Gimbal Components Explained

Brushless Gimbal Anatomy

The anatomy of the brushless gimbal is broken down into its most basic components in the diagram above. These basic components carry over to smaller GoPro or smartphone gimbals as well. Most gimbals designed for a range of DSLR type cameras feature adjustment points to fine tune the center of gravity of the camera payload. These adjustment points are either a 'tool-less' design or require basic hand tools. Making sure your gimbal's balance points are set correctly is very important for good stabilization performance. The better balanced the less strain/power is required from each of the brushless motors.


Gimbal Handles

Handles are the main point of contact between the operator and the gimbal. This is where an operators hand movements are translated into smooth camera panning and tilt motions.  For larger gimbals that carry DSLR cameras it is common to have removable left/right handles and in some cases a removable top handle or "suit-case" handle. 

Most gimbal handles have a tool-less adjustment knob which allows you to adjust the handles to the desired operating angle and spacing. 


EVO GP Brushless Motors

Brushless Motors

"Brushless Gimbals" get their name because of their specially wound brushless motors. These motors vary in size depending on the size of the camera intended to be used. GoPro gimbals use much smaller brushless motors then larger DSLR handheld gimbals do. 

Brushless motors used in gimbals are very similar to the brushless motors used in multirotors, RC aircraft and drones. The primary difference being that they are wound in a
"Delta" configuration which is better for switching between A, B and C phases to change motor direction and polarity quickly and smoothly. 

Many new model gimbal motors also feature a built in position encoder in the motor which supplements camera position to the stabilization controller.


Position Sensors (IMU)

IMUs (Inertial Measurement Units) are responsible for sending camera acceleration and positioning data to the gimbals controller. IMU sensors for gimbals have a built in gyro-meter that needs to be calibrated on start up. 

These sensors are also sensitive to temperature change and periodically will need to have their accelerometers re-calibrated so the gimbal maintains good stabilization performance. 

Typically a gimbal that is showing poor stabilization performance such as drifting to the left or right on the horizon will need to be restarted on a flat non-moving surface to recalibrate the gyrometer.

brushless gimbal IMU sensor
An IMU sensor is the primary component that relays position and acceleration information to the gimbals controller.

dji ronin-m camera tray panasonic gh4
An tool-less adjustable camera tray like on the DJI Ronin-M DSLR gimbal shown here allows you to make necessary adjustments for balancing your gimbal to your cameras center of gravity

Camera Mounting Tray & Balancing

Smaller handheld gimbals like the SteadyGim3 EVO for the GoPro feature a basic camera tray design for the GoPro Hero3 or Hero4 cameras. More advanced gimbals that handle larger DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses feature an adjustable camera tray design that allows operators to finely tune their camera's payload with the center of gravity of the pitch, roll and yaw axis of the gimbal. 

Larger DSLR gimbals such as the DJI Ronin-M have whats called "tool-less" adjust-ability while other smaller size DSLR gimbals  require basic hand tools to make balancing adjustments. Consideration to this is important when choosing a gimbal. Generally if you plan on making lense changes often, then a tool-less design would probably be better suited for you, just keep in mind that the trade off is additional total weight as a tool-less design tends to be heavier.


Gimbal Batteries

Gimbals both large and small are powered by rechargeable Lithium Polymer (LiPo) or Lithium-Ion (L-iON) batteries. Depending on the model gimbal battery life can last any where from 2 to 6 hours plus. 

LiPo and L-iON batteries should be handled with care and monitored while charging. All of the batteries sold on The Gimbal Store feature over charge and over discharge protection, which is important to maintain overall battery health and life. 

When shopping for spare batteries be sure to only choose batteries that are approved by the manufacturer, as not all batteries are created equal in terms of quality and reliability. 

gimbal batteries the gimbal store
LiPo and L-Ion batteries are the most common type of battery used in brushless gimbals today. Batteries should be monitored while charging and handled with care.