount-c...

 

And probably all the other Chinese knock-off shops.

Comment by firerescue41 on November 13, 2012 at 5:35pm

Thanks I like. I should be able to mod it

Comment by Patch Thompson on November 13, 2012 at 5:46pm

Great post Scott.

Is that a direct drive on the servo? And what servos are you using?  I had no idea that gimbal integration was so easy; thanks for sharing!

Comment by Scott Berfield on November 13, 2012 at 5:57pm

The servo that came on it is an unlabeled one. Has metal gears, but other than that, I can't tell you anything about it. Someone suggetsed replacing it with a better quality one, but honestly, I know nothing about servos and wouldn't know a great one from a junk one. This seems smooth enough, but if I see issues in flight, I'll have to do some research and replace it.

Comment by Patch Thompson on November 13, 2012 at 6:14pm

Pretty smooth indeed; if the APM does 3 axis gimbal control this well, it's a whole new ball game.

Comment by Greg Fletcher on November 13, 2012 at 10:35pm

@ Patch, The APM does do 3 axis gimbal control on planes as well as copters. It has for a while now. You can select the axis individually in the mission planner. You can also have it point to a GPS point by right clicking on the map and selecting "point camera here" and setting the altitude. Next we need to have it aim at another aircraft by receiving a "follow me" message with GPS data from the subject plane.


3D Robotics
Comment by Craig Elder on November 14, 2012 at 1:07pm

Scott, now that you are up the learning curve on the gimbal, do you have any interest in improving / updating the wiki?

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