3D Robotics

More News About the Solo Gimbal!

Reposting from the 3DR blog -


Hello from China! Well, I’m writing this from an office in Palo Alto, but the news comes from the team in the factory in Guangzhou.

The gimbal is making good progress, with our production crew delivering some great footage recently. Check it out below.

The team is currently in China working on DVT2 of the gimbal, a pre-production build. If it goes well we move directly into making sellable units. The DVT2 units are essentially identical to PVT units (the ones we sell and deliver), so right now we’re just verifying the entire assembly and test procedure is in place before we say GO.


Right, a most important question! We’re targeting the end of July, about a month from now, and it’s looking good so far. Like we said, we want to get it right, so we always prioritize quality over schedule. Plus, the schedule has extra buffer time built in for any unknowns that may arise, so we’re feeling really good about making that delivery date. Until then, here’s a look at some footage from the gimbal as it is today—not even a touch of stabilization in post.


We’re happy to report that the HDMI flexes for production are meeting spec based on the latest testing, and we’ll be putting them into the DVT2 units by the end of this week. We’re still root-causing the 2% failures due the to over-currenting mentioned in the last post, and, long story short, we’re working on fixing this with more advanced filtering techniques on our power management. This means we’ve been able to turn this into a software issue, which means it won’t affect our manufacturing schedule—and for you, the delivery date!

The plan right now is to run the units through the actual assembly line with all the fixtures and test procedures in place. These procedures have been iterated on since the last build.

Right now we are finishing SMT—this acronym basically means the printed circuit boards are being cranked out and tested. The next step is assembly, in which all the pieces of the gimbal are put together and tested—this will be done this week, which means we will be test-flying the latest and greatest on copters over the weekend.

Meanwhile, in software land, a lot of supporting pieces are falling into place. These are mostly key pieces that include behavior not directly related to stabilization. These include making sure that the gimbal updates seamlessly when installed on the copter—this means that the user will be able to update the whole system at once via the Solo app, without any wires or uninstalling/reinstalling/screwdrivering of anything.

There is also internal “devops” infrastructure, such as updating our entire software build process to ensure new gimbal firmwares are always in sync with the rest of the code. The Pixhawk firmware, the Linux firmware on both the vehicle and controller, the STM32 on the controller, the app, the ESCs—whew—it’s a lot of stuff to coordinate. When you are early in the test process, the number of people fiddling with the system is small, so you can have a pretty manual build process. But as we test with more and more people, it’s crucial that we ensure all the systems remain in sync.

Finally, we’re adding much more robust datalogging from the gimbal, so we can better track and understand the behavior of the system over time. This will be one smart gimbal!

Stay tuned to this blog as we continue to roll out updates—we’re hoping to be able to add one every week, but honestly, this stuff might get way too technical and dull, so we might package weeks together. At any rate, we’ll maintain transparency every step of the way until the gimbals are on Solos and blowing minds!

Check out a video of recent footage. No post-stabilization.

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  • "I honestly don't see how anyone can look at that short clip and not say it's about as good as it gets." 

    Look at the corners of the image in relation to the edge of frame in 3dr's sample footage.  its bouncing and vibrating  for more or less the whole 20 seconds of the example.  This gimbal is sub-par in the year 2015.

  • @Robert M - That's lovely footage alright. But you would certainly be the exception. And there's no pitch movement in your example either. I believe the Solo gimbal gives you control over the GoPro as well and I don't know any gimbal that does that. I honestly don't see how anyone can look at that short clip and not say it's about as good as it gets. 

  • Darrell.

    I shot this,

    Untitled from Robert McIntosh on Vimeo.

     with this cheap 8bit alexmos clone gimbal purchased in 2013 http://www.goodluckbuy.com/3-axis-aluminum-brushless-camera-mount-g....  I'd say it performs better than 3dr's $400 offering.

  • I just notes that your employees are different. Large discourts on the return to an American production are forgotten, profits first!

  • Looks like an AlexMos from 2013????? No way! I spent many hours with small gimbals and AlexMos in 2013 and you never would have achieved a clip this smooth with it. This looks damn good to me. Check out how smooth the downward pan is. I bet you didn't even notice it. It's a short clip but if the gimbal is consistently as smooth as what is shown here then it's great to see someone has finally produced a decent gimbal for the GoPro other than you-know-who.

  • I have to agree with Robert on this. The aerial footage looks like an average alexmos powered gimbal from 2013.

    Don't get me wrong, it's not bad, but it's not good either comparing to dji/freefly gimbals with encoders. If a small company like freefly could do it a year ago on a big gimbal (m5-m15), i am sure 3dr can do it year later with this tiny gimbal.

  • lol

    Anyone else care to share their observations?
  • I want some of what you're smokin

  • Robert, the shaking pan you're referring to was from the handheld camera recording the drone in flight, you can see it flying over head.

    All the footage from the air looks flawless.
  • Not as good a zemuse.  Pan is shaking throughout this extremely short sample vid.  This is not a good sign when flying in no wind.  You can imagine how bad it will be when flying in non-perfect conditions.  Next time you design a gimbal from the ground up, use maxon motors with encoders  instead of the cheapest motors you can find.  Better luck next time.

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