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Old Oct 21, 2014, 09:52 AM
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FPV lawn mower advice

Not sure where to post this; feel free to move it as needed.

I am thinking about building a FPV/RC lawnmower and have 2 basic questions:

1. How practical are they at control - that is, how well can you mow a straight line with FPV?

2. What advice can be given about a camera mount that isolates vibration as much as possible? ( I plan on 3 cams, with an RC channel switcher, and yes, I know about cam stabilization features, but I am asking specifically about isolating severe mechanical vibration, like what must be done on an off road RC car.)

Any help and/or experience in this would be most welcome.

TIA,
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Last edited by revwarguy; Oct 21, 2014 at 03:57 PM.
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Old Oct 21, 2014, 05:26 PM
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2013 ZTR-42 FPV Remote Control Robotic Lawnmower with Video Control Option (8 min 2 sec)
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Old Oct 21, 2014, 11:53 PM
Out of the way, Peck!
United States, AR, Arkadelphia
Joined Mar 2010
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That was obviously LoS, you an tell by the way he can't steer straight, and how most of the video is not FPV, just a few instances of recorded onboard video. No headtracking, camera should at least pan in the direction he's steering. I like differential-steering mowers, but they are WAY expensive. That video is also a great example of how NOT to mount the camera i you don't want vibration.

Here is something i drew up in MSPaint to illustrate how i'd try and eliminate that fuzzy video (and funny (sad), for someone trying to sell RC mowers).

Newton's 1st Law of Motion. The foam block isolates the camera platform from the vibration, 'removing the outside forces', and the weight tries to 'continue it's motion'.

You could install a 2-axis gimbal but they are better for eliminating bouncy video, like an RC car bouncing across a grass field. Gives rock-solid video in that case. It's neat to see the car hood bouncing all over but the video is perfectly level and solid. http://witespyquad.gostorego.com/fpv...ne-gimbal.html

And i'd use a rear-steer design, i think it'd be easier to control via RC. A wheelchair motor/ wheel assembly for drive turned by a windshield-wiper motor driven by a servo-controller from dimension engineering.
http://www.dimensionengineering.com/products/syren10

Please excuse the Wabbit.
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Old Oct 22, 2014, 09:21 AM
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Well, thanks for the responses. I see foam and rubber type mounts for cameras in RC cars and multi-rotors, but I thought that they just insulated against high frequency type vibration, like the motors of a quadcopter. If a gyro balanced gymbal is also used to get rid of bouncing, is everything covered? This seems to me to be the same problem that the RC car guys have. Do they not do FPV, or have they solved the problem?

I guess what I am looking for is someone who can show some stabile FPV video of an RC car and a description of how they made it stabile.
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Old Oct 22, 2014, 11:03 PM
Live FPV or Die
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Montreal,Canada
Joined Feb 2002
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I have done FPV flight with 2 and 4 stroke engine for severals years. Using a gimbal will not work, you will destroy it, too much vibration. You need to simply use a CCD camera and mount it strongly to your lawnmover, no foam, mount the cam tight on the lawnmover. You will get a perfect picture with no vibration.
I don`t have access to vimeo or Youtube from here, I think this is the link to my race FPV car made in 2002:
r/c race car with onboard video (3 min 41 sec)


If you want to pan th ecamera, you will need to remove the freeplay of your servo horn by adding a washer between the servo horn and the servo case and turn the screw until the freeplay is remove. Also you will need to find a way to hold the top camera to remove the shaking

Four stroke motor on Cub with camera panning: Cub:
Cub (2 min 48 sec)
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Old Yesterday, 04:56 AM
Out of the way, Peck!
United States, AR, Arkadelphia
Joined Mar 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VRflyer View Post
I have done FPV flight with 2 and 4 stroke engine for severals years. Using a gimbal will not work, you will destroy it, too much vibration. You need to simply use a CCD camera and mount it strongly to your lawnmover, no foam, mount the cam tight on the lawnmover. You will get a perfect picture with no vibration.
If you watch the youtube video Qwin posted, you'll see the lawnmower guy mounted his camera solidly to the mower, and the image vibrates so bad it's blurry...from the gas engine vibrating. Mounting it solid may work on an airplane, i dunno.

Isolating the camera with a foam block, with a weight on the camera platform should eliminate that high-frequency vibration.

This might work better and be smaller. Wrap carpet foam around brick/ battery with camera mounted on top. Just remember, the more foam you have between the mower and the camera, the more isolation. If it gets wiggly, use elastic tie-downs to eliminate play.
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Old Yesterday, 09:33 AM
Live FPV or Die
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I just watch the video. The camera is mount on top of an arm, so when the motor run, the camera swing like a pendulum, even if the arm look strong, because the camera is heavy.

This is not what I have in head. I would mount the camera directly on the body of the lawn mover with a metal bracket something like a "U" inverse.

You loose your time if you intend to mount it with a foam like I see on your drawing. The top of the camera will swing the same way it swing when the cam is mount on a arm.

It was amazing the vibration with my Cub because it was a four stroke engine, and I was able to mount the cameras inside the cockpit and mount it on a servo. It had take me several tried before getting a good result. Kept it in head when you will become discouraged.
What I suggest is simpler to try. Why not trying it first without a servo, it will tell you that you are on the good way

I'm very interested in your project, I will follow this thread. Sorry for my english error, I'm better in French
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Old Yesterday, 09:38 AM
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Thanks for the repsonses. I've realized the RC guys do not have the same problem, as their bounce factor is greatly reduced by the usually sophisticated tires and articulate suspension. My mower only has pneumatic tires between the frame and the bumps in the road, so I guess I am looking for a "suspension" for the camera. Are gymbals responsive enough for the sharp bumps? I agree a foam and or velcro mount is needed for the higher freq engine vibration.

I am starting from a blank page, so I have many options. I think I want independant steering (like tank controls, rear drive) so I can go forward, backwards, and turn quickly - I want at least two cameras going both directions, hence the switcher. Don't know if I need to pan them as well, but I'll consider it. (I have a 3D printer, so gymbals is just a matter of the servos and having enough channels.) Also, I will have an arduino on board, for safety (mans the dead man switch) and will have bluetooth reporting, as well as a simple OSD for battery monitoring.

I have a 2.4 ghz DX6i, so not many channels, but perhaps its time to upgrade? Things get tight with head trackers, etc. I was hoping some RC group or another had "been there, done that," but maybe not.
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Old Yesterday, 09:46 AM
Live FPV or Die
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Montreal,Canada
Joined Feb 2002
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oddmar View Post
Here is something i drew up in MSPaint to illustrate how i'd try and eliminate that fuzzy video (and funny (sad), for someone trying to sell RC mowers).

Newton's 1st Law of Motion. The foam block isolates the camera platform from the vibration, 'removing the outside forces', and the weight tries to 'continue it's motion'.

You could install a 2-axis gimbal but they are better for eliminating bouncy video, like an RC car bouncing across a grass field. Gives rock-solid video in that case. It's neat to see the car hood bouncing all over but the video is perfectly level and solid. http://witespyquad.gostorego.com/fpv...ne-gimbal.html


Please excuse the Wabbit.
I write before that the gimbal would be destroy, but I did not count the gimbal would be mount on foam first. I agree now that should work, but it is fragile.
I would prefer to not use a gimbal, but my proposition in the post before is more work to done right. Gimbal are not expensive and work very well. I would give it a try and protect it with a clear plastic cover because it will remove all the imperfection of the field when the lawn mover move. It will be a smooth ride in the video goggle, or monitor.
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Old Yesterday, 10:05 AM
Live FPV or Die
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Montreal,Canada
Joined Feb 2002
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I already seen other that have install a radio on their lawn mover, but never seen one made a FPV lawn mover. But I think about it since 10 years... I'm tired now of building R/C plane etc. This project would be perfect winter project. I will start with a new lawn mover if I do it. An electric one probably.

About the gimbal, I got the same one that you see in this post. It is AMAZING! This is a piece of art, it is highly responsive, very fast. But I think it could be affect by the vibration. If you intend to use two cameras, use a wide angle lens, 90deg is the minimal. So you can mount them firmly with a bracket if the gimbal do not work. And you will find great utility for other project with the gimbal anyway, I'm sure.
It would be better to be able to pan the camera with the head tracker. If you use a gimbal, you will have two channel input, you only have to plug a wire between your r/c receiver channel 6 to the pan servo input of the gimbal, to be able to control the panning of the gimbal using the knob on your radio, or control it via headtracker.
You need two channel for your "tank" rear drive. One channel for kill switch. One channel for panning. What I missed?
You have enough channel with your DX6i.
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Old Yesterday, 03:51 PM
I tell her RC is cheap !
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Quebec, Canada
Joined Sep 2006
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I'm looking for an RC mower, the most easy and practical solution i came with is towing a hand pushed mechanical (no engine) mower with my FPV Tonka Summit like this guy did:

traxxas summit mower (2 min 57 sec)
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Old Yesterday, 06:52 PM
The Fixer
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Canada, ON, Milton
Joined Jan 2009
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I should use my Robomower. Not very fast but easy to control.
No Go Video (1 min 40 sec)
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Old Yesterday, 11:34 PM
I tell her RC is cheap !
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Joined Sep 2006
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Bbwahaha awesome Martin, rofl !
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Old Yesterday, 11:54 PM
Live FPV or Die
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Montreal,Canada
Joined Feb 2002
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That it is cool Martin. The wings are a good idea. I got a bumpy field, the lawn mover will fly above them!
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Old Today, 06:28 AM
The Fixer
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Canada, ON, Milton
Joined Jan 2009
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I've had that little puppy for 10 years now. Vr those are old video's of yours.

I think you would need to put the whole system on a platform ( gimbal,camera,vtx, control rx) so not to vibrate the heck out of it. Then take that block and mount it on rc truck shocks tuned to the weight of the system. But I would stick to a electric mower. A runaway gas powered rig would not be good incase of a failure.
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