DJI S900 alternative???

I am confused with a few things. I am wanting to purchase a copter capable of carrying a GH4 camera but using a Pixhawk. Here are the things my googling has failed to answer for me:

1. Is there a Pixhawk-based platform equivellant to the DJI S900? I have pretty much determined that is the predominate solution for what I want to do but I do not want to run A2.

2. What Gimbal works with the Pixhawk that is built for the GH4?

3. The Zenmuse Z15-GH4 seems to be the dominate gimbal but only works with the DJI flight controller(s). What exactly does the flight controller do for the gimbal? Isn't the gimbal independently controlled or can you tie it into your flight planning somehow?

Any guidance would be appreciated, thanks!


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    • Sorry for not replying back sooner Matt.  Work takes up most all of my time.  I have tried a number of off the shelf gimbals with varied levels of success.  Some worked great, others not so.  I eventually got frustrated and started making my own.  See image.  I can share the stl files if you want to try and print one yourself.  My experience, most all the gimbals you will find off the shelf are much heavier than necessary for the GH4.  Too many bolts, screws and metal/plastic clamps.  I wanted a simpler design that was strong, easy to reproduce, and easy to adjust.  Works great.  

      As far as gimbal controllers go, I prefer the Storm32.  It is now being supported by Arducopter.  There is a bit on that here in the forums, ans well as on the official Storm32 page.  I had been using the AlexMos for some time, but since the Storm32 hit the scene why pay five times as much for something that I can get for 1/5 the cost?  I think the Storm has just as many features, and performs just as solidly as the AlexMos.  

      I set gimbal control up both ways.  For me I like to use one transmitter.  I often times program waypoints into the autopilot, and then I will man the gimbal while it flies its predetermined route.  For most people I build for I set systems up with two transmitters.  One to pilot the copter, the other to control the gimbal.  The only thing connecting the gimbal to the copter is the power supply.  The gimbal has its own receiver and video transmitter.  If the pilot doesn't need the second transmitter, or gimbal operator, he can pop the RF module out the back of the other X9D and pop it in the back of his for control of the gimbal.  Try to make it as easy as possible.  

      If you want the autopilot to control the gimbal there is a means to do this with the storm32.  There is a wired connection between the gimbal controller and the flight controller, or a wireless bluetooth option.  It can be done though. 

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    • Nice frame, What is is and where can I buy one.. 



  • I have a DJI Wookong M flight controller on my Vulcan. It has 2 output channels reserved for either motors or the gimbal. As the frame has 8 motors I never got to find out what the flight controller did for the gimbal (a HD AirStudio Infinity that can carry almost anything) but I assume it would drive the roll and pitch from the transmitter - depending on the transmitter. The gimbal control board I have can take a Spektrum remote receiver or be plugged into another receiver necessitating two transmitters and yes, at least one monitor for the camera driver linked to whatever camera you use. Any serious filming work is going to take a pilot for the UAV and a camera driver!

  • Hi Matt,

    When you say you want to buy a copter ... you are confusing me.  This is DIY.  You are thinking of DIY right?  That means you want to build from the ground up with Pixhawk right?  You can put a Pixhawk in any frame and then find ESC and motors to match and get the lifting power you need.  There is a lot of knowledge you need to build something like this.

    The S900 is just a frame that DJI has added all the electronics to make an RTF combo.  You may not be able to find an RTF combo that carries a GH4.  However, if you are building it, you can easily find frames and electronics to be able to life a GH4.  You can easily find clone frames like the S900 or even get the DJI frame and then buy motors and ESC and instead of using the DJI flight controller, use the Pixhawk. There are also many frames out there that are strong enough to carry the GH4.  You just need to make sure the ESC and motors combo you choose can handle provide the thrust to lift the GH4 and gimbal.  As for gimbals, there are many gimbals that are designed for DSLR which can easily carry the GH4 too.  There is no specific gimbal that would or would not work with the Pixhawk.  You can easily build a gimbal with a proper controller board that is programmable and get gimbal motors that can handle the weight of a GH4 to use.  However, if you have never done any multirotor built, I think you are better off leaving this to the pro and order a custom build.  There are many people who are experienced in building multirotors and can create a package for you.

  • Haven't tried these ones myself, but they're looking nice from the pictures. Anyone can share some experience with those?

    • I have a kraken octo 130 for sale with a wooking controller and Arris 2 axis gimble for a sony nex camera. !8" props on 330 kv motors. 60amp easc's Test flown once and will lift 35 lbs. ready to fly if you have a spectrum radio. It has retracts that I have not plugged in yet. Will take a big loss when I sell

      You can see it on foxtech hobbies.

      BTW the tarot stuff is very good. I had the 960 and was a good airframe. I have built many sizes of drones for clients over the years and can help you which ever direction you are headed.


  • 3DR X8+ with DYS or Feiyu Tech 3 axis gimbal.

    Almost all drones that aren't DJI use the Pixhawk, so you could shop around for something that isn't from 3DR and you'll probably find a lot based on Pixhawk. Only the 3DR Solo uses thes more advanced Pixhawk 2 (but that will surely change soon).
    • Is the X8+ really comparable to the S900? I see that the payload weight of the X8+ is 800g but the S900 is 5kg. That seems like they are two totally different classes.

      Also, it does not look like either of those Gimbals would work for the GH4, do those Gimbals work okay with the Pixhawk?

    • I just finished building a kraken 130 octo that would lift you gh4. 4ft from motor to motor. 330 kv motors with 60 amp escs flashed with simon k. 18" supreme carbon fiber props, retracts. Spectrum 9 ch rx and 2 5600 mah lipos for 10,000 mah 12 min flight times. check it out on foxtech,com web site. It has a wookong flight controller on it thats new too. If you want a pixhawk instead of the wookong, I have one that is new in box but not installed It has one test flight on it with the woolong and I need to sell cheap. Just bought an inspire that I need to pay off. Message me if interested.

    • You only mentioned the need to carry a GoPro. I thought it was a bit odd to be honest. If you need the extra payload capacity, then you will still find plenty of drones out there that use the Pixhawk.

      Both the DYS and the Feiyu can handle a GoPro 4. I've used both. I prefer the DYS. There are a number of other 3 axis that will work as well. Check out for example.
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