Thread: Discussion Arkbird OSD Autopilot
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Old Feb 08, 2013, 08:36 PM
ZaksterBlue is offline
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Australia, NSW, Springwood
Joined Dec 2012
408 Posts
Arkbird OSD mini review & comparison with Cyclops Storm

Hi all, I've had five FPV flights with the Arkbird OSD now and am pretty happy. It's not perfect, however, for the $$ it's pretty good value. It comes with a pretty decent set of cables though I wish the GPS cable had been 15cm longer and extended this myself.

First, my setup: Bixler1.1, 808 #16 V2-D cam both recording 720p and streaming video for FPV (powered through OSD), Akrbird with V3-1010 firmware. I've compared video quality from the 808 against a friend's basic fatshark pred1 cam and the 808 is clearer and sharper (once you refocus the lens to infinity).

The OSD screen data is very clear and well laid out. The menu system is a breeze to use with the Tx AIL/ELEV channels. They've thrown in plenty of things you can configure like channel end points, max roll/pitch/yaw degrees, etc and this all works well in flight. There are a couple of new menu options in fw1010 I don't know the function of and are not in the original manual: ACC Coupling (default 100%), Cenforce Para (50%), and a Quad Mode Test menu.

The GPS locks on really quick on power up once you've done the setup (about 30s first time). It locks on to 7-10 satellites during my flights so far, no issues with accuracy.

Voltage and current readings on screen have calibrations you can do in the menu system so you can adjust if required - my OSD was reading 0.2v lower than my battery checker. Easily adjusted.

Once the neutral point is set right, the plane can hold straight and level flight reasonably well hands off. Turbulence and gusts will unsettle the balance mode a bit but it does drift back to the original heading eventually. Okay if you're high enough not to get into trouble if the plane spends a few seconds banking, but you have to be ready to react if flying lower. The gyro mode is so-so; I didn't notice a lot of additional stability over turning it off but I need to experiment with increasing control horn movements as per the manual.

RTH mode works as advertised and I'm really pleased it has throttle management to maintain a minimum ground speed you set in the menu. Once overhead it does circle in around a 80m circle, not always smoothly, it sometimes jerks in and out of turns which looks a bit odd but does maintain your preset height. [Edit: today I limited RTH to 30% roll and the RTH circling was a bit smoother.]

So compared to the Storm - I won't get into all the feature differences except to say the Arkbird has quite a few more features, but here are some significant safety improvements of this OSD over the Storm:
- Storm will not engage balance mode or RTH if wings are not within 15 degrees of being level. The Arkbird is much safer in this regard and will more than likely bring your plane home safe if your video cuts out and/or the plane hits strong turbulence and goes sideways.
- Storm does not have throttle management. Again, if you lose link, the Storm relies on you having set your failsafe throttle to something appropriate. If flying into a strong headwind, you may have set too low a throttle to get home. The Arkbird will work to your minimum safe groundspeed and increase throttle as required.
- A feature the Storm has which I hope Arkbird can adopt in future updates is being able to switch between display modes in flight so you can have the uncluttered 'simple' view for part of the flight. Not sure how they would program this though... maybe similar to gyro search cancel: ch5 0% + ch6 100% and switched when you go >75% L+R yaw within 2 seconds.
- An issue I will not miss that the Storm had was drifting pitch/roll calibrations. I set neutral point for straight & level flight at home, went out to fly in 34 degree sun and there was no drift with the Arkbird.

Overall, I have more trust in this OSD to bring my FPV money pit home than with the Storm. Once I've worked out how to give the gyro more control authority I'll be even happier. Yet to try waypoint flying or fence mode but no doubt these will work as advertised too.
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Last edited by ZaksterBlue; Feb 10, 2013 at 12:07 AM. Reason: Update info on RTH mode
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