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Old Feb 28, 2012, 09:01 PM
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helivsFMX's Avatar
Arizona USA
Joined Mar 2009
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Easiest Setup to Try out FPV

I think I want to give FPV a try, and I see there is A LOT to learn here... So it sounds like the KISS method is most effective to start out, so what is the most simple setup that I could get as a "package" to just try out? I know HK sells some VTx/Rx setups with cheap cameras, but are they usable initially? It sounds like some people say yes, some say no.

Maybe I should explain what I want to try and someone can let me know where Im going wrong etc...

first off, I fly planes and heli's every day. I dont crash unless Im trying new stuff. the last crash I had which was the only one ive had in the last year was doing an inverted flyby off the deck and hit LVC, tried to pull out and stalled... apart from that, I haven't crashed in as long as I can remember. So Im fine flying visually.

When I last bought a PZ corsair just to have a war bird in the fleet, I got too bored with it's "inability" after maybe a week or two of flying that I hangered it. Its just no fun to fly vs a 3D/acrobat. I'm not so sure I wont find FPV too boring also after I try it, so I just want something that I can try it and see if I get hooked or it sinks... Does that make sense? as long as I can fly around in a small park with decent video (good enough to fly) I think I'll be able to tell if I really want to get into this stuff. So I think the HK setup will work for me?

I do fly with a dx6i so range will be an issue as Ive read... as for a plane, I'll probably pick up an EPP FPV plane from HK also.

so any oppinions? criticisms? am I just way too far behind to approach this yet?

Thanks for any help!
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 10:09 PM
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United States, MO, Springfield
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For me, flying FPV was much more difficult to learn than LOS. You really have to trust your equipment and senses. But the challenge is very rewarding.
Inexpensive setups can be found, but you'll need to build or buy a good set of antennas to get any reliable video.
One word of caution: there is a TON of tinkering involved. You'll have to range check, rearrange components, rewire, solder, then tear it all out and do it again. If you're not comfortable with wiring and soldering, you will not enjoy the experience.
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 10:11 PM
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Also, a big plane like the one you mentioned would fly out of your radio range too quickly. You would do better with something that can fly in a smaller area.
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 10:11 PM
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Birmingham, Alabama
Joined Jun 2002
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ya i know what you mean. FPV isn't boring or stale.
there's always some pending failure to make your heart skip, sink or you tell yourself "gee i hope that video feed comes back...". always some dumb piece of video equipment you need to "piddle" with. always an upgrade around the corner...
then when you have the hang of it. you can go somewhere else & you get to be completely mortified all over again at the local RF environment having some snake in the grass ready to pounce on your video feed again.

for the flying aspect. mmmmm... flying in a straight line for long periods of time can be boring. it is to me. flying to an objective to take pictures of it is cool. basic aerobatics are cool (throw 3D out). flying low is cool...
its about like sport flying. once you do something long enough, if you're not pursuing perfection itll be boring. which you then solve by adding stuff to it. limbo, flying close to crap, trying to get stable video/pictures, going fast. w/e it takes. its not hard to keep FPV fresh. if anything, i think it's easier to keep FPV fresh. you can always come up with somewhere new to fly. with LOS flying, where you fly doesn't mean a hill of beans. half the fun of FPV is flying somewhere. MOST of the fun of it if you're attempting something (like flying to/from something or taking footage of something)


i think the big difference in FPV and LOS is that LOS, any moron can successfully not break a plane with some good instruction. i went the last 9 years without totaling a plane. FPV, you can put hundreds or thousands of hours into it and you're still just doing good to have a plane flying. let alone in the same condition at the end of every time you go flying!
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 10:27 PM
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getting started with FPV. you either need an overly easy & boring LOS plane to fly, or a combination of pilot skill & an airframe you're keenly confident in your ability to fly. as in. something you could start an aerobatic manuver in the middle of a conversation, look away & still finish it just based on knowing the approximate amount of stick deflection & timing needed. & do it more or less passably (no major altitude, attitude, heading or speed errors exiting)

that has served me well so many times. it's one thing if video blinks, but when you fly into some big amount of trouble, or an antenna null, hit some kind of crazy RFI, or god forbid the video just drops completely because something is failing... it's nice to be able to get the plane more or less corrected without any outside influence.


and don't think it never happens in good environments with good equipment either. all antennas have nulls & there's not a person here that was out flying & turned or banked themselves into an antenna null & lost everything for several seconds.
my cousin's first FPV flight on a rudder+elevator polyhedral 2 meter glider (read that as self correcting & stupidly stable) nearly ended in disaster 1 mile out because he banked too hard in a turn & hit the CL's top null. i had to save that on a windy day & it was a chore for a few seconds correcting a video feed where you only get a useable image once every so often & only so much altitude to play with before it wrecks or video LOS is lost
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 06:39 AM
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Agreed. I had a null-dropout just this weekend - turned toward home into the sun, wasn't exactly sure of my location, and began to really lose video. Scared the pants off of me. Reviewing the video showed I was entering the null overhead.

heli - point is, being a good LOS pilot doesn't guarantee easy success at FPV. I too have been flying for ~12 years, mixed styles, RARELY crash, and the challenge of flying FPV has been a rollercoaster.
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 11:18 AM
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Thanks for your response guys! I appreciate it!

Honestly, it sounds like the technology isn't quite up to par yet, but I'll probably give it a try anyway... Im a sucker for a challenge... Even when it makes me more mad than satisfied. Soldering and dinking around REALLY irritates me, as well as something that doesn't work when it should! So Im sure it will cause me all kinds of grief, but this hobby always starts out with more grief than satisfaction right?

Why dont you guys put a parachute channel on your radios "just incase"? haha that would be funny to see.

Maybe I'll pick up some sort of park flyer glider (multiplex easy star etc) and just put the video on it for now and stay in site and see how that goes. I think just flying that way will be at least fun enough at first. So if I did that, would the HK stuff get me there? using a 2.4ghz radio, should I go 900MHz or 5.8GHz for the video tx/rx? sounds like a low power unit will work fine too? 200-500mW?
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 11:30 AM
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Cool thread, I'm in the same boat. Still doing research and looking for a good plane and setup. So far it looks like the Skywalker is a good platform with tons of space and well thought out FPV features. People say the airfoil also is designed in such a way that it delivers a lot of lift and therefore can carry a large payload.
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 01:29 PM
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Other than the technical issues from the video link, what makes the actual piloting in FPV harder than LOS?
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 01:39 PM
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Edmonton,Canada Eh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epyonxero View Post
Other than the technical issues from the video link, what makes the actual piloting in FPV harder than LOS?
The only thing I can think that is "harder".... is potentially getting lost and crashing the plane.
Must know/learn navigation from "up there"... even if you "think" you know the area you are flying... it's easy to get lost.

I find the actual piloting by FPV to be much easier than LOS.
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by helivsFMX View Post
Thanks for your response guys! I appreciate it!

Honestly, it sounds like the technology isn't quite up to par yet, but I'll probably give it a try anyway... Im a sucker for a challenge... Even when it makes me more mad than satisfied. Soldering and dinking around REALLY irritates me, as well as something that doesn't work when it should! So Im sure it will cause me all kinds of grief, but this hobby always starts out with more grief than satisfaction right?

Why dont you guys put a parachute channel on your radios "just incase"? haha that would be funny to see.

Maybe I'll pick up some sort of park flyer glider (multiplex easy star etc) and just put the video on it for now and stay in site and see how that goes. I think just flying that way will be at least fun enough at first. So if I did that, would the HK stuff get me there? using a 2.4ghz radio, should I go 900MHz or 5.8GHz for the video tx/rx? sounds like a low power unit will work fine too? 200-500mW?
Good luck with that.... ...and prepare to be irritated.

Soldering and dinking around are pretty much a way of life for FPVing... not to mention stuff that doesn't work when it should...

You did carefully read http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...51&postcount=1 ..... right?
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 02:05 PM
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Challenges of actual FPV piloting include
1. Navigation. Things just look different from up there high, out there far, 2D view of 3d world, wide angle view (everything looks further away).. etc
2. Visibility. Cameras and analog video transmissions have limited resolution, dynamic range and colors so there are things you just can't see (tree branches against a bright background for instance, people, cars etc)
3. Maintaining LoS. You don't have to see the plane itself, but you can't fly it below/behind hills,
or large structures and sometimes just flying behind a tree line can do you in. If using 2.4Ghz for control, then simply flying behind you, thus blocking control signal with your body is a major problem. It means you have to mentally be both in the plane, and outside the plane all the time and be aware of the sight lines and terrain between you and the plane.
4. Full scale weather. We fly small scale planes in a full scale world. Climb a couple hundred feet, and you may find yourself in a 25-30mph wind, flying backwards. The weather limits when you can realistically fly, although people often try to fly in inappropriate conditions.

Even with experience and a reliable setup, there's always a lot of fiddly things to remember
and debug. I tell people that it's roughly equivalent to setting up and flying three powered
planes, at the same time.

ian
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 02:21 PM
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USA, NY, Buffalo
Joined Dec 2010
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As far as straightforward setups, I really recommend heading over to readymaderc.com and checking out some of the pre-packaged FPV setups available there.

Tim at RMRC goes to alot of effort to package up some really good components into a simple and easy to put together setup. His customer service is great, and he is very knowledgeable about FPV (it's his bread and butter!).

He does sometimes suffer from low stock, but that is as much an issue of the popularity of his store as anything else. I have bought quite a bit from him and can wholeheartedly recommend his store.
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Old Feb 29, 2012, 03:57 PM
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United States, LA, Monroe
Joined Mar 2009
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I too am in the same boat. I'll start building my Camera plane tonight. It will be a pusher foamy/tape job that will resemble an EZ star type design. I've got version one completed and this will be a better version for FPV. I will probably make a polyhedral wing with self correcting tendancy's for a starter wing so if I lose frequency, I may just chop throttle and let it go in upright and slow. I am in deep thought about which RMRC setup that I want to buy. So many pro/cons. I still have a 72mhz radio in addition to my 2.4ghz radio so my options are open. I want to eventually put my camera on moveable servo mount that will turn with the accelerometers built in to the camera glasses. Can anyone steer me to the link discussing how this is done?

Thanks,

Roger
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