Micro fpv HD quad - wltoys v929/949/959 FPV HD
After building my first Micro quad with fpv and HD recording, I was asked by several members of RCGroups to write a build log for it.. So here goes..
Firstly a little context... I set out to build a stable, reliable and resilient micro fpv quad that could fly good range but still stop and hover for some AP.. So I wanted to fulfill the following:
1) cheap build
2) long range in the micro class ( 1km distance at least - so a 2 km round trip)
3) 7min or more STABLE hover flight time..
5) reliable in terms of flight characteristics (no sudden WOD for example)
6) HD recording
7) medium to long range fpv kit (200 mw vtx and good antennas)
8) a little wind resistant
9) something I could fly everyday
10) light weight
I am happy to report I have managed to fulfill all of the criteria above (some even exceeded - like a 10 min flight time - except one and that's the range. This is because I need to boost the rc range of the quad and transmitter... I have done upto 330m one way so far, more than 200 meters high and round trips of around 800m... The latter takes around 3:30 so with a 10 min flight time I have high hopes of getting to a kilometer once I sort out the rc connection
So I guess the build log...
Light is Right!!!
The first thing I had to do to fulfill the 10 criteria above was to make the entire solution as light as possible... Infact I found that the golden number in terms of weight for the v929 and v949 was less than 86g auw. This was a hard ask. I had to contend with the entire frame and battery, then the fpv kit, battery and the HD camera, not to mention all the connectors, cabling and mounts.
I really modified the frame:
Here is a more detailed explanation.
1) I took of the black plastic in the jst plug
2) FC board has only two screws holding it on
3) all motor plugs and wire plugs removed
4) wires removed and replaced with enamel wire.. Soldered directly.. Only one wire in each pair insulated. (Brush on some ca glue on the other solder for extra strength)
5) motor holders removed
6) excess plastic from each motor arm removed (the wiring guides etc)
7) landing gear removed and replaced with lighter plastic (held in by light tiny screws)
8) battery holder removed and replaced with Velcro
9) removed all the bracing plastic struts from the main frame (so only the four cross pieces where the arms go through remain)
10) removed two plastic rims (so half the main frame circle) between the main arm holders. Left two on to mount the camera and vtx.
11) removed excess screws from the camera only left one on holding the board to the camera.
12) removed cable channelling plastic on each arm at the motor mounts..
13) dabbed glue on each motor at the mount so the motor doesn't pop out
14) added gws 5443 props which are lighter than the original and give more lift..
This dropped the quad weight to 50grams..
A better video clip showing the final outcomes can be seen here..
This build was phase one and used a 9g CMOS camera. In phase two I substituted this with a 808 #16v2 camera which records in 720p.
In the next few build logs I will go through how I dropped the weight of the fpv kit to 6grams and the 808#16 v2 to 9g.. With a 4g battery that makes the auw 83g in total...
Last edited by ArchillesElbow; Feb 22, 2013 at 07:16 AM.
Reserved for post 2 on build log
The 808 #16 v2 camera...
Any camera with av video out that is 9g or less will work... But I decided to try and put on a HD keychain camera, the 808 #16 v2. This gave me the ability to get a live video out feed on this that I could connect to the fpv video tx as well as store 720p videos on the on board video card.
The thread for this camera can be found at:
The first thing to do with the camera, after uploading the latest software, turning tv output to on and ensuring it works is to lighten it...
1) remove the outer casing - it's held on by just two screws.
2) carefully tape the camer to the board so that it does not hang loosely by the ribbon cable.
3) remove the battery - it's plugged in using the same plugs used by your v9x9 quad.
4) u can either remove the battery plastic plug holder - it's glued on..
This brings down the camer to under 9g but you need to do some soldering and then tape the camera up which will bring it back to around 9g.
Ok now the hardest part of this build I think is the soldering of the video out USB pin to a cable to save weight... The camera comes with a standard mini USB plug that is used for power, software updates, reading the sd card and video out purposes. The video out pin is the second from the "top" of the camera ie the second pin closest to the camera end of the board if the USB side of the Board is facing you.
You need to solder a wire directly to this pin... This is easier if u use good wire (I used the boom wire from a v929 as it is good quality and doesn't break easily but is slightly heavy. Use a very thin soldering tip which is hot... Lightly tin the wire and then line it up with the pin (I used prestik to hold it in line and then very quickly touch the wire to the pin with the soldering iron. Once soldering...u can lightly coat with some ca glue...
You can now also solder a pos and neg lead to where the plug for the battery was... But I left the plug in.
The reason I left the plug in is that you can easily remove the common battery source (for the cam and vtx) and plug in a battery for the camera only... This is needed for uploading config files to the camera (IF u don't want to turn on the vtx every time you do this).
Perhaps some context to this last statement... You will be using a common battery for both the camera and vtx. When the fpv system is tuned off, you can still turn the camera on and intact with it using your computer, as it is powered by the USB plug. This works fine excep for when you loading a new config file to the camera, as the camera needs its own power source for the last step of the upload ...
U have two choices here... 1) you can turn on the fpv system and plug in the camera and do the config changes or
2) if u used a plug for the power - unplug the power coupling of the fpv system, plug in the seperate battery and do any config changes..
Luckily config changes should be seldom.
Once the Configs are done, wraps the camera using insulation tape - dont use too much as this adds weight.
You can now mount the camera using double sided tape or some dental floss...
It's probably easier to solder the vtx to the camera before mounting...
here is a diagram explaining better
Last edited by ArchillesElbow; Feb 20, 2013 at 01:55 PM.
Part and Components
Parts listing and costs
Just a note before I begin. This is not an indepth discussion of the components or technical considerations of an FPV system for micro or otherwise. It is just to give context on the fpv system I used for the V929 HD FPV. Caution - soldering is required.. but this is not hard to learn...
I will first give general context on the types of components used and then a bill of materials.
In general for an FPV system to work you need two major sets of components:
(1) Firstly you need the aircraft component - in its simplist form this consists of a video transmitter, antenna and a camera, and for our micro fpv purposes this suffices.
These come in various flavours, power outputs and frequencies.
I will only concentrate on the 5.8ghz frequency.
In terms of power outputs, you can anything from 10mw output to 200mw output in the micro format.
Although the 10mw will suffice in most cases in terms of short range FPV, I decided to use the 200mw transmitter, since this can be ported to larger fpv systems. this is something to consider if you entering FPV for the first time, but think you may want to continue to larger and longer range systems, you may want to get a system or components that will last you into the future.
This is one of the most important components of a good FPV system. Usually the transmitters come with a small antenna that is really not sufficient. The most popular type of antennas are omni directional and usually circular polarized, although horizontally polarized omni antennas work as well. These antennas can be made, or bought.
These come in various flavours as well. We will consider CMOS camera for this application. Camera's in two major formats PAL or NTSC. Select the one most suitable for the region you are in. Their resolution is defined in TV lines or (TVL). Usually the high the better. There are various other elements of camera selection which are too much of detail to go into now, but can be researched in further detail should you wish. The weight of the camera is important, and usually the lighter it is 2g or 1g cameras, the more expensive they are. anything up to 9g will work on this platform.
Another slightly more expensive option is to use an 808 #16 v2 (or #11) which are HD keychain cameras that store on board video but also have a live video out that can be piped to the transmitter. This makes quite a powerful package and is what will concentrate on in this build.
There are also lower powered (10mw etc) combo systems, which is a camera (and mic sometimes) and video transmitter. I personally do not prefer them as they are not extensible...
(2) The Ground Station - In its simplest form this consists of the reciever, antenna and video screen/Goggles. This will suffice for this application and therefore we will not go into details about other components that may make a FPV ground station.
These come in various flavours as well. The most important thing to check is that the frequencies that your RX can handle are the ones that your video transmitter can transmit on. The two most popular recievers are the RC305 and RC805. There is also a cheaper module only version that requires some soldering.
This as mentioned before is very important. Most people prefer a helical antenna (this can be made your self or bought). A good antenna will increase the range of your video.
Screen or Goggles This is a personal choice and there are many video screen displays out there. The screen is the cheaper option, whilst FPV goggles (or any video goggles that accept analogue input) are more expensive. 3.5" and 7" seem to be the most popular.
Bill of Materials
I usually buy my FPV equipment from www.FoxtechFPV.com, but other sources are FPVHobby, ReadymadeRC etc. The choice is yours - happy shopping, whereever i mention "Source - Foxtech" below you can substite with any of the above
1) Video transmitter (vtx) - 200mw 5.8ghz ~ $20 (note if you are buying from foxtechfpv, it is a safer option to put in a tiny voltage regulator infront of it to ensure you power it with a 3.3v. Source Foxtech
2) MCP1117 3.3 voltage regulator works great, and costs around a $1. Source local eletronics store
3) Antenna (DIY) or you can buy these for around $20 a pair Source Foxtech
4) Camera - these range in prices from ~ $25 to ~ $50. the 808 #16v2 camera can be bought on ebay (eletoponline). RCGroups has great threads on this camera. Source Foxtech
5) Video reciever - ~ $15 to ~$30. The RC305 or R805 seem to be popular choices. Source Foxtech
6) Screen/goggles - this is your choice and can range from $30 to over $200. Sources Foxtech,Ebay, HobbyKing.
7) 3.7v lightweight (4g or less) lipo battery to power the vtx and camera. You do not need more than 100mah battery for 10 mins of FPV. You can scavenge these batteries from a micro heli or buy them from HobbyKing etc. They are very cheap.
8) wiring - you need some lightweight wires
9) Connectors - either existing or diy
10) a quad - v929 (R1 board is preferable), v949, V959 are all contenders
11) GWS 5443 props ~$5.55 for 2 pairs. Source - Goodluckbuy.com or Banggood.com
12) Flight batteries - stock or the Turnigy 600mah can be used. I used the stock batteries.
Last edited by ArchillesElbow; Jan 15, 2013 at 03:58 PM.
Even understanding what to send is complicated. I think you could make that yourself and sell it. Many people would buy that kind of thing. Oh yes it is hard, how do you know where to solder those thing together? For me, even attaching camera from another heli is problem. Before I got to rcgroups I mas thinking I'm smart guy-)
Still I can't believe this is possible and so affordable. Militarys spend millions of dollars to make smth like that but your thing is so elegant and stealth I think it's time for me to become a student again. I hope after reading this kind of threads I'll be able to make my own drone. In one festival I saw a huge hexacopter doing the same thing with DSLR on board. I can't imagine the budget of that flying monster.
My experiments are still delayed.
Today, after exactly 1 month since my new receiver arrived at customs (and got stuck there) I received a letter that I must fill and send back to them.
I hope that they will send it to me in no more than 10 days...
Everything is working, but the actual rx looses signal after 10/15 meters, so I really can't fly fpv using it, it's ok just for indoor tests.
But it has been useful to make experience and understand how these things work, before I too was thinking that it was too difficult for me.
But slowly, day by day, learning is easy and funny.
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