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Tried stock Fat Shark Dominator 5.8 setup - disspointed.

#1
<edit>
*** Yikes - excuse all the spelling mistake guys... I swear I am not an idiot haha ***

So I build a quad this week - one from DJI Innovations.
The quad itself is FANTASTIC. The stabilizer is crazy good (you can reach up and push it around without it tumbling out of the air). Threw on the GPS and it compensates for wind and will do auto home/land.

Anyhow - the platform was begging for me to put on my go pro. Done.
Then it was begging me to try FPV.

I'm at the hobby shop weekly (sometimes daily) so I have a great relationship with the guys that own the shop. I asked to borrow the new Fat Shark Dominator with the 5.8 module. I also picked up the transmitter and a cable that is made for the go pro to go to the transmitter.

Using stock antennas. Everything just worked right out the box.

Decided to take it for a test flight.

For my first test, I went on top of the highest hill in the area and flew high up over a "meadow" below me towards a pond to the north.
Starting point : 43 52'32.40N 79 30'41.27W
Signal was completely lost by 400 meters (.25 miles).
I recorded the video on the gopro:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWcbcjvCTC4&list=UUsTPaekeDnqLCLe5VuTvMAQ&index=1&feature=plcp

Very disappointing.

Tried from my front lawn. Flew out to around 5 houses down before it got too static - I could still see it plainly it was so close (we're talking <100m).

I'm sure that building custom antennas and all that stuff will make a world of difference - but in my experience - it seems fool hardy to think that this could have been a nice package/out of the box solution.

So - if you're like me - and are willing to drop down a ton of $ for an over the counter solution... this isn't it.
 
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#2
For my first test, I went on top of the highest hill in the area and flew high up over a "meadow" below me towards a pond to the north.
Starting point : 43 52'32.40N 79 30'41.27W
Signal was completely lost by 400 meters (.25 miles).
I recorded the video on the gopro:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWcbcjvCTC4&list=UUsTPaekeDnqLCLe5VuTvMAQ&index=1&feature=plcp

Very disappointing.

Tried from my front lawn. Flew out to around 5 houses down before it got too static - I could still see it plainly it was so close (we're talking <100m).

I'm sure that building custom antennas and all that stuff will make a world of difference - but in my experience - it seems fool hardy to think that this could have been a nice package/out of the box solution.

So - if you're like me - and are willing to drop down a ton of $ for an over the counter solution... this isn't it.
Ok I dont know how much you are into fpv but one thing that you should know 5.8 GHz is for short range. 400 meter is actually pretty much! There must be no houses or trees between the quad and you. 5.8 GHz is really influenced by this. You will need to buy a 1.2 GHz system for this if you want to fly behind houses and trees.

Building custom antennas such as the skewplanar dont change much. Maybe an extra off 50 meters but the purpose of them is that you can bank your plain without losing signal. Making a helicall antenna (search for helicall ibcrazy rcgroups) maybe will give you about 1 mile of range, maybe if you really want to go 1-5 miles I advice you to buy 1.2 GHz fpv since that is more for longer range and you will be able to fly behind houses and trees. Yes the fatsharks are expensive but about 80 percent of that 300 dollar is for your video glasses not for your fpv gear.

Sorry for my bad english I am dutch.

Welcome to the forum!

I will be more then happy to help you with your fpv questions!
 

bmsweb

Site Moderator
#3
Building custom antennas such as the skewplanar dont change much. Maybe an extra off 50 meters but the purpose of them is that you can bank your plain without losing signal.
I have to disagree with you, Skew Planar and Clover Leaf antenna do make a BIG difference. On my 200mw system I was getting around 300m max. With a Skew Planar and Clover Leaf I've been out to 2klms and also tracked a friends plane out to 5klms. And a Helical can get you to 10klms for sure.

This is a 10k flight on 5.8Ghz using a Helical

The key thing you need to keep in mind is 5.8 is used for LOS.
 
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#4
i remember paul mentioning that a tall antena makes a huge difference .... how tall is your set right now ?

we are talking AT LEAST 10 feet tall !
 

Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
Mentor
#5
This is where I get lost. What I need (having zero FPV experience at all) is a guide to the different systems, what each one is best for, bang for the buck type comparison etc. This is the first time I've heard any real difference between 5.8 or 1.2 etc.
 

bmsweb

Site Moderator
#6
This is where I get lost. What I need (having zero FPV experience at all) is a guide to the different systems, what each one is best for, bang for the buck type comparison etc. This is the first time I've heard any real difference between 5.8 or 1.2 etc.
For me I will be staying with 5.8Ghz for some time as there is no real point in me going to 1.2Ghz. The reason I say this, If I went down the path of 1.2Ghz I still couldn't fly behind buildings and obstacles, because if I did, I would lose radio signal on my 2.4Ghz RC TX. If I upgraded to a UHF Radio, then 1.2Ghz for video could be the way to go.

The point I'm trying to make is you can't look at your video system in isolation to your RC Transmitter.

KKArioKA is also correct in that getting your Video Antenna up high on the ground station makes the world of difference.
 

Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
Mentor
#7
So what about the 900mhz system hobbyking has that Bixler talks about in their easy FPV video? It's cheap but is it any good? I don't want to spend thousands and months building stuff but I also don't want to buy four systems trying to find the one I want. I want goggles not a monitor, I want to be able to buy it once and fly my planes (maybe even helis) with it and possibly fly around the area I live in but I'm not going for miles of range.
 

bmsweb

Site Moderator
#8
So what about the 900mhz system hobbyking has that Bixler talks about in their easy FPV video?
Firstly Goggles is really the way to go, no two ways about it. I actually started with a monitor.

As much as I could comment on 900mhz I wont, because I wouldn't be talking from experience, but rather reposting what I have read somewhere else. What I can tell you is almost all the antennas that come with video systems are pretty poor. This being the case if I'm going to buy or build an antenna for my FPV I would personally rather 5.8ghz because the antenna's are smaller (aerodynamics) and the fact that I don't intend on flying behind building etc.

This is a video of my smallest FPV Model which uses the FatShark Predator that comes with the 100mw system. The Video had hardly any range at all and once I got the CP antennas on the vTX and the FS Goggles it made a world of difference. I've since ironed out the bugs with it :)
 
#9
Ok I dont know how much you are into fpv but one thing that you should know 5.8 GHz is for short range. 400 meter is actually pretty much! There must be no houses or trees between the quad and you. 5.8 GHz is really influenced by this. You will need to buy a 1.2 GHz system for this if you want to fly behind houses and trees.

Building custom antennas such as the skewplanar dont change much. Maybe an extra off 50 meters but the purpose of them is that you can bank your plain without losing signal. Making a helicall antenna (search for helicall ibcrazy rcgroups) maybe will give you about 1 mile of range, maybe if you really want to go 1-5 miles I advice you to buy 1.2 GHz fpv since that is more for longer range and you will be able to fly behind houses and trees. Yes the fatsharks are expensive but about 80 percent of that 300 dollar is for your video glasses not for your fpv gear.

Sorry for my bad english I am dutch.

Welcome to the forum!

I will be more then happy to help you with your fpv questions!
I am pretty new to FPV - this is true. ;-)
Of course I've spent a year watching the videos on it, and doing the reading - but that only takes you so far of course - you need to get your feet wet to gain any real experience of course... which is where I am now.

I thought 5.8 was the right choice as I'm 100% 2.4 on the sticks.
I knew I was limited to LOS - which is what I was in both my tests. One was ridiculous - up on a field high over a meadow. The other was in a straight line down my street (no houses between me and VERY clear LOS). Both were disappointing to say the least.

This is actually the first time that I've heard someone say 400m on 5.8 would be considered good - but that probably just points to my inexperience of course. I watch the Joshs' and see their online videos and it looks like they get miles out of their gear (but I now realize of course they are probably not 5.8 on those long runs).

I would throw money at HK if they had a full RX/TX/Monitor package - complete with kick-ass antenna. "Buy this setup and you'll get 2km LOS range" is what I want to hear.
 
#10
I have to disagree with you, Skew Planar and Clover Leaf antenna do make a BIG difference. On my 200mw system I was getting around 300m max. With a Skew Planar and Clover Leaf I've been out to 2klms and also tracked a friends plane out to 5klms. And a Helical can get you to 10klms for sure.

This is a 10k flight on 5.8Ghz using a Helical

The key thing you need to keep in mind is 5.8 is used for LOS.
10K? Come on! That's amazing.
Details man details.
What parts were used (TX/RX?)
Did you make the antenna or buy them?
Helical on just the RX? What about the Tx?

I've been reading some more since... I think I read somewhere that Fat Shark is only 100w - but maybe that doesn't matter since it's the Rx? Is wattage only important for the Tx?
Or are there 400w Rx and 400w Tx systems out there and to get max range you need high wattage on both?
Off the cuff I'd think you need it on both but after thinking about it - it's not like the Rx can "boost" a signal - it can't create "data" that's not there so maybe it only matters on the Tx?
 
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bmsweb

Site Moderator
#11
Details man details.
What parts were used (TX/RX?)
Did you make the antenna or buy them?
Helical on just the RX? What about the Tx?

I've been reading some more since... I think I read somewhere that Fat Shark is only 100w - but maybe that doesn't matter since it's the Rx?
I will get into the specifics when I get back home, but the Fat Shark Predator Goggles come with a 100mw vTX, so that's pretty low powered and I didn't expect any significant range out of it. With the Skew Planar on the Goggles and Clover on the 100mw vTX I'm pretty sure I could do 1.5klms pretty safely.
 
#13
Ofcourse you are going to need a good transmitter for your video signal. 200mw for 5.8 GHz is more then enough. The big difference is the antenna. Do you live in the city or remotely. Because if you want to get arround 10km the best place to go is somewhere remote. But also your plane needs to be capable of 10km not only your signal. 10Km flights is something more for planes then for quads.

@bmsweb how many turns did the helical had?

If you want really really good range take this:
http://www.readymaderc.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=4&products_id=310
 

bmsweb

Site Moderator
#14
. . Building custom antennas such as the skewplanar dont change much. Maybe an extra off 50 meters but the purpose of them is that you can bank your plain without losing signal.
. . The big difference is the antenna.
:confused:

earthsciteach,
I love those articles :D

PunkStar Studios,
I'm using The HK 200mw system, but please take the time to shop around and see what you want. As far as antenna's go, I build my own and they are Tuned to the exact Frequency I use.

If you're using a quad then you may want to go to a lower frequency like the 1.3 since aerodynamics doesn't really come into it as much, but I have no first hand experience on this band, so I can't comment. I can assure you that the Antenna will give you more than 50m of range ;)

If you want to go down the path of a Helical, this is a Good Article.
 
#15
:confused:

earthsciteach,
I love those articles :D

PunkStar Studios,
I'm using The HK 200mw system, but please take the time to shop around and see what you want. As far as antenna's go, I build my own and they are Tuned to the exact Frequency I use.

If you're using a quad then you may want to go to a lower frequency like the 1.3 since aerodynamics doesn't really come into it as much, but I have no first hand experience on this band, so I can't comment. I can assure you that the Antenna will give you more than 50m of range ;)

If you want to go down the path of a Helical, this is a Good Article.
Well what I wanted to say is:
You can get a 1000mw 5.8 GHz transmitter but it wont work good if you have standard antenna's attached. Also often the transmitters with the higher mw have more noise and not so good filtering. The difference is the antenna.
 

bmsweb

Site Moderator
#16
Well what I wanted to say is:
You can get a 1000mw 5.8 GHz transmitter but it wont work good if you have standard antenna's attached. Also often the transmitters with the higher mw have more noise and not so good filtering. The difference is the antenna.
I've never used a 1000mw system so I really wouldn't know. I've seen 500 and 600mw and they seem to work better than my 200mw.

I was just really surprised with your statement about only getting 50m more with custom antennas . I've probably built 10 sets of CL & SP antennas for 5.8Ghz and so far everyone has been blown away with the difference in range. I'm guessing if its badly built then 50m might be all you get. From my experience the range increase has been MASSIVE.
 
#17
Ok thank you bmsweb. I dont have circulars but some people say that they get less range.

I am not saying that 1000mw gives less range but most of the higher mw transmitter have worse filtering and more noise. Sometimes they give worse signal. (Thats what happened to me)
 

Burg

Never catch a multirotor
#18
I also use the 5.8Ghz 200mw gear.
Mine are from FoxTech which are identical to the set from HK.

Since I added the CL+SP antennes I must say I agree with BMSWEB that the range increased quite a lot !
Standard was indeed 300m max before it started to loose signal.
Today I fly my multirotors at 500m+ with perfect results.
And I do not fly high but close to the ground (FPV).

I also agree with KKArioKA about the height of your antenna.
I use a 2m tripod with an extra 2.5m added monopod .
On top my video Rx is mounted (must have a pic somewhere).

What is more important for me is that the link is MUCH more solid then with the standard rubber duckies.
No glitches at all.

Fact is that the quality of the build of the CL+SP antennes is VERY important.
I had ones that were build very poor and even performed worse than the standard antennas.

Oh, I use standard Graupner MX-16 HOTT Rx and Tx that give a 4km range.
Just my 2cents.
Mark.
 

bmsweb

Site Moderator
#20
take care with the 200mw HK sells ... mine came up dead ... 100 bucks to the trash can ! next try will be with the foxtech setup.
I had the same issue when buying my son his FPV camera! I received two dead ones!

Did you try to return it? I did with one of my FPV Cameras since it was also DOA.