Pixhawk with BaseCam (AlexMos) SimpleBGC Gimbal

Hello,

Does any of you have experience to install a BaseCam (AlexMos) SimpleBGC gimbal to the Pixhawk, or have the technical knowledge to inform me if this is possible?

More information about the brushless gimbal controller can be found here: http://www.basecamelectronics.com/simplebgc/

I used this gimbal in combination with DJI Naza V2. I assume the Pixhawk can be used as well to control the gimbal (if DJI can do it, Pixhawk should definitely be capable). The gimbal controller board will take care of stabilizing the 2-axis tilt & roll. I only want to be able to control the camera pitch. Is this possible?

Thanks for suggestions.

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Replies

    • Hey, I am using the APM 2.6 and the GHT gimbal with the Alexmos 32 bit board.

      Connecting the reciever directly to the board is very easy and in the basecam software you can easily 

      If you read the Basecam documentation 

      Manual - Page 9 you can set the pitch and then just plug the reciever directly into that pin on the board however there are numerous benefits of connecting through the Flight controller.

      1. If you output the servo signals which would be used to control the servos in a gimbal into the Basecam board the gimbal has much better stabilization potential (Accelerations compensation – enable it to use a physical model of multirotor to compensate accelerations during)

      It also has the ability to use advanced modes such as "follow me" which uses the frame orientation of the multirotor to slowly pan once with the yaw or tilt, for more information check the manual..

      2. ROI waypoint in APM.

      You can set the ROI and the camera will keep pointing at that point regardless of where the multirotor is flying. 

      Imagine, you can circle a tree and the camera will continuously point toward the tree. This is a very exciting feature in my mind.

      Anyway to control the pitch through the PIXHAWK or APM you can use your chanel 6 or more and then in the APM or PIXHAWK set MNT_MODE to 3.

      arducopter manual <-- search for MNT_MODE

      Hope this helps!

      • About that follow mode in Basecam, am I correct if I think it works as such:

        Arducopter sends servo PWM values intended for stabilizing a gimbal to the Basecam controller.

        The Basecam controller then interprets these values as being the orientation of the frame (with 1500us being flat, 1000 and 2000 being 90 degrees tilted either way).

        The documentation is lacking in these details, so it's hard to figure out what's going on.

        • I haven't tried "follow me" mode yet. Not that I'm not interested, I just haven't had a chance to examine the option. I'm still learning all Pixhawk possibilities. I didn't even try waypoint either. I came from DJI Naza, so Pixhawk is a bit overwhelming. Let me know if you have follow me working.

  • I also run a DYS Smart3 Gopro gimbal that uses basecam.  It works fine.  I don't connect it to the pixhawk.  I could connect one axis to it just like the example of the tarot gimbal http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/common-tarot-gimbal/ But I don't.  

    I can use the 14sg with the sb6303 which has two extra channel outputs for that can be configured to 11 and 12.  Hook them straight up to the gimbal.  

    Or, I can tap off of the Sbus feed and steal any channel I want with a cheap arduino board and some nice programing (there are examples on the internet or I have a program that works great).  That can give access to ALL possible 14sg channels.  I have this on my big  800.

    Just contact me if you want specifics.

  • I have the HobbyWing Gimbal with 32 bit Alexmos & Pixhawk. Works perfectly.

    Gimbal isn't plugged into Pixhawk in any way. I also run Taranis radio in 16 channel mode & use 3 of the channels to control gimbal pitch pan & tilt, I think you can even change gimbal mode

  • Hi,

    The last time I looked, the gimbal control code in ArduCopter was for controlling an old style servo gimbal, with stabilisation and all. The SimpeBGC does not need any of that.

    I suggest you run a servo wire directly from your receiver to the gimbal controller (pitch control). One more for yaw control, if you have that, There is not much ArduCopter can help you with there - except Point of Interest if you want to use that.

    Regards

    Soren

    • Hi Soren,

      You mention 'Point of Interest'. Would it be possible to program that with the combination I have?

      There is another issue I'm facing. Futaba R7008SB (8 channels + S.BUS) doesn't work well with the pixhawk even though the Pixhawk (3rdRobotics) specifications tell differently. Check: http://diydrones.com/forum/topics/problem-connecting-pixhawk-and-fu...

      I had to order a PPM encoder board (still in transport) to be able to control the Pixhawk correctly (great support from 3rdRobotics BTW).

      This PPM board will use all channels of my RX if I connect all Servo wires to the RX. Thinking about it, I can also connect 7 servo wires to the PPM Board and leave 1 available for gimbal pitch control. Will that work?

      • I use the R7008Sb with Pixhawk using SBUS.  Have you set the Rx to "Mode B" or "Mode D"?  Do not plug Rx into SBUS port on Pixhawk, rather plug into RC IN when doing so.  Single wire connection works real nice.  Have to set Pixhawk to receive SBUS in Mission Planner, then calibrate radio like normal.

        • Hello Joe,

          It wasn't possible for me to have the Pixhawk communicating with the Futuba R7008SB, well not with the previous firmware <3.2. I was advised to purchasing a PPM encoder board.  I installed the receiver SBUS into RC In of the pixhawk. It was responding very erratic (not stable) so installed the PPM Encoder board which works fine.

          You mention you have to set the Pixhawk to receive SBUS in MP. Where is this setting available?

          • My apologies about the comment regarding the SBUS setting in MP.  No such thing (mixed that up with NAZA).

            However, I did just look at my MP / Pixhawk Firmware and it appears I am running Arducopter 3.1.5. Recently, I've been getting the Upgrade Pop-up about 3.2.  My thoughts (for me anyway), it's working let's not break it.

            Also, I just realized I am running the Futuba R7003SB (3/18 channel RX with SBUS) on my Pix, not the R7008SB.  I am running the R7008SB on my NAZA bird and on it, you have to select Mode B or D to get SBUS out on Slot 8 (you probably had that already figured out).

            There must be something a little different between the R7003SB and R7008SB that was causing your erratic issues on the R7008SB.  When you run the Radio Calibration in MP, do you get any (correct) responses on the stick control?  How about the Flight Mode switch control, is that jumpy too?

            I found the greatest problem I had with Flight Control response issues on the Pix was having the Armed / Motor_Spin_Armed setting high enough (I'm swinging 12" props on 415kV motors), Throttle_mid (have to do a successful flight test to determine this value in the logs, then enter it), RC_Feel (I set to 75 for "crisp" response), and Thr_min (again 12" props on 415kV motors, I was having motor stall issues).

            I had a few flights (like three within the first 10 or so) that resulted in expensive $$ crashes.  Understanding the flight modes was my greatest error.  Loiter and Alt-hold are not like NAZA GPS mode by much (there is a ton of dead-band about the throttle mid-stick in Pix).  Stabilize is about the closest to NAZA attitude mode (if you're familiar with NAZA).  I was really frustrated, but now that I have it tuned, I'm much happier.  Have you had success tuning your bird?

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