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Old Oct 16, 2012, 07:43 AM
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Joined Apr 2008
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Can you FPV on a budget of $500? (US)

I've been flying for a few years, and want to get into FPV. If you had $500, what would your setup be? Plane, cam, transmitter, receiver etc..

I've seen this question asked other ways, but nothing recently. I know the tech changes every 6 months in this world.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 10:45 AM
100mph club member
turbodriven's Avatar
NW O-town
Joined Jun 2005
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Start by telling us what you have already. Batteries, transmitter and receivers (like Futaba, JR, etc.), chargers?

If you have a lot of that already, you could easily get in for under $500
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 12:30 PM
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Joined Sep 2011
5,691 Posts
OK

Parkzone Vapor, RTF. $150
an extra 150 1S batt $10
Dealextreme 2.4GHz cam/vTx, and theire 2.4 receiver. $50
An LCD TV from Bestbuy $150

there you go, $360! Hey, I built one of these once. Flew it twice even, within my front yard.

I don't think it is really possible to do it for $500 for everything. My cheapest plane with the most basic FPV setup is still about $400 in the air, plus ground station stuff, even though the kit was only $30 (Tek Sumo). Now it could be possible to do a GS for near $100 (Rx for $50, ebay LCD TV for $60, a 3S batt for $20), so there you go - more like $550 total, assuming you have a RC transmitter.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 01:10 PM
Team White Llama!
gundamnitpete's Avatar
Joined Jan 2008
8,144 Posts
Dynam sonic 185 $130

Best offer buy 1.28ghz $60 shipped

Pz4020 from security can 2000 $60 shipped

Fatsharks $250.

Total $500
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbodriven View Post
Start by telling us what you have already. Batteries, transmitter and receivers (like Futaba, JR, etc.), chargers?

If you have a lot of that already, you could easily get in for under $500
I have nothing that could be used for this venture. Only a stock supercub with a spectrum remote i believe. i'd have to double check
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 03:32 PM
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compuatic's Avatar
San Francisco, CA
Joined Jun 2002
984 Posts
Your best bet would be the following to get you started:
- Skysurfer from Bananahobby for 110 RTF
- 5.8ghz tx/rx from hobbyking $67
- Sony camera from HK $17
- philips LCD from ebay $40

total -- $234 for a great starter system that you can easily upgrade.
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 05:56 PM
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chancesAU's Avatar
Australia
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Careful not to cut corners with your FPV equipment, it will only end in tears :P
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Old Oct 16, 2012, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dalton1981 View Post
I have nothing that could be used for this venture. Only a stock supercub with a spectrum remote i believe. i'd have to double check
You could use the Cub, but I agree it is not an ideal choice just beacuse it is harder to land and harder to access the innards. Can be done: Put the vTx halfway out one wing, the cam out on the other wing leading edge, and get power from the main batt with a torroid and that is all you will need to get great video. The Spektrum is just fine to get started into FPV. I use 2.4 RC and 5.8 video a lot still for FPV, since I only have 3 UHF receivers and they are costly. The 2.4 has never failed me up to 800m. You can have plenty of fun flying within a km like that and get your FPV skills honed.
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Old Oct 17, 2012, 07:31 AM
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alexedit's Avatar
United States, NV, Rachel
Joined Dec 2008
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Install-and-fly system from UrbanDrones.com and your airplane.
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Old Oct 17, 2012, 09:22 AM
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Deep in the South
Joined Sep 2003
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Have what I need to get started but have not added it up. Lets see now what it is (don't recall prices in some cases so I'll guess .. forgive me if I get some wrong)

Already have (yes there is value but I had this or got for free so no cash flow required)
Futaba Super 8 72Mhz Radio
Servos
Charger
LiPo packs
Camera (very nice one thanks to a generous RCG member)
Several small flat screen monitors which seem to work ok for FPV (no blue screen)
Building supplies (I scratch build so tons of "stuff")
Camera Tripod
digital camcorder for DVR
ESCs
Wire
Soldering supplies
Plugs
Heat shrink tubing


Purchased
Easystar 80
Brushless motor 30
props maybe 15 for assortment
Elogger 60
gps 70
OSD 90
Video TX/RX 50 (RCG deal)
Stuff to build antennas maybe 20


So over $400 out of pocket with a pretty large stash of stuff already in hand and I'm not talking about a fancy setup. Guess $500 could be done if you have little or nothing but I'm not sure how other than a basic starter setup like described above by compuatic. Can't comment on how well it would work though.
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Old Oct 17, 2012, 09:54 AM
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United States, CA, Monterey
Joined Feb 2006
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-Bixer 2
-Fatshark predators RTF
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Old Oct 17, 2012, 12:06 PM
Engineer for Christ
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Amherst, VA
Joined Jun 2006
10,465 Posts
For 1280MHz, you need to install a filter if you plan to fly 2.4GHz for control. You can make a really cheap and easy notch filter with a section of coaxial cable. Also, keep the video transmission level to a minimum (ie 300mw or less) to keep from overloading your receiver.

Also, forget the FatSharks. Buy a decent set of goggles like the EVG920s or the Visuix920. The picture quality and color are better. The only problem is the blind isn't as good as the FatShark unit. This also allows you to use the HobbyKing 5.8GHz video system which is cheaper and 5db more sensitive than the Airwave based systems. This means ~75% more range per unit power.

-Alex
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