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        Build Log Yet another Bixler build log from an FPV noob

#1 klaw81 Aug 21, 2012 10:47 PM

Yet another Bixler build log from an FPV noob
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 give it a go and started seriously researching my options.

All the advice I’d read on these forums and elsewhere seemed to agree - start small, and work your way up to where you’d like to be. I don’t really have any desire to fly super-long range (at least, not at the moment) so this part was easy. For the most part, I’d be happy to just fly around the immediate area of my usual flying fields. So a short-range system would be fine for my needs, with the added benefit that the complexity and costs are kept to a reasonable level.

I also very quickly decided that learning FPV on a quadcopter was not a good idea. Everyone seemed to agree that fixed-wing would be easier, and I don’t have enough practice with the quadcopter to keep it fully under control flying it normally, let alone trying to fly it from a camera. I already have several planes, but they are generally quite small and built for speed and aerobatics. Clearly, they weren’t going to be very suitable - so I would have to get another plane for FPV training as well (first world problems!)

Being an avid subscriber to the RCModelReviews Youtube channel, the concept of an FPV “backpack” intrigued me. The idea is to make the airborne part of the FPV equipment quickly easily transferable between different aircraft by mounting the camera, video transmitter and ancillary equipment on a single compact module fixed to the aircraft with sticky-back velcro. The backpack module (typically made out of foam, corflute or other lightweight materials) can then be quickly transferred to another aircraft in seconds, with only a single power cable to connect to have the entire setup operational. Since I have several planes, the concept of swapping quickly between flying each of them via FPV sounded awesome. Also, the foam casing affords a certain amount of impact protection, which could be valuable for a noob like myself.

Of course, the backpack arrangement has inherent limitations - tilt/pan is impractical without a more solid mount, using a HD video camera like a GoPro is virtually impossible due to weight and stability issues, and separation of components to avoid interference becomes an issue too. However, a GoPro was never within my budget and tilt-pan mechanisms were more complex than I was prepared to tackle straight away. I also wanted to be able to fly at least one of my existing planes (an old S&B Models Me163 Komet) using the FPV setup once I’d learned the ropes on a trainer plane. None of these limitations should be a major problem for short-range FPV, so I decided that I would adopt the backpack approach for the time being. It’s entirely reversible - there’s nothing other than a few bits of foam and glue that would stop me from converting to a full tilt/pan arrangement in the future if it becomes a issue.

My next blog entry will go through the process of selecting the equipment I'll use.

#2 brillobrother Aug 22, 2012 11:39 AM

Hey klaw81!!
I have a question about receivers and servos and what not. I'm trying to find a good receiver, servo, radio set that would be perfect for my FPV system. I was planning on using my older futaba T4YF radio with the servos and R114F receiver it came with but I think I need more than 4 channels. I need a channel for:
elevator and rudder (of course)
and then have a place for the power source (battery) to plug in.
Thrust (?) (not sure if I need one for this since i have an ESC)

Right now my receiver has channels
1,2,3, and 4/B
So I what i need is a receiver for 4chs and a place for the power to connect into it and not take up a channel port.

So to sum everything up:
1. can i use this TY4F set for my FPV system?
2. Do I need to have a connection for thrust?
3. If i need to get a servo, radio, receiver set with more channels is there one you would recommend?
4. Where would my panning plug go when connecting it to the receiver?

If you can help me by answering those questions i have or at least pointing me in a good direction I would greatly appreciate it! If you need pictures of some of my stuff let me know please and i will post them for you. Thank you for your time!!

#3 klaw81 Aug 22, 2012 06:00 PM


Originally Posted by brillobrother (Post 22518194)
So to sum everything up:
1. can i use this TY4F set for my FPV system?

You could use it - 4 channels is enough for a basic FPV setup. You might want to check the system's effective range though.


2. Do I need to have a connection for thrust?
I'm assuming you mean throttle (motor speed) control? Yes, you will need it.


3. If i need to get a servo, radio, receiver set with more channels is there one you would recommend?
It depends on what your future plans for FPV are. If you want to get serious, you will need a computer radio (for full control of your inputs) with long range. I'd suggest that the Turnigy 9x, with FrSky module or UHF module (depending on how long-range you want) would be the best value solution.

The 9x is a very popular radio in the RC community, and a few cheap mods can make it more powerful than radios costing 10x as much. The basic model only costs about $50 plus postage!


4. Where would my panning plug go when connecting it to the receiver?
That will depend on your plane's control setup. Your information noted that your plane has elevator and rudder, but no ailerons. So I'd be putting the pan servo in the aileron port - you can then use the sideways movement of one of your transmitter sticks to look left and right.

It seems to be more common to disable the rudder on basic FPV aircraft, and use the rudder stick to control pan instead. On more complex aircraft, the pan is controlled by a knob on the transmitter (on a 5th channel) or even by a head-tracker.

Incidentally, your ESC provides power to your receiver, as well as controlling your motor speed. You don't need an additional power source so you can use all 4 channels.

#4 brillobrother Aug 22, 2012 06:19 PM

Hey klaw81 I just want to give a great big thank you to you!! I really appreciate you giving me answers and having time to help me out! Thank you very much!!

#5 Blusky1 Aug 22, 2012 09:09 PM

greetings, check out my blog page lots of videos of flying my quad if you go back far enough an entire walk though of my FPV quad.

If you have never flown FPV, start with a sim like Real flight 6 and use it in FPV mode, this will cost you $180 but trying to learn FPV from scratch will cost way more than that in wrecks and possible property damage or injuries

once your comfortable on the sim, them move to something simple like my quad copters video setup a 5.8ghz with 600mw transmitter this is good line of sight to about 1km most good radio DX6i or better will mirror that range.

#6 brillobrother Aug 23, 2012 06:29 PM

1 Attachment(s)
hey I was wondering if you can answer one more question for me. I asked the guy why he does thing on youtube but he has replayed back yet. He didnt seem to nice the first time.. anyway I have the 5.8ghz 200mW tx/rx set and in the video he takes the wires from the power side and matches them up with the ones on the video side (right side). so he solders the black with the black and the and he solders the yellow to the white.. but he doesnt solder the red he leaves it alone. Im trying to follow his instruction but i just dont understand why he doesnt solder the reds together.
here is the video if you want to watch it:

Cyclops Nova OSD Wiring and Setup - FPV On Screen Display for RC Aircraft with Return to Home (9 min 42 sec)


#7 klaw81 Aug 23, 2012 07:28 PM

I'm assuming that video Tx is the HobbyKing/Foxtech version?

If so, wiring goes like this:
For the small 2-pin plug on the left side in the above photo:
- Red wire to positive battery terminal (+)
- Black to battery ground terminal (-)
For the wide 5-pin plug on the right side in the above photo:
- Red wire to camera power (+)
- Black to camera ground (-)
- Yellow to camera signal

If your 5-pin plug has 2 more wires (white and green) like mine did, you don't need them - they are for connecting an external microphone. Just insulate the ends and tie them back out of the way.

If you're wiring an OSD in as well like the video you linked above, the OSD needs to be connected in between the camera and video Tx. The exact details would vary depending on which OSD you're using.

#8 brillobrother Aug 23, 2012 09:05 PM

yea i have the same one as in the video. and Thank you again!! :)

#9 tobermei Aug 24, 2012 04:45 PM

Which plan did you use for your scratch build quad, and which controller board? thanks

#10 klaw81 Aug 26, 2012 04:23 PM


Originally Posted by tobermei (Post 22539919)
Which plan did you use for your scratch build quad, and which controller board? thanks

I used the HobbyKing Multi-Rotor Control Board V2.1 (link), which I understand is a copy of the original KK board but with an updated processor chip. There's a version 3.0 available now, but I couldn't tell you how it's better....

I actually first built my quadcopter using a HobbyKing $15 laser-cut plywood frame, but it turned out to be incredibly flimsy and only lasted a couple of weeks. Instead, I came up with my own frame design based on some photos I'd seen on the net.

It's a very simple design, made for strength rather than low weight since I seem to crash fairly frequently. The basic arrangement is 4 equal-length arms made from a single 1m length of 25x25 aluminium box section ($3 from Bunnings), a couple of central plates made from 3mm MDF ($4 from Spotlight) and a pack of bolts from the local hardware store. The motors mount directly onto the aluminium arms so no motor mounting plates are required.

PS Mt Tamborine is a fantastic place, I bet FPV flying from there would be totally spectacular.

#11 tobermei Aug 27, 2012 02:48 AM

Thanks for the details. I'm getting close to deciding on the hobby king KK2 board link which is about $30 but includes an lcd display for setup. I haven't seen a 3.0 board, if you have a link for it I'd gladly check it out.

Tamborine is a great place to live, looking forward to doing some FPV filming up here. Have spent plenty of time in Toowoomba, do hope to check out your local flying club at some stage, just haven't made the trip yet.

#12 klaw81 Aug 28, 2012 06:22 PM


Originally Posted by tobermei (Post 22559971)
I haven't seen a 3.0 board, if you have a link for it I'd gladly check it out.

Have spent plenty of time in Toowoomba, do hope to check out your local flying club at some stage, just haven't made the trip yet.

The HobbyKing v3.0 board can be found here The LCD version does look to be a lot easier to use though - for an extra $10 it's probably the better choice.

I don't belong to any clubs in Toowoomba, although I have visited their flying field a couple of times. I generally fly with a few mates on a farm east of Toowoomba, where we can be silly without risk of hurting anyone.

#13 tobermei Aug 28, 2012 07:28 PM

Thanks for the details. If you ever plan to visit tamborine, drop me a pm, you'd be welcome to drop by my place for a cuppa

#14 e_g_loco Aug 31, 2012 06:52 AM


I also have a question. I'm searching bixler FPV topics in this forum for a long time but I couldn't come up with motor / esc combination recommandations or examples from HK. What did you use?


#15 brillobrother Sep 01, 2012 10:21 AM

hey everyone!
I got another question. I just got the new turnigy 9x v2 2.4ghz transmitter. I got everything connected to the receiver and all my rudder, elevator, pan, tilt and what not are All working fine. however, when I move the left stick up its suppose to make the motor spin/ work.. but its not. I have an FPV system set up. Ive got the motor connected to an ESC ( it has a BEC) connected to the servo and everything is connected to the correct channel. Why is my motor not working when I move the throttle up? If anyone can be of assistance that would be great!!

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