Going from a fixed mounted camera to a 2 axis gimbal was a huge step for me - the stabilization along the pitch and roll axis permitted me to shoot much better aerial videos. But lately I've been annoyed by the "yaw jitter" that occurs when the autopilot is fighting a cross breeze. So I decided to upgrade to a Tarot 3 Axis gimbal.
It arrived today and I was excited to begin the installation. Opening the box, I discovered that the gimbal is already assembled, which is nice since I had to put together the 2D version and the instructions are in Chinese (Thank you YouTube and the guys who put together how to videos!)...
Still, I was a little confused as there was an extra lead. Turns out that the gimbal can operate in one of two modes, which the operator can select: Pan Follow - camera stays level and lags behind the aircraft during yaw maneuvers - eliminates yaw jitter), and FPV - camera follows the position of the aircraft but smooths out the video. I have to assign an R/C channel and map it to a toggle switch on my transmitter. I will, almost all of the time use the Pan Follow mode.
Anyway, I also had to do another repair - fix a bare wire problem by clipping off the EC5 connector on the aircraft to the battery and replacing it with a new one. But this required removing the bottom chassis plate in order to access the APM power module and unplug the batter leads - this is a big deal because I have to realign the booms when I put it back together. I will have this done tomorrow and then I can concentrate on splicing, heat shrinking some leads. Then I'll have to download the configuration S/W, update to the latest gimbal firmware, configure the gimbal and go through the transmitter channel/switch mappings - then I should be ready for a test flight!
You'll definitely see an improvement. I had the T4-3D but upgraded to the T-3D metal unit. Take your time with the calibration, it's a little finicky. I've got a little different wiring setup though, didn't both with a mode switch as I only use pan. So just a y-splitter cable out of the s-bus on the receiver, one goes to the Naza and the other goes to the gimbal. Then just mapped the 2 sliders on the back of my transmitter for tilt and pan
Thank you for your comment! I realized that I didn't fully understand the connections. With my 2 axis gimbal, I simply had the tilt control wire going to a receiver channel which was mapped to a rotating control on my transmitter. I planned to do the same with my new gimbal. But when you mentioned both pan and tilt control I realized I needed to do a little more work.
I'm using an APM 2.6 flight controller and a Spektrum AR800 receiver, so I don't have S-bus. So now I have to figure out how to control the gimbal modes (Pan Follow, FPV), tilt and pan controls with just two wires - PWM1, PWM2. I think I'm really going to use pan follow mode as latency through the GoPro pretty much precludes flying FPV. It would be nice to pan the camera, but I can give up that control and simply turn the aircraft. Seems like I have a little more homework to do...
Just connect PWM 1 &2 directly to your receiver and map the 2 channels to your sliders or the 2 variable knobs, whichever is more convenient for you. (I like the sliders on the back as I can move them without taking my fingers off the sticks). It's much better to be able to pan your camera with controlsthan to have to rotate your craft
I powered on the aircraft and the gimbal initialized itself and I was able to get limited tilt movement. I will need to download/install the Tarot configuration S/W, check for any firmware updates and go threough the configuration.
My new GoPro camera arrives late tomorrow so I'm shooting for a test flight on Saturday.
Well, it turns out that my efforts to configure the gimbal so far have been fruitless. This is going to be a long post as I want to provide as much detail as I can and hopefully RENOV8R or somebody else may shed some light as to what I'm doing wrong.
My first challenge was getting the configuration software. I went to the tarotrc.com site and downloaded ZYX-Assistant1.1' after installing and launching I discovered that it's in Chinese:
It took me awhile, but I found an English version on the helipal.com website.
The next challenge was figuriing out which module is the Main Controller Body; this is important because I'm supposed to hook up to my computer using a special mini USB thingy that has a 4 pin connector and there are at least five 4 pin connections. After puzzling over the diagrams and instructions, I decided that I should connect to the computer like this:
I made the connection, but am I supposed to power up the aircraft? I tried it both ways. From what I was able to deduce, I have version 1.0 firmware and I could not find any firmware updates. There is a link in the ZYX-Assistant application for an online update but it didn't seem to do anything. So, I just decided not to mess with any firmware updates.
My aircraft is using an APM 2.6 flight controller and I'm getting the necessary 5V from a spare "outputs" plug - #8. Plugs 1 - 6 go to the ESC's, #7 does to my BEC (I'm using OPTO ESC's which have not battery eliminator circuitry). For video transmission, I'm using a TX-5D 500 mW device. here is howo I have things wired:
On my transmitter, I have mapped the rotating pot to the AUX3 channel and Gear (a two position toggle switch) to AUX2. When I power up the aircraft, the gimbal initializes and when I move the aircraft around it seems to work fine - it's in Pan Follow mode, which is what I want. But I cannot tilt the camera. Oh, btw, I'm using a single pin JST connector to plug PWM1 into AUX3 on the receiver.
I have verified that I'm getting live video coming from the camera. Now, if I can just get tilt to work, I'll be a happy camper; even more so if I canget both pan and tilt!
oh, one last question: Am I supposed to do anything with the cable that has the 4 pin connectors on both ends? It's the cable lying on the table in front of the gimbal in the picture above.
I had the same problem with PWM1 not doing anything, only fixed it by sbus connection. Let me think about this for a while LOL. As for that 2 ended connector, you can toss it. That is specifically for connecting the gimbal to the Tarot ZYX-M FC for added stability and doesn't have any noticeable effect anyway
I'm beginning to think that the Tarot gimbal is not compatible with PWM radios, even though the configuration app, ZYX-assistant has a pull down that lets you choose between "Coventional" (sic) or SBUS. I'm wondering if "Conventional" means PPM and if you're using PWM, well, you're S.O.L...
One thing I overlooked was that I was drawing power for the gimbal from the #8 ESC port which only has 5.5V and the gimbal needs power from a 2S - 6S power source. So I tried hooking up to a 3S battery but that didn't help.
The problem is I have no clue as to what PWM1 and PWM2 signals are as the manual has no information and does not indicate where to plug these wires.
As things stand, the gimbal powers up and initializes - Pan Follow mode seems to work (I set it as the default), and I'm getting video from the camera. But I have no camera control at all.
Internet searches have been fruitless. I'm about to scrap it and go back to my 2D gimbal.
Here is the latest update in my quest to control tilt and pan from my new gimbal. I've sent a description of my problem to the Tarot folks and I'm waiting for a response from them. In the meantime, I did a short flight test of the new gimbal yesterday when it was fairly windy and compared the result to a similar flight from my other aircraft that has a 2D gimbal. you can see the video here:
This morning, I went into the ZYX-assistant application and changed the initial tilt angle to -25 degrees, tilting the camera down in order to keep the propellers out of the camera's view. I wish I did that yesterday... So, for now, I can use the hexcopter for some video shoots while I work on getting the tilt function to work. I suspect that PWM1 has both tilt and pan control multiplexed on PWM1 via the SBUS or PPM protocols. Perhaps the solution is to add a SBUX/PWM converter - that may be my next step.
Here is the latest on my gimbal problem. I've encountered another problem - a strange noise coming from the gimbal when I power it up. I crimped JST leads to the power/ground wires to the main control module so I can draw power from my 4S lipo battery's balance plug. I created a YouTube video that shows how I installed the gimbal and the problems I'm having:
I've ordered a new unit which should arrive in a day or so. When I get it, I will replace the main control module with the new one and see if it solves my problems.
The new gimbal arrived yesterday and I could not get it to work either. It came with a JST connector installed on the power leads, and so I bought a 2S lipo with a JST plug and powered up the unit - the gimbal vibrated. The manual said that either the camera was not screwed in completely or the torque settings were too high; the camera was secured and I fussed with the torque settings but could not eliminate the vibration. Nor was I able to get the pan or tilt functions to work.
This has been a frustrating and expensive episode. I've decided to return both units to their respective sellers, see if I can get refunded and buy another type of 3 axis gimbal. I cannot recommend this particular model to anyone based on my experience.
Final note on my odyssey to install a 3 axis gimbal. I bought a Feiyu-tech Mini 3D gimbal ans installed it on my hexcopter. Again, I tried to draw power from the balance plug,tapping 11 V from my 4S lipo - big mistake! An unexpected current surge burned some wiring and damaged a couple components. After replacing the wires,components, etc. I chose to use separate power sources for the video transmitter and gimbal. The Feiyu-tech works great, though the tilt function is faster than I was used to with my Tarot 2D gimbal - have to be very careful with the tilt control!
Glad you finally got everything working, that Feiyu-tech seems to be a very nice unit. You should be able to adjust the tilt speed in the software. As for the power surge, you should ALWAYS use a smokestopper whenever installing any new component.
Yes, I like this gimbal - it is well made and the wires are all hidden within the unit. At first, I couldn't get tilt to work but then realized I needed a ground wire from the receiver to the gimbal.
I learned my lesson - don't mess with the balance plug!
Regarding tilt speed, all I could alter in the config., S/W was the heading follow mode (fast, normal, slow), and the angles for pitch and roll. I expected to see a means for adjusting pitch rate, but there is none...