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Thread: What kind of signal comes out of the gimbal control pins?

  1. #1

    What kind of signal comes out of the gimbal control pins?

    Hi there!

    I'm Christian from Berlin/Germany and i own a NovaX 350 RtF. Since a few weeks i've mounted a 3rd party gimbal (storm32), which works well, but i'm unable to figure out how to control it with the R8 radio system. Can anyone tell me what kind signal comes out of GIMBAL_X and GIMBAL_Y at the power board? The gimbal supports PWM, Sum-PPM, Spektrum, Futaba S-Bus, hott sumd and sr xl. I've already spend a lot of hours to find a solution, so i would be very happy about any helpful advice.

    Thanks in advance,

    PS: A video from yesterday's flight (Sorry for the music selection, simply switch off if you do not like):
    Last edited by schulle; 28.07.2016 at 03:00. Reason: Video Link added

  2. #2
    Hey Christian,

    Great video and great music! Really enjoyed it! Good stability and smooth control.

    In regards to your question, I believe that the flight controller is looking for signal specifically from our X3 Mini Gimbal as our flight controller communicates directly with it and probably isn't understanding the controls from a different brand of gimbal. I will reach out to our developer to confirm this, but I am not 100% sure that the aftermarket gimbal will be able to communicate using the X and Y port.

    Have you also ensured that the controls for the Storm are plugged in correctly on the board in terms of orientation?

    I will update with information tomorrow morning.


  3. #3
    Thx for your quick reply Jamie!

    The X3 mini Gimbal description say's "Compatible with a wide range of drones". So i was hope that the NovaX uses a standard protocol like PPM or PWM for the gimbal control.
    The connection between NovaX and the gimbal controller is in the right orientation, because the connected axis moves endless forward and backward from one endpoint to the other like a sinus curve.
    The channels for the receiver are correctly assigned to VRA and VRB, but the knobs have no effect at all.
    Firmware NovaX: 2.0
    Firmware TX: 1.1.1
    App Version: 2.12 (iOS)

    If there is no direct way, i'll try to grab the ppm signal from RX and connect it to the ppm input pin at the gimbal controller.

    Greetings from Berlin,

  4. #4
    Hey Christian,

    Thanks for the detailed information. The fact that the gimbal is moving in and up and down cycle definitely means you are correct in the connection. This is a part of the gimbal reading procedure with the X3. Basically the NovaX 350 is trying to gather readings from the attached gimbal to make adjustments to the GPS readings in relation to the readings being given off by the X3 gimbal.

    The fact that your gimbal never completes this cycle means it's giving a different reading.

    Something you may want to try is once you power up and the gimbal is rotating engage NovaX motors (at a safe distance from you) and then shut the motors back off. This should center the gimbal. Following that see if you have any control of the gimbal with the VRB knob.

    Although the X3 can work with just about any other setup, when paired with the NovaX, they are made communicate together to give variables in readings to ensure the best flight performance.

    Please try the above mentioned and see if that works for you or not.

    If not you might have to go the route of plugging up via your Rx.


  5. #5
    On a different note, we will be in Berlin at the IFA event this year, from Sept. 2-7. Don't know if you attend the show or not, but if you do please let us know. We'd love to meet you!

  6. #6
    Hi Jamie,

    thanks again for your reply. I have some news too. I've unplugged the ppm cable from the novax powerboard and wired just the ppm-signal to the ppm-input on the gimbal controller. Then i've configured the virtual channels 7 & 8 as input for pitch & yaw via the gimbal's configuration tool, powered everything up and VOILA, now i can control pitch and yaw very accurate with the R8 Transmitter. Thats a starting point, but i have to figure out, how to split the ppm-signal, so that the flight controller and the gimbal controller can use it together. Maybe a very small circuit is necessary (galvanic isolation or amplification).
    The bad news is, that i afterwards inadvertently shorted the gimbal controller while assembling. I forgot to remove the power cable. A new gimbal controller ist already ordered and will arrive next monday or tuesday. Really cheap 25 €. When everything works fine i'll make a new video WITH gimbal control.

    I plan this year to visit the IFA due to the increasingly popular quadcopters. I have been read already on the RCL site that you're there. My last visit was in 1990 i think.

    So i say see you later...

    Last edited by schulle; 29.07.2016 at 20:34.

  7. #7
    Hey Christian,

    Firstly sorry to hear that you ended up having to get a replacement board. Glad at least that it is a replaceable part. In regards to your testing, this is really great news to hear that you've found this and of course is workable, but as you mentioned it would require an addition of a circuit to try and split the signal.

    That is excellent to hear that you will be IFA and I do hope that we will get the chance to meet you. We will be in Hall 26, at booth 128.

    Looking forward to the show.


  8. #8
    Hi Jamie,

    the replacement board has arrived and is already installed. The gimbal is working again now. This time i followed your suggestion and everything is fine now. After arming the motors, the gimbals movement stops and gets centered. Now i have pitch control and the way it works is totally acceptable for me. What i want to say is i'm happy now! Thank you again for your help and i hope to see you soon at the IFA. I think my idea with splitting the PPM signal would work too, but i'm to lazy and i don't want to produce more waste with toasted gimbal controllers...

    Greetings from Berlin,

  9. #9
    Hey Christian,

    So great that the board arrive and you are up and running and all is working. Also I'm with you on the if it isn't broke don't fix it mentality.

    Looking forward to more flight footage and also the opportunity to meet up at IFA.

    Thanks so much for the update Christian. Enjoy!


  10. #10
    Everything works great! I just want to post a video link:
    I think that is the best quality what i can get from my Rollei 400 camera, but it's ok for me.
    May be i can purchase a better cam at the IFA...

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