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Old Dec 22, 2012, 10:11 PM
Build Fly Crash Repeat
crezzee's Avatar
Worcester UK
Joined Nov 2004
806 Posts
Mini-HowTo
Super Simple Gimbal - SSG - KK2.1 & OpenPilot support

Here is my Super Simple Gimbal design for those who want to try out a gimbal with minimal cost and minimal additional weight to an aerial platform.

Specification:

Gimbal weight: 45g inc servos
Camera weight: Tested up to 95g (Gopro 2)
Servos: Mini servos (plastic gears are fine)
Gimbal control: KK2 board with brontide's modified V1.5 Firmware. See below for Latest firmware 1.6++
Components: From your scrap bin
Platform: Will fit almost any aerial platform including fixed wing, use OpenAero firmware
Features: Anti-vibe silicone mount design

I first tested the design with a V-Tail mixer to achieve the correct servo movements but found it had very low resolution resulting in servo 'jitter'. After a plea for help on the KK2 forum, brontide kindly modified KK's Gimbal V1.5 code to include the servo mixing on CH7 & CH8. The servos now work much more smoothly and even more weight, complexity and money is saved.

This is a very simple gimbal that works really well with most small cameras, the only downside is that it can only react once a movement has been detected by the control board so it will always show very small roll and tilt motions in the video. However with a bit of deshaker these can almost be completely eliminated - see the last part of the video.

Component list

2 x mini servos - almost any spec will do but must be the same (I used Hitec HS81's)
Double sided servo tape
Standard RC fuel tube (must be new or unused with no fuel residue)
Small cable ties (the smallest you can find)
M3 x 5 countersink screws (I used nylon)
1 x thin rubber pad (a self adhesive bicycle puncture repair patch works well)
1 x scrap of pcb board, carbon sheet or thin ply for the gimbal plate, dimensions here in the pdf.
3mm ply or similar for the gimbal mount.

Probably the hardest part of this build is cutting out the gimbal plate. The 'ears' are not completely necessary but make it easier for the rubber band to fit around.
The mount plate should be 50mm wide at its widest point but all the dimensions may need to change if your mini servos are much bigger than HS81's.

Setup

After installing brontide's KK2 code fit the right hand servo connector (looking from the rear of the craft) to CH7 and the left servo connector to CH8 on the KK2 board.
Now power up the board and set the following in the Camera Stab Settings menu:

Roll gain: -850
Roll offset: 50
Pitch gain: 800
Pitch offset: 10

These settings work great for Hitec HS81 servos but you may need to play about with the numbers for different servos.

Remove all props from your multirotor and power up the motors to activate the gimbal. With your multirotor on a level surface, adjust the servo horns to achieve a level gimbal plate (or as i prefer slightly pointed down a bit).
Install your camera with a rubber band or velcro and go fly.

Big thanks to brontide for help with KK2 code

edit... Tilt function firmware now available thanks to 'Steveis'. Click here for KK2 firmware and more info.

edit... Latest KK2 firmware 1.6++ with smoother servo movement by RC911 click here. - Link not working, trying to find new links to the firmware.

Same as above but CPPM version here.

edit... KK2.1 SSG code by RC911 here. - Link not working, trying to find new links to the firmware.

edit... Now supported by OpenPilot Copter Control, click here for info.

I have had a few requests from people wishing to donate to this project so click below if you want to support me. It may help fund SSG2

Donate - PayPal

Super Simple Gimbal SSG (5 min 25 sec)

SSG tilt (1 min 40 sec)

Robot Birds + tricopter crash (4 min 12 sec)
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Last edited by crezzee; Mar 07, 2014 at 05:20 PM.
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Old Dec 22, 2012, 11:00 PM
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Canada, ON, Waterloo
Joined Dec 2012
4 Posts
Wow, that looks amazing on video.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 12:04 AM
Simple is the best
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Joined May 2011
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super nice work
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 12:06 AM
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pablojaime's Avatar
Israel, Ashdod
Joined Dec 2009
377 Posts
Very nice and cheep, but it's my opinion that the SSG can't be used with the FPV Camera on it, the FPV camera needs to be fixed to the body of the Tricopter..
Love the simplicity and almost no jello!!

Pablo.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 12:12 AM
Specializing in RC since 1972
Temple, GA, USA
Joined Jun 2009
3,135 Posts
It's great to see the steps and the results go from raw to polished.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 01:16 AM
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Israel, Ness Ziona
Joined Sep 2004
4,711 Posts
Nice and simple
Well done

Guy
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 01:33 AM
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Old Blighty
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Great job!!
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 03:02 AM
what goes up, must come down..
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Joined May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Davidson View Post
Great job!!
I concur!
mucho kudos to you for sharing with the greater community
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 04:39 AM
Build Fly Crash Repeat
crezzee's Avatar
Worcester UK
Joined Nov 2004
806 Posts
Actually I have flown fpv with the gimbal and it works no problem at all, the only thing is you must stay in self level stabilize mode at all times. If you do turn self level off you have no way of knowing the angle of the craft and a crash is on the cards.....ask me how i know, i have the crash video to prove it lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pablojaime View Post
Very nice and cheep, but it's my opinion that the SSG can't be used with the FPV Camera on it, the FPV camera needs to be fixed to the body of the Tricopter..
Love the simplicity and almost no jello!!

Pablo.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 04:46 AM
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pablojaime's Avatar
Israel, Ashdod
Joined Dec 2009
377 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by crezzee View Post
Actually I have flown fpv with the gimbal and it works no problem at all, the only thing is you must stay in self level stabilize mode at all times. If you do turn self level off you have no way of knowing the angle of the craft and a crash is on the cards.....ask me how i know, i have the crash video to prove it lol.
Exactly the point I was trying to get!!

Pablo.
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 06:56 AM
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United Kingdom, England, Lancs
Joined Apr 2005
563 Posts
Great project and nicely documented. This thread should be a sticky on the AP forum.
Thanks!
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 10:08 AM
HeliHarry
harrym's Avatar
United States, OK, Tulsa
Joined Dec 2006
338 Posts
Is there any other change to Brontide's v1.5 other than the v-tail mix on 7 & 8?
Can I still use it on a Quad?

BTW - This is KK2 v 1.5 not OpenAero, right?
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 10:14 AM
Begin with end in mind...
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Eagle Lake, Minnesota
Joined Apr 2003
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I like it!! Great job, simple rules....

Mike
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 10:49 AM
Build Fly Crash Repeat
crezzee's Avatar
Worcester UK
Joined Nov 2004
806 Posts
Brontide's code is simply KK's V1.5 multirotor firmware with servo differential added to the gimbal outputs ch7 & 8.
When you flash the code it even remembers all your previous kk2 settings. not tried it but it should work fine with quads and hex's or any other platform except octocopters. It is not modified OpenAero code.

Quote:
Originally Posted by harrym View Post
Is there any other change to Brontide's v1.5 other than the v-tail mix on 7 & 8?
Can I still use it on a Quad?

BTW - This is KK2 v 1.5 not OpenAero, right?
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Old Dec 23, 2012, 10:50 AM
HeliHarry
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United States, OK, Tulsa
Joined Dec 2006
338 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by crezzee View Post
Brontide's code is simply KK's V1.5 multirotor firmware with servo differential added to the gimbal outputs ch7 & 8.
When you flash the code it even remembers all your previous kk2 settings. not tried it but it should work fine with quads and hex's or any other platform except octocopters. It is not modified OpenAero code.
Thanks!

Why must autolevel be on all the time as posted above?
Should work with it off. Gyros & ACC are still working!

-----

From Brontide's post....

"If it pitches in the wrong direction, reverse the servo connections."
Does that mean to reverse 7 & 8 ?
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Last edited by harrym; Dec 23, 2012 at 11:04 AM.
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