Photos with APM - issues, tweaks, advice and more

I found I still have issues and questions with taking photos at waypoints with the APM platform. Please use this discussion to build up our collective knowledge.


The issues that I feel need improving are:

  1. Blurry photos (from motor vibrations or quick banking)

  2. Camera Mount (mount that is secure but does not transmit vibrations)

  3. Excessively long delay between waypoint and shutter click (the shorter it is the more accurate our photo position)

  4. Having a level plane attitude when photo taken.

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  • Hi.

    i am using the APM2... and have hooked up the cam mount servos to output 10 and 11 for roll and pitch... the servo respose is toooo slow.

    By hit and try I  changed  CAM_R_REV to 4 and finally the roll axis became faster. So 1 was real slow,,, and 4 was fast... perfect.....
    > But for pitch axis the same thing is not happening ... i tried making CAM_P_REV from 1 to 4 then 8, but it made no difference to speed... but affected the tilt angle... so made it 1 again so that cam would remain horizontal....

    then i tried change CAM_P_G from 1 to all values upto 20... nothing happened....

    i also tried the same with CAM_P_DZ - nothing happened....

    > Incidently... even at CAM_R_G changing values made no diff to the roll axis.
    > where can i find out what exactly does DZ or G etc meant.
    > Max Min Trim i can make out... no problem...
    > The pitch axis is toooo slow... I am using AAS 780 MG servos... 

    Ramesh Tahlan

  • I've been working on eliminating vibration at its source: the motor and propeller.

    I carefully balance my propellers.

    For electric motors you can also balance the motor or

    shut the motor off during picture taking.

    I'm also working on a brushless control algorithm which minimizes torque variations.

    For gas motors use the smallest, balanced, rotating mass you can.

    Higher rotating masses actually induce more vibration in the airframe do to the pulsing nature of torque in gas engines.

    I'm working on a hybrid gas/electric motor that mounts an out-runner on a glow engine shaft (with the stator on the glow engine casing). The electric motor absorbs power during the power stroke and supplies it during the compression stroke. to smooth out the combined torque. It also seems (hard to measure) to be more efficient and quieter while supplying tons of electrical power for on board electronics.

    I also want to make a dynamic balancer.

  • Here is some more info for vibration reduction using silica gel damper material:
  • 3692207490?profile=originalVibration can be an issue for cameras on gas/glow planes, and result in blurry photos or destroyed cameras.  A mount like this one pretty much eliminates vibration and keeps the camera steady. 


    The camera plate is suspended in the outer frame by rubber bands going through eye hooks. 

  • Hi Ritchie

    Now i know why i got stuck, the APM confused about void setup.

    How about your wp_activity.pde code? Did you built it in order to embed with APM?

    Im interested in autotriggering camera at waypoints, i have done some research for doing some test, but im not successful yet.



  • Hi Ritchie

    Thanks for sharing your ideas


    Ive been looking for a simple way to triggering camera with APM. I've tested you code (wp_activity.pde & arducam.pde) on the APM, but ive got an error message about redefinition void setup when i compiled the APM. Ive been searching how to solve this error, but i got stuck, do you have any idea what is happen? Did i put the code wrong?



  • Ritchie, I'd be interested to hear the results or trials.

    I've not had much progress on the problems mentioned in first post, although I have tried adjusting code to 1) click camera quickly after wp achieved (attempt to click before turn initiated) 2) turn off motor when WP achieved. One second off for motor made no discernible difference to photos - still blurred.
    I've come up with a dual angle camera mount for Skywalker's nose see attached pics. Quite good for security and flexibility but not blurs.
    I may need to get a camera with shutter speed settings to force high speeds BUTI notice my better ones (still with blur at 1:1) are at 1/250 or 1/500 sec already.
    So I'm still confused.grrr!




  • I was hoping to test this today but Royal Mail didn't deliver my motor again so haven't.
    The egg drop code got me thinking about an activity pde and the photo code you posted sorted the that part.
    The two files included are what I've cobbled together so far.
    WP_activity counts the waypoint index and does something accordingly (prepared if WP_index is between values wanted and does "whatever" when within a set distance of the waypoint)
    ArduCam uses the APM_RC library to get PWM from a servo line (ch6 in code currently) and decides what to do accordingly.



  • 3D Robotics
    Have you been using APM already to trigger the camera at waypoints? Perhaps you could start by showing your setup and lessons so far.
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