Jay Roberts // gloryfish

Raspberry Pi Camera Gimbal

Electronics May 2013

Joystick control and net-streaming

I've spent some time tinkering with the Raspberry Pi camera module. The first thing I did was set up video streaming from the Pi to a remote machine with joystick control. To allow it to pan and tilt, I hacked together a gimbal out of popsicle sticks and hot glue.

The Xbox controller is connected to the Pi via USB. I used the xboxdrv driver. RetroPie includes has a useful tool to help with configuring it.

The camera is running a basic net streaming example from the Raspberry Pi forums (no longer available).

The Pi is attached to a pair of servos in the popsicle stick gimbal mount. The servos are Hitec HS-422 servos. They are cheap and easy to find. The servos are connected to a Phidgets Advanced Servo controller. This board provides servo control and 5v power for up to 8 servos. It is connected to the Pi via USB and is programmable via an API. I use the Python library but there are bindings for many languages.

If I was doing this all again, I'd get an I2C servo driver instead. It's drastically cheaper and more fun to assemble your own components. I got the Phidget board back when I first started using an old netbook that only had a USB interface.

The software is a simple python harness which initializes the servos and sets up a Pygame event loop. It listens for joystick events to change the camera position.

Wii Nunchuck control

In March of 2015 I added Wii Nunchuck support:

For some future project, I'd like to design and 3D print my own custom gimbal.