Introduction: DYI Camera Module for UAV

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This work present the construction of a multispectral NDVI image system for aerial platforms. The system has been built in base of consumer devices as Point&Shot Camera with trigger, focus and zoom control, Gel Filters, free axis stabilizer, 5.8Ghz RF transceiver for video streaming and ZigBee transceiver for data link.

The aims of the project is obtain a images with Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). The NDVI has been used for quantify the health and status of vegetation in a specific zone.

Material list

  • free axis stabilizer
  • Point&shot Camera
  • ZigBEE transceiver
  • Video transceiver
  • micro arduino

Step 1: Assembly the Free Axis Stabilizer (Gimbal)

The gimbal provide stabilization and free of motion in order to controller the system.

First, you need to assembly the Gimbal because usually the manufacturers ship you the device unarmed.

In this step you have to be careful with connection point of the motors, in order to prevent short circuit.

For calibrate the Gimbal you could use this instructable

The gimbal is powered by EVVGC controller. This controller is used to stabilized the gimbal and you can positioning the camera. This is possible using the RC mode and the micro arduino. This device gives to the microcontroller a servo signal, and the signals are obtained by the Xbee. Moreover, the arduino also give the signal to shot the camera (more information in the next step).

Step 2: Configure the Point&shot Camera (part 1 )

In order to have a teleoperation of the camera, we need to configure the camara.

For canon camera exist a open source firmware called CHDK(Canon Hack Development Kit).

CHDK is not an official firmware, experimental and free for cameras canon based in processor DIGIC II, III, IV. This firmware is located in the SD card.

you can find more information about how to upgrade you camera in:

Step 3: Configure the Point&shot Camera (part 2 )

In this part you need to have a modify camera.

The project need a configuration of the camera in order to obtain NDVI images.First, you need to convert your camera into a superblue camera, so you can do it if you see this instructable ( ). Then, you have to calibrate the camera

Finally, you need the rest of the system.

Step 4: RF Transceiver for Video Streaming and ZigBee Data Link.

In this step we configure the communication, for 5.8GHz RF transceiver for video streaming and 900MHz. ZigBee transceiver for data link.

The video has a operation's distance of 300m. , and the data has a operation's distance of 1000m. This values has been taking by us in a field test.

Step 5: Case for Conect the System.

in order to contend the entire system we make a design in Solidworks, the files you can download in the seccion and you can see the devices.

Step 6: Final System

We have to connect the system, and the final result you can find in this page

The entire project was made by:

Jose Barreiros

Nicolas Magne

Have fun and don't forget to post your results in comments.
For more information please visit:

Thanks for reading.