Using STorM32 with ArduPilot

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The information on this page refers to firmware v2.52, and higher.

The STorM32 gimbal controller can communicate with an ArduPilot flight controller via a serial UART data link. The serial communication allows for a much richer data transmission and accordingly richer set of features than possible with the traditional connections such as PWM, PPM, SBUS, and alike.

If you only need the range of functionality possible with the conventional tilt & pan control, then you may not need anything of the below. Some of the basic features can also be accomplished by workarounds in traditional ways. Decide yourself which approach fits your needs best. :)

If you want to make best use of your STorM32 gimbal and want 2020-ish capabilities, then you may want to chose BetaPilot (BetaCopter/BetaPlane), which is described in Using STorM32 with BetaPilot.

STorM32 - ArduPilot Support

ArduPilot offers two mount types, which can be used with the STorM32 controller:

  • SToRM32 MAVLink: MNT_TYPE = 4
  • SToRM32 Serial: MNT_TYPE = 5

For further details and instructions on how to use these mounts, please visit ArduPilot Docs > Copter > Optional Hardware > Camera&Gimbals > SToRM32 Gimbal Controller.

Comment: Unfortunately, ArduPilot's gimbal support is partially flawed. That is, many features you will find to work great, but some you will find to not work well. STorM32 can't do anything about it, it's ArduPilot. Please also note that the STorM32 firmware author is not responsible for the implementation of ArduPilot's mount types.

The BetaPilot fork of ArduPilot additionally offers the '83' mount type:

  • STorM32 MAVLink2: MNT_TYPE = 83

This mount type is specifically designed for the STorM32 gimbal controller, and provides the best range of functions. For details see Using STorM32 with BetaPilot.

A comparison of the different techniques to connect the STorM32 controller with the flight controller is given in the following feature matrix.

Feature Matrix

(to the best of the authors knowledge)

Feature Traditional
(MNT_TYPE = 4)
SToRM32 Serial
(MNT_TYPE = 5)
STorM32 MAVLink2
(MNT_TYPE = 83)
Gimbal Angle Control x x (?) x x
MOUNT_STATUS message - x (1) x (2) x
ATTITUDE message - - - x
Camera Trigger x x - x
Gimbal Point in MP - x x (2) x
Solo Smart Shots x (3) - - x (3)
Camera Manager in QGC - x (4) - x
MAVLink Parameters - x - x
Video Control in Missions - x - x
360° Gimbal with Free Look x - - x
STorM32 Functions x - - x
STorM32 Scripts x - - x
STorM32-Link: Horizon Drift Comp. - - - x
STorM32-Link: Yaw Drift Comp. - - - x
MAVLink Passthrough Configuration - - - x
MAVLink Camera Microservice - x (4) - x
MAVLink Advanced Features - - - x
MAVLink Statustext messages - - - x
STorM32 Gimbal Protocol - - - x
Prearm Checks - - - x

(?) Many but not all features work in the latest ArduPilot releases. Please check with the ArduPilot community.

(1) The message reports the last set point, not the actual gimbal/camera orientation.

(2) Works only for deprecated v0.9x firmwares.

(3) Only up to ArduCopter 3.6. ArduCopter 4.0 has introduced two bugs which the STorM32 controller cannot work around.

(4) Only basic features.