There are plenty of Gimbals to choose from for attaching to your multi-copter drone. The range of prices is fairly large and your generally going to pay $200 or more. Walkera make a 2D Gimbal called the Walkera G-2D designed to hold a GoPro Camera that is priced cheaper than any other Gimbal available and weights much less than most at only 120g.
The specification of the Walkera G-2D Gimbal include:
Operating voltage: 7.4V ~ 14.8V DC (recommended 12 V, 3S lipo battery)
Work current: 200 mA – 500 mA
Working environment temperature: -15-65C
Sensors: three MEMS gyroscope rotor and rotor MEMS accelerometer
Maximum angular rate: 2000 deg/ SEC
Maximum acceleration: 16g
Control frequency: 1000 Hz
Motor drive frequency: 32 kHZ (noiseless smooth drive)
Accuracy: 0.1 deg
Control Range: – 45 ~ 45 (Roll), – 135 ~ 90 (Pitch)
Applicable filming equipment: GOPRO Hero3/Hero4
Size: 100 x 94.5 x 84mm
Weight: about 120g
When I first started playing around with Aerial video, I purchased a Walker QR X350Pro Quadcopter. The Walkera QR X350Pro is a cheaper clone of the DJI Phantom and my research found plenty of great reviews. As Walkera also produced the G-2D Gimbal and it came with mounts for the Walkera QR X350Pro, this was the natural choice to add. After having a series of issues with my Walkera QR X350Pro, I eventually gave up and returned it to Amazon. The G-2D Gimbal came from another supplier who did not have the same return policies as Amazon so I kept the G-2D Gimbal.
I decided to build my own Aerial Platform that consisted of:
- Tarot 680Pro Frame.
- 3DR Pixhawk Flight Controller running ArduCopter 3.2.
- DJI E600 ESC and Motor kit.
- Taranis Plus Radio.
I’ve been trying for a while to get the Walkera G-2D Gimbal working on the Pixhawk. I’d posted for help on the major forums and even submitted support tickets to 3DR and Walkera. Walkera never even replied (that’s another story) and no solution had appeared from any other of the places I asked for help.
When you connect the Gimbal to the QR X350Pro, there was only a single signal lead and no schematics to show what the remaining pins on the Gimbal controller were used for. I’d been trying to connect the same single pin cable from 3DR Pixhawk to the Gimbal Controller and changing every setting I could find, but nothing seemed to work. I’d also asked other resources about the connections and was told that I should only need the signal pin connected for it to work. I’d thought this strange as I would assume that the signal came from a complete circuit and thought it would need a ground from the same circuit for the signal to work. Not being an electrician or understanding how the signal worked on these devices, I continued trying without the ground from the Pixhawk connected. Needless to say, it never worked.
As a last resort, I decided to hookup the Gimbal directly to a spare channel on my radio receiver and the single pin cable would not fit so I took servo controller cable instead and hooked up using all three pins from the receiver to the Gimbal controller assuming that only the signal cable wold be used. To my surprise, the Gimbal started to move as I turned to know assigned to the channel on my radio.
Excited that the Gimbal was moving with my controls, I decided to use the same cable from the Pixhawk, and again it worked. I removed the positive wire from the cable to make sure no extra power was being exchanged between the Pixhawk and the Gimbal controller and everything was still working.
Here’s a picture of my connection prior to removing the positive (RED) wire from the connecting cable and an illustration how you need to connect your Pixhawk to your Gimbal controller. This is only for controlling the Pitch of the Gimbal.
There are also a few settings you need to change in the Pixhawk flight controller using the Mission Planner to allow the Pixhawk to control the Gimbal and pass through the radio signals for manual control of the Gimbal.
Here’s what my settings look like in the Mission Planner Camera Gimbal settings screen.
RC9 is the AUX1 output channel from the Pixhawk Flight Controller that is used to control the Pitch of the Walkera G-2D Gimbal and shoul dbe the same for everyone.
RC8 is the input Channel from my receiver that is linked to the Gimbal Pitch Control Knob on my radio. This setting may change depending on your radio channel configuration.
There are also a couple of potentiometers on the base of the Gimbal Controller that some people reportedly had to adjust to get things working better. I have not had to alter these at all to get mine working. Make sure that the Mode switch on the side of the Gimbal Controller is set to 1 as well otherwise your Gimbal won’t work as expected.
I have tried any Region Of Interest of Follow me modes with the Pixhawk yet to see how well the Pixhawk will control the angle of my Gimbal, but I’m fairly confident there won’t be any issues. This is new functionality for the Pixhawk software so it may have bugs until they iron out all the Gimbal control features. I’m just glad I at least have manual control over my Camera angles for composing my video shoots.
I hope this guide will help you get your Gimbal working on your Pixhawk and show you that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get what appears to be a good quality Gimbal with a GoPro working on your drone.
You can pickup the Walker G-2D Gimbal for under $100, the amazing 3DR Pixhawk Flight controller and other items mentioned in this article using the links below (but sure to hunt around before you buy to see if there are better prices):