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I.9.4) Cameras and Gimbal

Cameras

A number of cameras have been flown on the quadcopters, including a Go-Pro clone, an action cam and a dashcam; several of these have been mounted to a two-axis gimbal. The better results are the Go-Pro clone on the gimbal. Without the gimbal the cameras are mounted to the quadcopter via two metal plates separated by four rubber anti-vibration beads.

All three types described below have wide fields of view (up to 170°) which isn't ideal.

Dashcam

Small, light and widely available, dashcams offer 1080 p video. Mounted on a quadcopter they seem sensitive to vibration.



Go-Pro Clone

Go-Pro clones can be bought for little money and offer 1080 p video and still imagery of reasonable quality. Their low price is reflected in a low weight (i.e., cheap and nasty)


Action Cams

Various designs of camera are sold as 'action cams'. The HD100W from Kitvision is robust and works well (it has survived Salisbury Plain). However, its robustness is reflected in a higher weight than the Go-Pro clone and when fitted to a Quanum Nova or CX-20 it doesn't take much of a depression angle for the lens to be at the same level as the skids - the plastic skids flex, cameras generally don't.

Gimbal

Two-axis (pitch and roll) gimbals to suit small Go-Pro clone cameras can be bought for little money. A MEMS accelerometer fitted to the camera tray is used as an input for a processor that controls two brushless motors. The use of brushless motors means smooth movement. It is difficult to move the gimbal sufficiently quickly that it appears unable to keep up. A USB connector allows the firmware to be tweaked via a GUI

The pitch and roll angles (relative to the frame) are controlled by channels seven and eight on the MAV (the first six being pitch, roll, yaw, thrust and two mode-selection channels.) 

It really is most effective.



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