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Old Oct 21, 2012, 11:40 PM
Koo
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Mini-HowTo
Easy 3 mile range setup for under $200 for those of us with a tight budget

Removed the bevrc links because they have been hacked and you are redirected to a site you don't want to go.
Even though the gear I'm explaining below can easily go beyond two miles, this doesn't mean you should. Knowing your gear and plane is essential in order not to lose the plane. I would NEVER recommend anyone to fly past LOS without an OSD. Start simple. You can always add more things to the setup. Have a spotter, know where you are flying. Landmarks are the key. Losing a plane sucks. Almost happened to me but I was lucky enough to find it.
Another word of advise:
Quote:
FPV is going to be expensive no matter what. You should know the plane you are flying well before putting any FPV gear on it. It is a very different experience to see the area you are flying from 200 feet than from the ground. I've flown FPV for around 4 months and only have about 8 FPV flights altogether. Even if your equipment is reliable to few miles, that doesn't necessarily mean that you should fly far away your first couple of flights. I lost (and found, super lucky) my bixler my 2nd FPV flight because I went too far and got disoriented. I HIGHLY recommend recording all your flights just in case you crash far away. It is fairly easy to determine the crash place from the footage using google earth. Take my word for it
Past couple of months I've seen a lot of people asking what FPV setup is the best for beginners who want to do long range FPV. The answer have always included FPV is not something that you buy but rather what you do.
I really do think that one can buy a fully working FPV setup for under $170 and reach over 2 miles if you know the area well. I do, however, recommend an OSD for any FPV that is beyond the line of sight. I live in USA and the gear might now work in some other countries.



Very brief explanation how the different parts work.

1. A camera onboard of the plane is connected to a video tranmitter also in the plane.
2. This transmitter transmits video and audio signal all around and you can receiver with a video receiver.
3. You are now able to get the video to almost any screen with some regular RCA cables.

Overview of the setup.
-http://www.bevrc.com/bev-13g-800mw_p52.htmlFox-800 1.2ghz 800mw tx and rx from bevrc (good for +2miles with stock
antennas)-$75

-http://www.bevrc.com/bev-low-pass-filter-lpf1200lpf1400_p257.htmlLow pass filter to prevent interference from the video transmitter on the radio link-$15

-FrSky with 7db antenna for +3mile control-$50

-7db antenna for FrSky$8-Possible 4-5mile range with FrSky without a booster

EDIT

HK released a 433mhz openLRS system, should be good for at least 5 mile control.
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...095&aff=421628
http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...096&aff=421628
-1/3-inch SONY CCD Video Camera (NTSC)-$30 (The red and white wires are most likely mixed up on this camera)

-VuPoint Solutions Digital Video Converter-$25 records your live video to an SD card. I just placed on order for this. Has very positive review on Amazon from a person who uses for FPV

Optional stuff that will come handy:
-"http://www.bevrc.com/cyclops-storm-osd-v102-firmwarethe-bestvalue-ahrs-based-osd-with-rtlrth-fucntion_p453.html"]Storm OSD[/URL]This little guy has return to home function and shows which way to go in order to get back where you are located.

-"http://www.bevrc.com/bev-1213ghz-patch-antenna_p117.html"]8db patch antenna for video receiver. Possible to hit +7 miles with this antenna.

-1watt 2.4ghz wifi booster-Possible to have control of the plane for +10 miles with this and FrSky.

Some miscellenius things that you will most likely end up needing to buy.
-JST 4s connectors to make your life easier. I use one between my vtx and OSD so it is easy to remove my vtx if needed.

I have been using the above setup for awhile now. Since I'm still relatively new to FPV, I haven't been using directional antennas so I don't need to worry pointing the antennas the right way.
You NEED to be able to solder in order to make this setup work. The FrSky module can be used on turnigy 9x which is one of the cheapest radios to start with and is amazing bang for the buck.
I will update this thread with more info and pictures from my setup if people request so and find this helpful.
I'd also like to hear some feedback from the more experienced pilots that I could add to this first post.

Some important things to keep in mind:
-You need to do some modifications before fitting the FrSky module in the 9x. Here is a good video on how to do this. You may need to open the 9x and remove the protector which protects the pins for the module. You need to do this by using force. Will upload pics of this later if someone requests them.
-Buying a FrSky receiver with telemetry will make your life a lot easier. Knowing how strong your radio link is makes everything safer and gives you a peace of mind.
-DO NOT use HXT900s on your plane if flying fpv. I mean they will work but they do like to jitter and sometimes have freakouts when there is a high power vtx's antenna close to them. I recommend using digital servos.

My first successful 2 mile FPV flight with skywalker 168 (10 min 9 sec)

Video of using the above setup with a different camera. The bad quality is caused from recording with my laptop.
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Old Oct 22, 2012, 03:29 AM
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Well, 3 miles without OSD with GPS would be quite brave approach, sooner or later sh**t will hit the fan and you'll loose your plane without ability to find it. I think OSD with GPS and recording is a must when flying out of sight.
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 04:00 PM
Koo
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Added some more info. Will add pics when I get home.
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 04:23 PM
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How hard is the solder job? SMT, Thru-hole or wires?
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 05:42 PM
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This is a very useful starting point, Id be curious if the concensus is that these ranges are... reliable. I mean, if these are outer limits with ideal conditions, it would atleast be good to know.

and perhaps what are the shortcomings of it. Your suggesting all in well under 500 even for the "extras", and 10+miles? Is it really that easy?
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Old Oct 23, 2012, 07:30 PM
Koo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bauerbach View Post
This is a very useful starting point, Id be curious if the concensus is that these ranges are... reliable. I mean, if these are outer limits with ideal conditions, it would atleast be good to know.

and perhaps what are the shortcomings of it. Your suggesting all in well under 500 even for the "extras", and 10+miles? Is it really that easy?
On the video, I was using non directional antennas for both video and control. I am very confident that the video would have been solid to 3 miles but I decided to turn back because I achieved my goal and was flying above a college campus
For control, FrSky will work just fine to up to 5 miles without the booster and the directional antenna. If you were to hit over around 10 miles, investing in a longrange system like dragonlink might be worth it. I have RTH on my nova osd so I'm not really too worried what would happen if I would completely lose the signal.
But yeah, using a directional antenna for video it is very possible to achieve 10 mile video with the fox-800 vtx. You need to have someone pointing the antenna or mount the antenna on a backpack and face the plane in order to achieve these distances.
Some people use an antenna tracker but in my opinion, its not very necessary if you have someone helping you.

One of the things I didn't include for the cost is video goggles. Some people like to fly with them over a monitor, some don't. I really don't have a preference. FatSharks would cost you +$200 while you can get goggles like MyVu Crystals from eBay for around $100 and they have the same resolution.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 10:59 AM
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This should be good...

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Old Oct 24, 2012, 01:34 PM
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Koo29, I have a turnigy 9x which i'll probably do the smartieparts board upgrade to. Does the Frsky module you linked work with the Turnigy 9x remote? It doesn't say specifically.

After seeing how much fun IBCrazy has flying short-range FPV, i'm going to stay close for a while. So i'll forego the dragonlink and super expensive stuff for a while.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koo29 View Post
beginners who want to do long range FPV.
Beginners don't do long range... they want too sure, because they don't realize how hard it is, what the challenges are, how expensive it'll be and how many mistakes they'll make along the way before they're skilled enough to actually do it. Suggesting that they can and should is a recipe for disaster.

Suggesting that people should use frsky for long range is also a REALLY bad idea. I've taken my frsky out to 1 mile successfully, but that was on a good day in a good area. I've also had failsafes within 400 feet... it depends on the environment, wifi interference and etc. Usually it works great until the second it doesn't, and you don't get a second chance. I've spent a year flying within 1 mile, learning everything I can about fpv. I'm finally ready to move forward so I ordered a Rangelink UHF and a Lawmate 2G4 500mw set.

The important thing for a beginner is to make small steps, do envelope expansion flights, do research and take the time to figure out what different interferences look like on the screen. Etc. etc.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 04:00 PM
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Facepalm.....shakes head
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 04:14 PM
Koo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fallingdown View Post
Beginners don't do long range... they want too sure, because they don't realize how hard it is, what the challenges are, how expensive it'll be and how many mistakes they'll make along the way before they're skilled enough to actually do it. Suggesting that they can and should is a recipe for disaster.

Suggesting that people should use frsky for long range is also a REALLY bad idea. I've taken my frsky out to 1 mile successfully, but that was on a good day in a good area. I've also had failsafes within 400 feet... it depends on the environment, wifi interference and etc. Usually it works great until the second it doesn't, and you don't get a second chance. I've spent a year flying within 1 mile, learning everything I can about fpv. I'm finally ready to move forward so I ordered a Rangelink UHF and a Lawmate 2G4 500mw set.

The important thing for a beginner is to make small steps, do envelope expansion flights, do research and take the time to figure out what different interferences look like on the screen. Etc. etc.
Thats a good point. I'll edit the first point later today. The thing is that you can use the same gear for long range that you started out with. I don't see the point of buying 5.8 to start with and then moving to 1.2ghz later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalton1981 View Post
Koo29, I have a turnigy 9x which i'll probably do the smartieparts board upgrade to. Does the Frsky module you linked work with the Turnigy 9x remote? It doesn't say specifically.

After seeing how much fun IBCrazy has flying short-range FPV, i'm going to stay close for a while. So i'll forego the dragonlink and super expensive stuff for a while.
Yes, it works with 9x. I have the exact same module and I've been using it with a while with great results. You do however, make a small modification to your 9x if it has a plastic protector for the pins that go in the module. I'll post pics of that later today.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:05 PM
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You can actually get some long range out of the 5G8 gear... I plan to keep 5.8ghz on my short range multirotors while using 2.4 and 1280 on my planes. Btw, a good 5G8 tx and rx can be had for $60 and you don't need to waste $20-$30 on a low-pass filter. Even with a low pass filter whether I used 900mhz or 1280 my 2.4 frsky still had a noticeable reduction in range versus none with 5.8.

Still, I have to say, I'm impressed you've flown your frsky that far out! I just wouldn't trust it to go that far everytime, or everywhere...
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 05:31 PM
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noob question. but why the range limitation on new FPV flyers?

I mean, I get that you dont take your maiden flight 30miles... obviously.

but as you feel your way into the range, maybe with an RHHI device, once your under the hood, what difference does it matter if your 1km or 10km? obviously OSD to point your way home so you dont get lost, maintaining battery for the return flight...

is it that the crash is that much farther away if it happens? is the threshold anything beyond spotters LOS?
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:01 PM
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Well, it's advice meant to help you, not to restrain you.

The idea is to take it one step at a time... adding devices like RTH can actually be really complicated and there's a lot of failure points. So you start off with a plane, multirotor or helicopter... add a cheap board cam and a video transmitter, power it with a small seperate battery and a simple osd (like the $7 HK one with voltage and a timer). Have some fun with that, get used to it and how long your craft flies, what the world looks like (orientation mapping).

Then get a regulator to power your camera and vtx (could be the cam is 12v and the vtx is 5v, so 2 regulators) and try powering everything through your main flight battery. Take a look at the diagonal lines on the screen. Get rid of that with an LC filter. Experiment here a bit... unless you'd rather just buy a Core from TBS for $70 (lc filter and regulators).

Now add a gps based OSD and current sensor... get used to it short range, be able to read the data quickly as if in an emergency or failing video. By this point you need to look at how clean your wiring and install is. Is your control rx way out on one wingtip, with your vTx out on the opposite wingtip? Is your wiring clean (cut to exact length) or spaghetti? Are you cables shielded? The wiring between cam and vtx should be... might even need a ferrite ring. Your servo wires should probably be shielded too... if you plan on long range anyways.

Do you have a perfect video and control (rssi) signal at 1 mile out with omni antennas? Okay, now time to test directional antennas and push your range. Spend some time learning to aim them, and not freak out if you aim it wrong... If you're adding a signal tracker do that one step at a time.

If you're hoping to someday fly out 10 miles.... then I hope you've flown several ten mile flights, not away, but in circles around yourself. If your plane and video system held up without any glitches or failures you might be ready... did your plane have enough battery to fly that long? What's its most efficient throttle setting (if your motor maxes out at 35 amps you might want to cruise at 7amps or so...?). Are you used to flying upwing/downwind? If you run low on battery on the return trip, how long can you glide from a height? How low a voltage can you go before your vtx gives up? And camera?

OH that reminds me, now that you've flown for a few months and probably crashed and broken your $17 camera you can get a better one... do some research and find the one that will meet your needs within your budget. There's some REALLY good ones out there.

Now you can fly two miles out, then come back and land. Then 3 miles out, and so forth. Take it one step at a time... record your flights with a dvr so you can watch your live link footage as its recorded and look for interference, EMI problems and etc.

Whew... I probably forgot some things too, lol.

Basically, if you put everything on at once it's going to be frustrating when something isn't working and you don't know what it is or how to fix it. By going one piece at a time and one challenge at a time you can build up a knowledge base. Oh and if you try for "long range" in your first few fpv flights you're probably going to lose your aircraft. Honestly there's so much fun to be had flying short range... flying long range is all about your personal record, if it was easy to do as a beginner it wouldn't be much of a challenge and nothing to brag about. If I need to fly around a spot that's ten miles away I'd rather just drive 9 miles closer and fly it there.
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Old Oct 24, 2012, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bauerbach View Post
noob question. but why the range limitation on new FPV flyers?

I mean, I get that you dont take your maiden flight 30miles... obviously.

but as you feel your way into the range, maybe with an RHHI device, once your under the hood, what difference does it matter if your 1km or 10km? obviously OSD to point your way home so you dont get lost, maintaining battery for the return flight...

is it that the crash is that much farther away if it happens? is the threshold anything beyond spotters LOS?
Take some advise from a new FPV flyer; the reason you don't fly long range is you don't know the gear or aircraft limitations. If you don't know what it's like to loose a aircraft go right ahead and push out to that mile or 1km.

With some of the advise I'm reading here its not going to be long before there is a post about loosing your aircraft. This may come off as a a** thing to say but it's the truth.

Start SLOW and CLOSE and do not, under any circumstances, fly long range with 2.4 control.

Finally, read, read, and then read more in the stickies to learn from others.
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