GlobeFlight Pan/tilt for the TwinStar Review

This pan/tilt system comes pretty much prebuilt. It’s made from CNC milled 1.5 mm glass fiber and is glued together with CA glue, which makes it very strong. The milling quality is high and there are a lot of holes that simplifies wire installiton. It weights about 60 grams empty. The pan/tilt comes prepainted, the canopy part in gray and the tilt in red.

The tilt:
The tilt cradle has an quite different design compared to other pan/tilt systems I’ve seen. Instead of having the pivot point in the middle of the camera like most other do, it is at the bottom. This makes it possible to look over the edge of the fuselage and straight down. The servo hole is designed for a “HS-55” sized servo and I had to enlarge it slightly to get a HXT-900 to fit. The kit doesn’t include any linkage for the connection between the servo and the tilt so I had to use my own.

The pan:
As you can see in the pictures, there is an built up section where the pan servo is mounted (designed for a “HS-81” sized servo). This structure adds overall rigidity but it also prevents the servo from taking space from the battery compartment. However this leads to the camera being mounted to far back and to high for my liking. When panning, to much of the motors obscure the view and when looking forward, to much of the nose is in the way.

Transmitter mount:
The kit doesn’t include any instructions but I guess that the space behind the pan servo is for mounting the video transmitter. This compartment is however very small and my 1.3GHz 300mW transmitter that’s 10 mm thick barely fits. And once you got your transmitter mounted, the tilt cradle is very close to the antenna. If you have the cables coming out the back of the tilt cradle they will undoubtedly touch the antenna when you are panning. This is very bad! I strongly recommend mounting the transmitter elsewhere.

Camera mount:
The camera mount is designed around the GF-OSC FPV camera which has buttons on the back. Since there is no instructions I checked the pictures on the GlobeFlight homepage and they mounted their camera by sticking the lense thru the hole and glueing it in place! I don’t want to glue my camera to a pan/tilt system! If you use a camera that’s no wider than 35 mm and has a lot of flat surface on the front of the camera you might be able to mount it quite easily with double sided sticky tape. I however use a camera that had no flat surface on the front, so I had to make a “ghetto” solution to make it work. A more versatile solution would have been appreciated.

Canopy mount:
The Pan/tilt system from Globe Flight is not mounted using the canopy latches that’s already in place on the TwinStar. Instead, for some unknown reason, they use these spiked things that’s supposed to be pushed into the foam. A bad solution in my opinion.

The paint and glue jobs are not the best ones I’ve seen. A lot of glue have run and the paint is a little thin at some places. But watched at a distance it looks OK.

Flight testing:
When flight testing the Pan/tilt system from Globe flight I flew for about 45 minutes in which I tried everything from high altitude cruising to following another airplane.
I compiled a video which should give you a feel for the pan/tilt system;

Both the pan and tilt feel “natural” without any weird movements. As you can see in the video the placement of the camera makes the motors and nose obscure the picture unnecessary much. Here is a comparison video from my home made pan/tilt.

Pros and Cons:
+ Nice CNC milled glas fibre structure
+ Many holes that simplifies wire installation
+ Comes prebuilt and painted
+ Nice designed tilt cradle
+ Servo placement that doesn’t take up space in the battery compartment
+ Natural feel when pan/tilting

– Badly designed canopy mounting
– No room for the transmitter
– Camera mount designed around a specific camera
– No linkage for the tilt servo
– Camera mounted to far back
– Camera mounted to high
– Paint and glue jobs could have been better

All in all, it’s an OK product.

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