View Full Version : Fpv!

March 30th, 2009, 08:38 PM
Anybody seen it? It's a cool twist on r/c flying. The whole idea is that you fly the plane as though you were in it by watching a tv screen or maybe video goggles. Of course, this involves adding a camera and video transmitter to the plane then a receiver on the ground. Right now my 'ground station' includes an old VCR that was donated to the cause and a clunky old 19" tv. And a power inverter, don't forget the power inverter!

Addons that help- on screen display to interlace critical info to you on the ground such as battery life used, voltage, current draw, speed, altitude, gps location and direction back to 'home'. Some even show artificial horizon, altitude and airspeed on vertical tapes similar to a glass panel aircraft's main display.

Pretty cool, not that you can really do much with it but it's neat. Tricky if you're used to traditional r/c, after about an hour and a half of fpv flying I've logged zero takeoffs and two landings on the screen.

April 30th, 2009, 10:28 PM
I still have the plane. It's quite the learning curve, getting used to flying only by the aerial view. The GPS has saved my butt a couple of times. Returning to base from a mile away looks really far when you're only 400 feet up.

May 1st, 2009, 11:06 AM
I think this is where I want to go with my RC hobby.

What size plane are you using? How are you transmitting the GPS info to the receiver and how are you getting that information on the TV with the picture.

May 1st, 2009, 09:17 PM
Google Eagle Tree Systems. On screen displays have been popping up all over the place lately as this type of flying is exploding in Europe for some reason.

Basic componentry- micro camera and video transmitter on the plane. Receiver and display on the ground. Antennas will make or break the system, plans are available to make your own and I have built two types, a Yagi for long range but very directional beamwidth, and a patch antenna for less range but wider beam. 45 degrees versus 180. The common frequencies used are 2.4ghz and 900mhz, I use 900mhz. A friend with a waterjet cutter now has a cnc file for the 900mhz patch antenna parts so you could build one of those for very cheap and be good for a mile or two out for a few bucks- if your r/c radio is good to that distance.

So that's the basics, to add on to it I use the Eagle Tree Elogger, OSD Expander and GPS expander. The OSD simply intercepts the signal from the camera and lays text on the screen before sending it to the video transmitter. So as the plane is cruising, the current gps coordinates are always on the top of the screen, and the video is being recorded. So if the plane goes down somewhere, I play it back (on a VCR!) and punch the coords into my gps phone and have a look. :)

On the bottom of the screen is displayed: gps altitude and airspeed, mAh used, pack voltage, amperage and watts. And, very critical, distance and direction to home. You won't believe how useful this is the first couple times you're flying this way and your brain locks up and you get lost. Breathe slowly, turn slowly until the arrow shows you heading home and the distance from home counts down near zero. Then look up, there it is!

My fov plane is a Twinstar 2, a lot of people use Easystars for this, and then others use far faster, more nimble planes. There are systems on Parkzone foamies, Slowsticks, pretty much everything out there.

There are some catches to doing this however. More powerful video transmitters have been known to cause r/c glitching or even drown out the gps radio signal. Before I tamed all the electrical gremlins in my plane it tried to cut me a few times. There are workarounds or fixes for most of these issues and paramount is distance between components. I guarantee if you pile a 500mw video transmitter, r/c receiver, gps receiver and pan/ tilt servos within a couple inches of each other, something is not going to work right.

That's probably enough blathering for now.. rcgroups.com has an fpv forum which is probably the best source of info out there.

edit: I purchased most of my gear from dpcav.com and am really happy with their quality and service.
Last invoice showed:
dpc-171 camera
pandora pan/tilt mechanism with servos
900mhz 500mw transmitter
dual output 900mhz receiver
and the Eagle Tree parts. The new EagleTree OSD Pro looks really, really cool...supposed to be released in a couple weeks.

May 20th, 2009, 06:16 PM
sounds fun,

i wonder if i could keep up with a f14 tomcat ducted fan,