To do aerial filming it doesn’t have to be a large multicopter, let’s push the limit of mini quad and mount a 3-axis camera gimbal on it, see what we can do.
I chose the Feiyu Mini3D gimbal for this aerial photography platform, because of its small form factor and light weight.
Get your Feiyu Mini 3D 3-Axis Camera Gimbal from Banggood.
Feiyu Gimbal Result
I am quite impressed with the end result. For someone like me who doesn’t have extensive experience in using a camera gimbals, I find this Feiyu Mini 3D gimal really easy to use! Everything just works out of the box!
The stabilization was working great even when it was windy, and my quad wasn’t properly tuned either which wobbles a lot during flight. But that doesn’t seem to affect the gimbal performance much.
However I do find just a little yaw vibrations in still shots, and sometimes a slight wobbles in sharp bank turns. Maybe I should do a proper calibration before next flight since I haven’t done it yet. Or maybe it’s the small, light weight motors that are simply not powerful enough.
Feiyu Mini3D 3-Axis Camera Gimbal Quick Review
I built a 2-axis camera gimbal from scratch before , even though I was using plywood sheet for the frame, and there were only 2 motors, it still weights quite a bit. And because it was 2-axis, yaw vibration was a real headache. I have always have this idea of mounting a gimbal on a mini quad, so I was looking for a light weight 3 axis camera gimbal.
Feiyu Mini3D is specifically designed for the GoPro Cameras including Hero2, Hero3, Hero3+ and Hero4. Although the Xiaomi Yi Camera is similar shape to the GoPro, it’s a couple of mm taller, making it unable to fit in the camera mount unfortunately.
On the controller board there are 2 connectors, one is micro USB for talking to the computer, the other is the 8-port micro JST connector which allows power input, video out (from gopro), and 3 RC receiver channel inputs.
Here is a summary of the camera gimbal spec:
- Frame is made of tough composite plastic, and light weight aluminium
- It accepts 7V to 17V input voltage, in another word 2S to 4S lipo batteries
- It weights 149g excluding camera
- Pitch and yaw axis can be controlled by RC receiver
One great thing about this gimbal is that all the wires are hidden inside the plastic shells, so you don’t accidentally snap the wires, or have them get in the way during operation.
There is also the video output which is not seen very often in these gimbals. There is a hidden port just next to the camera mount, and the Gopro video out cable is also provided with this product to make connection/wiring super clean and easy.
The camera gimbal looks a solid product, unfortunately there is still room for improvement in quality control, one of the wires is broken out of the box.
First thing first, balance your gimbal with camera installed! Because cameras are all different weights, and the manufacturer cannot predict what camera you are going to use with the gimbal, it’s pretty common that the camera gimbal isn’t balanced right from the beginning. When it’s balanced, you get much better stabilization out of the it, because the motors are not doing unnecessary work on fighting gravity.
To check for Gimbal Balance, just check to see if the gimbal rests centred and level when powered.
To fix the balance issue, I simply use a couple of 1p coins (£0.01) to get the balance right. You can also sit your gopro in the mount up side down (picture 3), that way the roll axis motor is closer to the centre of the lens, and supposedly provide better stabilization (my theory :D ). However, there isn’t enough gap to put the lens protector on with this config. I care about lens proection, so I had to go with the config in picture 2 eventually, and it still performed very well.
Here is the manual for this gimbal.
Mounting Camera Gimbal on Mini Quad
It’s actually quite easy to mount this gimbal on my ZMR250 mini quad, no modification was needed. Here is the build log for the ZMR250 I am using.
Camera + Gimbal is about 250 grams, so it will mess up your CoG a lot, and you will need a very light weight mini quad build to carry it.
I should have placed the gimbal a bit more forward, because the propellers occasionally show in the footage as I am doing sharp turns. However it would affect the CoG of the mini quad, and I don’t think there is much more room for me to place my LiPo battery any further back, to keep a good balance.
There are 3 bolts, bottom 2 go straight into the standoffs of the frame (that is very lucky :D ), bolt on top goes into the frame plate cut-out. The gap is a bit large so i also used a large washer with a nylon nut to tighten it to the top plate.
Putting vibration damping balls through the holes can be tricky, here is an easy way of doing it. I also tightened the damping balls with zip tie, so it doesn’t fall apart in a crash. It also helps wobble problems in large movements.
I am powering this gimbal with a separate 2S LiPo, I could have just powered it with my main 4S lipo but I didn’t want to do extra soldering. As I am putting my main LiPo battery at the bottom of the frame, some “landing gear” were added to the arms to protect it. They are just foam packaging from those FPVModel motors.
Hope you enjoy this project and the test flight video. Let me know if you have any comments or questions.
Is it nowadays something smaller in the market?
I also forgot to ask, so I noticed that the yaw stabilization was a bit jerky as you mentioned. Is there a way to alleviate this if when you to turn you always add some roll to make a coordinated turn? Do you think that helps the yaw jerk? Also do you think the yaw jerkiness would get worse or better if the camera is closer or further away from the geometric center of the frame?
You mentioned that the pitch and yaw direction of this gimbal can be controlled. How does this work? Can you assign an auxiliary channel on your controller using a pot to do this? Iv’e seen this done before, but the latency is super slow like half a second delay. It would be cool if you had a separate person be the camera operator whos job it is to control pitch and yaw to frame the shot and let the roll axis still be automatically stabilized.
Apart from an instance where I had noticed a fault in the motor arm while taking a selfie, the 3- Axis smartphone Gimbal SPG has been the best partner for my iPhone 8 Plus. Before SPG I had faced a lot of trouble even with a camera with optical image stabilization. Although 8 Plus was good enough in capturing high quality videos, but once you use it with SPG you can clearly see the difference. With SPG along with 4K quality videos you get a clip which is smooth, stabilized and beautiful. This has been possible only because of inclusive features like modern design aluminium body, lightweight (350g), tool less sliding motor arm for 360 degree panning and 320 degrees for both tilting and rolling, smart face tracking and a splash proof technology. With an innovative knob ring and sliding cross arm the SPG can hold smartphone of any sizes. The great part about SPG is, one can even use an action camera with it and can control using either the dedicated joystick and through smartphone application. I would advise everyone to go with Feiyu Tech SPG, if they are looking for a reliable smartphone Gimbal.
hi, can i ask someone has right connectors need for this gimbal i have only the motr assembly and usb dongle, no plate, no wires… id like to make it in working order since i had this for gift and owner has lost the cables and plate
I’m planning on doing something similar to this, using Emax 2208 / 1500Kv motors… they are really efficient on 6045 props, lifting 690gr with only 11A draw on 4S. I’ve been adding weights, and I believe I can pull a setup below 1kg, including gimbal and a 4.000mAh Multistar battery (quite compact battery at 112x40x34mm, 320gr). With such setup, I think 10 minutes or more of nice smooth flying (not only hoovering) might be possible, what do you think? Any thoughts on this?
I think these motors would even be more efficient with 7″ props?
I think 690g/motor is still a bit on the edge for a quad that carries a gimbal even it’s a mini quad. I suspect your build should weight around 800g-900g?
Aim for 1kg per motor at least, that should give you much better control and resistance to wind.
Yeah, maybe 7″ props are better – EMAX doesn’t provide numbers for those props – just for 6″ in 4S and 8″ in 3S. I might try with a smaller battery, to keep weight down. If it doesn’t work, then I might get biggers arms or swap the ZMR250 for a 280 quad or similar that can take 7″ props. The reason going for this motors is efficiency – stronger and faster ones drain batteries too fast. For slow flight, I believe that keeping a 3:1 thrust to weight ratio might give me good results…
Thank you for your thoughts
will that gimbal work with and on the XK380 Detect
Hey Oscar, first of all thanks for all the work you’re putting into this blog.
I find myself coming back again and again to learn about quads.
The idea of a 250 Quad for AP is quite intriguing and awesome in general.
Have you considered updating this build with Feiyu Techs new pro gimbal?
I think I might… but i am looking to use a different frame rather than the ZMR
Are you looking at anything specific frame wise?
I’m currently creating a list of the needed parts for this build and the ZMR250 seems like a perfect fit (especially if I can mount the gimbal without any mod)
Your article is really good. I was thinking of making a portable AP rig for some time now and have read your article many times.
I’ve decided to use the same gimbal. I just have to finalise the motors and frame. Can you please help me in selecting the same?
I had similar idea that it will be nice to mini quad had a camera gimbal.
I found this site. and I decide to proceed.
This is result and it’s good~
Thanks for the inspiration~
Hi Oscar, did you ever mount it on the bottom? Any test footage? What an interesting build, Probably gets you considerably more nimble aerial footage.
Hi Oscar. Buidling a simialr rig. How did you set up follow mode in SimpleBGC? I manage to have it activated on the quad on yaw/roll/pitch and deactivated on roll but how do I make the pitch not follow? Any tip m8? :D
sorry i have no experience with SimpleBGC so unable to help…
Think I got a duff unit!
Very nice setup Oscar :) Did you setup heading and pitch input to the gimbal from the flight controller (naze32)?
Do you know how to set this up in cleanflight?
i don’t know if you can. maybe just hook up these control to spare PWM output on RX, or additional RX.
Found a solution. if Servo tilt is enabled on the flight controller, then on the servo tab in cleanflight, it is possible to assign each servo to a rx channel :)
thanks, that’s good to know :)
Excellent work. Totally new at all this. First off wanted to take stabilised footage whilst trail running. So looked at handheld gimbal, then Quadcopter AP, then all the home made stuff. Aim is for ‘quality’ video whilst on the move, so it has to be transportable (Scottish Highlands/Alps). Using a 250 seems the way to go, for both learning, crash resistance and portability! Went full circle from initially looking at folding alien frames and their ilk. Fab stuff, thanks.
thanks :) looks like you need something bigger and more stable to cope with the windy condition :) 250 might be more suitable for “down the road park” kind of flying, where flying condition is much more forgiving :)
Hi Oscar and everyone,
Please give me advice, I plan to build a hexa size 300
Frame: Kingkong Hex300
Motor: EMAX MT2204 II KV2300 or EMAX MT1806 KV2280 -x6 all thrust about 2,4kg at 100% throttle. MT1806 cheap, lightweight and MT2204 can fly with 4s, cooling series. I’m so confused.
Prop: 5040 x6 if use MT1806 or prop is 6040 x6 if use MT2204. If MT2204 with 6040 prop give too thrust I not use, prop is 5040 with MT2204
ESC: EMAX Simon 12A or EMAX Simon 20A I’m confused. – If use MT2204 I plan to use Emax BLHeli 12A/20A to fly with 4s
FC: APM mini + GPS + minimosd + power module. I had fly with F550, APM 2.8 so I think APM mini fit to me.
Tx rx: Flysky TH9
FPV: 600mw, Fatshark atenna
Gimbal: BGC 3 axis, cheap from taobao or 3 axis with Storm32
All weight: frame 175g + 2204 25g x6 + gimbal 3 axis 500g + ESC 20A 28g x6 + prop 10g x6 + 150g APM, rx, fpv, cable, etc… = ~ 1.2kg not include battery. If use ESC 12A and MT1806 all weight ~ 1.1kg not include baterry.
Include batterry all weight ~ 1.6kg – 1.6kg.
For 8-10 min flight I’m confused to chose baterry.
4s 2800mAh(MT2204, BLHeli ESC) or 3s 3500mAh(MT1806, Simon ESC)?
I want to fly indoor for record video with gopro. Require high quality of video.
go for 2204 motors, they are a bit more robust in my experience. And 4S compatible is great!
12A should be fine with 3S, but if you want to go 4S, you will need 20A esc.
about battery maybe around the range 20 2200mah-2500mah?
Thank you very much. I’ll fly with 4s, 2500mAh. Flight time can up to ~10 min?
depends on your style, hovering? maybe :) but I wouldn’t expect long flight time on a mini quad.
and 2500mah is a bit too heavy if you want to go fast, maybe 1300mah-1800mah?
thank for your advice, I think I will not fly fast, it jut for record video. Maybe I need some battery has different capacity for different video require
I see a coin on your gimbal, it for balance gimbal? if put gimbal below does it need coin to balance?
Yes the coins are for balancing gimbal :)
it depends, if your gimbal is not balance on its own with camera mounted, then you need a mean to balance it for best performance.
I also have a zmr250 naze32 with frsky d4r-II receiver using CPPM (TGY 9X with DHT module), I can’t quite figure out where I could connect the signal cables that control the gimbal, is it even possible? Do I need to change receiver to 8ch?
Thanks for your help
you need a PWM RX to control the gimbal…
spent about 8 hours on the web yesterday trying to figure out instructions on how to connect this Mini 3d 6-ball Feiyu to the Phantom 2.
Eveything I’ve seen appears as thought they assume a total NOOB like me already knows where the power cable is supposed to be to plug into the Gimbal??
I have a limp Hero I’m ready to duck-tape to the skids because I can’t figure out the basics of getting power to the gimbal Please, someone, help. What else do I need? The widest ribbon coming out the leg CAN plug into the Feiyu, but that’s not a good idea considering I smelled smoke and plastic for a few seconds. How can things that are so incredibly cutting edge and advanced have virtually zero instructions out there?????
This post inspired me to build a mini Y6 with a gimbal on it.
Got some RCX 2205, DYS 30A and 3S 3000 batt.
The frame is a ZMR250 mod and the tail is a bit longer than it should be (otherwise I have no room for electronics and battery.
Gimbal is a heavy DYS Smart. 260g grams without GoPro. I know, it’s freakin heavy. And I have no idea about HOW I would fit the gimbal on the frame.
The goal is build a small machine possible capable to do nice images.
I’ve started the build already, so if the weather cooperates (I’m in London so….) I’ll be able to test on next Sunday.
If works, I want try later some proper 3D printed ducts. I want to see by myself how they behave on mini coaxial stuff.
The motors can push 700 grams each one on 3S. I’ll try to stay below 1.5 kg and see what happens.
Would you have any advice for that?
Btw, thank you very much for the amazing work you have been doing here. Your blog is the responsible for me getting on this hobby. :)
Thank you very much
Would you happen to know what connector type the video/Power cable (Gimbal->GoPro USB) is?
I would like to eBay a pig tail to build my own to be able to steal 5VDC as well from the gimbal.
I just got my feet wet with FPV racing thanks to Eachine Racer 250 from BG. I have very limited funds so I thought I would try to use the Eachine lightweight 2D gimbal with it to get some stabilized video with my Mobius as inspired by this page. However I just realized that the ER250 (v1) is quite different from the 250 build you used (3s vs 4s, 2204 motors vs. 2206). Not sure about the gimbal weight yet (its on its way) but I assume about 200g including Mobius. My AUW with gimbal should be around 750g. ER250 came with 5030 props (Diatone I guess) and I also have (and modded the ER250 to be able to use) GF6045 and DAL6040. Which ones would you recommend me to use? Are 6 inch props better for lift/stability so more suitable for video as I would assume? Do you think this is doable at all with the components I have available/underway? Last question – HK sells some CR arm extensions. With those I could use even larger props for more lift (7 or maybe even 8 inch). Would that help at all or I would burn those 12 A ESCs or even the 2204 motors quickly?
First off, check how much current your motor/prop combination going to draw, and if your ESC can support that amount of current?
I would recommend going for the biggest possible, the more thrust the better, within safe range for your ESC.
Yep, I thought the same and since my post above I was searching for this motor/prop combo measurements and did find some relevant data linked by MassiveOverkill. Seems like my 6040 or possibly 6045 props are about the maximum that my 12 A ESCs can handle if we take 100% throttle data at 3s. But at 50% throttle things are much less dramatic.
I will probably try to use/test the HK arm extensions and some 7 inch props, while reducing max throttle to let’s say 75% as well as using some docile PID settings to make the quad smooth and stable.
I will also buy a watt meter. I already have one but it can only handle up to 30 A.
I hope to be able to adapt the gimbal itself as it was made for GoPro. I’d like to further reduce its weight, balance it with Mobius and set its PID settings lower to allow non-vibrating operation with the lighter camera.
Thanks a lot for your great blog, your awesome work and tóny of useful information!
I have just purchased this and waiting for it to arrive, I only have one channel free on my receiver and plan on using it for manual tilt. However I noticed to switch the modes you need to hook that up to a channel to. I don’t really want to switch modes on the fly just set it to mode 3 heading lock mode and leave it, can I switch to this mode without having it permanently plugged into a dedicated channel?
I could hook it up to my free channel to make the switch but will it remember it when I unplug it again to use it for the tilt control?
I got very impressed by what you did! I have a QAV250 and im thinking about mounting a gimbal on it instead of buying a bigger drone. But i have a question: Is the rotor power enough to keep it stable and fly for more than 3-4 minutes? What battery and motors are you using?
yes flight time is about 5 mins.
1800mah 4S, FPVModel 2206 motors
You think this 3-axis gimbal could fit on a 180mm frame?
probably not… :)
Awesome! What’s the total weight of this zmr250 with the gimbal and camera?
My setup is over 950g, but my ZMR250 build is a bit on the heavy side, I think I can make it under 800g if I really try :)
great review! Could banggood.com/Feiyu-Tech-WG-Gimbal-Replace-Board-Adapter-Mount-for-AEE-XiaoMi-Yi-SJ-Camera-p-990563.html help with mounting the Xiaomi Yi?
HI Chris, i don’t think it will fit, it can only be used with WG gimbal.
This is great and footage so impressive! I’ve been looking for someone to do this for ages! There’s litterally no one else doing this with a 250 and anyone who asks on forums gets told that it wouldn’t work. I started off getting interested in this hobby from when the phantom launched with the plan to build an aerial filming platform, then got bitten by the 250 racing videos and have just started building my first with a 180mm thug frame. So much to learn and just wanna say thanks for such an informative blog site – almost every question I google, your site pops up and has the answer. Thanks!
hehe thanks Pablo.
As the 250 mini quad are getting more and more powerful, lifting a camera gimbal is totally doable :)
I am building a 180 as well on 4S :) they are fun !
Wow impressive ! Love it!