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Brushless Gimbal 
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Joined: 21 Jun 2011, 03:50
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New post Brushless Gimbal
I want to get some smooth aerial video, where secondary to the fun of flying I do enjoy trying to record with a GoPro2 on most of my multirotor flights, so with exception to getting the whole airframe to move smooth and steady using something limited like a KK2.0, it looks like the way to get smooth video is to use a brushless gimble. Now, these are relatively new to the scene (maybe around 1 year?) so the price is dropping and the performance is increasing, and I'm wondering where a good place to jump onboard is? I've always been a bit of a cheapie on what equipment I use, so low price is a big thing, so if it is limited in how much it can compensate for (like it wouldn't smooth out aggressive flying) then that'd be a fine tradeoff.

Two ways to look at this, I'd like to get one I can just mount on something I have such as my HT-FPV frame, or my HobbyKing X666 frame (the FLIRcopter when it carries the FLIR), or else another option is to go with a new frame meant for a brushless gimble. The new QAV540G with integrated brushless gimble is available for pre-order, but it's somewhat hefty of a price tag. But that's one serious airframe, one serious gimble, and for both combined it's really not an unreasonable price. Although that doesn't include an "AlexMos board" for the brushless gimble, so a person is probably looking at $500 shipped if you re-use the motors, esc's, props, batteries, and flight controller from my FLIRcopter.

I guess I'm wondering also how long it will be until HobbyKing sells some knocked-off design of a brushless gimble and control board, so then it could be somewhere around $80 for a complete brushless gimble with motors and controller. That would be sweet. Given they can sell a servo-based roll/tilt gimble for $20, it's not unreasonable they can make the frame for a brushless one for that much, throw a pair of $20 motors on there, and a $20 control board, and achieve that $80 brushless gimble I'd be hoping for.

In the meantime, I'm going to see if I can just develop my piloting skills better to where I can fly my KK2.0 from FPV and get the smooth footage that way, but with enough confidence from the pilot seat to be able to really fly the distances I want, without crashing too often from losing track of aircraft orientation relative to horizon ("Boy, we seem to be sliding back and left at an alarmingly increasing rate..." *whump* "FOUND THE TREE!").


Last edited by Schlauncha on 26 Jun 2013, 12:29, edited 1 time in total.



25 Jun 2013, 07:09
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New post Re: Brushless Gimble
Personally I wouldn't attempt to fly long distance without a GPS. It's very easy to get disoriented at high altitude and the GPS is my security blanket that I'll be able to re-orient myself and get it back home if that happens, or if I lose video signal, or god forbid I fly out of my Tx range. GPS is no guarantee but it certainly improves your odds of having your equipment return safely from a long distance flight. Not to mention it's very nice to be able to throw it in GPS mode and take the goggles off if I have to.

I'd still recommend taking a look at a multiWii with GPS. It gives you all of that protection, is far more programmable than a Naza, and only costs $80.


25 Jun 2013, 11:38
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New post Re: Brushless Gimble
Yeah, when flying around my friend's farm using my Tricopter, my Cyclops CE OSD provided GPS that I relied on once or twice to get turned back towards home when I was flying FPV up above trees getting maybe 400 feet away at most. And by distances, I don't mean I'd ever want to fly further than I'd want to walk to go pick it up. Really, I just mean flying it farther than my LOS pilot skills would be able to take over quickly - so with self levelling I can let off the stick and breathe for a moment, and especially with GPS to help against drift. I'll probably pick up a multiwii GPS in the next few weeks here - it sounds like the best of both worlds, between the tunability of a KK2.0 for smooth flight, and yet the GPS-hold capabilities of the Naza-M GPS.


25 Jun 2013, 12:36
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New post Re: Brushless Gimble
Funny bout the Alexmos gimble.... Have one on order and can't wait!!! ;)

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25 Jun 2013, 14:39
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Joined: 08 Dec 2012, 23:18
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New post Re: Brushless Gimble
I ordered a brushless gimbal from quaternium.es but, I haven't had any time to figure out how I'm going to mount it to my FLIP FPV. From what I've seen on the webs, it looks pretty plug and play and the cost isn't too too bad. It took about a month to get here from pre-order. So, we'll see how it goes once I get some time after the big move to the west coast. Cheers! :D

@Code: Where'd you source the Alexmos gimbal set up?

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25 Jun 2013, 17:29
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New post Re: Brushless Gimble
@ednerd: $260USD plus shipping... woof. But that does include the brushless motors and the IMU control board thing, so maybe that's not bad.

Hey, I just remembered, my friend is getting a 3D printer in the next few weeks. Then I just need the control board and the motors - the rest I can pull out of my (design orifice) and 3D print and zip tie together. I likes me some zip ties.


25 Jun 2013, 18:00
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New post Re: Brushless Gimble
ednerd wrote:
I ordered a brushless gimbal from quaternium.es but, I haven't had any time to figure out how I'm going to mount it to my FLIP FPV. From what I've seen on the webs, it looks pretty plug and play and the cost isn't too too bad. It took about a month to get here from pre-order. So, we'll see how it goes once I get some time after the big move to the west coast. Cheers! :D

@Code: Where'd you source the Alexmos gimbal set up?


Everyone is gimbaling. Nice. I'm still researching. How did you choose that one Ed? I'll be curious how you mount it as well!


26 Jun 2013, 02:02
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New post Re: Brushless Gimble
I did some web searching to see what was out there and read through this whole thread over at rcgroups.com: Brushless gimbal mania - master list. I'm sure it's been updated since last month but, I caught the conversation about the Quaternium one and the price point was the best value IMO because it included everything needed. At that point it was pre-order and 21 days delivered from Spain.

I'm also following a thread rcgroups about the Quaternium Spidex frame that has been giving some reviews and tips concerning the gimbal. The gimbal is made for the Spidex frame and slides right on but, I've yet to see any custom mounting solutions for other frames. I'm thinking I'll need some 8mm rods shootin out the front of the frame.

If one of you gets one of these, I'd love to pick your brain on a mounting solution.

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26 Jun 2013, 02:24
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New post Re: Brushless Gimble
Here is a brushless gimble for a GoPro2 or GoPro3 which includes the motors but needs the control board, for $100: http://www.rctimer.com/index.php?gOo=go ... oductname=

Image

The weight is 120g plus the weight of the HP2212 motors (100g each according to their site) so it'd be around 320g plus the controller board. That's not the lightest thing around, but if you want it for the price, that seems to be the way to go. They have a control board for $64 but it doesn't have great reviews (an open source board with mostly german documentation) but it's available here: http://www.rctimer.com/index.php?gOo=go ... oductname=

If I wasn't currently on a ramen-noodle-until-next-car-payment budget, I would order one right now (although I'd get an AlexMos control board for it from somewhere else).

EDIT: Just looked on ebay for "brushless gimbal" and WOW I think a guy could get an entry level one (fiberglass, no-name motors) and a control board (not an AlexMos though) for around $100 shipped. Time to start browsing and thinking and planning. But man, until I sell some of this r/c stuff or work enough overtime to pay down some of this r/c debt, I just can't let myself go buy any more toys.


26 Jun 2013, 12:24
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New post Re: Brushless Gimbal
Hoverthings/readytoflyquads sells the Martinez boards. Talked to Paul last night and he said that the board works great and is standalone. So it'll work with a naza in the sense that you don't plus it in. Lol that said you'd have to adjust the initial angle of the camera and from there everything would be solid shots. I think you could attach it directly to an open port on the receiver to adjust from your tx. He went on to say that they sold a gimbal for a month and had a variety of issues.... Lacking parts, not fitting correctly, etc. That said he's been experimenting with others but has yet to find a reliable source. Which is a bit disconcerting. Following that convo I pulled my order from eBay as that gimbal was one of the ones he made mention of in our conversation.

http://bit.ly/1aNmbPi

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26 Jun 2013, 14:49
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New post Re: Brushless Gimbal
ok total n00b question here.... I've been thinking about trying it for weeks now.. but has anyone tried to simply hang, say, the battery, below the AR.Drone, with the camera (even the stock camera?) on a simple pole that has a mount similar to rigid rubber diaphragm (not sure what could be used, but in my mind it should be possible, literally something like a baby bottle nipple) that can act like a basic pendulum? As the AR.Drone tilted or moved, it'd stay nearly solid thanks to gravity... I doubt that even most wind we'd fly in would make it swing around.. however without a lot of trial on error I'm sure flipping would be out of the question.

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26 Jun 2013, 15:02
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New post Re: Brushless Gimbal
Jayson.... In theory you're allowing gravity to adjust as a gimbal which isn't far off logically speaking. However when you add wind, speed of the quad, etc physics kicks in and gravity is semi lost in control. With a ar, due to weight limitations alone you're pretty stuck at stock for the best footage smoothness wise.

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26 Jun 2013, 15:50
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New post Re: Brushless Gimbal
Code74 wrote:
Jayson.... In theory you're allowing gravity to adjust as a gimbal which isn't far off logically speaking. However when you add wind, speed of the quad, etc physics kicks in and gravity is semi lost in control. With a ar, due to weight limitations alone you're pretty stuck at stock for the best footage smoothness wise.
One of my drones has a mangled nose anyway.. I'm going to try this tonight. I'm going to chop the nose, relocate the camera ribbon and pass it down the center of the bottom plate, extend the battery wires, pass them both through an opening in a baby bottle nipple (through some small aluminum pipe?), craft something to hold the battery and camera together, and something to mount the nipple ring to the base of the AR.Drone ... and see how it works. The geometry of the battery vertically should allow the transducers to echo to the ground, and not obstruct the bottom cam while hovering either... I agree that the physics of it all in motion may not allow the pendulum-ness to work as well as an active gimbal does... but, the added weight in implementing my idea might be less than 50 grams.. and totally passive, and possibly even more stable of a craft.. I would, however, not be able to land as usual without some other thought on how to handle it.. and the battery isn't very aerodynamic either.. might need to put a wedge on it :)

oops.. sorry all, I didn't mean to hijack this thread! I'll shut up!

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26 Jun 2013, 16:28
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New post Re: Brushless Gimbal
Look up how a Steadicam works, the key that your design is missing is that you would need a nearly equal mass placed equally above the pivot point, so that translational acceleration does not go straight into tipping it. Basically in order to really get it to work on a multicopter, you need the pivot point to be at the CG of the airframe (so it isn't having to push/pull all the mass around with every flight correction) and then the pivot point needs to also *almost* be the CG of the camera portion, a tradeoff where you need it to be bottom-heavy enough to want to level out and stay level, yet without its CG being too far off from the pivot point such that any translational movement induces pitch/roll into the camera frame.

I actually have a Steadicam style frame I built for the AR AR.Drone (to carry a GoPro below) but never got around to testing. It used a Lego U-joint on a plate that sat strapped into the battery tray, and then the battery was relocated onto a raised platform on the pivoting frame portion, to offset the GoPro's mass below and attain alignment between CG's of the airframe and camera frame. Everything balanced out well, but it was never flown due to concerns of it articulating too far and getting into the props, swinging the GoPro underneath the camera or ultrasonic sensors and causing flight problems there, and needing to get the proper connector to solder up a battery wire extension.

But these days I don't worry so much about wrecking my AR AR.Drone since it's is destined to be used as the flight controller on a much bigger multicopter, or "because I'll put way bigger motors on the AR AR.Drone" if you look at it from that perspective, so crashing and even breaking the central cross would only serve to push me down the path on that project. I'll see if I have all the parts to test this out this evening - but again, this is for carrying a GoPro underneath the AR AR.Drone, this is not for stabilizing its front camera. THAT... is a different thing all together now.


26 Jun 2013, 18:10
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New post Re: Brushless Gimbal
okay.. I'll hold off on doing my magic until after the 4th.. I want some quality time with Garrocks Wheel Antenna (which should be here this weekend).. I'll marinate on the idea of buying a brushless gimbal solution for now.. thanks for the reality check ;)

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27 Jun 2013, 03:02
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