RCTimer Brushless Gimbal and Controller

It's amazing how quickly BLGs went from a novelty and costing thousands (zenmuse) to something you can get for $172 shipped!


I received my RCTimer Brushless Gimbal (BLG) and controller (Martinez v1) yesterday and of course had to try it immediately. Mark came over and helped with the build and documentation. The kit does not come with any instructions, so the RCGroups thread is the best source for build info.

Overall the quality of the RCTimer kit is not bad. There was one missing screw and a few things we had to alter to make it fit (see the build log link below for details). But the material is easy to work with. The default firmware and settings on the board seem to be pretty decent for a start. We initially had the IMU orientation and motor connections different, the result of that was shaking in the pitch axis. Once positioned and connected as shown above, it started to work fine without any parameter changes.

Build log with many detailed pictures:


Video showing connections, start-up sequence and motion test:

Time lapse build video:

Next up: Connect to the GUI (no luck so far), connect the RC, fly...

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  • You are correct on the aerodynamic issues. I went with silicone filling and a acoustic peice of foam cut in the center. I am still not 100% satisfied and am going to try the rubber stand off mounting and dump the 2 carbon circles and bumpers. It is actually good for my little aerial business but I am a perfectionist and if I can't get it how I like it then it will go in the trash can. Lets be frank its a cheap gimbal and it has its limitations. But if you take your time with mounting , testing and tweaking the PIDs it can turn out pretty good. I still can't get the manual pitch to work so I just gave up on it and I will just program in a angle to the pitch if I need it. 

    On thing that is very bad about this setup is you cannot use the protective housing of the go pro and for me thats a big negative. The hero 3 black is not the cheapest thing and if you scratch that lens you are out some money! I have taken the top section off and looked at mounting with the protective case but then I have to through a whole balance act again with the hex. I see there are a few guys selling protective lens covers that seem to as reports say  have no effect on performance but for the few bucks they charge it seems to be well worth it especially where I am at and I land in some deep sand. 

  • The earlier issues with the gimbal appearing to have very limited movement before toppling were caused by a tight spot on the pitch axis. The only way I could fix this was to use just one bearing instead of two.

    All working well now but I wish I could get rid of the occasional ‘shiver’ on the video. I think it is an aerodynamic issue where turbulent air gets back in the props as it never seems to happen while climbing. I have ‘squished’ the rubber mounts up with zip-ties (pulling the carbon plates together) and its a bit better. I may try stuffing them with moongel. My setup is low kv with large props so may try a slightly smaller diameter prop next to increase the RPM.

    Here is an example.


  • I had to do some tweaking but I have it working great and I just need to dump my silicone filled dampers for something better and I will have high quality video.

  • I just upgraded to Brugi 0.49 r161 and had a much better experience than with r77 . This version pretty much works out of the box. I only had to increase the RC min & max angles (to tilt more than 30 degrees) and reduce the RC low pass to 1 second to make the movement faster. Before each upgrade I run the clear eeprom program to make sure the settings a clean.

  • I'm happier in 0.48, never was able to get rid of the quirks in 0.49. Although I have not tried the very latest yet..

  • Will do that and I have the latest firmware V161. Thanks Andreas.

  • Forget about the APM for a minute. Just power the BLG and the RC receiver. Connect the A1 pin on the BLG controller to an RC channel that you know works (stick is a good start). After initialization you should be able to tilt the BLG with the stick. However you might also have to fiddle with the BLG firmware settings. There are angle limitations and other settings that influence manual tilting. Also the BLG firmware version matters. For exampls: 0.48 tilts fast, 0.49 suuuuper slow.


  • That doesn't work either.  Let me give a little more detail.  I went to aux 2 on the spektrum rx which is what was used for the org tilt servo through the apm...  I removed the one connection then plugged the cable into it to the Martinez board and it powered the apm 2.5... So I was afraid of putting a battery to the apm I then cut the 5V line, and with the apm now properly powered up I don't get any manual tilt still.   I should probably put a call into Chris.

  • Ok Thanks

  • Yes, to manually control tilt, just connect a free channel from your RC to the BLG controller.

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