Learn To Stabilize Your Camera With SimpleBGC

SimpleBGC PID Tuning Follow Mode Videos About

SimpleBGC

SimpleBGC (simple brushless gimbal controller) is a stabilization system (software and firmware). It provides an affordable and effective way to stabilize your camera. SimpleBGC is commonly used for both aerial (attached to a multicopter) and handheld videography.

The SimpleBGC GUI (Graphical User Interface; v2.40 b7)

Basic Tab

As a starting point, check out the videos in the PID tuning page.

The Sensor page contains videos about calibration and sensor orientation.

Basic

Depending on the seller of your gimbal, it might come to you pre-calibrated. Most likely, however, you will have to recalibrate it at some point (for example, when filming in low temperature).

When doing gyro calibration, the gimbal must be absolutely still to get the correct readings for the stabilization unit. If you are moving the gimbal at all (like holding it in your hand) it can really mess up the system. So you might want to tick the box to skip gyro calibration at startup.

Advanced Tab

Advanced

High Gyro trust value sometimes helps to keep the 0 angle of roll axis in quick yaw rotations. If the Gyro trust is not set correctly, horizon drift can occur. This usually happens when the calibration doesn't match the current temperature. If you are mostly going to do slow yaw rotations you might get better results using lower Gyro trust.

Here's an example: With my gimbal calibrated for room temperature I was filming outside in the cold. I rotated (both slowly and fast) the yaw axis 180 degrees. Here are the results...

Cold Temperature

Slow Yaw Rotation

Fast Yaw Rotation

Low Gyro Trust

Roll stays in the 0 angle quite well.

Roll is deviated severely during the movement, but goes back to 0 angle afterwards.

High Gyro Trust

Roll angle depends on the direction;
acceleration does not matter much.

Roll angle depends on the direction;
acceleration does not matter much.

Start tuning with Gyro LPF at 0. If your system doesn't allow you to use high D values, then you need to raise the Gyro LPF. The higher you go with it, the higher you need to put your D values. (4 seems to be the magic number for my system, maybe because my sensor is prone to vibrations. It's always a good idea to mount the sensor properly into the camera plate, which is something I haven't done.) And Gyro LPF is just some kind of a filter, that removes unwanted high-frequency vibrations. As it gets rid of the disturbance/noise/oscillations you can go higher with Ds, which means smoother stabilization.

Gyro high sensitivity doubles P and D values. This can be used in situations, where the upper limit of 50 is reached. So this setting allows you to go effectively up to 100 with P and D.

If you don't want high pitched noise generated by your gimbal, you need to set the PWM frequency to High.

In most cases you should put some deadband into the RC. This is because your joystick is probably not centered perfectly. If you set it to 0, the motors will pick up even the smallest touches to the stick.

RC Settings Tab

RC Settings

RC Settings are for those who have joysticks or remote controls.

Min and Max angles set the range that the motor rotates in. The target angle won't go over these values (no matter how much you try with your joystick or tilt the frame of your gimbal, when in follow mode).

LPF is the smoothing of the rotation. The higher it is the slower the movement starts and ends.

Service Tab

Menu button allows for quick changes when on the move. For example, when I press my thumbstick down it clicks. The number of clicks can be associated with different commands.

Service

At the moment there are 6 slots (5 clicks and a long press) and 14 options to choose from.

  1. no action
  2. Use Profile1
  3. Use Profile2
  4. Use Profile3
  5. Calibrate ACC
  6. Calibrate Gyro
  7. Swap RC PITCH↔ROLL
  8. Swap RC YAW↔ROLL
  9. Set tilt angles by hands
  10. Reset controller
  11. Motors toggle ON/OFF
  12. Motors ON
  13. Motors OFF
  14. Inverse YAW motor

On 8 bit boards you can carry up to 3 profiles, where as with the new 32 bit boards you can have 5.

If you have no use for all of the slots, then no action -command can be useful to make a clear distinction between profiles and ACC calibration as an example. In other words, you might have 1–3 clicks set a side for profiles, leave 4 clicks empty and have calibration at 5 clicks. So if when going for profile 3 you accidentally press 4 times, it won't do any harm/calibration.

Motors on/off might be useful, if you have enabled gyro calibration at start up. If you want to take the camera off the gimbal, you don't have to turn the gimbal off. Turning off would mean you would have to keep it steady at the next power up. For example, you might have to take camera off to change battery or turn off motors temporarily for some other reason.

Follow Mode Tab

The Follow Mode lets you to change the target angle by simply rotating the gimbal frame.

Follow Mode

Realtime Data Tab

Realtime Data

Put the frame rate to 50 and scale it up. This allows you to see even the smallest vibrations.
I look at the GYRO_X (my roll) and GYRO_Y (my pitch) data, because I have a 2-axis gimbal.

Firmware Upgrade Tab

Firmware Upgrade

After downloading the latest version from basecamelectronics.com browse to the location and then flash.

Universal Stuff (Shown In All Tabs)

Top Of SimpleBGC Software

First thing you see is the name of the program and version of the GUI. The software has been translated to several languages, so choose yours or simply have it in English. At the moment there are three different colourings to choose from.

Saving and loading profiles is often faster than changing the values by hand. It's also a good practice to name your profiles accordingly. For example, r111P8D44p77P8D50, where r is roll power and p is pitch power, P is of course P value and D is D. (The reason I don't mention the I value, is because I always keep it at 0.01.) And if you have numerous profiles you might even store them in separate folders.

On the right side there are three indicators of angles. (top = yaw; middle = roll; bottom = pitch)

The white numbers indicate the exact angle, where as the central bars (black on roll and pitch, blue-red on yaw) give a visual idea of the current angle. The blue arrows show the same as the central bars, except that the angle is multiplied by ten, giving a more accurate reading. For example, when the blue arrow is at the bottom of the circle, instead of the angle being 180 degrees, it's 18 degrees.

In order to see the vibrations better by looking at the blue arrows, you should set the frame rate all the way up to 50. (You can do this in the Realtime Data tab.)

The blue numbers show peak values of disturbance angles.

The red dot shows the target angle (the angle, that a healthy gimbal is supposed to hold). In most cases (for roll and pitch) this is the zero angle. If however you rotate the axis, for example, when in follow mode or when tilting with a joystick, the red dot will leave the 0 angle.

Additionally there are red power bars on the right. They show the approximate power of each axis. This can be useful, if you are not in the basic tab and are wondering how much power your profile has.

Right Side Of SimpleBGC Software

The use defaults button resets everything. Generally you should not press it. If you do, you will (among other things) have to redo the six point ACC calibration.

Bottom Of SimpleBGC Software

The motors on/off button comes handy when tuning. For instance, if for some reason your gimbal goes crazy, you can quickly turn the motors off. In the latest version (2.40 b7) the motors won't turn back on (if they were off) after pressing the write button. So you need to press the motors on/off button again.

The read button tells you which profile you are on. Naturally, if you were tweaking your values (but hadn't yet written the settings to the board) and want to cancel that action, simply press read.

The write button applies the settings (any changes you made).

The big gray box shows you messages and tips.