Up and away
Wow, it's been a long time since I updated this blog! I'm very pleased to report that my project has ended up being a success, and a very enjoyable introduction into the world of FPV flight.
My final step in the build process was to make a mounting platform for the "backpack" which comprises the camera and video transmitter in a single portable module. The camera mount is very simple - it's made from 3 small pieces of 3mm depron foam, glued together and shaped to replace the base of the standard Bixler canopy. A strip of velcro holds the backpack in place, and the power cable goes in a small recess at the rear of the mount.
In the air, the whole setup works very well. The camera is held firmly in place, the antenna is positioned clear of the airframe, and the backpack and doesn't move during turbulence or bumpy landings.I can remove the camera and transmitter, and have it working on another aircraft, in 20 seconds.
After all the checked and double-checking, my first proper FPV flight was almost anti-climatic. I very quickly found that flying via goggles is actually quite simple, and feels very natural - and I'm totally hooked on the experience.
Having studied the local area on Google Maps satellite view earlier that day and picked out a number of distinctive landmarks, it was very easy to keep orientated to my surroundings. I also used the "distance measure" tool in Google Maps to determine a rough 600m perimeter around the location so I would stay within easy video range. This made it easy to stop worrying about getting lost or going out of range while I got comfortable.
I have now pushed out to around 1km without loss of picture quality or radio control responsiveness, which is about as far as I'm willing to push it without an OSD or failsafe. This is heaps enough range to have a lot of fun, so I will keep within that range for now.
I'm still keeping an eye out for a cheap OSD, and I will be moving to a FrSky module (or maybe OpenLRS) in the near future too - this will allow me to push the limits of my current setup with more confidence.
I've also started mounting the FPV backpack on my quadcopter....but that's a story for another day.
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