Tag Archives: camera


I ordered these motors and this gimbal controller some time ago to make a gimbal for the Raspberry Pi camera. This weekend I managed to model, print and test it.

It weights ~65 grams, is very compact and fits perfectly on my new quad (more on this some other time).

Here’s a timelapse video of the modelling process:

And here’s a video with me mounting it:

And finally the gimbal working:

It works on 6-8.4V (2S), and is very quick to print.

The total cost is ~50e for the controller and motors. In the future I’ll model some extra motor mounts for some more micro gimbal motors.


The STL + Design Spark files will be very soon on github.

[Edit] The files are available here:


Raspberry Pi Camera V2 & GPS

Last weekend I did some tests with a UBLOX Neo6 GPS running next to the V2 camera to see if it’s better than the V1 camera.

The GPS had a clear view of half of the sky with a building to one side so not necessarily ideal conditions. The GPS was powered from the Pi with the cable wrapped through a small ferrite bead.

Here is a picture of the setup:


Here is the graph showing the Satelite number, PDOP, Position accuracy and velocity accuracy reported by the GPS:

Screenshot from 2016-07-17 11-16-49.png

There is a clear jump when turning on the camera where PAcc goes from ~2 to ~3.2. With the V1 camera this jumped to 30-40.

The jamming indicator showed 15-20% regardless if the camera was off or on. With V1 the indicator jumped to 100% when turning the camera on.

The number of satellites is the same, as is the PDOP and VAcc.


The spectrum measured with the SDR was crystal clear even when the antenna was almost touching the camera ribbon cable – which btw is unshielded.


So my conclusion is that the V2 interferes with the GPS way less than the V1 and with a bit of (optional) ribbon cable shielding it should be ok for a multirotor.



GPS jamming

The Raspberry pi camera completely jams my Ublox Neo6 GPS.

I’m monitoring the jamming, ADC and noise values and whenever I turn on the camera and start capturing video, jamming goes up from 10 to 140, ADC goes down from 4600 to 1000 and the noise from 100 to 130.

This kills any fix the GPS has and it stops seeing any satellites. With the camera off I regularly get between 3-7 satellites indoors and this is with a passive antenna. With the camera on I get zero even outside.

I wrapped the entire camera in several layers of aluminum foil, same for the ribbon cable without noticing any improvement.

Only after placing a small ferrite bead on the RX/TX serial wires the ADC went up from 1000 to ~3600. So far it looks like the issue is electrical noise.

In the mean time I’m waiting for the new GPS I ordered from hobby king and also started working on supporting the NAVIO board as it has a newer GPS (the ublox 8).

This brings me to the next issue – the brain architecture is not ready to support multiple sensors of the same time.

Time to work on the software while I’m waiting for both the new GPS and the Navio board.

OdroidW ADC Fix

I finally found a way to use the 5T619 and the camera at the same time. It involves some hacking but it’s relatively simple and non-intrusive.

As you can see in my previous post the problem is that the PMC chip is connected to GPIO 0/1 – same as the camera. So we cannot use them at the same time.

The fix involves the following steps:
1. Redirecting the i2c pins from the camera connector towards i2c-1 on GPIO 2/3 (the user i2c bus)
2. Telling the GPU to use the i2c-1 bus on the new pins
3. Moving all my other i2c stuff from bus 1 which is now being used by the camera to bus 0 where the PMC is
4. Kernel config
5. Usage

There is one small complication though: i2c-0 will become the new user bus and it’s shared with the PMC. The PMC is on  GPIO 0/1 and the user-accessible pins are GPIO 28/29. To use each pair, it has to be first switched to ALT0 mode. There are some simple solutions to this and some more complicated ones.

So on with the changes.

Disclaimer: Do this at your own risk.


1. First expose the i2c pins from the camera ribbon cable. These are pins 2 & 3, and since pin 1 (3v3) would be very difficult to insert in the connector on its own – I redirect it as well. You can find the pinout here.


There are 3 wires from the camera cable – 3v3, SDA, SCL – going to 3v3, GPIO 2 and GPIO 3 on the odroid.

You need to solder some wires to these, long enough to reach the 3v3 and GPIOs on the odroid. To do that first carefully cut with scissors the 3 leftmost wires for about 1.5 cm. Then with a sharp blade scratch until you get to the metal part – but carefully not to cut it. Then simply apply some tin with the soldering iron and the rest of the plastic will shrink nicely – exposing more of metal bits. Use shrinkwrap to properly insulate the connection and apply some tape on the whole ribbon cable to strengthen it:

Connect the 3 wires to 3v3, SDA to GPIO2 and SCL to GPIO3:


2. Download the dt-blob.dts file from here and in the pins_rev2/pin_config/pin_defines section, do the following changes:

pin_define@CAMERA_0_I2C_PORT {
type = "internal";
number = <1>; //was 0 before
pin_define@CAMERA_0_SDA_PIN {
type = "internal";
number = <2>;//was 0 before
pin_define@CAMERA_0_SCL_PIN {
type = "internal";
number = <3>;//was 1 before

You can download my modified  file from pastebin if you are lazy in a hurry.
Follow this guide to compile this file into a binary blob on the odroid.


3. If you had something connected to i2c-1, connected it to i2c-0 on GPIO 28/29 pins. These are on the opposite side of the odroid as you can see here:




4. Kernel config

By default raspbian only shows i2c-1 in /dev/. Since now we’ll use i2c-0 as the user buss we need to expose it.
To do that, add the bcm2708.vc_i2c_override=1 parameter to /boot/cmdline.txt but _not as the last parameter_.
Reboot and you should have both i2c-0 and i2c-1 available.


5. Reboot and try raspivid -t 0 to check if the camera works. If it says that the camera is not found, there’s something wrong with your i2c connection or the dts. Check both.
If there is no error but you get no image there is something wrong with the ribbon cable. Reattach it, make sure it is properly in.

The tricky part is using the ADC.

For using the odroid 5t619 modules:
 If you use the odroid drivers make sure you change GPIO0/1 to ALT0 either from the dts or manually with wirringPi:

gpio mode 17 ALT0
gpio mode 18 ALT0

You could also fix them to change their mode for every access and recompile and redeploy on the odroid. The code is there already – just call the bcm2708_i2c_init_pinmode defined in the i2c-bcm2708 module (after you make it non-static) before accessing the bus. This is pretty involved though and requires a lot of testing so I would go for the dts/manual solution.


From C/C++:
You can do this using the excellent PIGPIO library :

set_mode(0, PI_ALT0);
set_mode(1, PI_ALT0);

If you want to use some other i2c device attached to the GPIO28/29 pins you have to make sure to first change their mode to ALT0:

//put 0/1 back to input to avoid having 2 sets of pins attached to the same bus (not sure if needed!)
set_mode(0, PI_INPUT);
set_mode(1, PI_INPUT);
//redirect i2c-0 to GPIO 28/29
set_mode(28, PI_ALT0);
set_mode(29, PI_ALT0);

In my case I use a stock raspbian kernel and use both the PMC and the IMU (and soon the SRF02) from C++. So I manually redirect i2c between the 0/1 and 28/29 GPIOs as I need to.

So far this works ok.


Good luck and let me know in the comments if you have any issues.