Pictured is my first attempt at a camera system comparable to what you would find on a commercial UAV. I hope to make available to the DIY Drones community a light weight, affordable, and highly accurate turret compatible with APM or any other open source autopilot system.
The goals for my design were:
1. Light weight for use in fixed wing and heli applications
2. Ease of manufacture/part replacement
3. Low(ish) cost
4. Highly accurate closed loop control in both pan and tilt
5. Continuous rotation in pan
6. Gyro stabilization either through an autopilot or standalone IMU
7. A design easily expandable to carry larger cameras (GoPro, and Sony block cameras are in the works)
My first iteration has succeeded mostly in hardware design, although the software is currently a work in progress. My goal is to connect it to an APM via I2C, and control it via a joystick on the ground. Obviously there's a lot of work left in that regard...
Turret control is handled by a Pololu Baby Orangutan robot controller. The Orangutan has a dual H-bridge to drive a pair of servos modified for use as gear motors. Being ATmega based however, pwm or steppers will work as well. It runs the Arduino PID library with input from two magnetic rotary encoders for precise position input.
Any input on software development would be appreciated. I plan to make this available as soon as it's ready, and it's going to be all open source, of course.
More info/pictures available at www.AUV-Research.com.