STorM32 Gimbal Controller¶
The STorM32-BGC is a relatively low-cost 3-axis brushless gimbal controller that can communicate with ArduPilot (Copter, Plane and Rover) using MAVLink.
With 3-axis control and MAVLink interface, the STorM32 offers more capabilities and than the Tarot Gimbal. MAVLink is a richer communications format that PWM and may be used in the future to provide additional information to the gimbal including centrefugal force corrections leading to better performance during aggressive maneuvers.
Support for this gimbal is included in Copter 3.3 (and higher) for gimbals running v067e (or higher).
Be aware that some v1.3x boards has been found to cause significant RF interference on the 433mhz and 915mhz band. Use with caution, if you are using either 433/915mhz control or telemetry.
Connecting the gimbal to the Pixhawk¶
You will need to solder 3-pins of a DF13 6-pin cable to the gimbal controller board as shown above and then plug the other end into one of the Pixhawk’s Telemetry ports (Telem1, Telem2, Serial4).
The remaining 3 pins (VCC, RTS, CTS) of the cable should not be connected.
Configuring the gimbal¶
In addition to the regular gimbal configuration described on the STorM32-BGC wiki, the MAVlink heartbeats should be enabled through OlliW’s o323BGCTool’s Tools | Expert Tool screen as shown below.
Set-up through the Mission Planner (STorM32 serial protocol)¶
The custom STorM32 protocol was added as an alternative to the MAVLink protocol and has the same features. To use the serial protocol use all the same settings as above except:
SERIALX_PROTOCOLto “8” (where “X” is “1”, “2” or “4” depending upon which Pixhawk serial port the gimbal is connected to)
- When Configuring the Gimbal controller set the “MAVLink configuration” parameter to “no heartbeat”
Testing the gimbal¶
For instructions for testing the gimbal moves correctly please check the similar section for the SimpleBGC gimbal.
The video below shows the STorM32 being tested on Copter3.3. It demonstrates a few features that would not be possible on a 2-axis gimbal like the Tarot Gimbal.
Resistor issue on some boards¶
Some in-depth analysis here on rcgroups turned up that some STorM32 boards need resistor #4 (shown in pic below) shorted (i.e. a wire soldered over the top of the resistor to turn it into a regular wire) in order for the gimbal controllers messages to get through to the Pixhawk.