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Feb 17, 2008, 11:05 PM
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What FPV flying is like if you are too cheap to get the good stuff!


Hey guys,

Here's my contribution. I think the picture quality is as good as I can get out of my el cheapo ebay cmos camera. Posted on google video to make it worse...

http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...52626381724587

My precious scratch built glider + el cheapo RC radio + el cheapo wireless video setup = you may notice that I don't try to go too far outside visual range

You may also notice that some of the video has motor interference, that's because for one flight I powered the video system off the main 3s pack for extra cheapness! I had a small 2s pack for the other flight. The 2s pack eliminated interference, but reduced tx range. What I need is a 3s 400-800mah pack...

Total cost of my made in China FPV system (camera, 200mw tx, rx, LCD display+recorder):
~$180

I'm looking for a better camera, any suggestions? I'm running a 12V video tx, so either a 12V or 5V camera will do. My main requirement is cheap!

Cheers,
-Z-
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Feb 18, 2008, 01:13 AM
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fmkit's Avatar

it can be cheaper !


Have a look at my FPV plane,
bottom low cheap yet high performance:
unlimited vertical climb
miles of range
EPP
crashproof
built-in radio beacon
window alarm 90db+
auw 470gr
video 1.8mb

$20 wild wing, $30 all electronics(b/l motor/esc/servos/radio/xmtr), $80 ccd cam .. some $130 total

28gram CCD cam
it works down to 6V power supply so simple diode-capacitor filter all thats needed to share 3s lipo
the plane also has pocket for Lumix LS70 digital cam for AP


PS: shared battery ? that's professional !
Last edited by fmkit; Feb 18, 2008 at 01:43 AM.
Feb 18, 2008, 02:26 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by fmkit
$20 wild wing, $30 all electronics(b/l motor/esc/servos/radio/xmtr), $80 ccd cam .. some $130 total
Man, I thought I got a good deal when I bought my 6ch radio for $34! I saw your thread on your flying wing, that thing is cheap and awesome! From the video it looks like the camera quality is quite good, but at $80, I might as well get a kx131... The idea of using walkie talkies to transmit PPM is brilliant! Are they full duplex or did you set them to only do one way? I was actually think of using them as ultra cheap long range data modems... Where do you get your stuff? Once the Chinese New Year holidays are over, I will be looking around Hong Kong ebay sites for more goodies...

By a diode capacitor filter you mean something like a half wave rectifier type of thing, or the Zener limiting type? I already have a 100uF capacitor near the camera, I was considering adding a smaller capacitor to get rid of the higher frequency stuff.

I attached a picture of my plane. I can't do unlimited vertical, but 60 dgr is no problem! It was mostly designed to fly for an afternoon on one pack with the help of some thermos.

Cheers,
-Z-
Feb 18, 2008, 02:57 PM
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fmkit's Avatar
thanks!

sharing battery w/diode:
anode to battery +
cathode to camera
220uF capacitor parallel to camera

I don't care how FPV plane looks like while camera has to be good - you look at it all the time!
I have some better 470line cameras but they weight 55gr also don't work below 10v so you need up-converter and choke filter. 230 cam works well on small planes, I drilled small hole on the back to hold steel wire to CF spar so hardest impact won't cause the camera move forward, after some 50 serios crashes I had to replace lens. Here in Las Vegas I have to land on rocks and dirt all the time.

Any 2-way radio can be used, you need some programming skill. My radios programmed to power up and set channel when power applied - no buttons to push. The radios transmit back when commanded also locating downed plane with directional antenna is too bulky. For extra 11g I have piezo alarm, very loud and handy to locate the plane.Added features include fail-safe, number of channels can be any.

edit:
I thought that midnight photo (post #2) really ugly so here is more colorful photo of the same plane in broad daylight
Last edited by fmkit; Feb 18, 2008 at 04:38 PM.
Feb 19, 2008, 01:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zitron
Total cost of my made in China FPV system (camera, 200mw tx, rx,
Is your system similar with this ?

http://www.r2hobbies.com/proddetail.php?prod=rcsc00004
Feb 19, 2008, 04:07 AM
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fmkit's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by zitron
The idea of using walkie talkies to transmit PPM is brilliant! Are they full duplex or did you set them to only do one way? I was actually think of using them as ultra cheap long range data modems... Where do you get your stuff? ...
Best stuff like Motorola and Midland found on ebay. If you're in hurry
many refurb. radios offered online, example of very sensitive RX:
http://www.unidendirect.com/itemdeta...1035-2&tabid=1
$11 for two radios and they claim 10 mile range!
If your plane is small and you can't have TX/RX antennas 2ft apart you must use radio with SAW front-end and crystal IF filter(near all Motorala and Midland) not Uniden ! I've never seen full duplex two-way radios, you don't have to use TX part while RX only draws some 50mA.
Almost every radio I used weight 16-17g (bare bones)
post #2 pictured Midland LXT210 feels huge in hand but bare bone comes down to 16g
Feb 19, 2008, 05:14 AM
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CrocEnd's Avatar
zitron ....
It looks like you have not focus your camera for long distance,put it on a table and tweek the lens into a better focus for long distance I used cheap rc and camera but do get some good footage and YES drop outs.


PS edit The only clear vid was of the prop before start up and at the final stop of the aircraft being the close blades of grass.
Last edited by CrocEnd; Feb 19, 2008 at 05:26 AM.
Feb 19, 2008, 03:17 PM
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Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by RENATOA
Yeah that's the one exactly! If you are thinking about buying it, I know it works ok up to 150m, I have not tested it further away, but it might do 500m with the antenna that came with it. I will test it this weekend. I will be making a patch antenna one of these days for more range. Also the camera has a mic, but my TX seemed to have some serious noise on the audio channel.


fmkit:

That's very useful information. I've been programming micro controllers for a bit, so I will definitely be getting me self some cheap walkie talkies. All I want to do is to down link some data, and typical serial modems at this kind of ranges costs hundreds EACH! Do you have more details on what you did to the radios, like which bit of the circuit you tapped into? I don't know much about RF stuff...

Also, I found a 12V CCD board camera for $30 shipped. I think it should work with 3s if I use a low voltage drop off Schottky diode with that filter you mentioned. I think the voltage is +/-10% anyway. If not, I'll just use a separate 3s pack. I'll report back how it turns out.


CrocEnd:

Now you mention it, I think the focus might have been set to 5-10m, because I set the focus inside the house... I'll mess with it a bit more, we'll see if it gets better.

What cheap system did you get? Do you have any videos you've taken with your cheap system? Don't be shy, post it here!

Cheers,
-Z-
Last edited by zitron; Feb 19, 2008 at 03:24 PM.
Feb 19, 2008, 06:37 PM
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fmkit's Avatar
Last time I ordered $30 CCD camera incl. shipping from HK
they shipped CMOS crap !
I have collection of cameras some have great specs while so-so picture
or vice versa. I'd never order cameras outside US. There are no usable cameras under $79 so it's good to have option to return/replace.

150m range seem wrong for 0.2w video xmtr
I get one mile radius with 0.1w 900mhz + 3 element Yagi using $16 receiver from Ebay and homemade xmtr based on CC1070 chip and BFG198 output transistor all 6g !
Feb 20, 2008, 07:00 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Well I'm pretty sure it's CCD, pictures of the board showed Sharp CCD controllers. However, just because its CCD doesn't mean it's any good. I don't live in the States (any more, I'm in the UK), so getting stuff from there costs more in shipping and import duty. When I get it, I'll make some videos.

I said 150m is what I dared to go. I still have good reception at the range, but didn't want to go to far for the first couple of flights. I'll try to push the envelope, so to speak, a little more this week end. I'm pretty confident it'll do 500m~ish with stock antennas.

Oh, I solved the motor noise problem just by adding a big 1500uF cap near the transmitter, noise all gone!

-Z-
Feb 21, 2008, 10:09 AM
Registered User
Pepelatz's Avatar
All vdeos on this page are made with $29 CCD camera and $50 ebay "700mW" tx/rx
Feb 21, 2008, 09:13 PM
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Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepelatz
All vdeos on this page are made with $29 CCD camera and $50 ebay "700mW" tx/rx
Very nice! Do you have pictures of your setup? Which video system did you get, and how would you rate it? It would be cool to build up a list of things to buy for people like us, i.e. trying to experiment with FPV but don't want to spend $300 for a high end system, or just cheapskates like me!

Thanks,
-Z-
Feb 22, 2008, 03:03 AM
jab
jab
Unregistered User
Speaking of cheap stuff. I order these just for testing.

http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.804
http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.6019
Feb 22, 2008, 04:09 AM
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fmkit's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jab
Nice find Jab!

Also I think I'm still #1 champion of cheap(and good) stuff,
example:

just before new year Geeks had on sale this setup for $19/ea + free shipping
http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?Inv...CMOS&cpc=RECOM
it turned out that receivers and transmitters are highest quality, 100mW TX
the set comply CCIR-405-1 standard (think of smooth picture and 2x range) w/built-in de-pre-emphasis network(hard to get!)
I bought 40 sets, made some mods, sold almost all receivers on EBAY
and now have lifetime supply of transmitters(26g barebone) and bunch of replacement lens (CMOS cameras were crap) for my bullet cams.
Feb 22, 2008, 02:13 PM
Registered User
CrashingDutchman's Avatar
fmkit,

I sent you a pm about your frs/gmrs setup... I hope you can respond to my questions about how you did this.

CD


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