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How to Get a Reliable Yaw Angle from an MPU6050

How to Get a Reliable Yaw Angle from an MPU6050

Table of Contents

The MPU 6050 is a 6-axis motion tracking device that combines a gyroscope and an accelerometer. While it’s a powerful sensor capable of providing a wealth of data, it does require careful calibration and configuration to get accurate readings. In this guide, we’ll delve into obtaining a reliable yaw angle from the MPU6050 and how to address common challenges like yaw drift.

MPU6050 Yaw Drift Correction

While integrating gyroscope readings can provide the yaw angle, it’s important to note that these readings can accumulate errors over time, leading to a phenomenon known as drift. This is particularly pronounced in the yaw angle, also known as heading drift, and can lead to significant inaccuracies in the estimated angle.

What Causes Yaw Drift?

Yaw drift in MPU6050 is a common issue often caused by various factors such as temperature changes, electrical noise, and integration errors over time. Given the sensitivity of MEMS devices, even slight variations in temperature or voltage can impact the readings and cause drift.

Tackling Yaw Drift

Drift correction is essential for reliable yaw angles. This can be achieved by fusing the gyroscope readings with accelerometer readings using sensor fusion algorithms such as the Kalman filter or complementary filter. These algorithms take advantage of the strengths of each sensor to minimize errors and improve accuracy. Regular calibration is another approach to limit the impact of yaw drift.

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Initial Calibration: As already stated, calibration is essential to limit the impact of yaw drift. This involves tests at different rotation speeds to identify each axis’s non-linearities, offsets, and scale factors.
  2. Temperature Stability: After a few minutes of operation, temperature stability is usually achieved, which helps to reduce the drift effect.
  3. AHRS Algorithms: Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) algorithms like the open-source Sebastian Madgwick’s IMU and AHRS algorithms, Extended Kalman Filter, Direction Cosine Matrix filters, and Complementary filters can be used to minimize random walk effects.
  4. Incorporation of Additional Sensors or Features: Adding an accelerometer or a magnetometer to the system or using the MPU6050’s built-in Digital Motion Processor can also help mitigate yaw drift.
  5. Advanced Noise Modelling Techniques: Advanced noise modeling techniques like Allan variance can be used for those with a deeper understanding of stochastic processes and statistical theory. However, these techniques may be too complex for beginners or hobbyists.

Official Information here:

Understanding the MPU6050

It’s important to understand the device. The MPU6050 is a microelectromechanical system (MEMS) with a 3-axis gyroscope and a 3-axis accelerometer. This allows it to track rotational and translational motion, making it versatile for various applications, from robotics to motion tracking in VR devices.

Necessary Libraries and Drivers

To communicate with the MPU6050 and extract data, you must install and use certain libraries and drivers. The most commonly used libraries include the Wire library for I2C communication and the MPU6050 library, which provides functions for reading data from the sensor. These libraries can easily be downloaded and installed in the Arduino IDE.

Calibration for Accuracy

Calibration mpu6050Accurate readings from the MPU6050 are heavily dependent on calibration. Calibration is necessary to counteract any inherent bias in the sensor readings. Bias can be introduced due to various factors, including manufacturing discrepancies, temperature variations, and electrical noise. Calibration involves recording sensor readings while the device is at rest, calculating the average reading, and subtracting this average from future readings to account for the bias.

Step-by-Step Calibration

  1. Install the MPU6050 Library: The first step is to install the Electronic Cats’ MPU6050 library to your Arduino IDE.
  2. Connect the MPU6050 to your Arduino: Ensure the MPU6050 is properly connected to your Arduino. Typical connections are as follows: VCC to 5V, GND to GND, SDA to A4, and SCL to A5. Additional connections may vary based on the specific model of Arduino you are using.
  3. Upload the IMU_Zero Program: Open the Arduino IDE, and upload the IMU_Zero program. This program is specifically designed for calibration and can be found in the MPU6050 library you installed in Step 1.
  4. Monitor the Calibration: After uploading, open the Arduino Serial Monitor to track the calibration process. The calibration process may take some time. During this time, the program will provide offset estimates for X acceleration, Y acceleration, Z acceleration, X gyro, Y gyro, and Z gyro.
  5. Record the Offsets: The final step is to record the program’s optimized offsets. These offsets will be utilized in your MPU6050 programming to ensure the most accurate readings from the sensor.

Remember, a well-calibrated sensor is key to getting reliable yaw angles from your MPU6050.

Read more about MPU6050 Calibration here:

Integrating Gyroscope Readings

Once you’ve calibrated your sensor, you can calculate yaw angles by integrating gyroscope readings over time. The gyroscope measures the rate of change of the yaw angle (angular velocity), and by summing these changes over time, you can estimate the total change in the yaw angle, or in other words, the current yaw angle.

Other Considerations for Reliable Readings

Getting accurate and reliable readings from the MPU6050 involves a few other considerations, including:

  • Limited Motion Range: The MPU6050 is most accurate when it’s not undergoing extreme accelerations or rotations. Try to keep the device within its specified operational range for best results.
  • Vibration Sensitivity: Vibrations can cause noise in the sensor readings, so it’s important to mount the MPU6050 securely to minimize the impact of vibrations.
  • Stable Power: Unstable power supply can introduce noise and bias into the sensor readings, so using a stable power source is crucial for accurate results.

With careful calibration, yaw drift correction, and attention to these considerations, you can get reliable yaw angles from the MPU6050. It’s a powerful sensor with wide applications, and mastering its use can unlock new possibilities for your projects.

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