Gimbal Control Setup

If you want to control a gimbal with a camera (or any other payload) attached to the vehicle, you need to configure how you want to control it and how PX4 can command it. This page explains the setup.

PX4 contains a generic mount/gimbal control driver with different input and output methods. The input defines how you control the gimbal: via RC or via MAVLink commands (for example in missions or surveys). The output defines how the gimbal is connected: some support MAVLink commands, others use PWM (described as AUX output in the following). Any input method can be selected to drive any output. Both have to be configured via parameters.

Parameters

These parameters are used to setup the mount driver. The most important ones are the input (MNT_MODE_IN) and the output (MNT_MODE_OUT) mode. By default, the input is disabled and the driver does not run. After selecting the input mode, reboot the vehicle so that the mount driver starts.

If the input mode is set to AUTO, the mode will automatically be switched based on the latest input. To switch from mavlink to RC, a large stick motion is required.

AUX output

If the output mode is set to AUX, a mixer file is required to define the mapping for the output pins and the mount mixer is automatically selected (overriding any aux mixer provided by the airframe configuration).

The output assignment is as following:

  • AUX1: Pitch
  • AUX2: Roll
  • AUX3: Yaw
  • AUX4: Shutter/retract

Customizing the mixer configuration

Read Mixing and Actuators for an explanation of how mixers work and the format of the mixer file.

The outputs can be customized by creating a mixer file on the SD card with name etc/mixers/mount.aux.mix.

A basic basic mixer configuration for a mount is shown below.

# roll
M: 1
O:      10000  10000      0 -10000  10000
S: 2 0  10000  10000      0 -10000  10000

# pitch
M: 1
O:      10000  10000      0 -10000  10000
S: 2 1  10000  10000      0 -10000  10000

# yaw
M: 1
O:      10000  10000      0 -10000  10000
S: 2 2  10000  10000      0 -10000  10000

SITL

The Typhoon H480 model comes with a preconfigured simulated gimbal. To run it, use:

make px4_sitl gazebo_typhoon_h480

To just test the mount driver on other models or simulators, make sure the driver runs, using vmount start, then configure its parameters.

Testing

The driver provides a simple test command - it needs to be stopped first with vmount stop. The following describes testing in SITL, but the commands also work on a real device.

Start the simulation with (no parameter needs to be changed for that):

make px4_sitl gazebo_typhoon_h480

Make sure it's armed, eg. with commander takeoff, then use for example

vmount test yaw 30

to control the gimbal. Note that the simulated gimbal stabilizes itself, so if you send mavlink commands, set the stabilize flags to false.

Gazebo Gimbal Simulation

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