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Newbie with a different kind of project

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#1 Ian Vivero

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Posted 18 September 2018 - 08:37 AM

Hey all, thanks for the add. I found this place while trying to learn more about gimbal setups, specifically building my own for a project that does not involve cameras. I'm beginning my build of a dual projector beam headlight for my motorcycle but the rub here is I want it to auto level as I corner. More than that even, I want each beam to auto level in one direction only. In more specific terms, as I turn right (and therefore lean right) I want the left side projector to follow the lean of the bike while the right side projector rotates to stay level to the road. In a left turn the exact opposite would occur. I have already developed a system to do this with the help of an arduino as my controller but I have other tasks for the arduino to perform while I'm riding and I'm concerned it doesn't have the power to manage real time leveling of the headlights while also carrying out the other functions I'm asking of it so I began my search for something more off the shelf. 


All of that said here are my project requirements: 

2 axis (both monitoring the roll axis)

adjustable end limits for each axis (0 to 45° and 0 to -45°)

enough power to handle a 1-1.5 lb projector assembly

as compact as possible

predefined calibration (no need to re-level every time power is removed and reapplied)


Some of those things may be non issues but I really don't have any experience yet so I don't know what is a common feature and what will require work on my end. Any suggestions of hardware and software would be greatly appreciated. I have no problem researching and learning how to use whatever is recommended, I just need a starting point. Thanks all.

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#2 Dougal Wallace

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 03:10 PM

Hi Ian, that is an extremely cool project and I wish you all the best but you may not find that anyone here is able to help you - most steadicam systems are purely physical, relying on masses in balance and inertia rather than motors and electronics. There are certainly systems that have motorised components but those of us who use them are mainly operators rather than engineers!


There are a few people who might have some helpful knowledge - I hope they read this and chip in because it's a fun project and I'd love to hear what they have to say - but in case that doesn't happen, I'm going to suggest you hit up the racing drone enthusiast forums because those guys are all about tiny, fast IMUs with custom programming and ludicrous motors (as a start, I built a drone myself with a NAZE 32 flight controller and I know that thing had an option to make it act as a gimbal controller - that is, detect pitch/yaw/roll and send appropriate signals to motors to compensate).


Good luck!

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#3 Janice Arthur

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Posted 19 September 2018 - 05:41 PM



I'm no engineer so I am not an expert but a round headlight is round on all sides so I see that it what you want is a headlight that leans with you as you corner.


A simple gimbal, forgive the analogy but it works, that levels your coffee cup  in the the axis you discuss is what you are aiming at.


A $10 gimbal that finds the horizon makes sense to me.  


I'm not trying to insult you but to spend $500 (or whatever you estimate) would just be "difficult" to justify.


I simple gimbal, that holds your headlight and finds level, whereever the bike is how I see your project.


You're young and enthusiastic so go for it but to put electronics and devices into this, I'm not sure is the way to go.


I wish you good luck.



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#4 Ian Vivero

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 01:03 PM

It does seem that perhaps I have posted this in the wrong place but I appreciate the responses.


A passive weight/inertia system isn't going to work in my application for a number of reasons but primarily because of the added weight it requires and the need to reinforce the front structure of the bike to support that weight.

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