|Dimensions:||66 X 40 X 20mm|
|Weight:||29.1 grams (without wiring)|
|Voltage Range:||6 - 30v|
|Current Display:||Up to 70A|
|GPS Refresh Rate:||10Hz|
The RVOSD5 is a stand-alone on-screen display (OSD) and autopilot designed and sold by Range Video. With this being the 5th version of the RVOSD since its inception (hence the "5" in RVOSD5), Range Video has created a device that reduces some of the safety issues associated with first-person-view piloting. The RVOSD5 enhances the overall flight experience through a continuous stream of information relating to the aircraft's position, speed, altitude, distance from home, battery level, and much much more.
The RVOSD5 can be installed in an airplane, helicopter, or multirotor platform. But in this review, we will be covering the installation, setup, and flight testing in a Skywalker V4 FPV airplane.
| FPV Flying - Safety First
First-person-view (FPV) is a relatively new way to pilot an rc aircraft. This style of flying has been met with mixed emotions, in-part due to the lack of understanding associated with video piloting. One way to keep negative press away from FPV is to fly responsibly. Respect airspace restrictions, laws, people and property just as you would when flying line-of-sight. Range test your equipment before the day's first flight, and use a spotter.
The RVOSD5 is a turn-key system; unlike some other units on the market, it requires no additional purchases to go from box, to aircraft, to flight. Included in the shipping box was the RVOSD5 main OSD/autopilot, a 10Hz GPS module, 70 amp current sensor, 4 male-to-male servo wires, and a remote control for making adjustments on the ground. The only additional purchase could be a Pickit2 USB firmware updater, which would be required to do any firmware updates on the RVOSD5. At the time of this review, no firmware updates were required. A complete online instruction manual is in development and is available for download at the bottom of this review.
The RVOSD5 performs the functions of an autopilot and on-screen-display in one compact package. It contains four integrated sensors: two gyros, an accelerometer, and a barometric pressure sensor. Working together, they provide precise control of the aircraft under many different scenarios. With the autopilot selected, the aircraft can be controlled in 6 different modes:
Return to Home will bring the aircraft back to the point where the GPS was initialized and home location was stored. This location is your base station, or launch point. The RTH altitude and motor RPM can be set on the ground through the remote control, or in the air through the transmitter. Keep in mind that your FPV camera, downlink, and monitor will need to be powered on and connected in order to see the RVOSD5's adjustment menus. If your aircraft is above the preset altitude when RTH is engaged, the aircraft will glide down to the preset altitude, power on the motor, and continue at that altitude until it reaches home. Once the aircraft reaches home, it will perform figure eights above the home location until you switch the autopilot off, or the aircraft runs out of battery power.
Level Flight holds the aircraft wings-level and at the altitude at the point of being engaged. With wings-level engaged, you do not have aileron or elevator control of the aircraft. You do have throttle and rudder control. If you power the throttle to idle, the aircraft will begin to sink; add power and it will continue at that altitude, the autopilot will not attempt to climb back up to the point of initial engagement. External forces such as wind, or induced yaw through trim or rudder input, will allow the aircraft to turn even though the wings are level.
Heading Hold is similar to wings-level in that it will hold the aircraft level on the roll and pitch axis', but will also keep the aircraft on the heading the aircraft is flying when engaged.
Position Hold is a loiter function what will put the aircraft in a figure-8 pattern above a target. The target is the GPS coordinate stored when position-hold is engaged.
Fly-by-Wire is an assisted-flight mode designed to provide IMU stabilization while allowing full flight controls. When flying in fbw-mode, the aircraft is limited in its roll and pitch angles; it can never be rolled inverted or looped. If the aircraft is banked or pitched and you let go of the controls, it will immediately right itself and continue flying wings-level and at that altitude. Fly-by-wire is a favorite among many RVOSD5 owners due to it's increased level of safety as it prevents the aircraft from getting in an unusual attitude.
Waypoint navigation is a unique mode that flies the aircraft to pre-set gps coordinates. If two coordinates are stored and the waypoint navigation function is engaged, the aircraft will fly to the first coordinates, then to the next, and upon reaching the final set, will initiate the return-to-home function.
The RVOSD5's menus are divided into two sections: the main menu and the in-flight menu. The main menu has 4 pages and is accessed through the IR remote or transmitter while the aircraft is on the ground. The in-flight menu has 3 pages and can be accessed through the transmitter from a pre-set 3-position switch and then using the aileron/elevator control gimbal on the tx to move through the pages. It should be noted that the in-flight menu can be accessed on page 4 of the main menu, but the main menu can't be accessed through the in-flight menu.
During installation and setup, which will be covered later, you'll be assigning a channel to a 3-position switch on your transmitter. Ideally, the switch will remain in the center position during flight. To engage the autopilot, push the switch down. To access the in-flight menu, push the switch up. You may have to push the switch up to 3 times to cycle through the available OSD screens until you reach the menu. Then use the elevator to scroll through the menu options, and right aileron to change an option. On the ground, you can use the transmitter or the IR remote.
The main menu covers the majority of adjustable perameters for the RVOSD5, as well as a few items set for future development. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the categories, which will make finding them a little easier when you're in the field. Lets say you are on the ground and want to change the numerical information displayed from metric to imperial. Press the menu button on the remote, then use the up/down arrows to move through the options until you get to page 2. The option titled Display Units is our target option and should blink when we get to it. Press the right arrow to change from metric to imperial, or vice versa. Your last step is to save the changes. Press the up/down arrows to navigate to page 4, and then down to the last option titled Save Configuration. press the right arrow to save.
The in-flight menu covers the majority of autopilot functions and adjustable perameters. The in-flight menu also allows for easy switching between autopilot modes (RTH, level flight, heading hold, etc.). To access the in-flight menu, switch the 3-position switch from center to up to cycle through the OSD screens until you get to menu page 1. It's important to note that once you are in the menu screen, you have no control over the aircraft. This is why it's good to have an aircraft that holds course and altitude when hands-off. Alternately, you can switch to one of the autopilot modes to hold the aircraft level before switching to the in-flight menu.
Once in the menu, use the elevator stick to scroll up and down, and the aileron stick to change values. Once a value is changed, click the 3-position switch from center to up and you will cycle back to the main OSD screen and regain control of the aircraft. You cannot save your settings while in the in-flight menu; if you unplug the RVOSD5 after landing, it will revert back to the last saved settings. An example of this would be changing the autopilot mode to fly-by-wire and saving while on the ground. Then, while flying you access the menu and change to heading hold mode. Once you land and unplug the unit, it will revert back to fly-by-wire next time you plug in the battery, unless you saved that setting from the main menu after you landed. Make sense? Good.
The on-screen display, or OSD, is customizable to the amount of info you want relayed to your brain. Do you like a screen cluttered with info? No problem. Want the bare minimum altitude, groundspeed, and battery level? You can do that, too; the main menu gives you control over what is displayed on screen. Speaking of screens, you can navigate through 3 preset screens by toggling the 3-position switch on your transmitter. The first screen covers the main info and serves as a home-screen of sorts. The second screen displays a radar that shows the plane in the center and its relation to home, shown as an "H", that moves relative to the aircrafts heading and location. The third screen essentially removes all visual elements from the screen, but can still bring up vital info such as low battery, etc.
The RVOSD5 installation and setup can be done relatively quickly, getting you ready for flight in a few hours. However, as with most electronics of this type, you might find yourself re-reading instructions, changing some setup parameters, or just scratching your head with confusion. Hopefully, the latter scenario won't happen. In this section, I'll cover the main points of the installation; for full install instructions, consult the RVOSD5 manual.
Assuming your airplane is ready to receive the RVOSD5, locate a suitable mounting spot and use foam as a cushion between the airframe and unit. Along with balancing your prop, the idea is to prevent any stray vibrations from reaching the RVOSD5's integrated sensors, which could cause incorrect readings and problems with autopilot control. Once you've found a suitable mounting location and isolated the unit well, start connecting the included male-to-male servo leads from the aircraft receiver to the RVOSD5, and on to the servos. For a standard airplane using a y-harness for ailerons, use the following diagram:
· Rx auxiliary output ----> OSD auxiliary input
· Rx Elevator output ----> OSD elevator input/output ----> Elevator servo
· Rx Aileron output ----> OSD aileron input /output ----> Aileron servo
· Rx Throttle output ----> OSD throttle input/output ----> Throttle servo
· Rx Rudder output ----> OSD rudder input/output ----> Rudder servo
Now that the receiver and servos are hooked up, let's move on to the video transmitter (vtx) and flight camera. The RVOSD5 comes with dedicated inputs for both the vtx and camera, and the center pin of each connector provides clean, filtered power for them. This makes running the entire system from the flight pack very attractive. Note that through a simple change of a few jumpers, the power output is adjustable between 5v and 12v.
The RSSI plug on the RVOSD5 allows you to display the aircraft transmitter signal strength on the OSD. If your flight receiver has an RSSI output, simply connect it to the RVOSD5 RSSI port. However, most receivers dont have a dedicated output. Luckily, RCGroups has a great thread, located HERE, that covers many popular receivers and explains how to get RSSI out from them.
The current sensor should be installed in such a manner so it can be plugged into the RVOSD5, esc, and battery. Once you have it mounted, you will only need to plug/unplug the battery and nothing else. It should be noted that the current sensor is rated at 70 amps and comes wired with XT60 connectors. If you plan on using another brand, you will need to make a harness from an additional male/female XT60 pair.
The following setup procedure is taken from the Range Video manual. It accurately describes the order of operations to get your RVOSD5 ready for its first flight. Please read the manual thoroughly before your maiden flight. Don't rely solely on the information listed below.
1- Make sure the propeller and motor are balanced.
2- Make sure the orientation of the OSD on the plane is so that the USB connector on the top OSD board, will face the front of the airplane, and the graphic board (smaller OSD board) face the top of the airplane.
3- Connect the current sensor to the OSD. The inertial unit will be initializing. Keep RVOSD board quiet during the first 30 seconds after power ON.
4- Set the R/C receiver connected (Main 4/4) menu item to Yes.
5- Make sure to remove the propeller from the motor at this stage. Connect GPS and all inputs to RVOSD.
6-Start R/C wizard, make sure to follow all instructions. If you miss any step, just finish the wizard and start again.
7-Set the throttle stick position to maximum, set transmitter End point to 110%
8-Store the throttle stick position on the menu item Set throttle FS detect.
9-Set the transmitter End point to 120%
10-Set Failsafe for your receiver outputs.
11-Set transmitter end point back to 100%
12-Set OSD fail-safe’s on the menu item Set failsafe.
13-Menu item Enable autopilot to Yes-RTH
14-Change current sensor type if needed, menu item Curr sensor type.
15-Change battery capacity if needed, menu item Set batt capacity.
16-Enter in-flight menu (Autopilot menu), Set neutrals. This should be done after your plane is trimmed. Else make sure this setting is the closest possible to the neutral flight positions.
17-Use the menu item Save configuration to make sure all settings are going to be permanently stored on the OSD memory.
Installation and setup is fairly straightforward, but new OSD/Autopilot users may struggle with some new concepts. Luckily, theres plenty of info available on RCGroups.com and Range Video's own forum, and many RVOSD5 users are eager to help the new users tackle the install.
| RVOSD5 Information Links
Main Manual in PDF Format
Installation and Setup Information on Range Video's own Website
Receiver RSSI Output Information
Latest Firmware Updates
Its my personal opinion that the RVOSD5 is one of the better OSD/Autopilot systems in it's price range. Out the box, it performs extremely well with very few bad habits if any. Autopilot turns are smooth and predictable, Fly-by-Wire does a great job of keeping the plane still, and the entire system has operated without failures or glitches since installation. In the air, the amount of information available on the OSD is more than enough to know where your plane is at all times, and accurately return to home without engaging the RTH function. Of course, all the information is dependent on an accurate satellite fix; without one you have no flight vitals except for barometric altitude. I'm hoping that a pitot airspeed sensor will be a new feature on the next version of the RVOSD.
The RVOSD5 is a must-have item for the serious FPV'er. I really enjoy the Fly-by-Wire autopilot mode, which keeps the aircraft level and prevents unusual-attitude situations. The return-to-home function works flawlessly and provides just enough insurance to make those longer flights a little less scary. Couple the aforementioned with a price point right at $300, and you have the perfect autopilot unit for the beginner up to the seasoned professional FPV'er.
A big thanks goes out to Range Video for allowing me to review the RVOSD5.Last edited by Angela H; Oct 21, 2011 at 01:31 PM..
|Oct 23, 2011, 09:15 AM|
|Oct 23, 2011, 09:22 AM|
While installing in an airplane will give you OSD and full autopilot usage, it can be installed in any aircraft to get full OSD info. You are correct that its designed for airplanes; a few users have gotten autopilot to work in multi-rotor platforms. Hope that helps.
|Oct 23, 2011, 11:26 AM|
|Oct 23, 2011, 11:38 AM|
Your correct Bill, the unit is designed for airplanes and the manual covers only airplanes. However, as I mentioned, as long as the GPS is used, the RVOSD5 can be used in any aircraft (or anything rc really) to show OSD info such as ground speed, altitude, distance from home, battery and power levels, etc.
Im sorry I dont know how the user got it to work with a multi as I only tested in an airplane. People have said in our forum that they have gotten stabilization to work on the aileron axis of a multi. Thats all the info I have.
|Oct 25, 2011, 05:12 AM|
may be a good product but my expirence with RV cust service sucks call thier contact us phone number it's a house not a bussiness I have sent many emails and never get a prompt response if one at all.
JUST MY EXPIRENCE AND OPINION
|Oct 25, 2011, 08:08 AM|
Thanks for this review, it is a good product and I think you caught the essence of this little red piece of magic.
Btw, regarding multicopter stabilisation some have successfully used the RVOSD5 FBW-mode together with a multicopter controller such as a KK-multicontrol card. This way the KK-controller controls the motors and basic control while the RVOSD5 gives input to the KK-controller so that it is limited in roll and pitch. If you release the sticks it will go back to horisontal position. As far as multicopter goes I guess that it will eventually hover if the sticks are released.
|Oct 25, 2011, 03:30 PM|
Most quads etc. have built-in stability anyway. The interesting/useful bit would be the GPS/autopilot functionality i.e. 'return home'. But as mentioned a fixed-wing unit will not work as the model doesn't respond to 'throttle' and 'elevator' input the way it expects.
|Oct 25, 2011, 05:07 PM|
The RVOSD G5 is nowhere near fully evolved. It has extra ports for increased functionality. There are a whole lot more features coming for this device. Any one ordering would be wise to include the Pickit programmer, as there have been multiple firmware upgrades since its release, and undoubtedly lots more to come. I have a G1, 2 G5s and a G4/5 upgrade.
Apart from some frustrating hardware reliability issues, both G5s and the G4/5 have performed brilliantly.
Its hard to believe that this level of sophistication and control is available for the price.
|Oct 26, 2011, 03:38 PM|
Excellent review Matt; I always enjoy your articles
As we have previously discussed I am considering the RVOSD5 for my Queen Bee. My plan was to use a big honkin motor paired up to a 120-amp ESC. Would I risk damaging the RV system with that?
I believe the current sensor that the RVOSD ships with is only capable of 70amps; but I read somewhere they have plans to release a current sensor capable of 140amps. Has RV been able to give you any indication of when or if a 140amp current sensor might be available?
Thanks so much and I look forward to your next review
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