Goodluckbuy 3-axis Gimbal with Storm32 Controller (In-Depth Review)
The Goodluckbuy 3-axis Gimbal with Storm32 Controller is an entry level gimbal for mounting GoPro-size action cameras on drones and comes ready to use out of the box. It is one of those complete gimbal systems that require no building and can be installed immediately once you receive it.
Priced well below $100, it comes as no surprise why it quickly became very popular — ready-to-use 3-axis gimbals can be costly with most popular models costing in the range of $200 to $400.
The Goodluckbuy 3-axis Gimbal (let’s just call it GLB Storm32 for short) offers performance that’s quite similar to what you’d get in more expensive gimbals at just a fraction of the price.
- CNC-machined aluminum alloy structure
- Brushless motors (2804 160t)
- Rubber damper balls
- Compatible with Gopro 4/3/2/1
- 32bit Storm32 gimbal controller and sensors
- Motor cover for protection and heat dissipation
- Power supply: 9-15V(3-4S)
- Drive current: Max. 1.5A
- Height: 11cm
Strom32 Controller Highlights
- Replaces the earlier 8-bit version of the SimpleBGC controller with new features and 100% back-compatibility.
- 32-bit MCU — ARM Cortex M4.
- Calculates the complex tasks for 3-axis stabilization, 700 times/seconds gyro calculations.
- Allows camera control with the RC or analog joystick.
- Switchable profiles for different modes of operation.
- Control pitch or roll by PWM or receiver (supports a variety of RC protocols: PWM, Sum-PPM, Spektrum and S-Bus.)
- Can simultaneously use IMU1 and IMU2 sensor modules.
Another strong point the GLB Storm32 has is its compact size. With three pancake motors, it takes up very little space and can easily fit underneath 350-size drones such as the XK X380 or Cheerson CX-20. It also quite light and comes with a pre-built dampening platform featuring four rubber damper balls.
It also comes with a velcro strap and lens holder that is compatible with GoPro cameras and other cameras that have a similar design such as the SJ4000 featured in this review. Although this strap helps prevent the camera from falling off, it does a lousy job in preventing it from sliding about.
A camera that slides around will completely ruin the gimbal’s performance since PID settings will only work for a particular camera position. Due to this reason I have chosen to just remove the strap and use a pair of rubber bands instead. These bands do a great job in keeping the camera firmly in place.
Mounting the GLB Storm32 on a drone is pretty straightforward — provide it with a 12VDC power supply and plug in your pitch and yaw signal wires along with a ground wire from your radio receiver (or flight controller if you wish to control the gimbal via your FC).
With all your wiring set, you can start configuring the controller via the Storm32 gimbal controller tool which can be downloaded at the Storm32-BGC Wiki website. The website also has plenty of information and instructions on how to set up your gimbal correctly.
The gimbal control tool has everything you need to set it up. This includes accelerometer calibration, RC Inputs and PIDs. It can also be used to flash new firmware to the gimbal and connects to the controller board via a mini USB cable from your computer.
Configuring the GLB Storm32 for optimum performance is the trickiest part of setting it up. Although the gimbal will work immediately after you mount it on your drone with all the power and signal wires properly connected, configuring it to for optimum performance can be a painstaking process.
As any experienced tuner will tell you — tuning the PID settings on a 3-axis camera gimbal is not much different from trying to find Colonel Sander’s Secret Recipe in a circuit board. With that said, the GLB Storm32 is far from being a true plug-and-play gimbal since it has a very steep learning curve.
Trying to get it to perform at its best can be a very long and frustrating process, as I have found out after dozens of flights and countless hours tuning it. If you’re someone who doesn’t like tweaking around with things or simply don’t have the time for it then stay away from any Storm32 gimbal.
As a testament to how hard it is to set up, the Storm32 discussion thread at RCGroups is 206-pages long at press time. However, if you’re someone who loves tinkering then this is one gimbal that you will find very rewarding to own, especially if you’ve managed to tune it properly.
As I mentioned earlier, the GLB Storm32, when tuned properly, is capable of producing some stunning aerial video that’s almost comparable to what you’d get on more expensive gimbals that costs nearly three to four times more. This is quite impressive for a compact gimbal that costs less than $100.
The Storm32-BGC Wiki website is full of impressive sample videos that were produced using Storm32-powered gimbals. The video above is one such sample.
At the moment, I’m still having no luck in getting my gimbal to perform properly although I don’t believe it’s impossible to do so. Videos appear perfect when my S500 is hovering but when it starts moving in any direction, vibration becomes a problem.
An important thing I’ve learnt when tuning this gimbal is that the motors and propellers are the first things you need to balance before spending time on the gimbal’s PID settings. Next on the list is your flight controller’s PID settings — make sure they don’t cause your drone to twitch or oscillate when flying.
Improperly balanced motors and props appear to be the number one cause of jello and vibrations followed by a drone’s flight settings and other causes — such as having your receiver placed too close to your FPV transmitter. The gimbal’s PID settings are actually the very last thing you need to take care of.
There is no doubt the GLB Storm32 is one of the most affordable 3-axis camera gimbals on the market today — priced well below $100. It is also very compact and can fit many 350-size drones such as the XK X380 and Cheerson CX-20.
With proper tuning, the GLB Storm32 is capable of producing impressive aerial videos. However, this comes at a price — it has a very steep learning curve and tuning can take countless hours. If you’re not prepared to commit that much effort and time in setting it up, then you’d be better off with other gimbals that are easier to set up such as the Zhiyun Z1 Tiny 2.
If you have talent in PID tuning or know someone who can tune it fairly quickly then the GLB Storm32 is definitely a great buy.