My first attempts at capturing video from my miniquad were pretty terrible, so I’ve been trying to get better results. It became clear pretty quickly that software stabilization isn’t able to cope with the really shaky footage you get from a quad, so a gimbal seemed to be the way to go.

I ordered a Feiyu Tech FY MiNi3D 3 Axis Gimbal from banggood for about $230 NZD ($140 USD). Here’s some sample footage:

The gimbal itself performs great, and it looks and feels high quality, so I’m overall very happy with it. However putting a big heavy gimbal (150g) and GoPro camera(~80g) on a 250 sized miniquad is a stupid idea. It can handle the weight OK with thrust to spare. However it is a lot less responsive and quite difficult to control. There were some resonance causing the quad to shake quite violently when the throttle was at maximum too, which the gimbal did a great job of trying to counteract, but couldn’t quite remove entirely.

I put the gimbal on the top as I thought that would be a lot easier than trying to build legs to allow take off and landing without damaging the camera. This worked OK, the gimbal had a setting to operate in this mode. However you are limited to looking straight or up, and can’t look down to see the ground. I also suspect it would have controlled a little better with the added weight below rather than above.

I couldn’t control the gimbal via the D4R-ii receiver that I had previously installed on the quad, as I had that running in CPPM mode. It might have been possible to switch to the other mode of operation and get things working but I decided to instead use the X8R that came free with my Taranis transmitter. With the flight controls going out over SBUS I could then have a whole 8 ports free to communicate with the gimbal (though I only needed 3).

I then connected those to switches and knobs on the Taranis, so could change the mode and rotate the camera from the transmitter, and it all worked great.

One other thing I found was that the increased weight put more stress on the motors which put more stress on the battery. One of the batteries constantly sounded the low battery buzzer despite being fully charged at 12.6 volts. I think this was because it had a lower rating of 25-50C (at 1.3A), and I must have been drawing more than 32A even just to hover. I’m not entirely certain, but other batteries with higher C ratings were fine, and that battery performs OK without the gimbal. The gimbal itself is of course using current too, but probably not more than a few hundred mA.

Overall, it was an interesting experience, though removing it from the miniquad and flying it light again was a huge relief, and I won’t be putting it back on. I haven’t got my money’s worth out of the gimbal yet though, so I have a great excuse to build a bigger quad!