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1 Tip for New Beginner FPV Pilots

Check out this thread to learn tips and tricks about FPV from those with experience. Use it as a resource and be sure to share your knowledge with the group.


Share Your Best Tips with New FPV Pilots

This time of year we start seeing an influx of newcomers to the hobby visiting RCGroups. Some are finding out about this great hobby for the first time and wanting to soak up as much information as they can before starting their journey. For most of us, we've been doing this for years or decades and as a community, the knowledge we all have is an outstanding resource that should be shared.

I wanted to create a series of these articles for various RC categories so no matter if you got a new airplane, heli, drone, truck or boat, you'll have easy access to some of the best tips and tricks to help you be successful and enjoy your chosen hobby. This article is for FPV tips, so please hit the reply button below and share your favorite FPV related tips and tricks.

I'll get us started with a cool resource you might not be familiar with. While it is possible to learn to fly FPV all by yourself, you are going to have a better chance with the help of an experienced pilot. Plus meeting and flying with others who share the same passion as you is way more fun than doing it alone. Use the RCGroups Places Page to locate and find clubs near you and reach out for help. You'll be glad you did.

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Dec 18, 2017, 10:57 AM
400' + is where fun starts.
Martin Y's Avatar
Forget about long distance.

Too much VTX power IS too much VTX power.

Buy good not cheap.
Dec 18, 2017, 12:43 PM
Registered User
Slow down! The internet is full of highly skilled pilots with years of experience making very difficult things look easy. Be that the newest freestyle move, the fastest race time, or the longest distance. That all comes with time. Nobody starts driving a real car by entering a drift competition, an F1 race, or a cross country drive.

With that, don’t be discouraged that after a week you aren’t like the YouTube videos. Those guys spent far more than a week getting to the point they are. Enjoy the small steps you make.
Dec 18, 2017, 01:19 PM
Registered User
Matt Gunn's Avatar
Keep your wiring clean! Clean wiring jobs often have a better effect on distance and signal clarity than throwing more watts at it. Don't run power wires along side signal carrying wires, and practice component spacing when practical.
Dec 18, 2017, 04:12 PM
Registered User
Shifteer's Avatar
Join a good FPV Facebook group and/or prepare to spend a lot of time reading RCGroups threads on FPV gear selection. There's a ton of great info out there and lots of people willing to share their experience, saving you time, money and heartache! Start on 5.8 ghz because you can grow a lot and stretch it really far with good gear.
Dec 18, 2017, 05:01 PM
"Yo, that's a thermal"
DJO's Avatar
Antennas are everything.

Don't upgrade your video transmitter, or your camera, if you want a better signal. Get better antennas. Can't tell you how many noobies I've helped with this - they always want a 1 watt TX instead of their 200mw or something, but in reality that won't help much especially if you're not on UHF yet and looking to go multiple miles.

Antennas, antennas, antennas, it's all the antennas.

RMRC circularly polarized stuff is still the top of the line for circularly polarized antennas in my opinion, and if you're on 910 MHz or 1.3 GHz, get a 8dbi patch instead of the stock whips. Your video signal will be clear as day for MILES. No way you'll get the same performance out of simply increasing the power output on the TX.
Dec 18, 2017, 05:07 PM
"Yo, that's a thermal"
DJO's Avatar
Something that noobies also commonly miss is power filtering. If you're running your FPV camera and video transmitter off of the same battery that is connected to the motor/ESC of your aircraft, then it is common to experience lines running in the video horizontally. Most newcomers think this is something wrong with the video transmitter, or the camera, and end up spending much more money than necessary replacing cameras, TX's and such. The real problem is the interference from the other components through the wires from the battery getting into the camera.

A simple LC filter can completely cut out the lines in your video signal. Put this directly in between where the battery connects to the video transmitter/camera, and the lines will vanish in an instant.

HIGHLY underrated and underutilized, especially on newcomers' 910 MHz and 1.3 GHz systems where ImmersionRC vTX's are less common.

This one is from RMRC and a tad pricey, you can probably get the same thing on eBay for $6 and above. But make sure it's rated for 12v and up, or whatever your main battery voltage is.
Dec 18, 2017, 05:15 PM
"Yo, that's a thermal"
DJO's Avatar
Another note too (sorry for many posts... but not sorry, I used to help build FPV systems for newcomers all the time, and I've seen all their mistakes, this is important stuff)...

Turn on your airplane LAST.

Can't tell you how many newcomers' I've helped out at the field who turn on the aircraft and let it sit there for a good 10 minutes as they configure their ground station, goggles, fix their belts or something to get comfortable (?????), all the while the vTX is heating up like crazy!!!

These video transmitters are very small and get HOT fast. Some have small heatsinks, but for the most part, they are entirely AIR COOLED. Especially in summer - if you leave one turned on in the sun for more than 10 minutes (maybe 15 depending on output) or so, it's going to burn out, and you'll be scratching your head for days over why you're only getting 50 feet of range. I had this happen before with a 500mw TX, only took about 10 minutes out in the sun on a summer day.

Get your ground station set up - turn on the RX, monitor, goggles, etc etc.... THEN turn on the plane and get that vTX in the air fairly quickly so that it gets some airflow to cool it down.

This is especially important for the newer crowd because they are less certain about their gear on the first few flights and want to double check everything, so normally the time between when they get to the field and when they actually take off into the air is longer.
Dec 18, 2017, 05:27 PM
"Yo, that's a thermal"
DJO's Avatar
A few more things newcomers tend to miss which cause more frustration than necessary:

- Focusing the FPV camera lens. Small CCD/CMOS security cameras like your FPV cam have lenses which literally just turn to focus them. Most of the time there is a very small "grub" screw on the side of the lens itself which you loosen, then adjust the focus by literally turning the lens itself around. Look in the monitor while you do it (or goggles), and focus on something in the distance, and spin the lens until that object is as clear as you can get it. Easy peasy. For a few months I had no clue about this and was flying on a totally out of focus camera - a RMRC 700TVL one mind you, and I was slowly getting more and more angry about how a $110 FPV cam was so blurry! Stupid me, don't be like me and focus the thing from the get-go to avoid the headache.

- The SMA plugs on antennas don't normally thread all the way down to the transmitter - once it stops, stop twisting it. Don't torque it down. Easy way to ruin a vTX is to ruin the connector on it, and without an antenna, the vTX will burn out much easier (and you'll probably have no range).

- LiPo voltages: some people call a 3S LiPo 11.1v, 12.6v, some say 12v here on RCG and that confuses newbies all the time because they think that the voltage of the battery must be *EXACTLY* 12v to run the FPV system. People with limited electronics experience see "12v FPV camera", but then read "11.1v 3S battery", and get confused. As a rule of thumb, most 12v FPV cameras will easily run on 10v-13v. Don't worry about getting the exact voltage.
Dec 18, 2017, 06:32 PM
We are not men, we are DEVO 7e
xanuser's Avatar
record your flight footage and watch/critique it. you will learn what to do, and what not to do a lot quicker.
skip angle mode. start in horizon if acro scares you too much.
avoid GPS, headless mode, alt hold and return to home features, like the plague.
Dec 18, 2017, 09:16 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by benzy2
Slow down! The internet is full of highly skilled pilots with years of experience making very difficult things look easy. Be that the newest freestyle move, the fastest race time, or the longest distance. That all comes with time. Nobody starts driving a real car by entering a drift competition, an F1 race, or a cross country drive.

With that, donít be discouraged that after a week you arenít like the YouTube videos. Those guys spent far more than a week getting to the point they are. Enjoy the small steps you make.
Excellent advice Benzy. Iíve been flying for over 50 years, fixed wing, heli, multirotor etc. Newbies see rolling harriers, tail touch hovers and such and think itís going to happen with ease. Your advice is spot on. Once they get it the experience is awesome.
Dec 18, 2017, 10:25 PM
Registered User
Daemon's Avatar
Originally Posted by xanuser
record your flight footage and watch/critique it
Make that "record your flight footage period".
So many people dismiss the value of a DVR. I flew years without OSD, or AP but always with a recording of
every flight and never lost a plane but I still see people lose/destroy planes even with all the fanciest gear on it,
simply because they didn't record the flight, so when something goes wrong, they have *no clue* what happened.
Invest in goggles with a built in DVR, or buy a separate one (little Eachine dvr works fine), and use
it on *every single flight*.
Last edited by Daemon; Dec 19, 2017 at 12:04 PM.
Dec 18, 2017, 11:23 PM
We are not men, we are DEVO 7e
xanuser's Avatar
I agree there. recording every flight = best insurance ever.

But the extra credit points come from studying the flights you record.
Dec 19, 2017, 01:33 AM
ultra cheap pilot
ican3d's Avatar
Very important to keep the hardware setup on board as simple and as light as possible. Simplified it as light weight as you can especially on fix wing. I always throw every screws, plastic, pins and plugs out from the plane to keep the plane float longer, improve endurance, reduce inertial impact and reduce RF noise on the overall connection. Had many successful flight on small FPV planes without technical incident.
Dec 19, 2017, 09:31 AM
Registered User
kuiperJ's Avatar
Consider starting with a ground-pounder instead of something that flies.

As you learn the ropes about losing signal link you aren't nearly as liable to accrue damage but simply roll to a stop.

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