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Sep 18, 2009, 05:27 PM
Matt Gunn's Avatar
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Ritewing Zephyr 1st FPV flight

Before you watch the video, please read!

The first flight of the Zephyr in FPV mode was a success...well, sort of.
I want to say that I am 100% satisfied in how the Zephyr flies. With the folding prop, it glides so well and flies extremely slow when I want it to, yet has enough speed and thrust to climb out effortlessly and fly straight at a decent clip.

Video setup:
900mhz 500mw Range Video VTX mounted on wing tip
Range Video receiver w/ 8dbi patch sitting on the ground at a 45degree angle
Seperate VTX battery

Problem 1:
Im getting video lines from the microphone mounted on the VTX.
At first I thought it was cell tower interference because theres a tower within 1/8th of a mile (you can clearly see it in the video) BUT Im 100% positive now that the lines in the screen are microphone/wind induced because when I stalled the plane a few times and ceased forward momentum, the lines vanished. Sure enough, as I picked up speed they came right back. The sound of the wind is so loud, I can even hear the prop. I know its not motor enduced because Ive done ground checks and I get no interference...and in the video its a mix of gliding and powered flight. Should I just turn the gain down? Or shield the mic from the wind?

Problem 2:
The DX201 image is very clear (youtube doesnt do it justice) but Im getting the dreaded contrasting ground/sky issue. I havent adjusted any parameters in the cameras settings. What should I adjust in the camera to make it better for the contrasting ground and sky?
I can adjust:
wide dynamic range
white balance
shutter speed
and a few others

Ritewing Zephyr 1st actual FPV flight (4 min 30 sec)
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Sep 18, 2009, 05:38 PM
reznikvova's Avatar
Set exposure to lower 1/3 of screen, or center spot.
White balance, I prefer ATW
+1 point saturation

Yes, turn down mic gain.

And prepare for sweet video.

(4 min 2 sec)
Sep 18, 2009, 05:42 PM
Matt Gunn's Avatar
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Thanks Vova! I turned the gain down, it was cranked all the way up
Ill adjust the camera now, hopefully I can get a flight in this evening again.
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Sep 18, 2009, 05:43 PM
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trappy's Avatar

Nice flight ... that thing tracks really nicely. Not that strange wobbling I've had with the swift when entering and exiting turns. Did you find that when you went into a dive that it would try to come out of it (pull up by itself)? If so, maybe klique can let us know if that's part of the design or if that can be avoided by going a bit nose-heavy? I'd really like for that not to happen and it seemed like that was the case when you were flying ... of course you could have pulled the elevator that's why I'm asking.

Regarding your issue with the sound ... you really need to cover up your microphone. I'd turn the transmitter the other way and "bury" it in the wingtips so that the microphone is completely covered. The wind noise is way too loud, you can't hear the engine at all. You should hear the servos moving, that's when you've got a nice microphone setting.

Can't help you with the DX201, but your "ground effect" isn't half as bad as mine though ... but I did pay $16 for my camera and yours was probably a bit more


Sep 18, 2009, 06:49 PM
Matt Gunn's Avatar
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Trap, I added a few clicks of up elevon for hands off slow flight and didnt take it out before I dove in. If the control surfaces are neutral, it will only barely begin to pull out at the bottom of the dive.

I will take your advice and turn it around so it faces in, even with the gain turned all the way down, I still only hear wind noise.

I just got back from the field again. looks like "bottom 1/3" wasnt good because the sky was completely blown out. I forgot the programmer so I had to fly it around like that. Im going to change to center spot and try again Sunday...gotta work tomorrow
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Sep 18, 2009, 06:52 PM
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trappy's Avatar
Life's a "beach" when you work on Saturdays Are you going to post the video of the 2nd flight? That DX201 looks so sweet ... if it didn't cost an arm and a leg I'd buy it in an instant
Sep 18, 2009, 08:11 PM
Matt Gunn's Avatar
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Heres the 2nd video
More adjustments on the DX201 camera are needed...
Im really having problems understanding the patch antenna. I keep flying out of its path. Granted, I do fly behind it a few times (when it cuts out) but so far, Im really not liking it. I think Im going to buy a rubber duck and use it until I buy an Oracle and use both.
It also cuts out when Im banking around.

oh, and buy the way, Im flying while looking onto the camcorder screen until I get the bugs ironed out

2nd fpv flight (3 min 41 sec)
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Sep 18, 2009, 08:27 PM
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trappy's Avatar
patch antennas suck out the sides, they're fine with forward and backward placement. Check out the coverage graphs provided by RangeVideo at the bottom of the page:

You're also flying overhead a lot ... which is where the signal is worst from the transmitter, no antenna in the world will get you coverage there Maybe the car is harming your range, too ... I wouldn't put it that near to your FPV stuff.
Sep 18, 2009, 08:36 PM
Matt Gunn's Avatar
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Yea, your right, but Im very nervous about flying out over all the houses and trees around me. I need to find a big field but those are almost non existent in Atlanta. I need to travel about 40 miles out and do some searching.

So, for the time being, do you think if I point the antenna more vertical it will help? Its at about 45 degrees now.

Vova, where is the microphone pickup located on your transmitter? On the board or in the case?
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Sep 18, 2009, 08:37 PM
Mum is the word!


Nice flying Matt, love the vids.

Sep 18, 2009, 08:43 PM
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trappy's Avatar
webdr: Fully vertical is best for the kind of flying you're doing. I'm willing to bet 90% of your interference is caused because of VTx antenna position.
Sep 18, 2009, 09:06 PM
Matt Gunn's Avatar
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Originally Posted by trappy
I'm willing to bet 90% of your interference is caused because of VTx antenna position.
what would be a better position/location for the VTX?
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Sep 18, 2009, 09:13 PM
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trappy's Avatar
Originally Posted by webdr
Actually, going back through the thread I'm pretty sure you were referring to the rx patch antenna being 45 degrees while the video tx antenna is vertical? In this case my bet goes down to 0% I initially thought your tx was pointed 45 degrees forward.

You can try moving your patch antenna fully horizontal (pointed straight up to the sky), maybe that helps? Patch antennas usually outperform 3dbi antennas up close ... I've never had any problems flying behind or around myself with the patch antenna pointed straight up. Anything under half a mile was crystal clear in all directions without re-orientating the patch - except out to the sides, of course.
Sep 18, 2009, 09:25 PM
Matt Gunn's Avatar
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yup, the tx is vertical, patch at 45 degrees.

Ill place the patch vertical, face the mic into the planes wing, and move the car away

Im actually not minding the test-n-tune aspect. Its kinda fun figuring out what works and what doesnt.
I feel a sense of accomplishment having completed my 1st fpv flight today.
Drinking a beer as we type...
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