Drone Gimbals Explained: How They Work
Born from the battlefield with the military as a catalyst for the development of its technology, drones are becoming more and more prevalent today.
Professionals and hobbyists alike can fly them with relative ease.
Intricate pieces of technology, all working in perfect tandem, can make this happen.
One piece of technology is vital to get those crystal clear photos and video footage from hundreds of feet in the air - drone gimbals.
Read on to learn how this single piece of technology works!
What is a Gimbal?
Gimbals are support systems with sophisticated motion detecting systems.
They allow an object, most often a camera, to remain at the same angle, regardless of motion.
For example, gimbals enable videographers to capture perfectly smooth footage in motion with minimal effort. Similarly, a drone gimbal reduces vibration and keep your camera stable despite the drone’s movement.
It utilizes calibrated electronic motors and intelligent sensors. They automatically compensate for any movement the computer detects across all three axes.
How Drone Gimbals Work
You can buy Drone gimbals either as a separate unit for a camera to mount or as a complete unit with an integrated camera.
The large mechanical parts for a drone gimbal are simple.
They include the camera mount and three separate motors that work in tandem to keep everything stable and without vibration.
The computing power of gimbals is a little more complicated.
Mechanical force translates into an electronic signal that’s fed to a computer within the “brain” of the gimbal called a controller.
The electromechanical device capable of translating these g-forces is MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems). They can also be called IMU (Inertial Measurement Units), accelerometers, or gyroscopes. They all function in similar ways.
Most of these electronic devices don’t physically move and are purely made up of electronic signals. MEMS devices are different; they move in response to g-forces from the sway of your drone, gusts of wind, etc.
As the MEMS structures move, electrical signals go to the computer inside the gimbal controller.
This gives precise information on the force and direction of those g-forces.
Each second, the controller sends commands to the three motors that control the camera.
It communicates the movements needed to counteract the motion and vibration.
Appreciating the Tech
Have you ever received an overload warning, noticed tilted horizons, or abnormal vibrations?
These are all common issues of your gimbal being obstructed or not calibrated correctly.
An overload warning usually appears when grass is blocking the gimbal or you forgot to remove the gimbal clamp. Simply remove the clamp or place your drone on a spot with no grass, and reboot it. Fixed.
A tilted horizon can be fixed by performing a gimbal calibration on a flat surface through the desired app easily. Also, you can adjust the gimbal in flight, though that's not really recommended.
Only when it comes to abnormal vibrations, you might want to check back with your drone manufacturers customer service.
Hopefully, by now you have a greater appreciation for the workmanship that goes into UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles).
Without drone gimbals, attaining clear photos and video would be (almost) impossible.
Want to read more about drones? Check out Tom’s Tech Time blog for the information you need to be an informed and safe pilot!