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Getting into FPV

skeplin

Senior Member
#1
So I decided to make the jump into FPV and started with the basic Fatshark Teleporter V3. I've been playing with it around the house by attaching the camera to a remote controlled truck. Neat!

Now I'm starting to get nervous about flying FPV on my quadcopter and Versa wing. How sturdy is the camera? Is there anything I can do to protect it? If it does break, how expensive is it to replace?

Appreciate the advice!
 
#2
So I decided to make the jump into FPV and started with the basic Fatshark Teleporter V3. I've been playing with it around the house by attaching the camera to a remote controlled truck. Neat!

Now I'm starting to get nervous about flying FPV on my quadcopter and Versa wing. How sturdy is the camera? Is there anything I can do to protect it? If it does break, how expensive is it to replace?

Appreciate the advice!
well lets start with what kind of camera is it and how much did you pay for it?.....going to venture a guess thats about how much its going to cost to replace. First fvp flight is absolutely nerve racking and in some cases every flight there after. i still get shaky hands every time just before launch and have to do my zen thing with remote and plane in hand. highly advised you have a spotter, ESPECIALLY on first flight. it will keep you from having to worry about looking back and forth at plane. Also fly in a location you are very familiar with.....VERY familiar because everything looks totally different from up "there" and can lose your sense of direction quickly and very easily lose the plane altogether....hence the spotter.
 
#3
First flight i totally got disoriented and was flying around( Really high) then realized i was lost! I didnt have OSD and wasnt familiar with the area next thing i know battery is running out and i realized im lost so i remember launching with the sun to my east telephone wire but was still off. I lost my plane for about 20 min. I left my video goggles on and moved around till i pick up signal. I found it near some cows & horses but had to jump fence to ge it. :p Good advice from lone wolf7717

Good luck have fun
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#4
Google earth can be your friend getting started. Take a look at the aerial views around where you are flying and if possible, send up a camera and record while you fly line of sight so you can replay it and get an actual view of your surroundings from the model and see how far you should be flying while "under the hood".
 
#5
a mini dvr with simple osd that will give you gps coordinates. if you do go down the dvr will have recorded your last gps location so at least you know where to start looking. these obviously are not "have to" things to fly basic fpv but sure do add to overall security and thereby ability to relax and enjoy yourself.
 

skeplin

Senior Member
#6
Thanks for the advice. The camera came with the kit -- Fatshark Pilot HD. Solid metal case on the camera, seems a bit heavy. There are three wires to connect it -- are OSD's standardized or do you have to get one that's designed for your system?
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#7
My thinking was that they simply "inject" the osd text into the video feed so should be fairly compatible. I could be very wrong here though as that is just a guess.
 
#8
I just got one of the Fatshark kits too. Rather than spending the extra money for an OSD right off the bat, I plan to have a spotter for my first flights. From all the reading I've done in the FPV forums, that sounds like the simplest/cheapest solution. I plan to make the first flight LOS, with the system on-board & my spotter on the goggles. That way, I can be sure:

1. The camera is working right and angled correctly.
2. The plane is still properly trimmed with the new gear on-board.
3. That if there are any interference zones, we should be able to identify them.

Then I'll put on the goggles and have my spotter Fly it LOS. This way I can see what it will look like from the air, before I take the sticks. At this point I should be ready for my first FPV flight. That's probably just me being overly cautious, but, there's nothing more discouraging than a 10 second flight that ends in a preventable crash, except maybe losing a plane outright.
 
#9
As stated an OSD is not a "have to" item so don't stress over it. Just making you aware of options for future growth. One other tid bit, when fpv(ing) never fly over agricultural fields with high crops. They may be inviting, wide open and assure a damage free landing/crash but are a disaster if you go down anywhere but in front of you. I have lost, outright lost a plane and all it's gear in a corn field....some lessons only need to be learned once. Not sure what your wire connectors look like but yes basically osd sits between camera and transmitter and overlays data on video before spitting out for transmission.
 
#10
funny how everyone always ask what do I need to get into FPV. and everyone replies with the video system. for the the Video is the last thing you should even think about..
first get a plane that flies, and flies easy and your comfortable with.. then get some sort of beeper/lost plane buzzer or even better a GPS locator. then make sure you know how far you can fly before loosing radio signal, some spectrum receivers only gives you 400m range. it might sound like a lot, but its not..

I dont brave a plane without an OSD and GPS locator anymore. its not worth it.. cause you WILL crash. even the best pilots still crash there planes, now your going to do it 500m away were noone saw it go down, and guessing doesn't help. a cheap osd with GPS will give you a GPS location just before you lose video, sometime you didn't crash hard enough and the display is still up. place the coordinates in you GPS and go get your plane.. I recovered a plane 18km from me this way on a flyaway after I lost radio signal.

so if you have a plane you are comfortable flying, with a GPS locator or atleast a lost plane buzzer, a radio link you can trust and an area you know. you can worry about video transmitters and cameras, or antennas..
I dont fly +10km away, there is no point, it long boring flights, but I do fly 2- 5km away, and s simple inverted V antenna gives me crystal clear image. dont over think it.

that just me..
 
#11
some good advice up there /\

i always tell people
- calm day is a must
- find an open flying aeria that you have studied on google earth
- stand next to something that stands out, (a tall tree a river bend and elephant ect) this will help you orientate your self, the world looks different from 400 ft
- get a slow boring light foam model
- keep it as basic and cheap as possible. 1 camera, 1 transmitter, fpv setup done. a timer will tell you when your battery is flat without taking up any brain power.
- get someone to test the video as you fly los first, fly as far as you can see, you now don't have to worry about you video/ control (for now)
- a good sporter that can fly is very helpful, they can take off for you, take over in brown pants moments and guide you around to keep within los, its hard to loose you model if someone is always watching it.
- pretend you have won the lottery and have fun! its hard to enjoy fpv if your always worried about losing your gear :)
- when you can fly without thinking about it, go ahead and add all your toys and start testing the boundaries
my $0.02
 
#12
some good advice up there /\

i always tell people
- calm day is a must
- find an open flying aeria that you have studied on google earth
- stand next to something that stands out, (a tall tree a river bend and elephant ect) this will help you orientate your self, the world looks different from 400 ft
- get a slow boring light foam model
- keep it as basic and cheap as possible. 1 camera, 1 transmitter, fpv setup done. a timer will tell you when your battery is flat without taking up any brain power.
- get someone to test the video as you fly los first, fly as far as you can see, you now don't have to worry about you video/ control (for now)
- a good sporter that can fly is very helpful, they can take off for you, take over in brown pants moments and guide you around to keep within los, its hard to loose you model if someone is always watching it.
- pretend you have won the lottery and have fun! its hard to enjoy fpv if your always worried about losing your gear :)
- when you can fly without thinking about it, go ahead and add all your toys and start testing the boundaries
my $0.02
Steadly,

This is all sound advice. I just added a preflight item to my checklist when I read your comment "fly as far as you can see...". Range check the flight controls, following your TX manufacturers range test procedure! Do this with the vid TX/RX on.

Today may be the big day for my new FPV system. Winds will be 10-15, not too bad. Temp will be in the 40s, spotter is going to be there. My plane today will be my trusty Spitfire. I know, it's not a slow plane, but it's the most docile plane I have (at least till the Cruiser is fixed).
 

skeplin

Senior Member
#13
I have a great area to fly over - large field, no obstacles, clearly identifiable landmarks. Perfect. What concerns me is breaking the camera on impact. Are the cameras interchangeable?
 
#14
Skeplin,

You have the DVR/camera combo unit. I don't know what that would cost to replace. After today's maiden flight of my FPV system, I can say the system seems to be pretty robust. I piled into a 4X4 post and tore the Spitfire up pretty good, camera was ripped from the mount on impact, but still broadcasting! No damage to the FPV system at all, even though the camera hit the dirt. I just cleaned it with a micro fiber cloth and it's ready to go on another plane.

All that said, a decent camera can be anywhere from $30 to $60, so not too bad.

When I crashed the Spitfire, I was flying LOS, my spotter was on the goggles. Everything was going just fine, the plane was handling beautifully and the camera system was glitch-free. A couple minutes of flight to make sure trims were all neutral and as I was on landing approach the plane suddenly went into a sharp right turn. It took full left rudder just to keep her flying straight. I powered up and managed to let the right turn continue and tried a crosswind landing. I almost made it, but couldn't compensate enough for the wind. I ran her straight into our field's picnic shelter! One structure within a mile of where I was and I managed to hit it dead center, go figure! The plane's pretty badly damaged, but with all the time I spent on the paint job I'm not ready to write it off just yet. :). I figure the tail surfaces can be replaced outright, the wing and fuse can be patched. She won't be winning any beauty contests but I think she'll fly again.
 

skeplin

Senior Member
#15
Ouch, sorry to hear about your Spitfire! Did you have the wings rubber-banded on or fixed? btw: I tried to fly FPV today in my driveway. Terrifying. I could hear the quadcopter getting closer to me as the wind pushed it back a bit so I put it down for a hard landing. Everything was fine -- popped two of the zip ties on the landing gear.

Step two: Go to that large open field and get it away from myself and cars and mailboxes so I can get a feel for handling.
 
#16
Ouch, sorry to hear about your Spitfire! Did you have the wings rubber-banded on or fixed? btw: I tried to fly FPV today in my driveway. Terrifying. I could hear the quadcopter getting closer to me as the wind pushed it back a bit so I put it down for a hard landing. Everything was fine -- popped two of the zip ties on the landing gear.

Step two: Go to that large open field and get it away from myself and cars and mailboxes so I can get a feel for handling.
Wings are rubber banded, or the damage would have been worse. I caught the post with the left wing, which tore loose the front wing mount and ripped into wing right back to the spar. The resulting spin sent the plane into the second post tail-first, which splayed open both the elevator and rudder. The back end looks like one of those exploding cigars! LOL. Had to laugh, what else could I do?
 

xuzme720

Dedicated foam bender
Mentor
#19
Actually, the best FPV planes are ones you are used to flying. It's much better to have an airframe you are familiar and comfortable flying already. Flying from the perspective of FPV will bring a whole new set of variables to contend with and flying a plane or copter you are familiar with makes it that much easier to do.
 
#20
Actually, the best FPV planes are ones you are used to flying. It's much better to have an airframe you are familiar and comfortable flying already. Flying from the perspective of FPV will bring a whole new set of variables to contend with and flying a plane or copter you are familiar with makes it that much easier to do.
Excellent point! This is why I chose the Spitfire, I was already comfortable with it.