V1.13 is a content update to Drone University. I will publish the full version of these notes to Amazon in a few days. To update your Kindle book:
To enable Automatic Book Updates:
- Go to Manage Your Content and Devices.
- Select Settings.
- Select Automatic Book Update to expand the section. Select On to receive automatic updates for your book, or select Off to receive an e-mail notification when an update is available to download.
New and notable hardware:
Skywalker Revolution FPV
HeadPlay HD with 5.8GHz Rx
DJI Phantom 3 and Inspire
V1.12 Print edition. Format change.
V1.13 Added new info.
Medium difficulty build: 280mm racing quad, but with long range radio gear. Recipe at the end of the book.
3M VHB – double sided tape. Best used in conjunction with a cable tie.
G10 mini quad kit. Notice that it looks a lot like carbon fiber, the only way to tell it apart from black fiberglass is by weight.
HMC5983. Upgraded magnetometer. I highly suggest everyone using APM and Pixhawk upgrade to this from the 5883. This is much more accurate.
Camera Stabilization – When using a “gimbal” mount for your main camera it will remove some shake that the wind brings. Necessary to achieve professional smooth video, there are small brushless gimbals will give your smoother operation but may cost more than a servo operated gimbal. For us, the servo type is junk because they are jerky but that may be okay for a FPV cam, however if the gimbal gets stuck in an odd position it can make flying impossible, which is why I do not recommend mounting a FPV cam to a gimbal.
Here is a basic explanation to how a brushless system works. A brushless gimbal is a simple PID loop with motors counteracting forces to ultimately keep the camera level. It works similarly to how a quadcopter keeps level. A magnetometer mounted near the cameras center of gravity senses movement, sends the signal to the controller and through the ESC’s to the motors to counteract the movement.
To program and tune a gimbal, it is an adjustment of PID and power for each motor. The process is the same for all makes and models, but the software will change depending on what controller you are using. If you are tuning a DJI gimbal, you will use the DJI software off their website and connect with micro-usb cable. If you are using a generic controller that is made in China, it is likely using a bootleg copy of SimpleBGC, of which the software is probably 2.2b2. If you want to make your own brushless gimbal, which is the way to go for large/heavy cameras. To do so, it’s much like building a quadcopter. Find out the weight of the camera, then match motors that can carry that weight, then ESC’s that can handle the motor at constant current and then the controller, SimpleBGC works great.
Gimbal tuning is as follows:
Step 1 – mount camera into the gimbal cradle, make sure the center of gravity is balanced. Camera should not tilt when gimbal is powered off, it should be level. Do not ever power on the gimbal without the camera mounted, or damage to the motors and ESC’s can occur.
Step 2 – plug gimbal into your PC/MAC with the USB connector. Open your program, either DJI or SimpleBGC_GUI. Update firmware. Note: China clones of SimpleBGC cannot update firmware and are locked. Once firmware is done, reboot controller. Check motor POLES setting matches how many poles your motors have.
Step 3 – Apply battery power to the gimbal and USB connection. Mine is powered with 3S, yours may vary. Once power is on, the gimbal should start up and try and level itself. It may make noise or chatter or jerk about when moved. Check temperature of the motors, we need to monitor and adjust power (voltage) so they don’t overheat, 30 min power heat check.
Step 4 – Gimbal tuning is about finding the perfect blend of PID and power. If your gimbal is working smoothly and without noise and the motors are not warm, and responds to movement quickly then you are done, it’s working. If not, then proceed to step 5.
Step 5 – PID loop tuning will require you to look and listen to your gimbal. Use the PID and POWER settings below as a guide for adjustment.
P – (proportional), the P setting keeps the camera at its current angle. Low “P” won’t stabilize, high “P” Oscillates.
I – (integral), velocity that it uses to move the camera to its mark. Low “I” and it will move smooth but slow or stopped, high “I” and it will move fast but will have trouble and may overshoot its mark.
D – (derivative), D is for smoothing. Low “D” it will vibrate, too high “D” will feedback oscillate.
Power – Power (Voltage) provides torque and moves the camera but creates heat. Low power, the camera will flop over, high power will make too much heat. Over 75º?/167ºF will damage motors. It should be possible to tune your system so that the motors barely get warm to the touch. If it’s heating up, your motors may be too small of the weight of your camera.
My gimbal is “chattering”. Solution; turn “D” up and power down. Might be high “P”.
My gimbal works but is slow or sluggish to move. Solution; Check for mechanical interference, wires binding, Turn “I” up.
My gimbal will level for a second, then it flops over. Solution; check center of gravity then turn power up.
My gimbal motors are hot after 30 minutes. Solution; Turn power down, check center of gravity. Reduce camera weight.
My gimbal drifts a little: Solution; Turn “P” up.
Finishing up – You will have to play with it to get it perfect. One more tip is that your tilt and yaw power settings can generally be half of what your roll power is. Roll uses the most juice.
Popular gimbals for “gopro”: DJI Zenmuse HD-3D, DJI Zenmuse HD-2D, Tarot T-2D V2, $50 generic China gimbals that are based on SimpleBGC, $150 authentic SimpleBGC gimbals.
$50 China 2 axis gimbal, runs on 12V. Control board is SimpleBGC.
Sony Nex-7 – 24 megapixels, aps-c, $750
Sony a5100 – 24 megapixels, aps-c, $600
Sony a6000 – 24 megapixels, aps-c, $700
Sony DSC-RX100M III – 20 megapixels. $750
Simple setup. This is a Flysight Blackpearl with built in 5.8GHz diversity receiver. Works great. 1/4 to ½ mile’ish range with included 400mW transmitter.
VLOS – Visual Line of Sight
This diagram can be used for helicopters too!