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RC Logger - FPV Made Simple

The RC Logger FPV system is a plug-and-play solution with multiple applications - air, ground and more! I use the 5.8 GHz Video TX RX Set on my DJI Phantom.

Splash

The RC Logger system is a simple plug-and-play solution for transmitting video from your radio controlled vehicle.

Welcome to phase two of my adventure into quads and FPV. In my most recent podcast I interviewed Adam from RC Logger. We discussed the RC Logger solutions for transmitting and receiving video from your RC vehicle of choice. I have mounted cameras on planes in the past but I have never attempted first person video. I was looking for something that worked and was straight forward.

I mounted this on the DJI Phantom that DroneFly sent me. I have to admit that between the Phantom and the RC Logger system my interest in this segment of hobby has really been ignited. I sincerely enjoy flying the Phantom and the video aspect is also a big draw as well.

Watch the video of my first FPV experience! Note - I used the fisheye lens for this. It really broadened out my field of view and also seemed to take the "jello" out of my footage.

RCGroups RC Logger FPV System (6 min 39 sec)

Video - The RC Logger Pro

Some of the advantages to the RC Logger Pro camera is resolution, price and weight. Compared to other cams it's very affordable and the low weight means mounting it isn't a big deal on any RC vehicle. You can record video on an SD card (up to 32 gigs) and transmit to your FPV RX. The camera has it's own lipo battery and you charge this with a usb cable from your computer. You can also access your videos, photos and files with the USB. Another option to retrieve your files is to simply pop the SD card into your computer. The Pro comes with a 4 gig SD card. I scored a 16 gig card at Walgreens for $18.

Here is some video shot with the Phantom and the RC Logger system in my backyard. I saved that at a higher quality.

RCgroups.com - RC Logger FPV System Test (2 min 1 sec)

Here are the specs:

  • HD video quality (1280 x 720 pixel)
  • 5 Mega pixel photo (2592 x 1944 pixel)
  • Video- and photo- rotation (0 to 180 degree)
  • Serial photo time-lapse mode (1 second to 3600 seconds in 1 second interval)
  • Move-able camera head with lens fixing screw and metal horn to control head by servo
  • Support for additional lenses (optional available lenses)
  • A/V Out signal for FPV and OSD support
  • White balance support for eight modes (day, night, indoor, outdoor, auto, etc.)
  • Exposure setting options from -2 to +2
  • Enable, disable or bypass audio recording
  • Enable, disable date/time stamp
  • Direct video-/photo- playback via A/V out (requires A/V Kit)

Transmitting and Receiving Made Easy

5.8 GHz Video TX RX Set - For a novice this part can be a little daunting. Which receiver do you need? Where does it go? How far will it reach? All great questions and there seem to be many different answers depending on the product you choose. For my first FPV system I was looking for something that was easy and fast to get going. The RC Logger 5.8 GHz Video TX RX Setsystem is just that!

Transmitting - The great thing about the RC Logger transmitter is that it should work with most cameras. It even comes with a connector for the GoPro. The transmitter does not have it's own lipo for power. You can pull power from the RX on your RC vehicle. I did this with my Phantom and had no issues. Some people have said this cause interference. Luckily the Phantom has a power wire coming from the battery. You need to put a BEC between your RC Logger TX and the power lead to get the voltage down to a safe level. I mounted my RC Logger TX with velcro and so far so good. You want the TX antenna where it can always be seen by the RX. I opted for the bottom of the Phantom. The only other thing to do is connect the camera of your choice with the provided cable. Once the battery is on you depress the power button on the TX, then turn on your video camera. When a link is made the TX light goes blue. You should now see video on your RC screen/googles. It's that easy.

Receiver and LCD Screen - The 5.8 receiver has it's own lipo that you charge via a USB cable before you head out to the field. The power and battery status LED keeps you alert of the remaining power level. So does the LCD screen. As you can see in the photo these two units slide together to form one piece. Once the TX is sending video all you have to do is turn on the RX and the LCD unit. You should now be seeing what the camera on your RC vehicle is seeing! The LCD screen is 3.5 inches. While you could attempt FPV it is more for framing up your video shots and making sure you are getting the footage you need. Super simple.

Specs

Video Transmitter (TX):

  • 5.8 GHz FM modulation
  • Frequency channel selector (up to 8 channels)
  • Power and trigger port (Futaba type)
  • Remote ON/OFF control function
  • Status LED

Video Receiver (RX):

  • 5.8 GHz FM modulation
  • Frequency channel selector (up to 8 channels)
  • Additional A/V Out socket
  • Power and Battery status LED
  • Metal belt clip
  • Detachable from LCD monitor
  • Rechargeable internal battery via microUSB port

LCD Display Unit:

  • User-adjustable monitor settings (brightness/contrast/color/sharpness/video format)
  • Stereo audio
  • Additional A/V In socket
  • Power and Battery status LED
  • Foldable stand
  • Detachable from video RX
  • Rechargeable internal battery via microUSB port

Radio System Mount - RC Logger has also created a pretty slick mount for the LCD and RX. This keeps your video and controller right in front of you. What you see in my photos is something I built. You can see the RC Logger mount here.

Larger Screens and Goggles

Here is where RC Logger had their thinking caps on. The LCD screen can be separated from the RX. The RX also has a belt clip on it. That means you could run an larger monitor for FPV or run a set of goggles with the receiver. This also explains why the receiver has it's own lipo. I think this really makes this setup truly expandable for multiple uses.

Tips

Extend Your Range! - I have heard that this unit is limited in range but did you know you can increase the range? Since RC Logger ships to many countries the default setting is for low power. You can pop the back on the TX and increase the power internally. Here is link on how to do that. I was flying in a 30 acre pasture and could get to the edges of it before I started to get static. Video Transmitter (13 dbm for normal mode, 22 dbm for boost mode)

Clover Leaf Antenna - Clover leaf antennas can also dramatically increase the range of a 5.8 unit. I haven't tried this yet but everyone that has says it's an upgrade that must be done. RC Logger has a set that are very reasonably priced.

Video Control - You can turn your RC Logger Pro on and off from a switch on your TX.

Be sure to read the companion review on this system by our Crackroll.com editor Chris Mulcahy.

In my next article I will discuss ways to mount the RC Logger Pro to the Phantom and the fisheye lens!

More information on the RC Logger system.

Discussion

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Old Oct 23, 2013, 08:07 AM
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Matt Gunn's Avatar
United States, OH, Parma
Joined Jul 2009
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Your moving along with FPV at quite a clip! Once you get a pair of CP antennas, coupled with the increased transmission power, you should greatly exceed the 30 acre field!

When you drive by fields and find yourself saying "I should FPV that", you know you're hooked.
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Old Oct 23, 2013, 03:13 PM
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Jim T. Graham's Avatar
United States, TN, Nashville
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I have been doing that already! Look for my next article about On Screen Display.
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Old Nov 11, 2013, 04:15 AM
Reinventing Innovation.
MatLi's Avatar
Hong Kong
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Very cool review and test. I enjoyed reading it. Looks like you are really into FPV now
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Old Nov 11, 2013, 01:48 PM
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WVrailfan's Avatar
United States, WV, St Albans
Joined Jun 2011
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So what is the range of this set with a clover antenna and the power setting turned up? I'm not looking for miles, but I'd like to be able to go at least 1/2 mile with no obstructions or dense vegetation between me and the plane.

Jim
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Old Nov 11, 2013, 04:47 PM
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Matt Gunn's Avatar
United States, OH, Parma
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"What range will I get" is a very subjective question. There are so many variables that effect range performance. For instance, is the aircraft flying in a field in the country, a field in the suburbs, or a park in the city? Proximity to wifi, cell towers, and general rf noise all plays a part regardless of frequency. Component proximity also matters. Is it a multi copter with limited real estate to space components or a glider where you have lots of room for separation? Mileage varies with each persons setup. But, given your requirements of about 2700 feet of distance, I think you should be able to hit that as long as there's a clear line of sight.
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Old Nov 11, 2013, 05:07 PM
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Jim T. Graham's Avatar
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I have heard rumors of this system going as far as 1.5 miles in a low static environment. CSpaced has used his RC Logger system up to 1,000 feet with no signal loss. RC Logger encourages LOS FPV.
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Old Nov 11, 2013, 08:17 PM
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United States, WV, St Albans
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I figured RF environment would affect range, but that is only rarely an issue where I will be flying. Terrain is more likely to be an issue. I live in WV, called the Mountain State, (probably because no one from WV had been to the Rockies yet in 1863) most of the state is hills and valleys, but rural so not a lot of RF.

I will be flying line of sight, usually with nothing between me and the aircraft. I will be using a Witespy 450 quad and various foam planes.

I plan to use this, 1 as an introduction to FPV and 2, to frame shots for AP.

If I can get 1/4 to 1/2 mile I'll be more than satisfied.

The price and simplicity makes it inviting for someone curious about FPV.

Jim
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Last edited by WVrailfan; Nov 12, 2013 at 08:27 PM.
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Old Nov 23, 2013, 11:42 AM
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United States, CO, Broomfield
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I would be interested to see how your OSD experiment works.

I have a Blade 350 QX and purchased a lot of the RCLogger gear (partially based on what I saw here).

Everything worked until I threw an OSD into it. Once I did that the 350 QX internal GPS would not get a lock on the satellites.

There is an issue on the 350 QX with losing GPS lock even when used with a GoPro. I have talked to their support team and they are trying to figure out a fix.

Just wondering if you had issues with the Phantom and the RCLogger OSD.
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Old Nov 23, 2013, 12:37 PM
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Jim T. Graham's Avatar
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Fixed it. This is something you can do in the future with the advanced edit button.
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Old Nov 29, 2013, 07:46 AM
rwj
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Joined Dec 2011
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Can I use an 8in monitor with this setup? I think the 3.5 in screen is to small to do any good, for me that is personally Disreguard, question answered.
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Last edited by rwj; Nov 29, 2013 at 08:01 AM. Reason: found answer
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Old Nov 29, 2013, 08:31 AM
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Jim T. Graham's Avatar
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Sure you can. The rx has a video out you can use.
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Old Dec 09, 2013, 05:50 AM
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Hi Jim, what is the trick to setting this up with a gopro 3?
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Old Dec 09, 2013, 07:55 AM
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Jim T. Graham's Avatar
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RC Logger sells a GoPro Adapter here.
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