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Old Jan 27, 2014, 12:51 PM
Radio? Screwdriver!
United Kingdom, England, Bristol
Joined Aug 2011
907 Posts
New Product
DIY/Opensource Fatshark 32Ch 5.8GHz Rx Module for BOSCAM/SkyRF/RV/immersionRC/etc

Hi all,

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read): A 5.8GHz 32 channel receiver module that fits into the Fatshark Dominator/Predators/others. Much like the TBS 5.8GHz Dominator Rx module - but with the ability to change the band with a magnet (no need to make a hole in the plastic or open them up) and as its Open Sourced - it's possible to retune it for any new 5.8GHz systems that come out! If you're interested in one, let me know below as I can knock a few to sell.


I'm relatively new to FPV (been flying regular LOS club flying for quite a while now though) and I managed to score a pair of hardly used FatShark Predators V1 with a bunch of ImmersionRC video transmitters off a fellow flying club member who didn't get on with FPV. However the quality of the video quality was poor and the range was rubbish. After Googling around a bit, it turns out that some of the supplied modules are dodgy and the older version wasn't that sensitive. Also I found out that tthere are two main 5.8GHz systems not compatible with each other- Airwave (used in immersionRC/Fatshark) and SkyRF (BOSCAM/TBS/RangeVideo/pretty much everything else).

After a bit more Googling to try and solve my problem I found that there are these main options:
  1. Buy a Boscam RC832 32channel 5.8GHz receiver and strap it to your head.
  2. Buy a new version 5.8GHz Fatshark module and only use the expensive Fatshark and ImmersionRC video transmitters.
  3. Buy a Team Black Sheep 5.8GHz Dominator Rx module.

Well I didn't like any of those options! The first is uncomfortable and looks stupid (we all have to look good - even when under goggles ). On the second I didn't want to spend $70 for video tx when I could get others that work just as well for $27. Plus I gave up waiting for the replacement Fatshark module on HobbyKing to come off backorder...

So that left the final option. However the TBS module is expensive and the only way to change the band is by pushing the button. On my Predators, the module is built into the goggles (i.e. have to pull it apart to gain access) and I didn't want to make a hole my shiny new goggles. Also there is only a LED for feedback on what channel your on (impossible to see in the daylight).

Anyhow I thought I could do better, so I did this little project...


Well ok, it's not the most visually exciting of FPV projects...

By designing it myself it gives me the chance to add a magnetic sensor, so you can change band by simply passing a magnet (e.g. a canopy hatch) over the side of the goggles when they're on. The buzzer then gives a nice loud beep to let you know what band you're on (1beep=A, 2beeps=B, 3beeps=E and 4beeps=Airwave frequencies). Also unlike some of the crappy looking RF connectors that some FPV stuff uses, I've spec'ed an expensive but genuine Emerson RF SMA connector (meets the ratings of MIL-STD-202)! The RF connector is an important part of an RF system, so it really pays to buy a decent quality branded connector - the cheap may work ok to start off with, but once you've disconnected and reconnected a couple of times, it'll go loose.

I've tested it on the bench and it works fine with 2 different Boscam 5.8GHz video transmitters - One set to the default Band E and the other set to Band A (used by TeamBlackSheep/RangeVideo/others). The next steps are to do a flying test and make sure everything works as it should be.

I plan to fully open source it, so others can build one, retune or reuse if they so wish. For example, the channel lines on this module could be reused as a I2C/SPI/etc interface so that the bands are changed digitally in some project. Just before I do that, I need to flight test it and make sure everything is working as it should be (but the weather here is against me at the moment)!

If anyone is interested in buying one, let me know here as if there is sufficient interest, I may knock a small handful up to sell (probably will be around the $40 to $50 mark).

Cheers,
Si.
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Old Jan 27, 2014, 12:52 PM
Radio? Screwdriver!
United Kingdom, England, Bristol
Joined Aug 2011
907 Posts
Firmware and Schematic can be found on GitHub - https://github.com/simonchambers/fs-5.8g-vrx

Requires AVR-GCC tool chain. Run make all to build and make program to program using USBasp programmer.

Released under a MIT licence - about as Open Source as you can get!
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Last edited by SimonChambers; Mar 28, 2014 at 06:43 PM.
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Old Jan 27, 2014, 01:09 PM
SILURIA / UK
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Cool job!
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Old Jan 27, 2014, 05:05 PM
Radio? Screwdriver!
United Kingdom, England, Bristol
Joined Aug 2011
907 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shikra View Post
Cool job!
Cheers!

If I remember correctly I think you sent me the RTC6715 datasheet. If so thanks!

Si.
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Old Jan 28, 2014, 09:10 AM
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Bravo!
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Old Jan 28, 2014, 11:57 AM
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Thanks Simon.

There is an Atmega IC in your schematic, do we need a firmware or something for it?
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Old Jan 28, 2014, 04:18 PM
SILURIA / UK
Shikra's Avatar
United Kingdom
Joined Jun 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonChambers View Post
Cheers!

If I remember correctly I think you sent me the RTC6715 datasheet. If so thanks!

Si.
Yep that was me. Glad to see it went to good use

BTW - I'm in Chepstow.... can almost see you from here! Must hook up for a flight
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 04:19 AM
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Slovakia, Bratislava Region, Bratislava
Joined Jan 2012
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Hello Simon
I would like to ask you from where did you buy Rx module? I'm trying to find place where I could buy module for A band. I've found some sites but they have not so clear info and I'm not sure if I've got a right module from them.
Thanks
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 08:25 AM
Radio? Screwdriver!
United Kingdom, England, Bristol
Joined Aug 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bipsiler View Post
Thanks Simon.

There is an Atmega IC in your schematic, do we need a firmware or something for it?
Yea, I'm just reading through licences to work out what to put it under and then I'll upload everything to GitHub for all. It's a bit of nightmare going through the many open source licences and working out what is what.

If anyone has any suggestions on a licence, I'm all ears!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shikra View Post
Yep that was me. Glad to see it went to good use

BTW - I'm in Chepstow.... can almost see you from here! Must hook up for a flight
Cool! I'll have to dig out my passport.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 08:37 AM
Radio? Screwdriver!
United Kingdom, England, Bristol
Joined Aug 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PetoK View Post
Hello Simon
I would like to ask you from where did you buy Rx module? I'm trying to find place where I could buy module for A band. I've found some sites but they have not so clear info and I'm not sure if I've got a right module from them.
Thanks
Hi PetoK,

Which module are you looking at? Tx or Rx?

In my Boscam 200mW TX module, I removed the lid of the and just shorted Pin 4 (BX) coming out of the RTC6705 (the main RF ic) and shorted Pin 3 (S). See this post here.

Again similar can be done on the Rx module.

The other way is to buy the Boscam 32CH Tx/Rx - more expensive but no soldering required. This can do Band A, B, E and Airwave frequencies.

Cheers,
Si.
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Old Jan 30, 2014, 11:50 AM
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United States, MA, Sudbury
Joined Aug 2006
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ummm

wow
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Old Jan 31, 2014, 03:04 AM
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Slovakia, Bratislava Region, Bratislava
Joined Jan 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonChambers View Post
Hi PetoK,

Which module are you looking at? Tx or Rx?

In my Boscam 200mW TX module, I removed the lid of the and just shorted Pin 4 (BX) coming out of the RTC6705 (the main RF ic) and shorted Pin 3 (S). See this post here.

Again similar can be done on the Rx module.

The other way is to buy the Boscam 32CH Tx/Rx - more expensive but no soldering required. This can do Band A, B, E and Airwave frequencies.

Cheers,
Si.
I'm looking for RX module band A , but now I understand I can modify the module for the band A if I did not find one which is band A ... but I have to solder little bit.
Thank You.

Peter
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Old Feb 02, 2014, 12:07 PM
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Texel , the Netherlands
Joined May 2007
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Hello,

im also interested to buy 1, for my old Rc992 goggles (2.4 Ghz). i did build a cheap chinees 5.8 Ghz RX in it,next to my original Rx, so i can use both, but i have more transmitters, on different 5.8 bands, so this would solve the problem, as long as i can use it stand alone, coz im not sure it will fit in place of my original 2,4 Ghz rx, inside my first generation Fatshark.

Thanks.
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Old Mar 14, 2014, 04:24 AM
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United Kingdom, England, Herefordshire
Joined Oct 2012
130 Posts
Hi, I really like your design! One question tho, how are you actually changing the bands? From your schematics the RX module only has 3 channel lines (3x from fatshark into attiny, and then 3x out of attiny to the rx module).. what sort of magic is going on here?! :P

Regards Giles
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Old Mar 14, 2014, 08:32 AM
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Canada, QC, Montreal
Joined May 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geebles View Post
Hi, I really like your design! One question tho, how are you actually changing the bands? From your schematics the RX module only has 3 channel lines (3x from fatshark into attiny, and then 3x out of attiny to the rx module).. what sort of magic is going on here?! :P

Regards Giles
If you open the cover on the RX and bust off a specific resistor, you enable SPI mode on the receiver's chip, so you can program the frequency with an external microprocessor. Same with the transmitter modules.
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