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The FPV Journey - from that of a beginner

srfnmnk

Senior Member
#1
Ok guys,

I am going to start down, what is likely to be, a long, arduous journey. I wanted to start this post to share the journey with anyone else that may be embarking upon the FPV wagon.

I am so thrilled to start this effort slow and steady. I intend to start out simple and slowly gain complexity. As I struggle with decisions and as I make them, I will post them here. I hope that you will help me avoid some stupid noobisms but those that I make anyway, we'll share together. Eventually I intend to turn this journey into an article and post it on FT.

Thank you ahead of time for all of your support. Please look for questions, comments on this thread. Also, if you are starting the journey, please introduce yourself and let's do this together.

Talk soon.
 

srfnmnk

Senior Member
#2
I'm currently trying to decide between the mobius and a board camera. There's also a hobby king kit out there that looks like it might be a nice starting point. With all that said, I obviously still need something to display the video on and I haven't decided on that yet. I know I want goggles eventually and I'm trying to decide on whether to go with Fat Shark goggles or ITV goggles (+ receiver) and if Fat Shark which version (knowing that I someday want to upgrade to head tracking). Final thought, I know I want to get to goggles, but I also realize it's more challenging to start FPV with goggles instead of a monitor...sooooo

hmmm...thoughts??...
 
#3
I also started my journey into FPV and started a build log to share with everyone. I made a lot of research online before I pulled out my wallet and bought my stuff.

From my perspective, the best way to start is a 5,8 GHz system with clover leaf antennas. You can start like me with the 200mW boscam kit which costs nothing. As for the display part, I plan to do my own FPV goggles. If you're not into that, you can just buy any particular LCD screen. I have a 7'' from ebay (30$)

However, if you think you might want to go with some fatshark goggles some day, it's probably better to buy directly a vTx / rTx from immersionRC as boscam devices work on different frequencies within the 5,8Ghz band. The drawback is that it's more expensive.
 
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Crash_Expert

Aerial Photographer
#4
What are you going to FPV?
Planes or MR's?

Also, get the FatShark Predator V2 kit.
Totally worth it.

If you can, get a GoPro, if not, get the mobius.

Flying FPV through goggles is not hard for the first time.
It's just like a video game.

If you have any other questions, just let me know.

C_E
 
#5
+1 on the Predator v2. Thats how I got into FPV. If you don't mind spending $400 on a camera than a GoPro would be ideal, but if you want to spend any less than that the Mobius is absolutely amazing for the money.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#6
Personally I found a screen all but useless for flying FPV. It's ok for spectators but for actually flying I just couldn't use it. Even with a hood it was too hard to see in daylight. (Of course I live in the desert so we tend to get a bit more sunlight than most areas.) It wasn't until I got a set of Fatshark Base SD's that I had a successful FPV flight. The other problem with a screen is it's too easy to "come out" if you get scared instead of just flying it through. With the goggles and having to take a hand off the sticks to take them off you really have to commit and that made it a lot easier for me.

I also wouldn't suggest going with a gopro or mobius for FPV. Notice in the latest FT video they even said they're switching to board cams finally after too many gopro drop outs. And either gopro or mobius you've got the delay to deal with which IMHO is why David crashes into so many planes in the air :D

Yes, you get more accurate framing doing FPV through the same camera that's recording. But...photographers and videographers have learned to deal with inaccurate viewfinders for years. Heck street photographers still swear by rangefinder cameras where you'll never have an accurate viewfinder. And they shoot tight well framed shots all the time. It's just a matter of learning your tools and how to compose given the limitations of your viewfinder.
 

srfnmnk

Senior Member
#7
Ok guys, thanks so much for all the feedback and support. I am going to reply to everyone in this one post.

I also started my journey into FPV and started a build log to share with everyone. I made a lot of research online before I pulled out my wallet and bought my stuff.
Thank you for the log, I have saved it and will use it as reference.

From my perspective, the best way to start is a 5,8 GHz system with clover leaf antennas. You can start like me with the 200mW boscam kit which costs nothing. As for the display part, I plan to do my own FPV goggles. If you're not into that, you can just buy any particular LCD screen. I have a 7'' from ebay (30$)
Why is 5.8 the best way to start? just smallest and simplest? If I ever want to fly through trees or behind buildings, I'll be dead in the water with this setup but you're probably right, this is probably the most simplistic way to get a good image back for starting out...

How do you plan to do your FPV goggles? I have seen a number of options but think I will spring for the Fat Shark initially. I may to some ITVs later but Fat Shark is probably the best way to start. I agree, I only like the screen for the idea of spectators, won't start there.

However, if you think you might want to go with some fatshark goggles some day, it's probably better to buy directly a vTx / rTx from immersionRC as boscam devices work on different frequencies within the 5,8Ghz band. The drawback is that it's more expensive.
What is vTx / rTx? I am guessing that you are saying video transmitter and receiver? The Fat Shark goggles have them inside the goggles right? If so, what's the point of having another video Rx (other than specialized FPV for distance or something later)? Are you saying that the Fat Shark Goggles don't allow you to switch through frequencies within the 5.8 spectrum? Do the Fat Shark goggles allow you to select different frequencies inside the range of 5.8? Outside the range? Always wondered that...

What are you going to FPV? Planes or MR's?
Both but I plan to start with planes.

Also, get the FatShark Predator V2 kit.
Is the Predator V2 capable of head tracking? I don't want it to start with but eventually I do.

If you can, get a GoPro, if not, get the mobius.
I will go GoPro eventually but not at first. I don't want to stick a 3-4 hundred dollar camera on there until I am more comfortable with myself.

Notice in the latest FT video they even said they're switching to board cams finally after too many gopro drop outs
Do you consider the mobius a board cam? If not, the only reason I would choose the Mobius right now over a board cam is because it allows me to save the video locally. I really like that because I like being able to show others later and watch my flights again. I realize that some of the board cams have a much broader capability but I figure the Mobius is sound and reliable for a beginner, agree?
 
#8
Why is 5.8 the best way to start? just smallest and simplest? If I ever want to fly through trees or behind buildings, I'll be dead in the water with this setup but you're probably right, this is probably the most simplistic way to get a good image back for starting out...
Because it's small, affordable and more importantly, legal in most countries. However, as the frequency goes high, waves won't go far (couple of kilometers with right antennas) and won't pass or with difficulties through walls. You could go with a 2,4gHz system but it can mess up with your radio (which operates under the same spectrum). Going with a lower frequency, you will increase the range and the waves power but you need to check what you can do / not do depending on your country.

How do you plan to do your FPV goggles? I have seen a number of options but think I will spring for the Fat Shark initially. I may to some ITVs later but Fat Shark is probably the best way to start. I agree, I only like the screen for the idea of spectators, won't start there.
I plan to use foam to create my video goggle using a 7'' screen and a fresnel lens. Basically, it should look like a Oculus Rift at the end. I will post my build log for that once I have something that looks ok.

What is vTx / rTx? I am guessing that you are saying video transmitter and receiver? The Fat Shark goggles have them inside the goggles right? If so, what's the point of having another video Rx (other than specialized FPV for distance or something later)? Are you saying that the Fat Shark Goggles don't allow you to switch through frequencies within the 5.8 spectrum? Do the Fat Shark goggles allow you to select different frequencies inside the range of 5.8? Outside the range? Always wondered that...
My bad, I meant to say vTx and vRx and yes, that stands for video transmitter / receiver. The FatShark goggles have the transmitter build-in, at least for most of them. There is no point to have multiple receivers but you still need to have one transmitter per plane / quad, that's why I wanted to warn you because you cannot use a Boscam transmitter with some FatShark goggles as they don't operate under the same frequencies, and vice versa.
 

jhitesma

Some guy in the desert
Mentor
#10
Just to answer a few of the questions and provide a bit of clarification:

5.8 is nice to start because the antennas are small, it's affordable, interference with other equipment (GPS/RC TX/RX) is minimal and there are goggles available (like the fatsharks) with the RX built right in. 1.2/1.3Ghz will give you better penetration but you've got larger antennas and the risk of interference with 2.4Ghz for your control link.

Head tracking is only included in higher end goggles. You're not going to find it on lower end goggles. You could always add an external head tracker just like you can always add an external RX - but then you're dealing with more wires and things to setup. The Dominators are the only Fatsharks with headtracking. The Skyzone goggles also have headtracking built in. Personally I'd rather have an external module since I haven't heard very glowing reviews of the built in setups and I suspect there will be quite a bit of advancement in head tracking soon with VR becoming more popular thanks to Occulus Rift. Having a separate external tracker means you can upgrade to something better at any time without waiting for the goggle manufacturer to update their module.

As for Fatshark Vs. Boscam for 5.8ghz. Both setups allow you to select from a number of different frequencies (though sometimes those frequencies overlap. Like the 32 channel setups that give you 32 possible frequencies - but the signal width is wider than the channel separation so you can't have 32 people all using their own channel at the same time. You'd probably get around 5-6 people before they start stepping on each others signals.) The bigger issue is that the different manufacturers use different frequencies within the same band. So while Fatshark and Boscam are both running on the 5.8ghz band they don't support the same channels within that bad. So a Boscam RX can't recieve a Fatshark TX. But at the same time the frequencies are close enough that someone using a Boscam TX could overlap onto a Fatshark channel making that channel unusable or only usable with greatly reduced range on Fatshark.

With just about any frequency selection though you'll be VERY limited on power without being licensed. Not sure where you're located but getting an amateur radio license is really all but necessary to do FPV legally in almost every country on almost any band at usable power levels.

If you want to step up to 1.2/1.3Ghz for the better penetration then there's really no point in getting goggles with built in RX since none of them have a 1.2/1.3Ghz RX option. So you'll have the deadweight of the built in 5.8 (or 2.4) module in the goggles just sitting there doing nothing and you'll be dealing with a cable to connect to a ground station.

That's why I went with the Base SD goggles. They seem to be the best bang for the buck and they're the lightest since there's no integrated RX. Since I plan on going to 1.2/1.3 at some point the built in RX didn't really appeal to me very much while the extra noise filtering and adjustable IPD on the base all for less than the cost of other headsets seemed like a no-brainer to me.

Do you consider the mobius a board cam? If not, the only reason I would choose the Mobius right now over a board cam is because it allows me to save the video locally. I really like that because I like being able to show others later and watch my flights again. I realize that some of the board cams have a much broader capability but I figure the Mobius is sound and reliable for a beginner, agree?
No the mobius has as much or more delay than the gopro. Both mobius and go pro have the benefit that they can record, but neither is very well suited for FPV IMHO since they both induce a delay in the signal. Not to mention board cameras are cheap if you smash them up (and being out front they do tend to take some hits when you crash.) Even a cheap $15 board cam will have less latency than a GoPro so you're seeing what's actually happening and not what happened half a second or more ago.

I fly a board cam and am planning on picking up a mobius shortly which I'll run in parallel for recording. I'll just mount the board cam and mobius as close to each other as possible and adjust them so they have almost the same field of view. I'm used to cameras with less than 100% accurate viewfinders so composing a shot with a slightly different view than the recording cam isn't a big deal to me.
 

srfnmnk

Senior Member
#11
I think i've decided to start FPV with a quadrocopter as it will allows me to learn about the FPV technology with a minimal risk of crashing and burning money. This means I will start with 5.8Ghz and fatshark. I will post later on what I'm looking at for FPV gear. If I do this I would like to to with a go pro for fpv and record, but I hear there's quite a delay on this from time to time (up to a second or so) Is this the case no matter your set up?

I see the FT guys flying around with Go Pros on quads all the time, do they not have a problem with this or do they use board cams in conjunction? Thanks.
 

srfnmnk

Senior Member
#12
Ok, so I'm getting close to being complete with my spider quad build. With that said, it's time for me to start thinking about electronics for FPV. I realize that the mobius has a bit of a lag but I like the idea of it all in one component for the first go at it. With the mobius here's what I'm planning on getting.
     

Video Tx

49.00 ?

   

Antennas

39.99

   

FatShark Goggles

360.00

   

Mobius Cam

89.95

   



Can't really decide on the Tx...I am planning on buying FatShark goggles...but jhit in this thread said that boscam tx don't work really well with fatsharks. sooo...should I just go with this immersionrc one?

What kind of adapters do I need to go between the mobius and the Tx? Is it micro-sd slot?

Any reason to go with the antenna noted above over these? These are $30 cheaper...so I'm wondering.

What else am I missing for basic FPV setup?

Thanks!