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Eagletree vs. Oracle Diversity

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Hi there. Apart from minor niggles (size, a pain programming in the field e.g. when swapping PAL<->NTSC cameras), my Oracle is, of course, faultless :)

However, I'm intrigued by the Eagletree Eagle Eyesdiversity (+ other functions) board - anyone know:

- how it works in theory? All I can find from Eagletree is that it selects the 'best' video... perhaps it contains a little gnome with good eyesight and fast reflexes...

- how it works in practice - perhaps in comparison to the Oracle?

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Here's the ongoing EagleEyes thread over at rcgroups. http://www.rcgroups.....php?t=1048046. From my random viewing of the endless posts (it's a huge thread), it appears there's been some diversity performance problems and they are working to solve them. They have been very responsive and the bug list is getting smaller every day.

Edited by Mr.RC-Cam

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For what the EE is going for, it is easy to conclude they must've cut some corners.

A Mk2 Oracle - smaller, with PAL/NTSC auto-detect - would, of course, be infinitely preferable :D : reading threads about other diversities leaves me with the distinct impression that Oracle is really close to that ever-elusive performance 'sweet spot'.

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Thanks for the kind words about Oracle. Like you, I've given some thought about a second generation diversity system. Unfortunately, antenna tracking still has everyone's attention and I've decided to wait until the buzz about it settles down before making any decisions.

Some behind-closed-doors history:

About a year after Oracle was launched I found that many folks had re-discovered 900MHz wireless video (the 2.4Ghz band was getting too crowded). So, it seemed like the perfect time to design a high-end diversity system with dual integrated receivers. The prototype used a pair of Comtech RF tuner modules with narrow band SAW filters. Receiver frequency was user tunable (in 5Hkz increments) from 900MHz to 1.3GHz. The RSSI signals could also be shown on-screen for troubleshooting antennas as well as basic RF performance evaluations. Which leads to its most inspiring feature: all the setup menus were provided via an OSD. That is to say, configuration was on-screen using some front panel controls. So, I had you covered since you don't like the ESC beep setup method used on Oracle. :) But after talking to some existing Oracle users I decided the market would be too small to make it worth my efforts. So the project was abandoned.

After a bit of pondering, I decided to shift gears and prototype a universal 4-way diversity controller. Hardware was fully functional and basic software routines were written. It used the concepts found in Oracle, except it would support up to four wireless video receivers. It had a USB port (for software upgrades, realtime control, and live status monitoring). There were provisions for supporting a future antenna tracking feature (FPV'ers were just starting to talk about such things so it seemed like a good idea to include it). It also had RSSI inputs for those that wanted to use signal strength based switching in combination with the video analysis diversity techniques. It too had a full OSD built into it.

But then serious talk of antenna tracking began in the market place. A couple vendors claimed they would be releasing theirs soon, perhaps in just a few weeks. I decided to wait to see their cost and performance, as well as market response. It was a long wait since about a year later those tracking systems finally became readily available (yup, those pre-launch product announcements are often just teasers).

In retrospect, I am glad we didn't complete the new design since I've noticed that the FPV customers' interests are shifting to products that are low cost rather than full performance. For sure, the 4-way design would have been considered expensive. But, it would have been cool though.

Here's a photo of the prototype, which has been collecting dust on my desk for the last two years. It's a reminder that markets quickly shift, despite our good intentions.

post-2-128207902439_thumb.jpg

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It's interesting - I recall that shortly after first using the Oracle I felt a desperate wish to increase to 4-channel diversity - mainly to try a quad of higher-gain patches. Since then, I've just got used to having one pointing up, one pointing out, and flying out roughly in the 'out' direction, and only a few times have had a sense of getting caught 'outside the lobe'.

Yes, it amazes me how tracking has gripped the collective imagination, given the extra complexity i.e. potential for things going wrong. I guess if nothing else, it looks very cool in operation. And yes, markets do shift so fast, in stark contrast to R/C modelling, which has always delighted me by its comparative slug-like pace of change. Although that conservatism has seriously impacted on FPV flying, with many UK clubs (and the BMFA) legislating equivalents of 'All FPV flyers must be preceded by a man carrying a red flag'. 'Twas ever thus.

(However, that prototype makes my mouth water - I'd happily give it a workout :D !)

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For what the EE is going for, it is easy to conclude they must've cut some corners.

Other than being released before it was fully ready, I don't believe they cut any corners in the electronic design. The insanely low street price is classic complementary goods marketing. That is to say, it is not a profitable item for them, at least not based on its dealer transfer price. However, to fully use it the customer will need their OSDPRO/eLogger system, which turns the overall sale into a winner for EagleTree. Also, the EE's low price is a big attention getter and has helped them capture a huge chunk of the OSD market, which was dominated by another OSD maker at the time it was introduced. Overall, the give-away price was a brilliant marketing decision.

Thats a lot of work just to collect dust

Yes, it is sad. But turning prototypes like these into marketable products would require more $ investment and time. So, it is important to choose who lives and who dies wisely; sometimes heartbreaking decisions are made.

Yes, it amazes me how tracking has gripped the collective imagination, given the extra complexity i.e. potential for things going wrong. I guess if nothing else, it looks very cool in operation.

I have to constantly remind myself that an engineer should design what the customer wants, not what they need. :) But a new obstacle is that now it has to be insanely dirt cheap, complements of what the China imports have done to corrupt the customer's sense of product value.

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complements of what the China imports have done to corrupt the customer's sense of product value.

I second that :( Hope to beat them at their game. :)

John

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But a new obstacle is that now it has to be insanely dirt cheap, complements of what the China imports have done to corrupt the customer's sense of product value.

Definitely. And spending a long time designing something you know is stupid but will sell well, yet won't bring you much due to the low price you'd have to sell it for isn't any motivating.

I have to constantly remind myself that an engineer should design what the customer wants, not what they need. :)

This is where you need to forget about this :)

Usually, unless you're some kind of mad engineer with totally unreasonable desires, the thing you design for yourself will for sure interest some others. And THOSE others know why they want/need it, what it would take them to make it, and will be ready to pay the price it's worth.

If you want to make something that works commercially there are 2 choices. The first one is to attract the masses with something that must be dirt cheap, where you need to go at length to reduce manufacturing and development costs as much as possible, because of the Chinese concurrence and also the fact that in FPV the things that sell well to masses prove to be the least useful ones -> will end in a drawer quite soon -> people don't want to invest too much.

The second is to go into specialised "high end" devices. Which is by far the most interesting ones as you're thinking about quality, functionality, and cost is second.

I don't know if I'd have started the development of a quad diversity like you did, but seeing how far it's gone I'd definitely not keep it on a shelf.

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As long as we are talking about what could have been, I thought it would be fun to post a photo of the dual diversity prototype. This is the one with two Comtech receiver modules (one of the modules is missing in the photo posted here). To reduce development time, this configuration utilized the baseband conversion board from an existing wireless Rx (see daughter board in photo). Despite the double board stack configuration, the whole thing fit in same enclosure that Oracle currently uses. Slap a pair of antennas on the SMA's, plug in a monitor, and you've got diversity!

Because of the integrated Rx modules, this design used RSSI to control the diversity switching. It also had video sync-loss switching, as well as a "blue screen" protection. There was an OSD menu where the user could set the 0.9G - 1.3G operating frequency (with 5KHz resolution). The onscreen RSSI was perhaps its coolest feature since you could easily see the RF signal performance. OMM has been showing an onscreen RSSI concept in his latest video postings and its a wonderful tool. Of course there were other cool features, but I killed the project before all the software was completed. So unfortunately even I don't have the pleasure of using this little jewel.

Despite the friendly prodding from you guys, these designs (and others I haven't mentioned, at least not yet) will not be turned into commercial projects. But they are certainly fun to talk about. :)

post-2-128223623232_thumb.jpg

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Shame, I would liked to have owned this. I still think there is a market for a high end receiver. People will sell themselves

into it after the cheapo 900 Mhz receivers tire them out.

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I still think there is a market for a high end receiver.

Definitely. At the FPV meeting in France I had an idea for a high end modular receiver system... and everybody I talked about it with was up for it, even if it was to be priced at $400 or so...

Too bad I have no time at all to work on that kind of thing anymore :(

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As long as we are talking about what could have been, I thought it would be fun to post a photo of the dual diversity prototype. This is the one with two Comtech receiver modules (one of the modules is missing in the photo posted here). To reduce development time, this configuration utilized the baseband conversion board from an existing wireless Rx (see daughter board in photo). Despite the double board stack configuration, the whole thing fit in same enclosure that Oracle currently uses. Slap a pair of antennas on the SMA's, plug in a monitor, and you've got diversity!

Because of the integrated Rx modules, this design used RSSI to control the diversity switching. It also had video sync-loss switching, as well as a "blue screen" protection. There was an OSD menu where the user could set the 0.9G - 1.3G operating frequency (with 5KHz resolution). The onscreen RSSI was perhaps its coolest feature since you could easily see the RF signal performance. OMM has been showing an onscreen RSSI concept in his latest video postings and its a wonderful tool. Of course there were other cool features, but I killed the project before all the software was completed. So unfortunately even I don't have the pleasure of using this little jewel.

Despite the friendly prodding from you guys, these designs (and others I haven't mentioned, at least not yet) will not be turned into commercial projects. But they are certainly fun to talk about. :)

post-2-128223623232_thumb.jpg

that´s a nice design, and the features are really cool. Personally I think that those kind of advanced & nice features are not for the big masses. For me now, I´m in a period of trying to minimize the equipment I carry to the flying field or spots. I´ve ended up with a tripod, a single receiver and a 3dbi whip :lol: , and I still think that I have to carry too much stuff for flying.

Only once a while I go to the flying field with the strong equipment, like oracle, 2 receivers, 2 big patches, a big plane for long range and so. I spend almost 30min to get all ready to fly. Too much time

Definitely. At the FPV meeting in France I had an idea for a high end modular receiver system... and everybody I talked about it with was up for it, even if it was to be priced at $400 or so...

Too bad I have no time at all to work on that kind of thing anymore :(

This year I could not go to France, bad I would have liked to meet you there., perhaps next year :)

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Here we are 6 years later. Time for an Oracle Diversity update!

Last year professional FPV drone racing hit the hobby head on. These races are sometimes held in horrible RF environments (stadiums, caves, industrial buildings). Oracle quickly became the remedy to the RF mess and is used by many pro pilots. One popular configuration uses the Oracle with two ImmersionRC DUO5800 diversity receivers. Here's some info on it:
http://fpvracingevents.com/landshark-dp-x2-ground-stations/

An updated "Oracle" is being introduced in January 2017. It's official name is Diversity Demon. Details are here:
http://www.dpcav.com/xcart/Diversity-Demon-FPV-Pro-Race-Edition.html

 

FrontView1_400.jpg

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Indoor flying sure does require CP and good diversity. Good to see the Oracle doing its bit. Sad to say mine has been sleeping for years!

 

 

Terry

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