Three axis stabilized gimbal controller design

Three axis stabilized gimbal controller design

IJK Controls was asked to develop the controls strategy and detailed servo design for a three-axis gimbal capable of inertial stabilization and stabilized tracking of moving targets. The gimbal was to be mounted on a small ship with potentially large amounts of base motion.

IJK Controls designed a complete pointing, tracking and stabilization control strategy as well as detailed servo design and system simulation. A three axis pointing system is used to enable a large field of regard, but requires more advanced control algorithms than a two axis gimbal. In particular, the gimbals are redundant so that there is an extra degree of freedom and multiple ways to point at a target. A three axis strategy must balance the servo load across three drives and prevent two gimbals from aligning creating gimbal lock.

With the controls strategy defined, we defined the controller interface protocols and developed the controller as a turn-key part. The controller read from the gyroscopes and closed the stabilization loops in addition to providing pointing and tracking capability.

keywords: three-axis gimbal, gyroscope stabilized gimbal, servo design,turn-key component design, pointing/tracking/stabilization