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Old Feb 14, 2007, 11:57 PM
GOK
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Turkey, Izmir
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Some basics of FPV for a beginner?!

Iíve been flying RC planes (only electric) for about two years now and have been flying AP exclusively for close to a year. I have never used a downlink and have always used two servos to turn on and off my Canon A540 and to trigger the shutter button.

Now I am looking at stepping into FPV. I have ordered a downlink system from e-bay Itís the below setup.

http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAPI....0534&rd=1&rd=1

I am aware that it is not the best setup and it is ebay, but my current intention is to use it to frame my shots. I am still living on a scholarship but have a decent paying job lined up. So, in the future, when I get the money I want to get goggles and replace this system with a good quality one.

I have been reading through threads for a fair while now but canít find one thread where all the critical info on how to get started with FPV is included.

I have some questions.

-What are the minimum components needed to do FPV?
-Can I fly through the LCD screen of my MINI-DV without the use of goggles? (with a spotter of course)
-Do I need a patch antenna? I donít intend to fly out of sights until I get some decent unit anyway, so I am wondering if I can live without a patch antenna for now.
-Do I need a pan/tilt in my camera? Can I frame shots and/or fly basic FPV without a pan/tilt of the camera?
-With the downlink, what exactly happens to my original AP camera? I am currently using a Canon A540 to take both videos and stills off my EZ*. Will I not need this camera when flying FPV? How about when I want to frame a photo. How does my wireless downlink cam. See exactly what the original AP camera sees?

These are a fair bit of questions, and as you can guess from them I am quite naÔve about this aspect of the hobby which is completely new to me. I am just looking for some answers to help me sort out my confusion.

Any help would be appreciated.

Cheers,

GOK
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 01:32 AM
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4mla1fn's Avatar
alexandria, va, USA
Joined Oct 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GOK
-What are the minimum components needed to do FPV?
airframe (plane, heli, etc), camera, av transmitter, power for the camera and transmitter, av receiver, video display, spotter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GOK
-Can I fly through the LCD screen of my MINI-DV without the use of goggles? (with a spotter of course)
if your mini-dv has an analog av input, then sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GOK
-Do I need a patch antenna?
no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GOK
-Do I need a pan/tilt in my camera? Can I frame shots and/or fly basic FPV without a pan/tilt of the camera?
to fly fpv, you don't need pan/tilt. but it sounds like you want to use pan/tilt on a camera used for both flying and framing shots?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GOK
-With the downlink, what exactly happens to my original AP camera? I am currently using a Canon A540 to take both videos and stills off my EZ*. Will I not need this camera when flying FPV? How about when I want to frame a photo. How does my wireless downlink cam. See exactly what the original AP camera sees?
since you want to shoot photos *and* fly fpv, then forget about using the the ebay video camera. position your AP camera on the aircraft so it's facing foward. if your AP camera has a video out port, you could connect it to the av transmitter. you can then downlink the camera sees and shoot as desired. (there some logistics you'd need to sort out; like making sure the camera doesn't power down after x minutes. you'd also want to disable photo review.)

it's possible to put the camera on a pan/tilt chassis, but using one camera to fly fpv and to compose/shoot pics seems like it could be risky; e.g. spending too much time composing and too little time flying. doable but you have to be careful. i'd think this kinda of thing is best on a heli that can at least be stationary in the air. you'd then use an eyetop so you can see the heli (with one eye) and the composed image (with the other eye).

my $2e-3.
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 01:52 AM
GOK
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Turkey, Izmir
Joined Aug 2005
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Thanks for that detailed response.

That was really enlightening.

Still have questions though.

If I decide not to use my AP camera (The Canon) does this mean that I can't take still photos? My Mini DV has an anlog AV input, so I am thinking I can record the video onto that but how do I sort out taking stills?

That component you have given th elink for which connects the AP camera to th edownlik looks excellent. I am wondering if it would work with the AV RX I am getting though/ Are these things universal?

Thanks again,

GOK
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 11:11 AM
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alexandria, va, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GOK
If I decide not to use my AP camera (The Canon) does this mean that I can't take still photos?
the camera that is part of the ebay setup is a video camera. the ability to capture stills from a video stream will depend on what you're using to record and edit the video. if you record to mini-dv, you final pc-based editting program can pull out stills for you. of course, they suck compared to stills from your AP camera.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GOK
That component you have given the link for which connects the AP camera to the downlik looks excellent. I am wondering if it would work with the AV RX I am getting though/ Are these things universal?
looking a little closer at that ebay setup, you will not need that dongle i showed you. if your a540 was packaged like my canon s60, you got an a/v cable your camera; 1/8" male jack on one end, which plugs into the 540, and two female RCA jacks on the other (yellow and white). just plug the female RCAs into the harness provided with the ebay av tx. once video is flowing to the av tx, it will work be fine on the av rx end. all these cable and connectors will get bulky in your plane, but once you confirm it works, then you can custom-make a cable.
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 05:14 PM
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of course, they suck compared to stills from your AP camera.
They REALLY suck.

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Old Feb 15, 2007, 05:49 PM
GOK
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Turkey, Izmir
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Hmm, that is very good news. My Canon A540 came with that exact cable setup. So I might be able to hook it up to the AV TX straight away. That would solve both the still and video shooting issues. Than I would use the ebay cam. only for FPV.

Now another question

The ebay video Tx is supposed to work with 9V eithe roff th ewall or through a 9V battery. Would I be pushing it if I powered it through my 3S flight pack? (or a seperate 3s pack rather than th eheavy 9V batteries?)

Thanks,

GOK
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 05:51 PM
GOK
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Kilrah,

I am guessing you captured that still from a vid shot through a CMOS camera.

Is the video quality of these CMOS cams as bad as the quality of that still you've posted?

Cheers,

GOK
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 06:14 PM
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Elmhurst, NY (Queens in NYC)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GOK
Hmm, that is very good news. My Canon A540 came with that exact cable setup. So I might be able to hook it up to the AV TX straight away. That would solve both the still and video shooting issues. Than I would use the ebay cam. only for FPV.

Now another question

The ebay video Tx is supposed to work with 9V eithe roff th ewall or through a 9V battery. Would I be pushing it if I powered it through my 3S flight pack? (or a seperate 3s pack rather than th eheavy 9V batteries?)

Thanks,

GOK
A freshly charged 3S pack can supply over 12v initially. That might fry your video tx. I had an all in one unit that ran off a 9v "transistor" battery. One day I noticed that in the specs it said 5 to 9v, so I cut the leads and soldered on a servo plug. The thing ran fine plugged into an unused channel on my RC rx, which was powered by the BEC in the ESC. I've flown that way every since, without problems, despite all the warnings that you should use a separate source for your video.

I'd suggest trying it right off the BEC, but NOT right off a 3S pack unless you are prepared to replace it.

Pete
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 06:23 PM
Happy FPV flyer
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Switzerland
Joined Sep 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GOK
Kilrah,

I am guessing you captured that still from a vid shot through a CMOS camera.

Is the video quality of these CMOS cams as bad as the quality of that still you've posted?

Cheers,

GOK
Nah, that was out of one of the preferred CCDs out there... I don't think I'd dare posting a CMOS shot.
The video being interlaced, it even loses more sharpness and detail when you deinterlace it to get a decent still image without a "comb effect".
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 07:36 PM
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Elmhurst, NY (Queens in NYC)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilrah
Nah, that was out of one of the preferred CCDs out there... I don't think I'd dare posting a CMOS shot.
The video being interlaced, it even loses more sharpness and detail when you deinterlace it to get a decent still image without a "comb effect".
BTW Kilrah,

The new version of iMovie has deinterlace. I have been using an old version on my laptop, which doesn't have it. The bad news is that the old version is FAR more flexible. The new one seems to have been designed for the feebleminded, with a lot of features missing and the ones that are there simplified to the point of annoyance.

BAH HUMBUG

Pete
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Old Feb 15, 2007, 08:04 PM
Fly FPV, sleep; repeat
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Germantown, MD
Joined Mar 2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteSchug
The new one seems to have been designed for the feebleminded, with a lot of features missing and the ones that are there simplified to the point of annoyance.
I thought that was the definition of a MAC.
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