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The RC-Cam.com forum was the very first online community dedicated to the advancement of wireless video cameras on radio controlled (R/C) models. This is now called "FPV" (First Person View). We are proud of the contributions that our members have made to the FPV hobby.

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Open Source R/C?

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I must say I have some difficulties in believing it's real or close to release as they seem to suggest with the total lack of concrete evidence it's more than a product description with things like this... but if it is, then wow!

Edited by Kilrah
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I must say I have some difficulties in believing it's real or close to release as they seem to suggest with the total lack of concrete evidence ...

Their advertisement invites us to own it and join the countless others. So the user base must be huge. :)

Announcements from the developer first appeared last summer. Last I heard he didn't raise enough funds in the $ contribution campaign so I didn't expect him to proceed with prototyping. But it appears that the idea has continued to move forward. For sure, it is a fantastic looking online store web site. Too bad products are not in stock.

Getting a product like this to market is not easy. The hardest part is where they are now, moving past the whiz-bang prototype stage and putting products on store shelves (in sufficient quantities) and supporting them. It will probably take a year for us to know for sure how it will pan out. Despite all the uncertainty, it is a very cool looking R/C system.

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Well - if they showed a nice video demo of the whiz-bang prototype and released detailed specs and funtionality at launch time I don't doubt they'd get lots of support. But I know of nobody who'd buy into CGI without a second thought :)

Edited by Kilrah
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Well, the task list on their site says that Manufacturing & Assembly is 100% complete. Total time spent doing that was 1Hr 5m. What other proof do you need? :)

I remember a few years ago when a guy named Jim Drew was hyping his plans to create a new R/C system. Most everyone thought he was just spinning a story. Especially given his tarnished past in the computer industry (just search Jim Drew). But he eventually introduced a 2.4GHz R/C system to the market (XtremeLink). His system isn't the poster child of R/C products, but it does show that one guy can do just about anything if he puts his mind to it. So I'm open minded about the OSRC concept.

But I do have to wonder if something like this is too late, especially with its expected higher cost. It may be a challenge to sell it when we can just take something like the $60 Turnigy 9X system and supercharge it with open source software.

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But I do have to wonder if something like this is too late, especially with its expected higher cost.

I don't think so, when you see what brand name R/C manufacturers come up with...

Graupner for example have their MC32 that only just hits the shelves now at 1500€ for the TX only, has a B/W LCD out of the 90s with those awful touch-sensitive foils for programming (used them on other models, they're a huge pain to use), accepts only their own modules (well you could hack anything on the PPM out, but then you have to attach the module in a dirty way),...

Futaba also just came out with the T18MZ that has a nice color touchscreen, but again no module support, and for 2500€. Oh and the former T14MZ with the same large color touchscreen and a module slot (however proprietary) won't see a telemetry upgrade, so if you want telemetry, while you have a nice 640x240 color screen at hand you'll have to clip a small B/W display somewhere instead - while it would have just been a new RF module and firmware update away to have it on the main screen.

Futaba have done firmware updates on the T14MZ, but at the rate of about one per year. They have added a couple of features I hoped they would (reordering of trainer input channels for example), but did so 3 years after I bought my TX. So as usual with every closed device you're at the mercy of the manufacturer.

So having a high end open source TX that sells for 1500€ with all options and one of each RX type and sensor, and is capable of much more thanks to the ton of hardware supported possibilities (video, powerful computing, GSM...) would be a blessing IMO.

It may be a challenge to sell it when we can just take something like the $60 Turnigy 9X system and supercharge it with open source software.

It would be a cleaner and more complete solution. For good results the 9x needs to be flashed ($45 Smartiepants board for the non-hackers), needs its RF part replaced by something like FrSky that offers nice telemetry but not a flexible full duplex communication either ($50 and hacking), MCU flash space is tight so there are already more powerful replacement boards being sold (gruvin 4.1) or designed (ERSKY9X), again ~$100, better replacement LCDs... In the end with the ton of mods all you have left from the original 9X is the case and gimbals that are... those of a $60 TX you've upgraded with 2-3 times its original cost in mods... so a ready-to-use, quality device would certainly have some appeal.

Some time ago I wrote a reply in a topic about the 9X firmwares actually outgrowing the hardware - it's kind of the case, so now we get to the better part :)

While the 9X pretty much does all I need, OSRC would do all I want :D

Some answers to a couple of questions I asked:

We are working on the documentation of the system and as soon as it is finished it will be published in the Wiki.

The Video on both, FPVC Basic and Advanced is outputted through a 3.5mm Jack for external devices such as Goggles or other devices with Video IN.

The FPVC Advanced also converts the Video signal to a digital one and processes it to Linux for recording, display preview and other functions.

Both FPVC Advanced and Basic come with an MCX connector base for an external antenna when removed.

We are working on an introduction video which should be available shortly (within a week or so)

We just released the unit and all this time have been concentrating on actually finishing the software and debug the system. We are working as hard as we can to post everything online in due time.

The open Source part is quite large as there are Gigabytes of data which needs to be organized in order to be presented to the public so when we post it, everyone will know about it.

Edited by Kilrah
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A high-end open source system would certainly be more attractive than a high-end proprietary model. I wish I had the hobby budget to own such things.

Have you placed a pre-order for the OSRC?

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  • 8 months later...

I revisited the OS-RC site today and found that the project is sort of on life support. It seems the funds campaign failed and it never made it to mass production. It's not dead yet, but there's some nice China R/C systems coming out next year that may be better solutions for us (very low cost, open source).

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Yeah, I've followed things distantly, the pledge for some $700'000 ended up with about $6500...

The design is probably great, but maybe a bit too much for the one guy doing it all. He also probably lost too much confidence by making it look like a whole team was there, never giving detailed answers etc.

He did put things straight at the end in a 30-minute video, but that was likely just too late. Investing high-end radio amounts of money to preorder something you don't know the precise specs of and that might come in a year at best doesn't seem like a very wise thing when we know 2013 will offer LOADS of new great things in the field...

He's redone the website and apparently didn't cancel the project completely like he said he was going to do if the funding campaign failed. There's a thread in the forum about stripping some features down to lower the cost... wrong approach again IMO. As the other manufacturer's offerings will be more towards entry level, the only thing that would make sense is a high-end device with all the possible bells and whistles.

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