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Mr.RC-Cam

Maxim's Loss-of-Video-Sync Alarm IC

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Got done doing some field testing with the 1.4 firmware. I believe I have an exceptionally noisy environment flying over a lake with a seaplane. The 1.4 firmware was much better at picking a rx and sticking with it over the 1.3 version. I was using the default sensitivity, and was getting lots of switching, but it no longer wanted to stick with the lower input. I didn't see any evidence of breakup during switching.

Thanks again for making such a usefull product. I no longer get random dropouts like I used to, and it has made me much more confident in the stability of my vid link.

Now to get my twinstar built with a pan tilt mount.

Ken

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Mr.RC-Cam,

Do you plan to put these nice little gadget on sale again? I miss out on your first batch release, and miss out again on the sales price after they are back in stock. :( I only wish I had Oracle when I loss all video downlink during my landing approch 3 weeks ago...

~Brian

Edited by asm

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No plans to repeat the special introductory sales price (it was a very sweet deal indeed). But, the unit is currently offered $10 off regular price, which helps pay the shipping. :)

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Oracle safely received after its transatlantic journey. As soon as the raining/floods finish, can't wait to test it!

Local post/duty added $42... :angry: ... I expect there is a reason why companies don't all do the 'Hong Kong eBay Trick' of, instead of charging $50 for the item and $10 shipping, charging $50 for the shipping and $10 for the item, so the item comes in below the threshold at which customs charge import tax (and a hefty 'clearing fee')? I mean, it's up to a vendor to decide on a price, and shipping fees (as noted elsewhere)...

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Yep, but customs officers are not dumb either and if they open the parcel and see a nice "$10" electronic device, they "evaluate" the value themselves... usually far above the real one. And you have no word to say. They have charts for content categories, weight and value.

It has happened me more than once. Usually it's not the extra few tax $ to pay that annoy me the most, but they also take their time in these cases (2-4 weeks, without even notifying you there's something going on).

So when you sell something, deliberately put a lower value, and the buyer gets a 6 week delay becasue of this (that has happened to me too), he miraculously shouts at you that you should have put the real value...

So between getting shouted at for putting real value meaning more customs, and getting shouted at because there's a delay, I choose the first solution, which at the same time ensures me the proper shipping insurance (liability is limited to declared value), and mostly... I'm not doing anything illegal.

Edited by Kilrah

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I am very sorry for the import customs charges. That amount is insane.

Besides the delays mentioned by Kilrah, there is a flip side too. As a commercial business, we can't risk a failed audit. Basically, in the USA any person who knowingly submits false or misleading export information shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $10,000 per violation or imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both.

I understand that personal shipments are rarely scrutenized. But shipments from a business are often given a second look. In regards to the Hong Kong exporters, they don't have to worry about this. Their government seems to encourage the practice of falsely stating values.

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That amount is insane.

That sort of amount is what I will have to pay for the same item. VAT here is 7.6%, plus CHF 10 handling for standard parcels, or CHF 30 for EMS.

So a $150 device shipped via EMS will mean $39 added... and for EU it's even worse as VAT is a mere 19.6% :(

Edited by Kilrah

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That sort of amount is what I will have to pay for the same item. VAT here is 7.6%, plus CHF 10 handling for standard parcels, or CHF 30 for EMS.

So a $150 device shipped via EMS will mean $39 added... and for EU it's even worse as VAT is a mere 19.6% :(

That is total robbery to it's (Swiss) people. I guess the mafia/government got you guys good! I feel fortunate that all we pay is a 7% GST Goods Service Tax for electronic goods from the US. I think we also have a deal with China as well where the duty is reasonable low.

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Mafia in switzerland? I haven´t heard about it :huh: . FOreign customs is just a matter of protecting national market from incoming stuff. Specially for china, national manufacters can´t compete at all with china´s where people work like 20 hours a day and got 200€/per month. It´s totally ridiculous to try competing with them.

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Yes, us customers end up whingeing whatever happens! I've not had stuff held up, but I get more stressed by stuff taking many weeks to arrive than being charged a bit extra.

And, overall, I've got a diversity controller that won't become obsolete when 2.4GHz gets too full of WiFi, for well under 100 quid, so it's still a major-league bargain.

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Mafia in switzerland? I haven´t heard about it :huh: . FOreign customs is just a matter of protecting national market from incoming stuff. Specially for china, national manufacters can´t compete at all with china´s where people work like 20 hours a day and got 200€/per month. It´s totally ridiculous to try competing with them.

Yeah I can't argue with you on that Wavess, but lately I simply feel our country sometimes go a little far. Sorry I didn't mean to apply this to all countries.

One of my businesses involves importing goods from asia.

Here is an example.

1991 Ferrari Testarossa

My cost $36,000 then $1500 shipping, taxes =

$37,500 ok

Arrives in Canada so now 2.1% duty now the car cost $38304.03

Now add 13% for gst/pst taxes on top of car & duty price = $43283.55

Add transportation fee plus fuel surcharge and 13%gst/pst, insurance, inspection fees plus 13%gst/pst, parts to make it street legal plus 13% gst/pst, port charges, environmental inspection fee (they never check but charge me anyways) and so the total price now is approx $46,000.00. After the resale of the vehicle, the government will take half of our earnings for personal income tax. So that car or anything we import gets taxed, then taxed on top of taxes many times over and at the end we get taxed again for making money. Meanwhile the road I drive to home is bumpy and our hospitals are short of money/staff/equipment and our local school district just announced that they are near bankruptcy so they had to eliminate subjects, workers and cancel summer schools. I may sound bummed out about this and don't get me wrong, it's not all that bad here since there are some good. But for importing goods around here, I've seen stuff I wished I didn't see. :(

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So, at the risk of cross-posting, we're all champing at the bit, running sweaty fingers over our credit-cards in anticipation of Mark's OSD going on sale: then I see that RC-Tech is going to be an agent.

How to choose who to order from? I know I should use my 'local agent' (the Kilrathi), but I wonder if ordering from Mark in Australia might prove quicker... perhaps whoever I order from, they are dispatched from the same place...

Also, is there any way of paying the taxes at the point of sale, so the parcel is marked "Appropriate taxes for country of destination already paid", so it doesn't get caught up by those nice customs men?

[Okay, why the rush? Well, I was hoping to lay my mits on one of these in time for 'The Big Holiday' in August. I join extended family on the island of Lundy - 3 miles long, half a mile wide, 500 ft cliffs in all directions: a slope-soarers paradise! But it looks like I'm running out of time :( ]

[[Consolation prize, mind; I'm getting married there! My intended is already a little grumpy that most of our luggage will be aircraft]]

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The customs fee discussion is taking on a life of its own. To keep this one on-topic, it would be best to start up a new thread in the floobydust forum section.

How to choose who to order from? I know I should use my 'local agent' (the Kilrathi), but I wonder if ordering from Mark in Australia might prove quicker... perhaps whoever I order from, they are dispatched from the same place...

There is a huge thread devoted to their OSD. It would be ideal to ask such questions there.

Please feel free to continue this thread with questions or comments related to the Oracle Video Diversity Controller or Maxim's LOS detector IC.

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Opps sorry Mr. RC-CAM... Stepped over the line there. Politics sometimes gets me riled up. Won't happen again!

BTW your Oracle is getting great reviews from others who bought this after beta testing was over, but I think you already know this Thomas.

I decided for sure it's the ONLY diversity unit I would purchase! ;)

Edited by JMS

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First Oracle experience:

v1.4 Setup pretty easy to use (just changing to PAL & confirming other defaults).

First flight today. Despite the fact that there is mud & water everywhere - we're gradually sinking over here, wind 20 knots, but nothing was going to stop me trying this out!

In flight, Oracle beeped from time to time. Usually interference builds up gradually then goes away, but with Oracle it builds up, then 'BEEP' - stops completely.

My main problem was not so much brief dropouts (which are inelegant, but don't stop you FPVing), rather occasional loss of picture for a few seconds or more, as if one were flying into a sudden 'pool' of poor signal. There's one of these (about 45 degrees up, 45 degrees to the left, at 150 feet, if I turn to the left) during my usual climbout, which as I entered it 'BEEP' Oracle switched to the other receiver and the picture was fine.

So, the Oracle certainly addresses this, switching from one receiver to the other (sometimes quite rapidly) to find the best picture - at times I got the impression it was picking the best from what were clearly two not very good ones; very useful!

Overall, I was left feeling that much more of the sky was FPV flyable.

Just one thing I'd have liked, as the two aerials were orientated differently: It would be nice if the beep were a different note for each input, so if I noticed the 'Hi beep' was having problems, I could fiddle with it in flight (can't see LEDs when FPVing).

(Presumably we will be able to download firmware updates, and re-flash the PIC?)

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I'd have liked, as the two aerials were orientated differently: It would be nice if the beep were a different note for each input, so if I noticed the 'Hi beep' was having problems, I could fiddle with it in flight (can't see LEDs when FPVing).

(Presumably we will be able to download firmware updates, and re-flash the PIC?)

Yes that would be nice and useful to notice which aerial is on, so you could imagine where´s the beam limit for it. As soon as I get my airwave receiver working properly I´ll do some test and post some videos. I´ve seen few test videos of it, come on guys show us how it works for you with your review, I think this device deserves it

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Just one thing I'd have liked, as the two aerials were orientated differently: It would be nice if the beep were a different note for each input, so if I noticed the 'Hi beep' was having problems, I could fiddle with it in flight (can't see LEDs when FPVing).

That was exactly the desire I had, after my review of Oracle as well..

(here)

I use a 14db and an 8db patch, and a distinct beep would be useful in 'mapping' the coverage of the individual antennaes to obtain the absolute best aiming solutions for the different ones...

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Overall, I was left feeling that much more of the sky was FPV flyable.

Thanks for the follow up review. It is appreciated.

It would be nice if the beep were a different note for each input, so if I noticed the 'Hi beep' was having problems, I could fiddle with it in flight

The chirp's audio frequency is factory set by the buzzer component (it has a built-in oscillator). If it is important to do so, I could add some code to control a couple spare pins (TTL level) that you could use to control your own custom Vid-1 and Vid-2 audio indicators.

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Rats! I was hoping it was driven by a PIC oscillator output. I wonder whether it sounds different if you drive it using an audio frequency square wave anyway?... it's only got to sound 'different' for each video input, after all...

I do feel it's a bit ungrateful to Mr RC-Cam, my not posting a video. However, sadly, the flight was grabbed in a 10-minute break in the rain and therefore, almost inevitably, after launch I noticed:

- The camera vertical was off centre (so 80% of the view looking forward is my cockpit & Eagletree LCD panel)

- The power socket I thought was 'spare', and used for the Oracle, was the one usually used by the Mic (so no sound = can't hear those beeps), and

- I used the Oracle output instead of my low-level, Mobibox PVR-friendly output ('Too light' thread passim) = video is horribly over-exposed.

As a result the footage is really rather cr*ppy, and I'd hate anyone to think this was in some way due to the Oracle. I will try again...

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I wonder whether it sounds different if you drive it using an audio frequency square wave anyway?... it's only got to sound 'different' for each video input, after all...

I do use that technique for the low voltage alert feature; its sound is very distinguishable, which is important. However, the modulation trickery is a low priority software function, so the resulting tone is not predictable during video switching events.

Please keep in mind that nearly all of the microcontroller's time is spent analyzing video, so there is no extra time to bit-bang audio tones. All the timers are in use too, so I can't invite one to handle such chores. So, a two-tone sound would have to be done by a bit of hardware.

Frankly, a very determined fellow could work out a solution without a software change. The two LED signals, plus the actual buzzer signal, could be used to create a two-tone thing of beauty. I picture an 8-pin PIC, a bit of code, and a piezo speaker. Or, an old-school LM555 timer would work too. Sometimes the most useful software is a bit of wire. :)

For sure, I'll keep the two-tone chirp request on the wish-list.

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That's a good point - in this age of digital ringtones, a raw 'buzz' is almost an offence. And as for 'beeps' - useful in the field, as there are only a few things it could be (R/C transmitter, voltage alarm, Oracle, mobile, PDA), but at home almost useless; it could be once of 20 or more items in the house! I have an intelligent charger that makes a really unpleasant sound whether it's switching on, accepting inputs, signalling charge termination - yeugh.

As you suggest, those two LED outputs are enough to trigger something that makes a much nicer noise, although I've not come across a dedicated chip that makes nice, 21st-century alert tones. A colleague owns a bang & olufsen 'phone that makes a charming sort of metallic bongo noise instead of ringing - it can be done!

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And now... Ta-Rah! The latest low-profile Oracle - that can fit neatly in my flight case with 2 receivers. (All I need now are some RCA jacks that stick out 1mm...)

post-6-1184620158_thumb.jpg

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Great Job !!!!

I was thinking about doing something, now I know for sure it is possible!!! :rolleyes:

Edited by wilson

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