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RC Logger 5.8GHz Video System

Mounting a camera to an RC aircraft is pretty cool, but being able to see exactly where it is pointing opens up a whole new world. RC Logger has you covered with it's 5.8GHz video system.

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Introduction


General Specifications
Audio:Video Transmitter (Stereo), Video Receiver (Stereo)
Connections:Video Transmitter (A/V in: 4 pin 2.0 mm I2C port, DC in: Futaba type trigger port), Video Receiver (A/V out: 4 pin 2.5 mm phone jack, DC in: microUSB port), Detachable Monitor (A/V in: 4 pin 2.5 mm phone jack, DC in: microUSB port)
Rechargeable battery:Video Receiver (1200 mAh LiPo), Detachable Monitor (1200 mAh LiPo)
Video format:Detachable Monitor (NTSC / PAL)
Price:229.99
Manufactured by:RC Logger
Available From:RC Logger

One exciting aspect of flying multicopters (and R/C in general), is being able to mount a camera to our models to get a birds eye view of our flying. Taking it one step further, we can put ourselves in the "cockpit" of our models, and fly in first person view (fpv) via a video downlink. For amateur (and pro) videographers, being able to see what your camera is pointing at is a huge advantage when composing shots. Whatever your goal is, from a beginner's stand point there is an overwhelming amount of equipment and information out there on various ways to set up a video system, and it can be a little daunting when getting started.

This is where RC Logger steps in. They have developed what is essentially a plug and play video system that can be used with most cameras featuring a video out port. The compact video screen can be easily mounted to your transmitter, leaving you free to keep an eye on your model while flying. From the box to the air takes about as much time as you need to make an adapter cable for your particular camera, and the system is very easy to use. With the addition of new clover leaf antennas, the range and quality has been improved, opening up the possibility for short range FPV flights with the model still typically viewable in line of sight.

Specifications

There is a lot of specification info for this compact system, so I've listed it in the tables below. More advanced users will know what most of it means, but for beginners you don't have to worry too much about it initially. RC Logger has designed the system to just work out of the box, so we can start having fun quickly without the steep learning curve.

Technical Specifications
Battery duration:Video Receiver (4 hours), Detachable Monitor (3 hours)
Current consumption:Video Transmitter (max. 150 ± 10 mA), Video Receiver (190 ± 10 mA), Detachable Monitor (400 mA)
Operating temperature:Video Transmitter (-10 to +50 Celsius), Video Receiver (-10 to +50 Celsius), Detachable Monitor (-10 to +50 Celsius)
Operating voltage:Video Transmitter (5 V/DC), Video Receiver (5 V/DC), Detachable Monitor (5 V/DC)
Output power:Video Transmitter (25 mW / non boost mode)
Power consumption:Video Transmitter (Normal mode / 16 dbm: 150 mAh, Boost mode / 22 dbm: 300 mAh)
Resolution:Detachable Monitor (320 x 240 / 4:3)
Storage temperature:Video Transmitter (-20 to +60 Celsius), Video Receiver (-20 to +60 Celsius), Detachable Monitor (-20 to +60 Celsius)

Physical Specifications
Antenna (L):Video Transmitter (85 mm), Video Receiver (85 mm)
Dimensions (W x H x D):Video Transmitter (36.8 x 54 x 14.5 mm / without antenna), Video Receiver (44 x 80 x 26 mm / without antenna), Detachable Monitor (96 x 78 x 20 mm)
Weight:Video Transmitter (26 g / with antenna), Video Receiver (83 g / with antenna and battery), Detachable Monitor (130 g / with battery)

Display Specifications
Backlight:Video Transmitter (3 dbi / standard, 9 dbi optional available), Video Receiver (3 dBi)
Horizontal view angle:Detachable Monitor (120 deg)
Luminance:Detachable Monitor (200 cd/m2)
Size:Detachable Monitor (LCD panel: 3.5 inch)
Vertical view angle:Detachable Monitor (100 deg)

Frequency Specifications
Antenna gain:Video Transmitter (3 dbi / standard, 9 dbi optional available), Video Receiver (3 dBi)
Bandwidth:Video Transmitter (5.725 - 5.875 GHz), Video Receiver (5.725 - 5.875 GHz)
Modulation:Video Transmitter (FSK)
Number of RF channels:Video Transmitter (8), Video Receiver (8)
Range:Video Transmitter (300 m / non boost mode), Video Receiver (300 m)
RC Channel spaces:Video Transmitter (20 MHz)
Transmission power:Video Transmitter (13 dbm for normal mode, 22 dbm for boost mode)

In The Box

Each of the components come packaged in their own boxes, wrapped in a plastic bag and tucked into the cardboard box. The video transmitter and receiver come packaged together, the LCD screen is packaged separately, as are the clover leaf antennas and LCD mounting bracket.

The LCD

The LCD comes with a USB cable for charging, plus an A/V cable (2.5mm to 2.5mm). The screen features a pop out stand on the back, power and battery indicators, volume and brightness buttons, as well as the A/V in port (2.5mm) and USB port.

The opposite side of the LCD has a removable panel that reveals the slide and lock docking port for the video receiver.

5.8 GHz Video Transmitter and Receiver

The box contains the video transmitter (VTX) and video receiver (VRX) with antennas, VRX battery, micro USB cable, receiver trigger cable, A/V cable (2.5mm stereo to RCA), A/V cable (2.5mm mono to I2C), A/V cable (I2C to RCA), and instruction manual.

The video transmitter can be set to eight different channels using the dip switch selector, so that you can pick the channel that has the least interference. It also has the ability to be switched on or off via a switch on your transmitter.

Inside the transmitter is a small jumper that changes the transmission power from 13dbm (normal mode, stock setting) to 22dbm (boost mode). Changing the jumper to boost mode increases the range of the transmitter.

The receiver has a cover on the side of it that can be removed to reveal the docking port that matches the one on the LCD. The dip switch channel selector is hidden under a small door, and on the other side is the A/V out port (2.5mm) and DC in port for the USB charge cable. The rechargeable battery is already installed in the video receiver, and just needs to be charged using the USB cable. There is a power and battery indicate, the same as the ones on the LCD.

Clover Leaf Antenna

I was also sent the relatively new clover leaf antenna set from RC Logger. Designed as a plug and play replacement for the stock 5.8 GHz antennas, they simply replace the stock ones. They increase performance of the whole system by improving video quality and range.

Radio System Mount

RC Logger also have an optional radio system mount. This simple plastic unit has a clamp that can be attached to the handle of most transmitters. The LCD with the video receiver attached can be bolted to the mount, providing a mobile ground station for your aircraft.

Setup

My plan was to use my DJI GoPro Zenmuse with the RC Logger video system. The Zenmuse has a video out port built into the gimbal, that channels the video feed directly from the GoPro camera. To do this, I needed to use the included A/V cable with the bare ends, and attach it to my Zenmuse cable.

I soldered the cables together using diagrams that I had found online for both the Zenmuse and the RC Logger cable, and made sure to use a small piece of heat shrink tubing over each of the connections. I then covered the whole thing with a larger piece of heat shrink tubing.

I docked the video receiver to the LCD, and attached it to the transmitter mounting bracket. I charged both the LCD and VRX with the included USB cables, and the manual claims up to three hours of use on a single charge.

I mounted the video transmitter to the underside of my flamewheel 450, with the antenna sticking out backwards (and later pointed downwards). I used strong double sided foam tape to secure the transmitter to the aircraft. Even though the transmitter can be powered with just the single servo lead going from the video transmitter into the receiver (the same cable that handles the remote on/off function), I listened to some good advice and ran a separate UBEC to power the unit directly from the flight battery. This way, if something happened and the aircraft went down, I would have a good chance of seeing where it was laying on the video screen while trying to find it.

You have the option of assigning an auxiliary channel in your transmitter to remotely turn on and off the video transmitter on your aircraft. There is a servo lead that runs from your video transmitter to an open channel on your receiver. You then assign that channel to a switch on your transmitter, and you can then remotely start/stop the video transmission.

Flying

The initial test flight went very well, with everything working as it should. I had the clover leaf antenna on both the transmitter and receiver sticking straight out. I quickly found out that it was best for me to have the antennas bent so that the tops of the clover leaf were facing straight up and straight down. This way I only had a little static when the aircraft was directly over me, otherwise the picture was perfect.

The range was not spectacular to begin with, I found that the picture would start to get static after only a couple of hundred feet. I opened up the video transmitter (see photo above) and changed the jumper from normal mode to boost mode. This increased the range of the transmitter, and I was getting a good picture up to approximately 1000 feet (across land, no obstructions).

When the picture starts to lose signal, it doesn't just go out. The video system maintains a picture as long as it can, even with static. This is a great feature as you get some warning if you are starting to get out of range, and there is enough time to back track a little ways to bring the signal back.

The resolution of the LCD is not particularly high, and I found it hard to pick out small details. However, it is perfect for framing shots, which is what I primarily wanted to use it for. I've never flown FPV, and was never particularly interested in it, and found it a little unnerving the first few times I tried it with my setup. After several flights, I became more comfortable with the setup, and I really started to enjoy flying through the video screen. I liked the fact that I could glance back and forward between the LCD and my aircraft, just to reassure myself that everything was working correctly.

Over the past month or so I have been taking the system with me to various R/C fly-ins and events. I've logged a couple of hours on the system now, at five minute intervals, and haven't run into a single problem with the video system. I did have an issue with the transmitter mounting bracket, where the small rubber pads that sandwich the transmitter handle kept falling off. A little C/A glue fixed them right up. I rely on it now for framing my shots, and sending my quad a little further out or higher up than I normally would when flying by line of sight alone. I still keep the quad within sight of course, but I am able to be a little more creative with the camera now that I can see what it's looking at.

Video

The video below was taken at the Heli Extravaganza fly-in at the Triple Tree Aerodrome. All of the aerials were shot with my quad setup.

The Heli Extravaganza 2013 (7 min 4 sec)

This video was taken at my local club's fly-in, also using the same setup as above.

Randy Covington Electric Fly In (3 min 55 sec)

Conclusion

I think this is a great system for your first foray into FPV. It's a simple to use package, that you just take out of the box, setup, and start using, all in a relatively short period of time. Whether you're zooming around FPV style, or framing shots for your camera, the RC Logger system performs great. It's small size makes it easy to carry around on your transmitter, leaving you free and not restricted to standing in front of a ground station. The only draw back is that the small details on the screen are hard to see, but for the most part you won't need to see them anyway. The batteries in the LCD and video receiver ensure that you will be able to get through a weekend of flying without having to recharge, and in the event that you do have to recharge you can use any USB compatible charging device in your home or in your vehicle. It's a simple to use system that simply works.

Pros: Cons:
Plug and play Low resolution screen
Easy to setup Mounting Bracket Issues
Inexpensive

Last edited by CSpaced; Oct 10, 2013 at 01:30 PM..

Discussion

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Old Oct 12, 2013, 05:49 PM
I Like Clouds Made Of Limes?
BenLimeClouds's Avatar
United Kingdom
Joined Jun 2012
806 Posts
Looks like a very nice system:

My first question though that worrys me is the 'Blue Screen - No Signal' Image you posted, I might of not read it but does it record through static with no loss?

Alot of DVR's Inc my Japan DVR stops recording when in lots of static, does this do the same?

Sorry i mean this part can you go into more detail?

'When the picture starts to lose signal, it doesn't just go out. The video system maintains a picture as long as it can, even with static. This is a great feature as you get some warning if you are starting to get out of range, and there is enough time to back track a little ways to bring the signal back'
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 06:56 PM
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CSpaced's Avatar
Oak Ridge, NC
Joined Jun 2006
1,432 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by BenLimeClouds View Post
Looks like a very nice system:

My first question though that worrys me is the 'Blue Screen - No Signal' Image you posted, I might of not read it but does it record through static with no loss?

Alot of DVR's Inc my Japan DVR stops recording when in lots of static, does this do the same?

Sorry i mean this part can you go into more detail?

'When the picture starts to lose signal, it doesn't just go out. The video system maintains a picture as long as it can, even with static. This is a great feature as you get some warning if you are starting to get out of range, and there is enough time to back track a little ways to bring the signal back'
In that photo the screen was blue because there was nothing hooked up to the LCD at the time. As the receiver starts to lose signal, the LCD shows the degraded picture, static, snow, and all, without simply turning off to a blue screen. Eventually it will shut off once the transmitter is far enough away to lose signal completely, but you'll get some warning first with the degraded picture quality.
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Old Oct 13, 2013, 11:02 AM
I Like Clouds Made Of Limes?
BenLimeClouds's Avatar
United Kingdom
Joined Jun 2012
806 Posts
Thanks thats great news! Thanks for clearing that up for me!
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Old Oct 15, 2013, 10:10 PM
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Joined Nov 2010
108 Posts
Just my 2 cents since I own one:

Pros:
- Decent system, with the circular antenna's you get good range
- Easy to use
- Can use TX and plug to large monitor with RC inputs

Cons:
-Connections between TX and screen can have alignment issues once separated
-Two separate batteries, TX & monitor (Twice to charge, two separate failure points)
- Screen is to small to see more than large objects, 8in screen is what you want min IMO, but read above you can provide input to any monitor with RCA inputs

Bottom line- its focus is for a beginner FPVer. For the same amount of money you can buy an Immersion system (TX/RX/circular antenna's) and get solid performance. But this is just my 2 cents, as its not terrible, and its not great.

CSpaced:

I am also confused by your mounting issues. Looking at your pic you have it attached wrong to you T14. Maybe my memory is off but my T8 has the same foot print as the bracket on the T14 and it fits perfect. I will say its a little to close to the TX antenna for my liking but it fits.
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Last edited by v9climber; Oct 15, 2013 at 10:16 PM.
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Old Oct 18, 2013, 11:05 PM
Prying Open My Third Eye
slo_dave's Avatar
Kingsport TN
Joined Jan 2005
628 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by v9climber View Post
- Screen is to small to see more than large objects, 8in screen is what you want min IMO, but read above you can provide input to any monitor with RCA inputs
Would you say that the size is ok for just framing up shots ?
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Old Oct 20, 2013, 02:25 PM
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Oak Ridge, NC
Joined Jun 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slo_dave View Post
Would you say that the size is ok for just framing up shots ?
Absolutely.
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Old Oct 22, 2013, 07:04 AM
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Australia, NSW, Sydney
Joined Jan 2013
415 Posts
fatshark freq's? or the other stuff?
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Old Apr 03, 2014, 05:47 PM
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shane_hood's Avatar
Australia, NSW, Menai
Joined Nov 2013
228 Posts
im interested to know if you can run another screen off it eg a better mroe res screen piggy backed?
can you use a set of shark fpv gogles with it?

is it possible to increase the range further or will you have to just buy somehting else:?
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Old May 06, 2014, 10:39 AM
▲▼▲▼≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣≣ ≣≣≣≣≣ ▼▲▼▲
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United States, MD, Laurel
Joined Mar 2010
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Can anyone confirm if these are compatible with Fatshark frequencies (so that we can use the head-goggles instead of a smaller screen)?

Thanks.
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Old May 09, 2014, 10:51 AM
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United States, FL, Kissimmee
Joined Apr 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndiaHobby View Post
Can anyone confirm if these are compatible with Fatshark frequencies (so that we can use the head-goggles instead of a smaller screen)?

Thanks.
Does fatshark have video input in the form of 3.5 mm input or a/v input (red white yellow plugs)? IF so, the rx has an output and cables that come with for it if you don't want to use them.
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