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UPDATE: 29th June 2015 – I bought another of these gimbals from banggood, as price has dropped to £29 delivered (half what I paid for original gimbal back in 2013) – it works great straight out of the box with gopro3.
I ordered this cheap Gopro brushless gimbal for a Blade 350QX quadcopter, it arrived today (9/10/13), so this is literally as it came out of the box, and it works superbly with Hero3 camera, I am delighted with this. See my other video’s for fitting test with 350QX and DJI Phantom and a flight test on a very windy day showing this working.
Main thing I liked about this was the gimbal is completely setup and individually calibrated before dispatch, so when it arrives its literally plug and play – which I checked and works as advertised !!
You must mount the gopro and balance gimbal before powering on, and it works best if it is completely still when powered up to initialise – its fine to test holding in your hand like this, but it won’t calibrate perfectly level as you turn, if your gimbal won’t initialise check for blue LED on IMU under camera bar – it should come on solid as soon as you power the gimbal, if not check the connector as its a 4 pin plug into a 5 pin socket, if its plugged onto the wrong pins it has no power, so gimbal won’t initialise – its happened to a couple of people, who have moved the plug and gimbal works fine.
The red power socket my gimbal came with suits a JST plug I tested this in video with an 850mah 3S lipo I had lying around, but you could use any 3S lipo battery or any 12v source, only issue is generally lipos over about 1000mah tend to come with bigger connectors (XT60 etc), you could resolder the socket easily enough, but if you want to plug and play look for a smallish lipo with a JST plug on. I have also seen gimbals come with wider white balance socket (JST-XH) which would fit almost any 3S lipo as they tend to all use JST-XH balance tap. I would reckon the gimbal runs on under 1amps so a 1300mah lipo would last over an hour, I normally power this from the quadcopter battery so it just knocks a bit of flight time (more because of the additional weight to carry than the current drain of the gimbal).
There is a thread on this gimbal on helifreak with loads of mounting pics and troubleshooting info http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=568402
Wiring diagram can be got from simplebgc site (this board appears to be a clone/copy of that one) http://www.basecamelectronics.com/files/v10/SimpleBGC_connection_diagram.pdf
The whistling noise is normal, and is due to PWM setting value chosen to be more precise and use less battery power so the whistle is a good thing for quadcopter use – certainly won’t be audible in flight, later gimbals come without the whistle
I screwed this to bottom of Blade 350QX (see my other video’s for flight video’s) using the screws supplied for blade gimbal (drilled 1.5mm holes in diamond part of moulding), and strapped pool noodle foam to the skids for 3/4″ extra clearance, Blade are producing taller skids (for their gimbal) part number is BLH7815TG.
I checked tilt control works from a servo tester (no spare channel on 350QX), you can tilt gimbal with servo tester then unplug and it will hold that position/angle until next powered off.
The small button on front of circuit board (awkward to press between the two plates) is a position reset function, when you press the button, the motors relax, you can then reposition the camera (either straight and level, or pointing downwards etc as you wish), and the motors will restart and hold that new position as ‘centre’ – this persists power cycling, so needs to be done carefully to ensure camera is level (in roll) or you get weird tilted video – ask me how I know
The only downside to this gimbal is you cannot easily update firmware or mess with settings using the GUI, as it has ‘null firmware’, so do not attempt to update firmware or you will brick the board, apparently you can fix this with a USBasp programmer and soldering connections to board (see helifreak thread for details), but if you wanted to do this you’d probably have bought a seperate gimbal and controller in the first place as a project.
Out of the box this works great, and for this price, it performs really well.
I’ve since fitted this gimbal to DJI Phantom, which allows tilt control from transmitter, I also have this running through Fatshark FPV gear so I can frame/view camera image through goggles in flight which works superbly, see my other video’s for examples.
Quick video showing how to connect servo tester to the gimbal here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qC3BtQj_ACo