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Attention: RC-CAM.com will be closing down August 2021.

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.

We've seen significant changes over the last twenty years. Initially there were a lot of eager R/C hobbyist that built their own video systems. Allowing these creative individuals to share their work was the purpose of this site. Now the FPV market is flooded with low cost systems; Sadly DiY FPV video projects are now rarely discussed.

RC-CAM.com (main site and forum) will be closing down August 2021. This is being announced now (March 2021) so that everyone has time to download any information that is important to them. After the site is shutdown the information will no longer be available here.

We appreciate every member's involvement with advancing the FPV hobby. It is indeed sad to say goodbye to all our online friends. Be safe and stay healthy.

HeadPlay HD Goggle Optics Upgrade: Cheap Glass Lens

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My HeadPlay HD goggle hacking continues. The recent Diversity Receiver / DVR upgrade was a success so now it's time to upgrade its plastic Fresnel lens. Replacing it with glass optics makes the image look substantially better.

There's a commercially made glass lens for the HeadPlay HD goggles that can be purchased for about $40 USD. But I'm a DiY guy. So I did it for under $2 with the help of my 3D printer.

Here's what the DiY glass lens upgrade looks like:



The retrofit does not alter the HeadPlay goggles in any way. You can remove it and go back to the Fresnel lens at any time. Not sure why you would want to do that, but being able to restore the factory configuration is a nice feature of this upgrade.


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The secrete to the low cost is that I used $1 reading glasses (readers) from the local dollar store. It's possible to do it with prescription glasses but cheap discount store readers worked great for me.


Choosing the readers' optical strength is as simple as sampling the glasses on the store's display rack. Position some very fine print text exactly 5-inches from your eyes (this focal depth emulates the goggle display distance) and try all the store's readers from +1.25 to +3.25. Pick a pair that provides a perfectly clear fine-print image. If each eye has different focal needs then select two different readers and mix their lenses to match your eyesight requirements.

For the record, my "over-40" eyes liked the +3.25 readers. But that's me -- your eyes will be different.

You'll want wire frames with large untinted glass lenses. I suggest you 3D print the lens holder and bring it to the store to help choose the ideal readers. The chosen lens does not need to be a perfect fit in the 3D printed holder, but must be big enough so it doesn't fall through the holder's openings.

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There are two 3D printed parts that screw together with three 2mm x 12mm self tapping screws. I printed with ABS; I recommend black filament rather than the gray color shown in my prototype photos.



This photo compares the frame with the partially disassembled readers I purchased:



Here's the 3D Printer STL File (includes both parts): lens_holder_v1.stl

I recommend 35% infill with 3 shell layers. If you use ABS then rescale the STL file to 101% to account for shrinkage (or use your material's shrink factor).



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Remove the lenses from the readers by pressing them out (loosen all screws first). Next tack them in place on the 3D printed lens holder using your hot melt glue gun. Apply the glue sparingly to the side edges, with as little as possible on the surface. See photo below.


This will be a trial fit, so only tack at the six places shown above. After successful testing you'll apply more glue (details on this are explained later).

Loosen the head strap around the two locking pins and slide the 3D printed lens frame into the HeadPlay HD goggles, as shown below:



Slide the lens frame until it is flush against the goggle's top foam case. Pull the elastic head straps tight until the locking pins retract into the half-round slot openings on the foam case.


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Temporarily reassemble the goggles, turn them on, and try out the new lens. You should be amazed at how much better things look. If not then go back to the store and select the correct readers for your eyes.

Now that you have confirmed that the lenses provide a clear view it's time to permanently glue them in place. Take out the 3D printed frame and add more hot melt glue to the GREEN areas shown below. Do this to the other lens too.


Note: Only apply the glue to the side edges with as little as possible on the surface. Avoid the RED areas because any glue in those regions can be visually distracting.  Refer to the photo above.

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Now carefully clean the glass lenses and LCD panel with dust free eyeglass cleaning paper. Use compressed air and blow out all the specs of dust stuck to the insides of the goggles. The adhesive side of plastic tape works well to lift the dust specs too.

Consider yourself warned: Any dirt or dust in there will eventually get loose and end up on the LCD monitor. So now is the time to get things as clean as possible.

Reassemble the goggles. Done!


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