Connex HD Video Transmission Review

I first heard about the Connex HD system by Amimon when GetFPV sent out a press release on them. I hadn't heard of Amimon, but they are a big time name in the video industry and their technology is used in many high end transmission systems...

Splash

Introduction

I first heard about the Connex HD system by Amimon when GetFPV sent out a press release on them. I hadn't heard of Amimon, but I found out that they are a big time name in the video industry and their technology is used in many high end transmission systems. The Connex is really the first zero latency HD video transmission system designed for drones and I had a chance to talk to them at their booth in Las Vegas at the NAB show. The Connex provides an HD video feed to the ground station with zero latency all the way out to 1000M or over 3200ft! That is pretty amazing and I was excited to be able to test out this system on my S900 Hexacopter.

Click Here to See the Connex Webpage

What's in the Box

  • Air Unit
  • Ground Unit
  • Air and Ground Unit Antennas
  • Power Cables
  • HDMI Cables
  • Mounting Kit
  • Quick Setup Guide

Features

  • Full HD 1080P at 60fps Transmission
  • Up to 1,000 meter range (LOS)
  • Zero latency, real-time video
  • Resilient 5GHz digital link
  • Automatic Frequency Selection (AFS) that complies with regulations and selects the best free frequency available
  • Encrypted and secure
  • Built-in OSD view with embedded MAVLInk-based telemetry
  • Gimbal control over FutabaŽ S.BUS
  • Plug-and-Fly, ready to operate out of the box

Setting it up

The air and ground units come paired from the factory so when you power them up they will automatically connect. I chose to use the included mounting plate and attached it to the front accessory tab on the S900 and attached the air tx to the mounting plate with the two screws provided. This allows for a secure mount with easy access to the power, HDMI, and antenna connections. Since the tx can be powered by 8-26V and they included a cable with an XT60 connector on it, I simply attached the connector to an open power slot on my S900 frame which is connected to the 6S Lipo battery. It couldn't have been easier and that large voltage range will come in handy for different setups. I mounted the antennas at 90 degree angles to one another and attached them to the frame. This made for a clean install, but you can also run the antennas out along the landing gear legs if you want and they actually provide the mounting brackets and hardware to do that. The antennas do need to be pointing straight down for the best transmission strength. I routed the HDMI cable from the camera up to the tx. I did lose the ability to continuously rotate in the pan axis with the gimbal, but I was able to position the wire to over 360 degrees in both directions before the wire would wrap up enough to bind the motor. It is perfectly acceptable and well worth it for the higher definition video feed.

I mounted the ground station receiver unit on the back of my monitor with Velcro near the top so the antennas can be positioned above the monitor for a clean line of sight to the tx. I wired in a 3S lipo that powers both the monitor and the receiver and that's all there was to it. My camera operator just plugs in one connection to power evetyhing up, nice and simple. There is a power switch on the receiver, but you can leave it in the on position and use the battery as the switch since you would not want to leave the battery plugged in. Getting everything working couldn't have been more simple. I powered everything up on the bench and BAM, everything was working just as it should. Now it was time to get out to the field and do some tests on the range and signal quality.

Range and Quality

When viewing the feed on a monitor you can certainly tell it is an HD signal with all the clarity and detail you would expect. It is an incredible difference from the usual standard definition analog video feeds that are more common. There was no perceptible lag in the transmission which is great for precision camera movement or even proximity flying.

The range on the Connex is listed at 1000M or over 3200 feet. On our test flight we went out to 450M before calling the flight off and not because we lost video. The signal was amazing, but the S900 was getting way too far away line of sight for me to feel comfortable flying any farther away. So that's not even half the listed range and I don't see many reasons to fly that far away in real life. That was on the stock antennas too. You can put higher gain antennas on it and get even more range than listed. It's amazing and nice to know on a video shoot that you will not loose the video feed due to range limitations. Now it does need to be line of sight, so you will experience some break up, digital effects, and loss of signal if flying behind large objects like buildings or hills, so keep that in mind when scouting your flight path. Here's the video from our test flight:

Conclusion

I am extremely happy with the Connex HD system. It just flat out works and works well. It's a must have for any pro level aerial videographer and at $1600, it's a real bargain. Your clients will really appreciate the higher resolution downlink. It makes you look more professional and allows your camera operator to better adjust the camera settings on the fly as well as be more precise with framing. There are also some great drone specific features of the Connex like the ability to control a camera gimbal through S Bus and the built in OSD that can connect to a MAVLInk-based telemetry flight system.

For the everyday FPV hobby pilot with some extra cash, the connex will make one heck of an FPV system. Couple it with a GoPro and a 450 class quad or nearly any FPV airplane and you'll have an HD video signal you can pipe into a high quality display like the Zeiss Cinemizers, HeadPlay HD's or even an HD TV. It will really open up your world and is totally the future of FPV.

Pros

  • No latency 1080P HD Video Downlink
  • Plug and Play Easy to Setup
  • More range than you need
  • S Bus Gimbal control
  • Built In OSD
  • Large input voltage range
  • Price is great for professional use

Cons

  • Price is high for non professional use

Click Here to See the Connex Webpage

Thread Tools
Jun 12, 2015, 10:25 AM
Registered User
Why is the S.bus link called a "gimbal control"? Why does it care what you control? Is there a limit to how many channels it can pass? Do they not consider it reliable enough for flight control? I'm trying to understand why an S.bus link would be limited to gimbal control. Nobody says anything about the S.bus link.
Jun 12, 2015, 10:31 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
Well, for two man operations, the gimbal would be separated from the flight controls. This is made more for the pro level market, so the most likely use case is for gimbal control. It even actually says in the manual that it is only for gimbal control with a warning to not use it for flight controls. Not sure why though.
Jun 12, 2015, 03:07 PM
RC FPVer
Great overview Jason, the Connex system looks sweet on your S900!
Jun 13, 2015, 01:19 AM
In progress...
Skewp's Avatar
What kind of field monitor do You guys suggest?

I cannot get Connex to work with the following monitors:

Fieldwiew 1010 from HK
Feelworld 10.1" 5.8GHz Dual Receiver HDMI FPV
Last edited by Skewp; Jun 13, 2015 at 04:42 AM.
Jun 13, 2015, 08:04 AM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
It should work with any monitor that has an HDMI input source.
Jun 14, 2015, 02:30 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Cole
Well, for two man operations, the gimbal would be separated from the flight controls. This is made more for the pro level market, so the most likely use case is for gimbal control. It even actually says in the manual that it is only for gimbal control with a warning to not use it for flight controls. Not sure why though.
Hi,

My name is Shahar Keren, and I'm a Customer Support Manager at AMIMON.

I've enjoyed reading the review and I would like to try and help with a few answers to the questions raised.

About the gimbal control vs. flight control. Fail safe function on the S.BUS support is still not implemented. This is why it is not recommended using the CONNEX S.BUS support for flight control.

The CONNEX link supports up to 16 channels, with packet transfer every 6.3mSec (FASSTest 12CH) or 15mSec (FASSTest 18CH or T-FHSS Mode).

You can find this information, along with many other articles and videos in the CONNEX Support Center:
https://connexuav.zendesk.com/hc/en-us
Jun 14, 2015, 02:43 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skewp
What kind of field monitor do You guys suggest?

I cannot get Connex to work with the following monitors:

Fieldwiew 1010 from HK
Feelworld 10.1" 5.8GHz Dual Receiver HDMI FPV
Hi,

CONNEX works with any monitor with HDMI input.

In the article below you can find the CONNEX supported resolutions:
https://connexuav.zendesk.com/hc/en-...ONNEX-support-

If you still have issues with those specific monitors, I suggest you to issue a support ticket in the CONNEX support center. There is 24/6 support, including chat and phone support.
https://connexuav.zendesk.com/hc/en-us
Jun 14, 2015, 02:48 AM
Registered User
Great post!

One correction though. If you'll connect high gain antennas to the CONNEX, you may improve performance / range in NLOS (non line of sight) conditions, but you will not be able to maintain a video link at a range of over 1km, as this is a limitation made on the CONNEX SW, not a physical/RF limitation.

For the CONNEX behavior when reaching 1km range, see the video below:
https://connexuav.zendesk.com/hc/en-...ehavior-Video-
Jun 14, 2015, 04:25 AM
A man with too many toys
I need 5 Km range. Any change of getting more range in the future.
Jun 14, 2015, 04:27 AM
A man with too many toys
Needs to be competitively priced with current FPV systems or it will not be useful to the average hobby flyer.

.
Jun 14, 2015, 04:45 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by RC Man
I need 5 Km range. Any change of getting more range in the future.
Hi,

Thanks for the feedback. We'll definitely take this feature request under considerations for our future products.
Please note you can also submit feature requests in the CONNEX community page:
https://connexuav.zendesk.com/hc/com...ral-Discussion
Jun 14, 2015, 09:36 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by RC Man
Needs to be competitively priced with current FPV systems or it will not be useful to the average hobby flyer.

.
But it's not a "current" FPV system. It's much more cutting edge than that. If you want latency-free HD downlink, that's just not available in "current" FPV systems.

I don't think they're going after the "average" hobby flier with this product anyway.
Jun 14, 2015, 10:29 AM
A man with too many toys
I think that HD is going to be the future in FPV. If companies want to have large sales they need to target some of their products for that market. I have seen companies that only go after the expensive professional market but they usually go under after a few years because of the limited market. Their will probably be a over millions drones in the world soon so that’s a huge market. Companies that get HD video with good range at an affordable price will be the big winners.

As far as latency goes, I can live with a little latency especially if it reduces the cost. Humans can quickly adapt to that. Zero latency is useless to the average FPV flyer if it’s not affordable.

This review is in the FPV section of a mostly hobby forum so I assume they want to go after that market as well as the professional market. Maybe they need two versions. A fancy expensive version for the pros and a light weight long range simple version for us casual FPV flyers.

.
Jun 14, 2015, 02:17 PM
In progress...
Skewp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Cole
It should work with any monitor that has an HDMI input source.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shahar Keren
Hi,

CONNEX works with any monitor with HDMI input.

In the article below you can find the CONNEX supported resolutions:
https://connexuav.zendesk.com/hc/en-...ONNEX-support-

If you still have issues with those specific monitors, I suggest you to issue a support ticket in the CONNEX support center. There is 24/6 support, including chat and phone support.
https://connexuav.zendesk.com/hc/en-us
I would very much love to agree with both of You but sadly testing the monitors showed other results. I tested with 3 different field monitors and none of them worked. The only monitor that I got to work with Connex was Dell U2414H computer monitor.

The three field monitors all had the same behaviour:

1. 29.97 / 30 FPS input from camera - purple screen on the field monitors and "Not Support" in the middle of the screen.
2. 23.98/24/25 FPS - the screen either showed "No video signal detected" or the screen was just light up, but showed nothing (black screen with backlight ON).
3. All three montors pretty much froze when I connected the Connex HDMI cable - could not access MENU until I disconnected the HDMI cable.

Other than that, Dell U2414H worked fine (for testing purposes only ofc..). Got 877m of range (no LOS after that).

EDIT // There was total of 4 monitors, that did not like Connex input:

*Fieldview 1010 from Hobbyking (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...View_1010.html)
*Feelworld 10,1" Diversity Monitor (http://www.feelworld.org/#!online-st...egory=10808048)
*Feelworld 5" (http://www.feelworld.org/#!online-st...egory=10808047)
*Feelworld 8" (http://www.amazon.com/Feelworld-Digi.../dp/B005K479NW)
Last edited by Skewp; Jun 14, 2015 at 02:34 PM.


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