The cheapest of all BLGs on the market today (and readily available) is the GoPro BLG and Controller (Martinez v1) from RcTimer. Unfortunately that gimbal comes zero, zilch, nada instructions. Also there were some incorrectly machined parts. Hence building it can be quite a challenge. This Instructable is meant to fill this gap. Also it might give you enough pointers to design and build your own gimbal from scratch.
Testing of finished gimbal:
Timelapse video of the build:
Step 1: The Parts
Step 2: Build the Camera Cage
Be sure that the grub screw holes both face forward. A GoPro should friction-fit in the frame pretty securely. Use Loctite on the screws or they might loosen and get lost quickly.
Step 3: Assemble the Outside Frame
We drilled a bevel using a larger drill bit. That fixed the problem nicely.
Step 4: Install Pitch Motor and Bearings
We found a problem with the grub screw hole. It wasn't properly tapped, so we couldn't get the grub screw inserted all the way. After some debugging, we ended up switching the two sides, so the working grub screw was on the motor side.
The grub screw uses a 1.25mm hex wrench. It would be nice if RC Timer included one. They don't, so be sure and have one ready.
Step 5: Yaw Motor
One of the tapped holes was a bit malformed, and the 3mm bolt didn't fit through. You can clean it out with a 3mm drill bit, or tap a 3mm bolt through the hole with a hammer a couple of times. As good as new!
Step 6: Build Mounting Arm
-Attach the 3mm nylon risers to the frame mount.
-And then attach the board to the risers.
-And attach to the bottom plate of the anti-vibration unit.
Stick the rubber anti-vibration grommets onto the top and bottom plates. Do this after attaching the bottom plate to the gimbal.
Step 7: Solder the Motor Wires
Later you can cover the soldered connections with hot glue for physical strength and to insulate the wires.
Step 8: Connect Everything for Testing
Note that we were doing the power wrong! Don't use a 5V servo connection, use a 2S-4S battery. Be sure and watch the polarity. It may not be a bad idea to put a battery connector onto the board.
Step 9: Mounting the BLG and First Test
If everything was set up correctly the BLG should behave like this:
Step 10: Harlem-Shake
Step 11: Mount on Your Drone / UAV / Quad / You Name It...
Step 12: Software Setup
MAC: You are in luck! It seem like the correct driver is present without any additional action.
Windows: You are entering a world of pain. The auto-detection will install an incorrect driver that is hard to uninstall. Do not plug in the board without having downloaded the correct driver and then disconnect from the internet. These instructions seem to be very thorough and worked perfectly on my Windows 7 PC: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1872416
To build the software, you need two things:
- Arduino software environment: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
- Brushless Gimbal software: https://code.google.com/p/brushless-gimbal/downloads/list
Build and install
Building and downloading the firmware is pretty straightforward:
1) install the Arduino programming environment.
2) load the gimbal software in the Arduino environment
3) ensure your configuration is correct:
- in Tools / Serial Port, be sure your USB port is selected
- in Tools / Board, Arduino Pro or Pro Mini (5V, 16MHz) w/ ATMega328
4) Upload (arrow icon in toolbar)
If everything works, you will get a message regarding memory size and a message that the new firmware has been uploaded.
You should now be able to connect with the 0.49 GUI and start tuning. Note: Com port must be 1-10 of the UI does not work. You can change the com port in the advanced settings using the device manager.
TO BE CONTINUED WITH PID SETTINGS...
Step 13: Connect Controller With RC
The sensitivity and the mode (absolute or proportional) of the RC input can be configured using the GUI.
A1 is for pitch axis (tilt camera up or down)
A2 is for roll axis
Bottom pin is ground (out-most on the board)
Middle pin is 5V
Top pin is signal