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Posted by on Jun 13, 2013 in Blog, Ramblings

Aeroxcraft Brushless Gimbal Setup

Aeroxcraft Brushless Gimbal Setup

Setting up your Aeroxcraft Brushless Gimbal

This is a (vaguely) technical document rather than a normal blog post. It will be of interest only to those people who have just bought, or are considering buying an Aeroxcraft Brushless GoPro Gimbal. If that’s not you, I’d stop reading now.

Here I will briefly go over setting up for coms with PC, updating the Firmware, and then changing settings.

Be aware that updating the firmware for this board will overwrite your existing firmware, and you will not be able to easily get that back.

You will require:

  • 1 Aeroxcraft Brushless Gimbal (Martinez Brushless Controller / IMU)
  • USB A to mini B cable
  • Arduino (latest version)
  • Whichever version of the firmware you want to install / configure
  • 7.4v Power Source (2S 850 maH compact LiPo ideal)
  • The GoPro, loaded into the gimbal assembly (for balancing during settings config)

I’m using Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit, and version 49 beta r77 of the controller software which I got from here

The procedure I followed was:

  • Install Arduino, but NOT the USB driver (deselect at install).
  • Plug in power to the gimbal controller and connect to PC via USB port. DO NOT LET WINDOWS UPDATE FIND THE DRIVER.
  • Instead, go here and get older driver version 2.08.24. Use that as the USB driver for the board instead.
  • Check you have board communication by checking Device Manager has assigned it a Com Port.
  • Obtain the controller software version you want (from the link above) and unzip that to a Temp directory
  • Back in Arduino, open the .ino file from the Temp directory you just created.
  • In Arduino, under Tools, select the correct Com Port (Com 4 on mine) and under Board Version select Arduino Pro or Pro Mini, 5V / 16 Mhz w/AT Mega 328.
  • Click the upload button to upload the firmware to your board. It will say ‘upload done’ when finished. If it says anything else, the update has failed and you probably have driver issues to solve.

Now to configure the settings:

In the folder containing the controller update, there is folder called GUI. In that is an executable that runs in a window and allows full control access to the gimbal without having to bugger about with .tcl files in Arduino.

Click blg-tool.exe to run the brushless gimbal GUI.

General and Pitch Windows for the Brushless Gimbal GUI. Roll is identical to pitch.

General and Pitch Windows for the Brushless Gimbal GUI. Roll is identical to pitch.

  • When updated, the board will have loaded default settings for that firmware. These values are OK to start with.
  • Remember – to see your changes you need the board to be independently powered (not just from usb) and you must remember to click ‘Save’ every time you make a change.
  • When you are happy, click Save to Flash so that the gimbal retains the settings after power-down.
  • Next time when you want to edit the settings, just connect to the board, ‘Load from Flash’, edit, and re-save when done.

Setting up the RC to control Pitch

I used the Aux 4 Rotary knob on my Walkera Devo 10 / RX1002 to control the pitch, or tilt of the gimbal. On that, Trim is set to zero, Travel Limits to -100 / +100 – defaults work fine.

From your receiver you need to connect the signal wire of a spare channel to pin A1 on the board, and ground on that channel to ground on the board (helpfully next to pin A1). You can practically achieve this by getting an extra long servo cable and chopping the Power + connection, leaving only signal and ground.

DO NOT SEND POWER FROM RECEIVER TO GIMBAL. Always power gimbal via a 7.4 volt battery or ubec.

Here are my settings for the gimbal, designed to give me 60 degrees up, 90 degrees down, with a centre point of about 5 degrees down.

-90 / + 60 degree TX controllable Tilt settings in Red

  • par axisSwapXY 0
  • par axisReverseZ 1
  • par maxRCPitch 52
  • par rcGain 5.0
  • par accTimeConstant 7
  • par dirMotorRoll -1
  • par rcMid 1500
  • par enableGyro 1
  • par minRCPitch -109
  • par motorNumberPitch 0
  • par maxPWMmotorRoll 80.0
  • par rcChannelPitch 1
  • par angleOffsetPitch -12000.0 (without this, mid point is about 30 degrees down.)
  • par rcChannelRoll 0
  • par angleOffsetRoll 0.0
  • par dirMotorPitch 1
  • par maxRCRoll 30
  • par enableACC 1
  • par rcAbsolute 1
  • par gyroRollKd 30000.0
  • par gyroRollKi 25000.0
  • par rcModePPM 0
  • par accOutput 0
  • par gyroPitchKd 40000.0
  • par motorNumberRoll 1
  • par mpuLPF 0
  • par gyroRollKp 20000.0
  • par gyroPitchKi 25000.0
  • par minRCRoll –30
  • par maxPWMmotorPitch 80.0
  • par gyroPitchKp 20000.0
  • par rcLPF 15.0

In that interface, some of the sliders go the opposite way to what you’d think – just be aware !

Lastly, there are a number of helpful documents on the aeroxcraft web site that cover some of this in more detail.

Blown it ?

If you have the misfortune to connect power incorrectly to the controller board, even for a microsecond, you will almost certainly blow the fuse, and it will not work again until you do one of 2 things…

The Correct Way: Replace the top-soldered Schurter 6.3A OMI 125 fast blow fuse (part number 3404.0018.11) with a new one. RS have them in the UK.

The ‘Alternative’ Way: Bridge the broken fuse with a small piece of insulated wire soldered directly onto the board, accepting that if you plug power to it wrongly now, you will definitely break it and will be needing a new one.

If you do blow up your board, this is what to replace (or bridge!)

If you do blow up your board, this is what to replace (or bridge!)