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Looking for an entry level FPV (cheap transmitter+twitch broadcasting)

we6jbo

New member
#1
Hello everyone,

I'm looking for a good FPV setup. I am a ham radio operator with a technical license.

My initial plan is to use a FPV setup on one of the DIY starter planes and then to gradually go up from there. However one of my biggest concerns is that the transmitter and camera do not cost a lot. I've already lost one drone and my fear is that I do not want to start losing a bunch more costing me hundreds of dollars. In addition, I'd like a FPV setup that is reliable and has GPS built in if possible.

The other thing that I would really like to do with FPV is to record with it and possibly do live video broadcasts/streaming to something like twitch or an external website.

Thank you,

Jeremiah O'Neal,
San Diego, CA
 

Snarls

Gravity Tester
Mentor
#2
Hi Jeremiah,

What kind of FPV flying would you like to do. Are you looking for hands on racing and aerobatics, or are you looking for a slower stabilized camera platform. Also what is your desire for having a GPS on board. Are you just looking for something that can return to home, or something with position hold, autonomous features, etc. The only drones that I know of that can livestream are commercial options like DJI. If you are building your own you could however look into receiving FPV video on your computer and livestreaming from there.
 

we6jbo

New member
#3
Hi Snarls,

I'm not sure what the limit is however I'm thinking about using FPV on one of these or something comparable here:

https://store.flitetest.com/starter-bundles-diy-airplanes/c12725

As for what I'd like to do with it. Again, not knowing the limits on those airplanes, I would like to fly it line of sight for about .7miles out or further if that's possible.

The GPS is mainly so that if I loose the craft, I will be able to find it again. I had a nice $300 drone and when I lost it, the whole screen went dead on my phone including the GPS coordinance.

The system does not need to be HD or anything. I would be the only one flying it and it would be nice if I could share the feed with family and friends.

Thank you,

Jeremiah O'Neal
San Diego, CA
 

ElectriSean

Eternal Student
Mentor
#4
A GPS unit is generally connected to a flight controller and is not really a part of the FPV system, except that the GPS info is displayed on an OSD. There are tracker modules you can buy that are self powered and independent of the whole flight system, and use cell service to talk to your phone. They are pretty pricey and IIRC require a subscription like a phone. The cheapest solution is to use a self powered lost model alarm like this - https://www.banggood.com/Vifly-Find...C-Drone-p-1329066.html?p=HR290766671852016094

For the FPV system, about the cheapest you can go is something like this all in one unit but you should note that the cameras in these types of systems are not great, and separating the camera from the transmitter to get an OSD is non-trivial, as is replacing the antenna. Individual components are more expensive, but are generally better quality and have easily replaceable antennae.

Doing livestreams is possible, but you need a separate receiver connected to the computer. I know these receivers are available, but I've never looked into it.
 

Flite Risk

Active member
#5
Regarding regarding letting spectators watch the feed. fpv transmitters broadcast a signal on a frequency and then Channel, anybody on that frequency can tune to the Channel can view what is being transmitted and is not device-specific so long as all of your equipment is on the same frequency. (A lot of fun at flitefest). That said just a 7-inch monitor with an internal battery and antenna would allow you to show the feed.

The following should be double checked and researched because I'm not one hundred percent sure but I believe the hi-def video feeds (dragon link, clear view) are not as global, to view the transmission you may need a specific receiver that may or may not be bound to the transmitter. Once the signal comes in to that receiver it can then be rebroadcast in a higher/different frequency like 5.8 allowing anyone with a 5.8 receiver to tune to the channel.

A good tool to have for recovery is a DVR in your fpv viewing device whether it be a monitor or a set of goggles. My fat shark Dominator SE goggles (Craig's list 150.00!) have a DVR integrated and should I crash the plane Beyond line-of-sight I can replay the footage on the spot and look for landmarks and point of reference (pray its not a corn field).

Regarding GPS,
Many great things are said about eagletree and their products. But Eagles tree is, if not at the top. at the higher end of flight controllers and (situational awareness equipment (my term not theirs)).


A lot of your distance it's going to come down to frequency and antenna type. Go to the link below to get a good estimation of where a given set up and get you.
http://www.maxmyrange.com


Remember there are two parts to this equation, video reception and radio transmission/ reception. They should not be on the same frequency as to avoid signal interference and between the two. it is my preference that video not transmit quite as far as your radio. You can see when you are getting close to the edge of your range because the video will begin to get scratchy and have static. Then you just turn back and you have saved your plane. If your video reaches further than your radio you can end up just flying and flying and flying and flying away and then have to do a very long walk of shame and back.

I do remember you saying you are only 'planning on flying l.o.s. at about 0.7 might (respectable) but you will be flying under the goggles and going far before you know it.

Just my two cents and what I have learned so far about fpv, there are plenty of other people here on the form much much more experience than me.

- grammar and punctuation errors provided by Android voice to text.
 

Snarls

Gravity Tester
Mentor
#6
Ok, there are a variety of options that could do the job to various levels of convenience. There are dedicated GPS plane trackers that provide GPS coordinates on an on screen display (OSD) in your FPV feed. There are also others that send the GPS coordinates via telemetry to your radio. ($30+)

The next level would be using a GPS with a flight controller with an internal/external OSD, to provide GPS coordinates on the FPV feed. (~$50)

The top level is getting a flight controller with GPS and complete autopilot capabilities, so that when you loss signal, or go out of range (signal or your eyes), it will turn around and return home by itself. (~$100+)

For livestreaming the FPV feed, again I think you could get an analog to digital converter for your computer that allows you to view the FPV feed on a computer. Then you could find a way to share that video live online. I would recommend having a separate monitor/goggles for yourself though.

For flying within your sight I would get 5.8 Ghz for video and 2.4 Ghz for control. If you plan on flying out of sight I would get 1.3 Ghz for video and 900 mHz for control.
 

we6jbo

New member
#7
I would love to go with a long range option or at least to have that option. Would any of the FPV systems work with this kit?
https://store.flitetest.com/flite-test-tiny-trainer-get-started-package-flt-5006-bdl/p791873?b=6010

Also, do you know if there's any FPV systems out there that can work with one another? I.e, if I wanted to swap the camera and transmitter with something else or something that was entirely made by some other company while keeping the receiver and screen.

Also, I do like the beeping device that ElectriSean mentioned. I think if I would have had something like that on my drone, I would been able to have found it when it flew away.

Thanks all.

Jeremiah O'Neal
San Diego, CA
 

ElectriSean

Eternal Student
Mentor
#8
Also, do you know if there's any FPV systems out there that can work with one another? I.e, if I wanted to swap the camera and transmitter with something else or something that was entirely made by some other company while keeping the receiver and screen.
FPV feeds are just analog TV signals, so any receiver in range that can tune in can view the feed. The different FPV bands are just collections of channels in the 5.8 amateur band, so most transmitters can talk to most receivers. This is a blessing in terms of compatibility, but also a curse as interference can be a problem with more than a few transmitters.

As for long range... Don't even go there for now... Get familiar with everything short range before you start venturing out. Especially if you're worried about losing stuff. Going cheap and going long range don't go together at all :)
 

we6jbo

New member
#9
Good advice.

I do like the FPV camera you posted:

Aomway HB25T VTX-Camera 5.8G 40CH 25mW/200mW Switchable 600TVL PAL/NSTC 4.8V-24V For RC Drone

My only question would be how the power cables would interface with one of the airplane kits listed here: https://store.flitetest.com/diy-rc-airplane-kits/c12698

I'm guessing theres a splitter cable for the battery pack and the engine.

I also would need to know how this New V1.2 Vifly Finder 5V Super Loud Buzzer Tracker Over 100dB Built-in Battery 36 Hours for RC Drone. would interface with the controls.
 
#10
Power is generally taken from the flight battery, usually through the balance port/plug.
So think of the planes as shells. Just foam board containers for the different systems on/in the plane. That said any plane can work its a matter of form factor.

For a small plane like the tiny trainer I would use a small all-in-one camera similar to this:
https://m.banggood.com/Eachine-TX05...MIpZjbhNP73QIVkluGCh1Vfwl4EAQYBiABEgJJNPD_BwE

WARNING TANGENT AHEAD::
there are cameras out there now that have a sort of minimal On Screen Display showing flight time and battery voltage. Very helpful for very cheap.

The vifly is probably controlled like every other servo on a plane, by plugging it into an open port or channel on your receiver then assigning that port or channel to a switch on your transmitter.
 
#11
Just a quick update. First of all, thank you everyone for your help.

I did end up ordering the Vifly Finder 2 from Amazon in addition to the Flite Test Simple Cub from here and a Spektrum RC 6 channel. I'm really not sure what the Vifly needs but I'll find out when it comes in. On top of that, to fit my goal of not losing another RC drone/airplane, I got a few Tiles, a Garmin Chirp which I'm not sure if it will help me at all and also a Tabcat which I've seen people use on their drones to track them after a crash. So hopefully all of this will prevent me from losing the plane.