ArduCopter controls STorM32 gimbal by UAVCAN

Hey Folks

next step in UAVCAN-izing my drone. I’ve added a AP_Mount_STorM32_UAVCAN class as well as the relevant code snippets in AP_UAVCAN to ArduCopter 3.6-dev, which enables controlling a STorM32 gimbal via UAVCAN. This is similar to controlling a STorM32 gimbal via MAVLink and a serial connection to a Pixhawk, which you might be familiar with, except that now the CAN bus is used, and UAVCAN as protocol.

The video below includes a short flight sequence demonstrating this in “real life”. That’s a demo of little practical relevance, but the control of course works also for all other situations which are covered by ArduPilot’s mounts (missions, POI, follow me, etc.).

Cheers, Olli


This is really great stuff. I hope you don’t mind, I’ve turned it into a blog post to give it more visibility.

whatever that means
thx :slight_smile:

one should not forget to mention the incredible help by Pavel, thx sir

Interesting work. Do you have any plans to ever opensource STorM32? It could be a very important piece of the opensource UAV ecosystem at this important juncture.

I did a short test with my RC Helicopter and a StorM32 gimbal today.
Grey winter day in the back yard - but smooth video.

I am guessing this does not have an easy answer but how do you add encoders to an existing gimbal? I am firing up Storm32s again with NT and i would love to add encoders, even if it is experimental. The Storm32 wiki is a little vague on this.

this discussion would probably be better placed in the rcgroups T-STorM32 thread

the answer is either easy or not, depends a lot on the mechanical capabilities at your disposal (I have nearly zero, and it’s a struggle)

the conversion consists of two steps:
(i) mounting the ring magnets
(ii) getting the encoder-motor modules (and mounting them)

the first step really depends on your gimbal, motors, and mechanical tools
my simplest solution (which I use on yaw of my gimbal stick) was to just squeeze a chop stick into the hollow axle, and the magnet onto it. For the gimbal in the video I had the (one-time) luck to get someone making me some brass pieces. This step is largely a matter of one’s creativity.

the second step is more difficult, as such motor modules are not available. I would be willing to build 3 for you, but would have to order everything, so, that’s something about 4-6 weeks (drop me a PM if that is of interest).

maybe you could/want contact rcgroups user buckker for his experience, he successfully did such a conversion. Reading the latest exchange with Ja1012 in that T-STorM32 thread might be helpful too. Pl don’t hesitate to ask if questions are still open.

cheers, Olli

Yes, I will move this over to the RCGroups thread Olli. Thanks for the pointers. I was hoping that I could get get a gimbal that already had encoders on it somewhere!!! I have seen motors with encoders like this:

no, STorM32 is not Alexmos
the T-STorM32’s concept is different (but I claim it will pay out eventually, when I have fully pushed the possibilities of having motor modules)
and it’s also different in that you get the Alexmos stuff commercially, but nothing of the more recent STorM32 stuff

actually, that’s along the T-STorM32 concept:
but I guess it’s also for AM

Thx. That explains things. I will join in on the RCgroups thread.