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Archive for August, 2012
Posted by klaw81 | Aug 23, 2012 @ 01:00 AM | 2,354 Views
There are heaps of planes available these days which could be used for FPV. Making a poor choice could make the hobby rather frustrating, and make the whole exercise expensive and far less enjoyable.

Choosing the right aerial platform for FPV can be a pretty bewildering, with a massive variety of sizes, styles, construction materials and prices. And many of the models also come in different "stages" from kits to ARFs and RTFs too.

My own choice of plane came down to three simple criteria:

I don't have the space to fly anything larger than a quadcopter in my back yard, so I needed to be able to transport my chosen FPV aircraft aircraft to my regular flying spot in a small sedan - preferably with room left for some of my other aircraft.

This narrowed my choices considerably, since many of the larger planes wouldn't fit in the car and would be highly impractical. However, many models have detachable and/or split-wing designs that make them much easier to transport.

It had to be relatively cheap, or I wouldn't be able to justify it. After all, I do have 7 planes already. Anything over $100, including any extra parts needed and the cost of shipping, was judged too expensive for my budget. I'm pretty tight

Proven ability
I had to rely on the experiences and opinions of others for this one, since I wasn't able to test them all myself. There are a few aspects to ability:

Firstly, I needed a plane that was easy to fly. I am quite...Continue Reading
Posted by klaw81 | Aug 21, 2012 @ 11:06 PM | 2,421 Views
For a noob, the most daunting and tricky part of building an FPV system out of disparate parts from a variety of vendors is making it all work together - especially in a world where manuals and instructions are often missing, unclear or written by people with a poor understanding of the language. This is the price we pay for cheap electronic equipment sometimes, and the information is usually only a Google search away. I was pleased to find that the majority of the setup was actually straightforward and stress-free. Even a complete noob has little to fear here.

The aircraft-mounted parts were the first to go together. Both the camera and video transmitter (VTx) require a nominal 12V power source to operate, which works well with the 3-cell LiPo battery which most of my planes run. In addition, the colour-coding on the wires for the camera and Vtx use an identical colour code - yellow for video signal, red for positive, black for earth. This made connecting the 2 items together very simple; I only had to cut off the standard camera power/signal cable supplied with the camera (it has security-camera-oriented connectors, which are both bulky and heavy) and connect them to the VTx’s bare wiring harness - 5 minutes with a soldering iron, some heat-shrink and it was complete. RCModelReviews has an excellent Youtube video of how to make these connections, and also recommends the adaption of a servo extension cord to allow the 2 items to be easily unplugged. I didn’t...Continue Reading
Posted by klaw81 | Aug 21, 2012 @ 11:02 PM | 2,380 Views
Thankfully for my wallet, I already had all the needed equipment for a radio controlled aircraft, since I’d been in the game for a while. This made my entry into the hobby a little cheaper. - I didn’t need to buy batteries or a charger, and my Turnigy 9x was pretty much perfect for an FPV beginner since it can be easily and cheaply upgraded for longer range if I want to.

I also had a decent collection of tools and other supplies - a soldering iron and solder, spare wires and servos and all those handy bits and pieces that come in handy occasionally. There were still a bunch of things I needed to buy though...

Video transmitter and receiver
Having researched my options for video frequencies, it very quickly became apparent that 2 of the common FPV frequencies were definitely not an option. There’s a mobile phone tower operating on 900Mhz just a few kilometers from my favourite flying field, so 900Mhz was definitely out. I use a ER9X-modded Turnigy 9X radio for all my aircraft so 2.4Ghz wasn’t an option either. Some deeper research suggested that all of the lower-frequency options would probably be rather illegal in Australia without a ham radio license, although I understand some longer-range pilots are risking it and using 1.2Ghz gear.

5.8Ghz was emerging as my best (legal) option, The main limitations of this frequency are signal multi-pathing (causing poor image quality) and the inability to penetrate solid objects. Since I would be...Continue Reading
Posted by klaw81 | Aug 21, 2012 @ 10:47 PM | 3,274 Views
I know there are already lots of “getting into FPV” blogs out there, but I get so much help from these forums and other people’s contributions, and I’d like to give something back. So over the past week or so, I’ve put together some notes on my FPV adventures. I hope they will be useful to someone. Here goes....

I’ve been flying electric planes on and off for about 5 years, but I’ve only become more deeply involved with the hobby in the past 18 months. I now have a collection of 7 foam planes of various sizes, including a couple of depron scratch builds, and I also have a couple of small coaxial helicopters. I’ve dabbled in a bit in 3D stunt-flying (a LOT more practice required for that) and most recently, I made myself a scratch-build quadcopter.

It must have been the quadcopter that got me thinking more about FPV. It wasn’t long after my quad was built that I mounted a keychain camera on it, and later on my new and rather expensive phone, in an attempt to get some decent in-flight footage. FPV and multi-rotors just seem to be a natural fit. Of course, the prospect of being able to fly my planes in a new and novel manner was very appealing too. I watched a lot of FPV videos on Youtube and it looked like a lot of fun. Plus, the technical aspects of putting together a functional FPV system appealed to my geeky side immensely. So after some negotiations with the minister for war and finance (my wife) I decided to...Continue Reading