Welcome Mavic Pilot!
Jump in and join our free DJI Mavic community today!
Sign up

Mavic Air with Seek Thermal (Previously: Can I fix the gimbal into one position?)

Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
23
Reaction score
6
Age
63
I would like to fix the gimbal so that it is in the full down and centered position and not moving regardless of the position of the aircraft. It would be nice if I could have the gimbal move freely and then lock it down and centered just when I want during the flight, but I'm also okay with setting it in a fixed position and leaving it in this position throughout the flight. Is it possible to have the gimbal in the full down and centered position and not moving regardless of the position of the aircraft? If so, how?

Thank you in advance,
Andrew

PS. I've tried using the FPV view, but the lens still moves around a bit. I'd like it as if it were glued in place.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Former Member

Former Member

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2016
Messages
14,022
Reaction score
13,028
Location
Duluth, Georgia
I would like to fix the gimbal so that it is in the full down and centered position and not moving regardless of the position of the aircraft. It would be nice if I could have the gimbal move freely and then lock it down and centered just when I want during the flight, but I'm also okay with setting it in a fixed position and leaving it in this position throughout the flight. Is it possible to have the gimbal in the full down and centered position and not moving regardless of the position of the aircraft? If so, how?

Thank you in advance,
Andrew

PS. I've tried using the FPV view, but the lens still moves around a bit. I'd like it as if it were glued in place.
There is no way to do it without disconnecting it.

A sure way to do it would be to open it up, disconnect the gimbal ribbon cable, and then hold it in place somehow. That would void your warranty, but its effective. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: andrew.lindsay
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
23
Reaction score
6
Age
63
Thanks. I'll look for another solution. I'd rather not void the warranty.

I'm assuming that fixing the lens in place before the flight would damage the mechanism. Is that correct?
 

Former Member

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2016
Messages
14,022
Reaction score
13,028
Location
Duluth, Georgia
I'm assuming that fixing the lens in place before the flight would damage the mechanism. Is that correct?
100% sure. As @Kilrah said, it would overheat and maybe start smoking but would make for a good Youtube video. Sorry, got carried away.

OP can I ask why you would like it in a fixed position?
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
23
Reaction score
6
Age
63
It will be forcing and overheating.
That's what I thought, but I thought I'd ask, just in case it was allowable. Thanks for the quick reply.

In this case I'd be using a mirror to view a small device mounted underneath the drone; no shake. I may be able to use a slightly larger mirror to accommodate gimbal movement and still keep the device in view.
 

Former Member

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2016
Messages
14,022
Reaction score
13,028
Location
Duluth, Georgia
That's what I thought, but I thought I'd ask, just in case it was allowable. Thanks for the quick reply.

In this case I'd be using a mirror to view a small device mounted underneath the drone; no shake. I may be able to use a slightly larger mirror to accommodate gimbal movement and still keep the device in view.
Im just really curious about what you're mission is. If you are looking for a straight down view, you can always attach a fixed auxiliary camera to the bottom of the drone such as a GoPro, or smaller. Whatever you attach, beware that the heatsink gets really hot, and could melt some plastics.
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
23
Reaction score
6
Age
63
I'm trying to view the display on a small thermal camera during flight, so my objective was to point the camera straight down and use a mirror to view the display mounted under the drone's body. An option is to mount the display directly under the drone's lens, but then I'd need to balance the craft with a rearward weight. It doesn't have to be a 1-to1 weight, as I can suspend a much lighter weight quite far aft of the craft on a carbon rod. But it might total too much weight for the drone. Still it's an option I may test if I can't view the display with the weight centered under the body.

Of course, I can always just record the thermal imagery and then view it once the drone has landed. This I've already tested and it works fine. I just thought it would be cool if I could view it in flight.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Former Member

Former Member

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2016
Messages
14,022
Reaction score
13,028
Location
Duluth, Georgia
I'm trying to view the display on a small thermal camera during flight, so my objective was to point the camera straight down and use a mirror to view the display mounted under the drone's body. An option is to mount the display directly under the drone's lens, but then I'd need to balance the craft with a rearward weight. It doesn't have to be a 1-to1 weight, as I can suspend a much lighter weight quite far aft of the craft on a carbon rod. But it might total too much weight for the drone. Still it's an option I may test if I can't view the display with the weight centered under the body.

Of course, I can always just record the thermal imagery and then view it once the drone has landed. This I've already tested and it works fine. I just thought it would be cool if I could view it in flight.
Interesting concept. So the thermal camera has a display mounted downwards (or sideways) that you are trying to watch while you are flying the Mavic? Better to try to mount it under the lens so it's free of the heat coming out of the core board heat sink, and it might be out of the propwash in the front if it's more forward and under the gimbal. Dont underestimate the Mavics lifting capacity, it can lift almost 60% it's own weight in payload. Your CG wont really be disrupted if you put a measly few ounces forward or aft of it, but best to test fly in that configuration. BTW, I hope you are flying LOS or with a spotter when doing this since you wont have the aid of a forward facing camera. Thats where drones like the Inspire shine.

 

Former Member

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2016
Messages
14,022
Reaction score
13,028
Location
Duluth, Georgia
You can always mount an additional rc camera transmitter on the bottom near where your thermal camera is so you can have dual displays, Mavic cam for flight, RC cam for getting a ballpark of what your thermal cam is looking at. Here's a cheapie but it's similar to what I used on my first FPV setup 10 years ago on a Trex 450:

RC FPV Combo 5.8ghz 200mw Transmitter Receiver No Blue Monitor 800tvl Camera | eBay

The cam, transmitter, and battery probably weigh less than 6 ounces. BTW, NONE of this will void your warranty (unless you crash) and you will not need to open the drone up at all. :)

TD over and out.
 

Former Member

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2016
Messages
14,022
Reaction score
13,028
Location
Duluth, Georgia
If you put the AC in Airplane mode, does that not 'freeze' the gimbal???
I think fixed wing mode would make the drone bank, and the op is trying to keep the thermal camera pointed straight down. He is better off in tripod mode, that will make the aircraft yaw when he pushes the left stick left and keep turns flatter with no banking..
 
  • Like
Reactions: Simmo
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
23
Reaction score
6
Age
63
Thanks everyone. We've been slammed with work and I've simply had no time to play or respond, but the project is over and now I'm back to normal days. However, I have had the time to ponder a little during this time. Here are some details. Perhaps I should have posted them earlier, but I was unfamiliar with the forum and one never knows how such a request will be received. So thank you again.
  • I have a Seek Thermal Compact Pro
  • Since it attaches to a phone, I'll need the Mavic Air to tote along a light phone.
  • I believe I'll need to keep the weight I add under the center of gravity. Even if the MA could handle a lot of forward weight without overworking the motors, I image it would drastically shorten flight times and perhaps lead to poor handling.
  • I did rubber band my Galaxy S8+ Edge + Seek + Adapter to the MA and tried a couple of flights. Total weight was 6.7 oz. Flight time was about 11.5 minutes. It flew okay, except that on one flight the MA stopped responding to forward/back controls. It would rotate and fly sideways only, which is how I had to bring it back home. I do not know what caused the problem. It wasn't trying to avoid obstacles. The thermal recording was good.
  • I've cross-referenced what phones are light weight, will run the Seek Thermal software, and are available inexpensively on FreedomPop. FreedomPop is a great and truly free (once you are set up) mobile service. I have a couple that I use for various purposes, such as an emergency phone for home and travel, a backup phone, and a phone I take on outings where there is a chance the phone might get ruined. (I do obstacle course racing (mud runs).
    • The Samsung Galaxy S4 is 4.59 oz. The iPhone 5S and SE are 3.95 oz, which would be great, but my Seek Thermal is the Android version and I don't know if a micro USB to iOS adapter will work with the Seek Thermal device. I've written Seek with the question, but not yet heard back from them. If an adapter would work then I'll definitely go with one of the lighter iPhones.
  • I've got some carbon fiber rods used in stunt kites. I also have a small light plastic mirror.
  • I knew focus would be an issue, so I tried a quick experiment with a pair of reading glasses. I don't know the magnification. I suspect it's 1.5 to 2.0. You can see in the samples below, I can focus at 7 inches using the glasses. I expect with a strong pair of glasses that I could focus at perhaps even 3 or 4 inches. (The large print shown is about 10 pt. The fine print is about 6 pt. I've zoomed in to show the clarity.) The lens should also help narrow my field of view so I see more of the phone screen and less of the surroundings.
  • So I was thinking I'd make a framework from the carbon fiber rods that would hold the lens, phone, and mirror so that when desired I could point the camera straight down and be able to view the image shown on the phone screen. Vibration may blur it a bit, but that's acceptable. I'm not trying to read fine print. This also allows me the flexibility of using the MA camera normally. The frame would also serve as landing legs. Some rough weight estimates bring it all to somewhere around 6.5 oz.
  • When I get the chance, I'll give the whole assembly a try using my S8+ and some rubber bands to hold things together on the table. I tried it by just holding the mirror and phone in front of the MA and it looked like it would work. The proof will be in using the lens, mirror, and phone all together, then seeing what kind of image I get. I also need to hear back from Seek on if I can use a micro USB to iPhone adapter. I'd love to save the 0.64 oz by using an iPhone.
  • One last thing. I've wondered if using a cell phone macro lens (example) on the MA lens would work. If the MA can support the weight of filters then why not the weight of a macro lens. Of course, I'd totally loose the ability to use the MA camera normally. Still, the weight savings might be worth it.

Thoughts?


mavic.png
 

Air Beetle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2018
Messages
294
Reaction score
129
Age
61
It seems that a copilot viewing the thermal camera while the pilot flys the drone is so much easier that that contraption. I'm not a guru but if you could cast the thermal image to a second phone or tablet you would be all set.
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
23
Reaction score
6
Age
63
It seems that a copilot viewing the thermal camera while the pilot flys the drone is so much easier that that contraption. I'm not a guru but if you could cast the thermal image to a second phone or tablet you would be all set.
Most of the time a copilot will not be an option.

I can't think of a way to cast the image to a second device without exceeding the weight the MA will carry. The device requires a phone on the MA to work. The 2.4 casting devices I know about add too much weight and a phone WiFi to a second phone won't get me the distance I need. But I'm open to casting options I haven't thought about.
 

Air Beetle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2018
Messages
294
Reaction score
129
Age
61
No extra weight at all because I thought there were casting apps? I was thinking casting from that phone flying on the belly to another phone on the ground. Maybe they are called screen mirroring apps.
 
Joined
Jul 14, 2018
Messages
23
Reaction score
6
Age
63
No extra weight at all because I thought there were casting apps? I was thinking casting from that phone flying on the belly to another phone on the ground. Maybe they are called screen mirroring apps.
Yes, casting or mirroring, I understand. But the only built in applications I'm familiar with use the WiFi built into the phone. The best distance I've been able to get makes it less than 100 yards. If I were flying close all the time, that would be an ideal solution. But much of the time I'll be out past 100 yards. The only way I know about then is using 2.4 gHz. That takes a transmitter and battery. If someone knows of a casting app' that will go longer distances then I'm all ears.
 
All E RC Mavic Drones

New Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
72,227
Messages
837,232
Members
99,337
Latest member
zippinpip