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Help! How do I improve fpv camera quality?

BS projects inc.

Well-known member
#1
Over the last year I have been getting more and more involved with fixed wing fpv flights. I just upgraded from the zohd nano talon to the the fx-79 buffalo and I am starting to do some longer and more advanced flights. I just started with the pixhawk flight controller and I am using the r9m module but the main issue I am having is my video quality. The quality is good enough to keep me from crashing into things but it takes a bit of the fun away. I am using an AKK x2 ultimate as my vtx and I use the eachine ev800 goggles. My antennas are good and they match polarity and my camera is a 1200tvl. What is the bottleneck here? Is my connection poor, do my goggles have bad resolution, is my camera low quality? Any input would be appreciated.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#3
Define “good video?”
Are you getting lines across the feed? Does the signal break up (snow) as you go out further? Does the signal flicker?
What power output are you using on the VTX? What’s the flying environment like?
If your VTX uses a pigtail from the VTX to the antenna, have you changed it? They wear out.
All these things affect analogue signal quality. As noted a digital system like the DJI will produce amazing HD feeds but not cheaply!
 

Ihichi Bolls

Well-known member
#4
Several things could be adding up to poor video quality.

Start with your camera.. what is it? Does it have user controlled settings ir just crappy presets some clueless engineer who never flies chose.

I use the Runcam swift series be it mini or micro as I have full control over light sensitvity. Most presets AND defaults are done still using indoor static camera settings so not set up for light changes with movenent. 1200tvl is just hype when using lcd screens.

Next are cheapie vtx. Most are not tuned properly due to cheaper components with bigger tolerances. They can be accurate on one channel and wayyyy off in others frequency wise and power wise.

I have seen tests on 200mw where some channels barely put out 85 mw and others were hitting close to 280mw.

Next is antennas. Make sure specially if you are going longer range you get matched sets. Cp and patch for your goggles and mated cp for aircraft.

Right now lumineer axii antennas are my go to. I got the long stem for my goggles and stubbies for my craft. I dont need a patch as I dont go any further then I can walk after I crash.

Lastly goggles, mainly their receivers. Cheap goggles = crappy receivers. Again its the tollerences.

If you must use them think about going with a better groundstation type set up.
 

BS projects inc.

Well-known member
#5
I am using a low end headset that I have been using for two years so I think that's my main problem. Everything else is new and of good quality. Akkx2 ultimate, matching antennas (foxeer lolipop) and the camera is 1200tvl and new with no custom settings.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#8
That’s the video output standard, you have PAL or NTSC.
Pal is the superior European standard, it’s Phase Alternate Line. NTSC is the American standard, it’s from the National Television Standard Council, who picked a US standard back in the 1950’s. Most modern cameras can do both, I always run Pal.
Also I have a set of EV800 goggles, my picture is very clear indeed, easily as good as my Fatsharks with a TrueD V3 in. The receiver in those falls down in multipath environments or at longer ranges faster, but since I don’t fly in either of those situations the difference isn’t a problem. Its not true that you need $300+ goggles to get a good feed.
The more expensive wrap around style are more comfy and the image distortion from the fresnel lens is less pronounced than in box goggles.
Also the wiring can play a huge part in what’s happening with video quality. I have my camera powered through the VTX, with an LC filter on the power feed. I also run a capacitor on my PDB/ESC.
This worked great on everything except my 3”, which records beautiful HD but has a terrible FPV feed. It has a Caddx Turtle V2.
I like mid range cameras better for FPV, I have had the Predator V3, Caddx Ratel and Runcam Swift. The Caddx gave the best picture out the box, plus it’s low light capability was better. All three could be tuned to give a very good picture.
You still haven’t told us what power output you have set etc?
Some pictures of your set up might help too, a wire or PCB edge touching the frame can cause ground interference for example.
 

BS projects inc.

Well-known member
#9
That’s the video output standard, you have PAL or NTSC.
Pal is the superior European standard, it’s Phase Alternate Line. NTSC is the American standard, it’s from the National Television Standard Council, who picked a US standard back in the 1950’s. Most modern cameras can do both, I always run Pal.
Also I have a set of EV800 goggles, my picture is very clear indeed, easily as good as my Fatsharks with a TrueD V3 in. The receiver in those falls down in multipath environments or at longer ranges faster, but since I don’t fly in either of those situations the difference isn’t a problem. Its not true that you need $300+ goggles to get a good feed.
The more expensive wrap around style are more comfy and the image distortion from the fresnel lens is less pronounced than in box goggles.
Also the wiring can play a huge part in what’s happening with video quality. I have my camera powered through the VTX, with an LC filter on the power feed. I also run a capacitor on my PDB/ESC.
This worked great on everything except my 3”, which records beautiful HD but has a terrible FPV feed. It has a Caddx Turtle V2.
I like mid range cameras better for FPV, I have had the Predator V3, Caddx Ratel and Runcam Swift. The Caddx gave the best picture out the box, plus it’s low light capability was better. All three could be tuned to give a very good picture.
You still haven’t told us what power output you have set etc?
Some pictures of your set up might help too, a wire or PCB edge touching the frame can cause ground interference for example.
running at 600mw or 1200mw
 

LitterBug

Troll Spammer
#10
Use better antennas, a diversity receiver, and filtered power. Cranking the transmitter power up is not the end-all cure-all to signal "quality". I've been flying more wings this year, getting out further from the field, and have tested a few things including 1.3ghz. Here is my current "best" setup that gets me out over 1/4 mile with no breakup. (clickable links to gear still available)

On the bird
Camera: Runcam mini
VTX: RMRC Cricket 5.8ghz 200mw​
Antenna: VAS Minion RHCP
On the Ground
Diversity RX: Furious FPV True D 3.5
Ground Station: Furious FPV Dock King

I've started a thread over here documenting some of this. Need to get some updates posted to the thread.

Cheers!
LitterBug


EDIT:
Below you can see I'm out almoust 1/4 mile, have 96% signal on the patch, and 50% signal on the Omni. (upper left corner) Rssi is actually 2x 38, as iNav has a bug.
Screenshot from 2019-10-03 08-19-58.png
 
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BS projects inc.

Well-known member
#11
Right now I am looking for longer range. I get half a mile of usable image but after that it goes away. A lot of people get out to 5km with the vtx im using and I'm using some nice antennas. My guess is that it is the goggles. What would get me better range, the fatshark recon or ev800d
 

CarolineTyler

Well-known member
#12
Right now I am looking for longer range. I get half a mile of usable image but after that it goes away. A lot of people get out to 5km with the vtx im using and I'm using some nice antennas. My guess is that it is the goggles. What would get me better range, the fatshark recon or ev800d
I have the ev200d Google's, I think they are pretty good overall.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#13
You want true diversity for best performance, ideally a module capable set up, with something like the Rapidfire or TBS Fusion module. These take the two signals and blend them together to create one feed, unlike other set ups that just switch between the strongest signal.
The Fatshark box goggles are no better than what you have.
Have you tried a patch antenna? A larger directional set up might extend your range. The EV800D has antenna diversity, so that and a mushroom should help. I like the Menace RC patches but I am sure there’s other ones like the Immersion RC one linked above.
By the time you have bought a set of Fatshark goggles, a Rapidfire module and looked at some better antennas you are almost up to the cost of a set of DJI goggles and video unit.
Have you tried changing the VTX pigtail if you are using one? They degrade over time and can make a big difference. Also adequate airflow to high power VTX’s is important, since they won’t perform well if they over heat.
I haven’t liked the Foxeer Lollipop much, both mine were poor compared to Menace RC and TBS ones I had. I had the MMCX Foxeer one, just going direct out the back of my quad.
You should also examine the nature of your video problem, I would try and get someone else to tune in their goggles to your feed and compare where it breaks up, as well as look at what is happening when video degrades. If there’s lines on the screen it can be interference as opposed to signal loss. Generally Raceband is less affected by other 5.8 emissions. If you get break up then snow then it’s probably signal loss, it usually happens a little bit first then goes quickly, unlike interference, which can stay in the feed without it dropping out.
 
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FDS

Well-known member
#15
I would work through methodically, start by trying a different antenna on the video TRANSMITTER, then get someone else to try their goggles with your transmitter. See what happens with both those things. A better patch on your goggles won’t hurt whatever else is going on.
If you don’t work through the system a component at a time, you are not fixing the problem, you are just randomly throwing parts at it.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#16
Trouble shoot the set up you have first. You might not need to spend that money.
You won’t get a better video receiver and goggles for $100.
 

LitterBug

Troll Spammer
#17
Is your VRX on your goggles, or do you have it mounted up in the air on a tripod/pole and feed your goggles from a video cable? That's what I'm switching too, and the difference is night and day. What altitude are you flying? Pictures of your gear and DVR footage might be helpful for us to give you much more advice. The cool thing about the FuriousFPV True-D/ Dock King setup is that it overlays the Video RSSI if you want it to. So I stuck it on the screen up by my RX RSSI so I can see which antenna it is using and the signal strength for each. Makes it easy to compare antennas side by side from a signal strength standpoint.

LB

Modular.jpg
 
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BS projects inc.

Well-known member
#18
Okay, sorry for the short, here and there messages, it's been a busy day. Here is my current setup

VTX: AKKX2 ultimate at 1200mw
Goggles with RX build in: Eachine EV800
Antennas: foxeer lilipo RHCP, helical antenna 13bdi

currently I plan on doing some range testing with the current setup with different channels and after that I plane on testing the following

1.) Try a new patch antenna https://www.banggood.com/ImmersionR...-p-1187266.html?rmmds=search&cur_warehouse=HK
2.) Try a new VTX: the TBS Unify pro 32hv
3.) Try a new Set of googles or ground station

Also I will be adding some pictures as well of my current setup
 

Ihichi Bolls

Well-known member
#19
Was just gonna add what LB said.

Guys flying long long range always use ground stayions with raised antennas. Just getting them 10 ft in the air improves los for the signal tremendously.

Days of that are technically over as its illegal pretty much anywhere in the world. Not to mention to do it you need to be at altitudes that put full scale aircraft at risk.

But hey.. if your in the states and wanna risk 28thousand dollar or more in fines and legal costs rock on.
 

BS projects inc.

Well-known member
#20
If it turns out that my receiver is the the bottleneck of my system, what do I do? Most diversity receivers are being sold as modules for goggles and I don't want to drop $300 on a pair. I was thinking about the FR632 diversity receiver but they are sold out or discontinued everywhere. The next best thing is the rd40 diversity receiver but the review's aren't great. Would it be better to get the EV800D goggles? I would prefer to build a ground station.