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Mar 01, 2010, 07:05 PM
Live FPV or Die
VRflyer's Avatar
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How to do 3D FPV

This thread is dedicated to the FPV in 3D.

To do 3D, we need first 3D headset, so I start this thread by proposing a simple method to add the 3D capability to the Trimersion headset. Others modifications to the Trimersion that I've done this week will be post after this first post.

I think most of us as been attract one day by the pictures in three dimensions. Soon we will even be able to buy 3D television set for home.

Two years ago, I modified my R-vision922 goggle to reach the goal of FPV in 3D, but it was hard and expensive to do. I discovered last week that the Trimersion goggle is a lot more easy to modify and at a much lower cost, so I will explain here how to proceed.
Trimersion headset is available only at EBAY for a limited time. Search at EBAY for TRIMERSION FIRST PERSON SHOOTER
Excellent picture quality comparable to most video goggle that we use for FPV. Resolution 640x480

My mod give a very good 3D picture, no flickering like most of the others 3D technologies, just fluid video like we see now in FPV 2D. The depth of objects is evident, not subtle.

Our eyes can see depth up to 100 feet max approx., this is due to the separation of our eyes. If we could augment the separation, we would perceive depth at a greater distance.

So it become very interesting for our FPV planes. On my Easystar, I installed the cameras at 18 inc spacing while using 2.97mm lens. No need to fly at few feet above ground to perceive depth, I can see at a much more greater distance, several hundreds feet. But at the disadvantage that every objects inside 15 feet will appear double. So no parts of the plane must appear in the picture like the nose of the plane for 3D.

We think at first to build a 3D video system, it must be very complicate. But the method I use is the most simple and direct of all and also give the best 3D in my opinion.

So again if we see in 3D, it's because we have two eyes to kept it simple. If I use two identical cameras and install them a way that both look at the same place with a spacing identical at my eyes and with lens equivalent at my field of view, and then I plug the left camera in the left display of my goggle, the right camera plug in the right display, you understand I got a 3D video picture.
So I plug the two cameras in two transmitters that transmit on two different channels. On ground I got two receivers where I plug my modified Trimersion to get the left camera picture to the left eye, and right camera to right eye. You catch it, simple as that.

And it work amazingly well. The video is very fluid, no flickering because it's two video pictures at a 30 frames per second.

It is not restrict to one type of camera, it will work with any kind of video camera, CCD, CMOS, PIXEL, name it.
The only rule to respect it take two identical cameras with same lens. It's also preferable for transmitter and receiver to take identical unit, but less essential.

It is also possible to use the 3D goggle in 2D, you just install a "Y" adaptor to plug both headset video input to one video source with no apparent degradation in the picture quality. Or you can select the same channel for both receiver if the plane transmit only one channel.

It's also possible to use the 3D headset to test antenna performance. You fly a plane that transmit only one video channel and set both receivers on the same channel , but with different kind of antennas attach to each receiver. So you will see in real time the performance of both using your both eyes.
No Diversity will beat that to compare what we really receive.

THE ultimate headset, bad I'm not a vendor

I imagine some of you thinking anyway it will be too complicate for me to do, I own only a solder iron as electronic instrument...
Don't go away, it's all you need as instrument, no electronic skill require. But I must warn you about the receiver that is already inside the goggle that you need to remove, this step is not easy, follow my instruction.

So the goal is to modify one Trimersion goggle and install a second Kopin electronic pcb (printed circuit board), that come from another Trimersion headset or other brand of goggle like Fatshark, and connect one display to one Kopin pcb and plug the other display to the second Kopin pcb. That will give us two distinct video input, one for each eye.

This Kopin pcb is locate between the two displays inside goggle. Trimersion and Fatshark use the same Kopin pcb and the same LCD display
But the optic are different giving Fatshark a bigger picture, but with edges lightly deform and less good picture quality overall compare to Trimersion. Picture of Trimersion is similar to R-vision in quality and size.

So this Kopin pcb is locate between the two displays. It have one main connector and two flex strap or flexible ribbon that contain the wires that goes to the LCD display. The goal is to disconnect one ribbon from the Kopin pcb inside the headset, and connect it to the second Kopin pcb that we will install on top of the first Kopin pcb.

Most of the six wires of the main connector of the Kopin pcb we add on top will be weld directly on the wires of the Kopin no1. In fact only the last ones will not be weld, they are the video input of the Kopin pcb, so we will weld our two video inputs on each of the last wire.

You know that everything is never perfect. By doing this simple mod, everything will work fine, but you will lost the ability to adjust contrast. But you will be able to adjust brightness as usual.
I found how to correct this issue, it is a simple mod too. But I also discovered that I don't need to adjust contrast anyway after power up, I only need to lower brightness, so this mod is not useful for me.
I will describe it in the post after this one. It's up to you to do it, but it is not essential. Try to see if you need to adjust contrast at power up, and decide if it's necessary to do the contrast mode. I will explain the difference later

N.B.: After the 3D mod, if you don't do the contrast mod, you will need to push the contrast - button to lower the brightness, not the brightness - as usual.

For the 3D mod, check the photos and read theses notes.

Photo 1 & 2:
Remove the six screws under the headset and split both parts of the headset case on both side at the place indicate on the photo.

Photo 3:
The black part of the case you see is the LCD display assembly with the Kopin pcb between them. This part of the case is not attach to the grey part of the case headset. Just open the case sides with your finger to help the displays assembly coming loose.

Photo 4 et 5:
Remove the three screws that hold the bottom circuit to headset case. Identify the connectors if you are not sure where they will go because you will unplug them.

Disconnect all the connectors, only headphone wires will remain attach. At this step I strongly suggest that you glue the fragile headphone wires to the board with 5 min epoxy. Glue also all the others grey flex strap wires to the board.

Inspect all flex strap at the other end to see if the white connector look normal, several peoples had report bad crimping on theses connectors. Repair as require, with needle you can remove the tiny contact from the connector.
When connexion are good, put epoxy at the junction of the wire and connector if you want, but not on the Kopin pcb main connectors.

Photo 6:
This is the hardest part. To remove the receiver from this board, it is very hard. Standard tool like cheap sucker or Solder Wick (see photo) will not work well. If you have access to professional sucker, your are lucky. But even if I could bring the board at my job, I used a method that had take few minutes with minimal equipment.
I began by adding solder on all the receiver contacts, enough solder to create bridge between contacts. I also add solder on the four receiver legs at the corners.
I began by removing the solder of the four corners using Solder wick (see photo) to suck the solder with my big Weller gun. Crack the solder at the legs with plier.
Then insert a flat screwdriver between the receiver and the board and move the tip of the Weller gun on the bridge created from one end to the other while applying little pressure with the screwdriver. The receiver will fall in 30 sec.
Remove the solder on the pads holes with Solder Wick and a standard 25w Iron (pen). Use a jeweller screwdriver to remove the flux (brown varnish) around the pads and cleaned with alcohol (hic) from the drugstore. If all goes well, the board look like new or close.

Photo 7:
This is the Kopin pcb. It have two flex straps or ribbon with conductors that goes to LCD displays.
Disconnect at first the main connector from the board and remove the center screw that hold the board in place.
Disconnect one of the two flex straps by pushing with a tool on the dark brown part of the connector on both side of the flex trap to unlock the connector, then pull kindly the ribbon from the connector
Do not reinstall the screw, you need to cut the screws thread on the housing and glue the Kopin pcb on the housing just lightly ahead because when the second Kopin pcb will be add, the cmain connector wires will obstruct the installation of the second Kopin pcb.

Note: When both flex trap are disconnect, you will notice that both flex strap connections are reverse from left and right flex trap, one have contacts on upper side, the other on the bottom side of the flex strap.

Photo 8:
Now you will disassemble another headset to remove only the Kopin pcb. So you do all the same steps but you will disconnect both flex straps and also you will kept the main connector and wires that we will need for the mod.

Come back to the First Trimersion headset and plug the free flex strap into the Kopin pcb no 2. Insert a piece of cardboard between both Kopin pcb and install the second Kopin over the first one. Put two small drops of 5 min epoxy or other on both sides just near the flex straps without touching them. Be sure that bottom main connector are free and it will be easy to plug the connector in it.

Photo 9:
How it should look after the displays will be reassemble into the case. It will not have any free space above the two Kopin pcb, so when you glue them, think about it. No need of cardboard above the second Kopin pcb,

Photo 10:
You must install a jumper here between pin 1 and 3 on the bottom board. It will bring power (+5V) to the headphone amplifier.

Also visible in the picture is a filtration capacitor that I added to remove the little noise in the picture background visible when I was watching movies per example. It perhaps will not be necessary to add it depending on your voltage regulator you will use or if you install the regulator elsewhere.
You can found electrolytic capacitors at Radio Shack. The value should be 1000uF minimum, you can choose higher value or put several on the board for better filtration. Voltage is not important choose 5V minimum. You can install them anywhere, negative leg on the gnd of the board and positive on the +5V.
I installed one electrolytic capacitor 1000uF, 6.3V at pin 1 (+5V) and pin 2 (gnd) on the photo.

Photo 11:
At the location of the Trimersion receiver removed, you will install the cable that bring the videos, audio and power input. I use a USB cable that have no utility. I cut the ends of course.

The shielding is weld on the receiver corner pad. Use pliers to dissipate heat while welding the sheild to avoid melting wires insulation.
White wire is audio, it is plug on pads 3 and 4. If you want stereo sound, weld one wire to pad 3 and another wire to pad 4.
Red wire to pad 5. That's the 5V power input.
Green and black wires are the two video input signals, I enlarged two holes present on the board and passed the two video wires into theses holes.

Photo 12:
At this location are connect the wires that come from the Kopin no1 main connector. You need to simply weld all the wires of the second Kopin pcb over the wires of the first Kopin pcb wires. But do not weld the last wires of both Kopin connector, the red wire is the first wire.
The last wire is the video input of Kopin pcb, so we will connect the two wires that we have passed true the bottom circuit.
On the photo you can see that wire number 4 of both Kopin connectors are not weld to the bottom circuit. This is applicable only if you want to do the contrast modification, I will explain it in the next post. If you need only the brightness and don't want the contrast, you need to solder both no4 wires to the bottom board.
Ignore also the black wire that is weld on the bottom board.

Photo 13:
Now reconnect all the grey flex straps on the bottom board.
Reinstall the three screws that hold the bottom board to the case.
Plug the two main connectors into both Kopin pcb. Replace the displays assembly with the grey case, you need to pull lightly the grey case sideto help fit the displays assembly. Make sure the headphone wires goes in the holes on the side.

Photo 14:
It already have a corner cut at this location, so the USB cable can pass there. It is important to pass the cable there and go in the back of the head. If you pass it true the side hole of the headset, the cable will pull on the headset side and can pull on the board inside.
Make hole and use a strap to hold the cable to headset.

Photo 15:
I use two USB cables that I had cut the end plugs. It is not hard to find a decent quality cable in electronic store with several conductors and shielding.
But I'm a lazy man, voilą...

Photo 16
So if your are too a lazy man or cheap, you can take two USB cables and join together, all the wires and also the shielding. Also wrap a sticky aluminum paper that make contact with the shield around the wires. I put around the heat shrinkable sleeves to seal the junction. You can use electric tape of course.

Photo 17 and 18
I installed my voltage regulator on the USB cable end. This voltage regulator step down the 2S or 3S input voltage to 5V. I tried at first to install it inside the goggle, but whatever I was doing, it always remain waves in the picture background. By installing the regulator outside the headset, it had resolve my problem.

The positive or red wire coming from the lipo is connect to the input (Vin) of the regulator. The regulator output (Vout) is connect to USB cable red wire. Regulator ground or central pin is connect to USB cable shield.
I suggest this excellent switching voltage regulator:

The shield of the two video cables and audio cable (with RCA jack) are weld to USB shields.
The two central wires of the video cable are weld to the green and black wire of the USB cable.
The central wire of the audio cable is connect to white wire of the USB cable.

Photo 19:
I covered the voltage regulator with black electrical tape to isolate the contacts. I wrapped sticky aluminum paper around the wires and regulator that touch the shielding and cover everything with heat shrinkable sleeve.

Photo 20:
To use the 3D headset in 2D, you will only have to plug both video RCA jacks into a "Y" adapter. So the signal coming from only one camera is send to both displays.

Photo 21:
Photo of the Kopin pcb inside the Fatshark goggle. You must push on the brown part of the connector to unlock

Photo 22:
That is Solder Wick. It's copper wire braiding. It suck the solder when we want to remove it. Just apply the iron tip on it and on the solder pad. Do not heat to long the board or you will damage the traces.
Last edited by VRflyer; Mar 01, 2010 at 07:19 PM.
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Mar 01, 2010, 07:06 PM
Live FPV or Die
VRflyer's Avatar
Thread OP

How to add contrast/ brightness to both displays (after 3D mod)

After the 3D mod, the contrast/brightness function become inoperative for one display.
After the mod, you will have to adjust each display independently one after the other. The tracker switch locate on the headset will be use to select witch display we adjust contrast/brightness.

Photo 1:
Start by removing the headset six screws and remove the board hold by three screws inside and disconnect connector that go to brightness/contrast board, or do not remove three screws and cut the flex strap near board..

Photo 2:
Remove the switch cover and pull the switch out of his location. Unsolder the flex strap and weld three wires on three free switch pads.

Photo 3:
You must weld the red wire to the pad no2. Weld a black wire to the pad no1.

Photo 4:
Unsolder the two wires that goes to the no4 pad, red wires is no1 pad. One no4 wire will go the white wire from the switch, and the other no4 wire go to the yellow wire from the switch. The black wire coming from the switch will be weld to the pad no2 (gnd).

Photo 5:
General view of the mod

Photo 6:
Just before closing
Last edited by VRflyer; Apr 17, 2010 at 10:46 AM.
Mar 01, 2010, 07:07 PM
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Thread OP

How to add permanent corrective glasses to Trimersion goggle

I see a blurry picture with the Trimersion. I also see a blurry picture with the Fatshark, but it less worst than Trimersion. And I can not explain why I see a clear picture in the R-vision. I wear corrective glasses to read only.
I can not do anything for the Fatshark, other than move the LCD inside backward after a special mod.
But for the Trimersion, luckily corrective glasses fit with the headset. But the headphone and glasses receive a severe treatment at each time I removed the headset. Headphone will broke eventually or the glasses.

So I bought cheap reading glasses, removed the frame and glue permanently the lens on the headset.
They are two plastic windows locate in front of the displays. They are only plastic sheet, no magnifying properties. My windows was slightly blurry, it is easy to remove them for cleaning or replacement. You can also blow air inside on the flat miror (*) and lens on top to remove dust.

* this special note is for sonicj:
Your were right, the 45deg miror don't have any magnification, a lens is place on top just in front of the displays.
Probably I did not wear my glasses while looking there

Refer to photos to do the mod:

Photo 1:
Remove the clear plastic windows with a cutter blade insert on the side of the window. It become possible now to blow air to remove dust. I even apply window cleaner on a cotton swab and clean the 45 deg mirror.

P.S.: It is possible easily to open the optic assembly to access the LCD display, lens and mirror. They are not so fragile, don't be afraid. You must go inside the goggle housing, remove the Kopin module and unclip the cover over the backlight led.
White led, LCD and flex strap and after the lens and mirror are removable. So you can replace the LCD easily if it burn with another goggle LCD, or take the Trimersion as spare parts.

Photo 2:
I glue corrective glasses over the window holes directly.

Photo 3 et 4:
Foam as been add around to block sunlight. I finally removed the foam inserted on the sides between case and rubber shield. I will try to install foam inside the rubber shield

Photo 5:
Cardboard as been cut and put over the corrective lens to minimize the reflexions of the incoming light

Photo 6:
On the Kopin pcb side are locate the display. A cover with two clips can be remove to acess the optic and LCD

Photo 7:
Fatshark kopin pcb. Check at the back of the displays, the white plastic is the backlight led, and in front LCD display. I cut the black plastic to be able to move backward the LCD and white led to adjust focus.
Last edited by VRflyer; Mar 01, 2010 at 09:35 PM.
Mar 01, 2010, 07:07 PM
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Thread OP

How to remove or replace earphones on Trimersion goggle

The Trimersion earphone play well but they are fragile, the earphone padding will wear rapidly. Also it is much more easy to put or remove the headset without the earphone, the Trimersion stay well in place on the head while piloting

This is my simple mod to replace the earphone with speakers coming from a defective audio player.
With volume knob at maximum setting, sound was not enough loud with the speakers added, so I also modified the audio amplifier in the headset to increase the power

Photo 1:
To remove the earphone, I began by removing the four screws on the cover. I pushed on the lock with a screwdriver to disengage the earphone assembly.

Photo 2:
I glued two speakers on the earphone arm. earphone wire have no insulation, put the iron tip on the wire and the insulation will melt and solder will stick

Photo 3:
To increase audio output power, just remove R10 and R11 that are connect with gnd. They are locate on the bottom board where the USB cable is locate
Last edited by VRflyer; Mar 01, 2010 at 09:58 PM.
Mar 01, 2010, 07:08 PM
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How to increase backlightning intensity on video goggle

The displays of the Trimersion, Fatshark and severals others brands are backlight with square white leds that fit the LCD display size. They are power at 3.3v with a constant current driving circuit.

To increase display intensity, it is possible to lightly increase the led current to 30mA.

To do this mod, you need a multimeter and know how to use it because you can burn the leds or damage the led driving circuit.

Two photos represent the same view

Begin by disconnect the white leds from the Kopin need to remove the screw or unglue the pcb.

Tie the red wires of the two leds and the black together
Weld the black wires to the main connector pin 3 (gnd)
weld the red wires to a resistor and to pin 1 (5V)

The resistor I used is a 39ohm 1/4W to limit the current at 30mA per leds. It's not sure you will also need 39ohm, it's preferable to measure the current for both leds and the total should be 60mA max.
30mA is too much probably for these leds, so the 100 000 hours span life will be reduce

We will be dead since then...
Last edited by VRflyer; Mar 01, 2010 at 10:58 PM.
Mar 01, 2010, 09:34 PM
ggtronic's Avatar
What a nice job with complete details Denis !

You scare the audience with
so much work to achieve ! One day, suppliers will probably
make something ready to use with your ideas LOL.

For now, this seems the cheapest+easyer way to achieve 3D...

From now on, 3D flying have 2 different meaning !
Last edited by ggtronic; Mar 02, 2010 at 09:20 AM.
Mar 01, 2010, 09:40 PM
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VRflyer's Avatar
Thread OP
Originally Posted by ggtronic
What a nice job with complete details Denis !

You scare the audience with
so much work to achieve it ! One day, suppliers will probably
make something ready to use with your ideas LOL.
Headset with two videos input was available 12 years ago, but I never seen another model available since then other than expensive ones.

No they are not scare, they will need some time to read everything
So they manage a window in their busy day for sitting, drink a beer and read

Even my mother could do it with this tutorial
Last edited by VRflyer; Mar 01, 2010 at 10:09 PM.
Mar 01, 2010, 11:15 PM
Seeing the Farside.
Blaze.45's Avatar
Hell, if I'd have known it was 4 posts and 30+ pictures easy, I'd of done it a long time ago!
Mar 02, 2010, 01:03 AM
Multicopter Addict
braindead4554's Avatar
What a great tutorial. I have learn alot from you about the Trimersion headset. I will have to try this mod after I get some FPV flight under my belt.

As I was reading this, I just had a silly thought. It would be easy to have the eyes move like a chameleon. Each eye move seperate from the other. Essentially, to be able to see two different views of the world around you. But this probably wouldn't be very feasible as it would likely cuz disorientation, dizziness or worse.... queasiness But it could possibly give good results Might just have to try it out myself to see how it might turn out

But VRflyer, keep those excellent tutorial and mods comin!!
Mar 02, 2010, 02:48 AM
Blue Sky's Avatar
Thanks for the excellent tutorial!
I have some funky 922's with broken temples
and burned screens. Is it possible to use the
video board in them for the Trimersion mod?
Mar 02, 2010, 10:24 AM
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VRflyer's Avatar
Thread OP
Originally Posted by Blue Sky
Thanks for the excellent tutorial!
I have some funky 922's with broken temples
and burned screens. Is it possible to use the
video board in them for the Trimersion mod?
Could you take one picture of each side of the Kopin pcb (video board)

By memory I would say it will work, but you will not have contrast/brightness on the 922.S side I think
Mar 02, 2010, 03:12 PM
Blue Sky's Avatar
Thanks Denis, I'll probably give it a try.
It beats trashing a new pair of goggles.
Mar 02, 2010, 03:19 PM
lovegroove's Avatar
I've seen loads of goggles advertised as 3D capable, but is that only when they're hooked up to a computer? I never saw the point in paying extra for this feature as I didn't envisage being able to use it for FPV.

I'm glad that you posted this tutorial here in English because my French wasn't quite good enough to be able to fully understand everything on the French forum.
Mar 02, 2010, 03:50 PM
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VRflyer's Avatar
Thread OP
Yes Lovegroove, severals 2D/3D goggles are available on the market, but they use a different 3D method, theses goggle have one video input, not two like the 3Dmersion (Trimersion modified for 3D of course)

so you need a special camera that will have two cameras with one video output on the same board like NGhobbies sell:

or standard cameras with a expensive and complicate way of interlacing both video signal.
My method is more direct, this is why it give the best 3D result. But you need two video channels, not only one. Not a problem for us when we fly solo.
Mar 02, 2010, 03:58 PM
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Thread OP
I made a first flight with my 3Dmersion today and everything work fine. Great 3D.
Sadly I don`t have the standard face, so incomming light make the pictures appear darker even after my mod to increase the backlight intensity. So I will add foam on the side of my face, I mean on the goggle to resolve this issue.

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