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OK, here I am, wanted to do this since I got it up and running, but I admit I was taking my time more easily to go flying :P

The background is that with a friend our goal was to be able to fly FPV. But the issue was that for this we needed a plane that would be big enough to hold all the video stuff, so we always used some trainer-like glow powered planes. Being careful, we always flew FPV when we were together, so the second one could be here as a backup with a second TX, keeping the plane in sight.

This was working well of course, but the problem was that we needed to find dates where we would both be free, which was difficult. Of course following Murphy's laws, when we were ready to go the weather would be bad, and so on. So that meant that we would fly FPV maybe 3 times a year.

Nearly enough to forget what it was like inbetween ;)

The next thing was then to get a plane which I could go flying FPV alone with. I already had my little 3D foamy, but the issue was that the only cams we had that would be light enough were CMOS ones. No, thanks.

Then came the idea that allowed it all (still wondering why this one didn't come sooner <_< ) was to get a KX131 and to add a tiny TX to it. There we go. I did a few tests with a 50mW TX and wasn't very satisfied. The current draw was too high, and the transmission didn't seem to be so good in comparison to some of my other systems. So I did a little test and found out that my cams' 10mW systems were working better, and with much lower consumption. That's how I got my current system, which is powered by a 2-cell 250mAh LiPo. Weight including battery is 40 grams.

So I added a servo on my 3D plane (Hacker Zoomzoom), and simply put the camera on it.

PICT8216_s.jpg

A few range tests and it was time to try FPV. As I was alone and not yet too confident about myself and about the technics I went to a very open place where I wouldn't disturb anyone, and be disturbed either ;)

It worked wery well, which was a real satisfaction. At last!

I was so happy I made this little video on the second day: Here (19Mb)

Quite shaky, but nevermind as I had been waiting for this for so long!

Then it worked as it was supposed to, as I was going to fly everyday for around 25mins (2 batteries). Having an electric plane really has many advantages, one being vibrations (I changed my unbalanced prop after that first video <_< ).

Hmm, post too long, had to cut here!

EDIT: Updated link.

Edited by Kilrah

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After one month and a few improvements I could count something like 10 flight hours with that setup, in which I've become very confident with. It was time to try something nice. I had noticed that at my place, sometimes when I was getting up early (rare during holidays :P ) there would be a nice morning mist, just not too dense and high. So I looked for a day that would be nice. When it came I went at the field at 7:30. Did this on 2 consecutive days, and I must say it was my most beautiful flying sessions so far.

Here is what it looks like (38Mb). Really awesome flying.

Logged 1h30 on these 2 days.

On the ground I'm currently using my 12" laptop with PCMCIA video capture card to record video. The PC outputs its display to the TV output, to which I connect my PLM-A35.

This will change when I've made my quad video buffer which is currently in design. The TV out way works, but the PC outputs non-interlaced video that is a little less comfortable because of the reduced framerate. But I still prefer this to using 2 separate receivers (you know what you're recording).

I've now borrowed a set of PLM-S700 from a friend, and try to buy it from him as they are really much better. He doesn't want yet, but I'll continue insisting ;)

The antenna is either the stock whip for short range up to 300-500m, and a 8dBi patch for greater range (1.3km so far with this one). Yesterday I took out my high gain patch (14dBi plus integrated 16dBi preamp) to compare, as I had no real reference up to now. I broke my record again with a dropout-free 1.8km, still with 10mW TX power :P

The limit is now becoming the R/C range... :huh:

At that distance I get quite a number of glitches which is quite disturbing. Will have to find a way to improve this, but I'm a bit clueless on this one except trying other receivers...

I've done quite a number of beautiful flights lately, I'll add some videos once they are edited. These colors on trees really look nice at this time of the year!

So here we are, thought it might interest some of you, as it really is an easy solution I had been waiting for since the beginning. Just take the bag and the plane, and go to the field with my bike. The advantages of such a plane is that you can fly anywhere without disturbing anyone. Bypassers definitely seem confused when they see me, but they are interested and I've already met some who had understood the concept ;)

Other good point as the plane's all-up weight is 460gr, and here there is absolutely no regulation, law or anything for models under 500gr. Thus I'm really sure that I won't have problems!

Regards,

Kilrah

EDIT: Updated link.

Edited by Kilrah

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Interesting what you say about your 10mW TX being better than your 50mW Kilrah. I found the same thing when I upgraded my 10mW TX to a so called 70mW, it was worse so I too changed back to 10mW. And I too have hit the range limit of my R/C link. I often get glitches at less than a mile so maybe I need to pay more attention to my instalation to get more range ?

Terry

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Well I think that actually the receivers must make a difference. They must certainly be more sensitive than the average ones that are out there. I'm pretty sure about this because I've had many different systems, and the 10mW ones I've had before would only offer me 300m range with the same 8dBi RX antenna.

I should do a face-to-face comparison, but I'm pretty sure now that it can give nearly the same results as my 100mW system. Impressive!! Everytime I go far away I can't believe that tiny TX which draws 70mA under 5V!

About R/C I'm still confused. 2 weeks ago I was getting angry with my receiver because I would have glitches at 400-500m. I nearly bought a new one, but the shop was closed. The next day I went out flying again and it worked surprisingly well. Strange. And yesterday I was flying at 1.8km!

But it seems that careful antenna alignment can do a lot. Now my plane's antenna is nearly vertical under the plane, and I place my TX antenna vertical as well. This certainly must have an influence, even if I hadn't changed anything the first time it went well :unsure:

One thing also it that I'm now using a Futaba R156F that has "recommended for parkflyers only" written on it, and with a specified range of 200m like I found on whatever site selling it. So it's already performing quite well!

Changing it would certainly be a good idea, but I'd like to test before buying...

On the other hand we've reached 2670m AGL once with another plane and an FF9/R149DP pair but with severe glitches at the end. I still wonder how cyber-flyer reached his record altitude with the same gear :blink:

Could the US 72MHz TX be more powerful than our 40MHz ones?

Edited by Kilrah

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Hmm, Im on 35Mhz as 40Mhz is for suface vehicles only but I too am amazed at the range some guys seem to get. I used to think I was very carefull with my installations but Im not so sure now. I think the fact that England is full of radio masts and the amount of interfirence is high compared to some of these guys that fly miles frm anywhere must play its part.

Terry

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I forgot to say, your right about modern receivers now, they are light years ahead of a few years a go. My first system was 10mW and it was c**p, it would only give me a picture when I over flew the receiver at less than 50m. I modified the rx so I could use a helical which boosted the range to 200m or so which made it usable. The big jump forward was when I made a low noise pre-amp for it, wow! I then had no limits to the video range just the R/C. The sad thing is that system cost me hundreds and you can now pick um off the shelf for tens. Its so easy these days, anyone can do it but it amazes me why some guys use so much power.

Terry

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Well I think that actually the receivers must make a difference. They must certainly be more sensitive than the average ones that are out there.

That is the key. The Rx's performance is important, yet is totally ignored by those in this hobby. Instead, there is a huge amount of interest in how much RF power the video Tx puts out. I have yet to see one person ask about Rx sensitivity specs. To make matters worse, few (more like none) of the vendors I have seen have published this data either.

The low cost video Rx's seem to have poor sensitivity (I'm guessing they are well below -85dBm) and so it takes more Tx power to get fair results. My opinion is that the emphasis should be on the Rx specs, and the antennas, rather the Tx's raw RF power specs. Brute force Tx power can overcome a lot of sins, but it is not the best solution if the real problem is a low-end Rx.

Generally speaking, the Lawmate and Felsweb stuff seems to be good. I just wish they would publish some useful specs.

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I have looked for that data. But as you said it's nearly impossible to find it. The only few i've seen were -80dBm, so I took for granted that they were all pretty much the same. Except for this one. It has the same freqs than the Felsweb TX, so I'm also using it for that one. And it comes from a cheap Asian wireless camera, as does the TX. Not the lowest end ones though, but real good 2.4GHz stuff which just lacks a good CCD.

A new video is encoding at the moment :)

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The only few i've seen were -80dBm.

That is a spec that you will see with low end consumer equipment. Performance would be lower than I would want to use.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the wireless A/V systems that work well are probably around -90dBm or better in sensitivity. It would be so much easier on us if we had access to valid performance data.

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A new video is encoding at the moment :)

Here it is! (49Mb)

The beginning shows some images of my first ever aerial video, and continues with the latest ones from last week ;)

Edited by Kilrah

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The big jump forward was when I made a low noise pre-amp for it, wow!

Oops had missed that post. What kind of preamp? Do you have a link? I've been looking for a commercially available one for long, but have never come to anything except my antenna that integrates it... :unsure:

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The sad thing is that system cost me hundreds and you can now pick um off the shelf for tens. Its so easy these days, anyone can do it ...

Hi Guys,

First off: Absolute Newbie warning! :rolleyes: I've had some dabbling in the past with cheap off-the-shelf r/c cars, planes and boats... but I think I'm ready to get into this whole r/c proper!

Second: Woweewoweewoweewow! :o I've always dreamed of what I now know to be called FPV (hard to google things when you don't know what they're called) ... but to see your videos... darn! Completely blown away!!!

Which leads me into... I want one. I want one. I want one. I want one. I want one!

Is there any chance you could step through, from the very basics, exactly what you have put together there and how? Any other pics of the plane would be useful too! B)

I'm in the UK, have some experience with a soldering iron, and I'm keen to learn more!

TIA

WhiteMonkey

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Gosh...where do you want to start ?

Do you have a plane ? if so what is it ? what exactly do you want to be able to do ? whats your budget ?

Terry

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Yes, that needs quite a bit of thinking.

First do you already know how to fly planes?

Then there are different ways, either you're interested and have time, and you get everything as you feel it would be good, or you can simply copy/paste a working setup and here you go... (less interesting from my point of view... It's really neat to finally get what you want after years... but of course if all you want is something that works it can be a way. Might be cheaper too ;) )

Edited by Kilrah

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Hey,

Thanks for the replies!

In terms of my flying/plane experience... you will probably cringe :unsure: but I've been using "off-the-shelf" all in one kits, such as http://www.iwantoneofthose.com/search.do?p...ductCode=SKYSOL

(not that actual model, but similar quality/technology or lack thereof!)

I currently don't have any working planes... so let's start at the beginning!

... or you can simply copy/paste a working setup and here you go... (less interesting from my point of view... It's really neat to finally get what you want after years... but of course if all you want is something that works it can be a way. Might be cheaper too ...

I don't want to offend you guys: you are clearly experts on these matters, and passionate devotees to your hobby. B) I know it's cheeky, but what I would really like is to come in at this stage, after you have done all the hard work of designing and testing, and, as you said, "simply copy/paste a working setup". :rolleyes:

I've found a UK supplier of Hacker planes at http://www.allelectricrc.co.uk/

although they don't appear to have the exact same model as you.

So, I would like to know... what exactly do I need to buy/do to get to your setup so that I can fly FPV?

TIA,

WhiteMonkey

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Kilrah,

I just watched your recent flight videos. They are great!

You and your setup just set a new standard for FPV flying imho.

Great job.

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Wow, that comment from you makes me feel dizzy blush.gif

Oh well, but more seriously I am missing your flight log! Any updates during all this time?

-AT-WhiteMonkey:

I'm not offended at all, I am wanting to find ways to promote that practice. And there are 2 main things that are needed to get people interested, one is having somehting easy and which works, and the second one is to give people a try. Most of them just say "aha" when you explain what you're doing. They are miles away from realizing how it really feels when you're at it. So I now try to have 2 headsets and 2 TX with trainer cord whenever I know someone is going to come and watch. It's a bit soon yet to tell but it seems at least to raise attention. If they only see you under your T-shirt they just take you for an average fool lol B)

PICT0187.jpg

(That was 4 hours ago)

Being at your place I would then rather take a few flying lessons with a friend, or at least with the help of a simulator. This type of plane is not the best one to start learning IMO. If you use small control throws and in calm weather it could be OK, but it won't fly "by itself" and requires input, especially when it's windy. The advantages for me are size, weight and so ease of transport, and it will hold little mishaps very well. If it really gets wrong you just need half an hour and some epoxy to be up there again. Oh and the plane is ready to fly in around one evening out of the box.

You should wait for Vrflyer to chime in, he will know better than me how it is to start directly with FPV. I already had been flying for a few years before getting to FPV, he only did for 1 week ;)

Having said that, you can get everything from http://www.aircraft-world.com

The equipment I have on it consists of a pack of 4 GWS Naro STD servos, a Hyperion Z2209-26 motor, a Phoenix 10 controller, a prop holder + 8x3.8" APC SF prop, a few servo extensions, and a ~1000mAh 3s LiPo battery.

Add a R/C TX and RX to this (programmable would be a good choice), a Li-Po compatible charger and you're in the air :)

Concerning video well you need the wireless camera and receiver, a HMD, and maybe a recorder if you want to keep some trace of your flights or make videos :)

Oh forgetting, I've also added a small PIC module I've made to get 180° throw out of the camera pan servo.

Edited by Kilrah

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I wholeheartedly agree -- your new video is very professional. Beautiful flying fields too. The head buried piloting must really get some curious looks from the regular folks. :)

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Thanks!

I still have a few Gb's waiting to be edited. I'll do a mix with one more interesting field, and also some of my first and only cloud flying session, which unfortunately only lasted somehting like 5 mins :(

That was too beautiful!!

Oh well, I have been amazed quite a few times by some smart bypassers! Like today I heard a woman with her little child passing by, and the mother was saying "he doesn't look at it, but he has special glasses"! Don't know if she had noticed before or what ;)

Of course I can't see them, but sometimes I admit laughing under my shirt :lol:

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"me too I agree about the quality of the videos, I watch them every day :)

I always use 5 pound planes, but I change my minds after seing theses videos, now I want a light planes, this is the best way to fly FPV. The planes is so light, we can fly it everywhere, no risk of damaging something or hurt someone. I was thinking about the Easystar,

http://www.hobby-lobby.com/easystar.htm

do you think it could be a good planes for FPV?

White monkeys:

I never fly r/c planes before comming to this hobby. I first pass many week on flight simulator and three weeks practicing the normal way to fly planes, but I start with a glow planes, it heavy and fly fast. An electrc light planes is not the same. If you lost control of a styrofoam plane, you will not cause great dammage.

The best I think, is to fly few days the normal way first, you don't need simulator for these planes. When you are confident, you add the camera and record the flight. At home, you will learn the field by watching the videos. You will learn where is the landing area, so when you will fly FPV the first time, you will not be disoriented. Et voilà, I don't think it need to be more complicated than this.

Edited by Vrflyer

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The easystar is perfect, I have a friend who uses it for "semi-professionnal" aerial shots with the same wireless system I have.

Being a pusher is of course a good thing to have a clear view! he hasn't added any servo yet. IMO if you do it would be a good idea to have a switch on the TX that will lock it to center, as you have no reference with a part of the plane to see where you are.

If I had to buy one I might certainly choose something like that. Must be a lot more stable too.

But with my power I'll be able to try aerobatics once the headtracker is working :P

Edited by Kilrah

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Kilrah,

It seems that you've managed to use a very light plane and still get very good quality video. There are no shaking on the camera and very little dropouts. And when all of this is combined with nice scenery and low passes over the houses makes me wish I was flying there with you. I remember yb2normal was going the same way, flying small planes. But I don't see his videos any more - he must be busy packing all those cameras and transmitters :)

And I believe you can afford to be that agressive around the houses and people because your plane is light and relatively inexpensive. Very, very good solution to my problem with AMA here. AMA in US forbids FPV flying so I can't legally fly on a regular RC field. If one can demonstrate that people can learn to fly FPV with light electric planes - this may change the situation.

I was flying small electric heli this summer. I posted a little about it on RunRyder:

http://www.runryder.com/helicopter/t180269p1/

I am still working on making it a robust and portable setup, something that I can take with me on a trip. On one of those long winter nights I'll update my flight log - I have quite a few videos waiting to be edited into a movie.

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" IMO if you do it would be a good idea to have a switch on the TX that will lock it to center, as you have no reference with a part of the plane to see where you are."

I will use 80 deg lens on the cam. I will install a voltmeter in front of the cam. I already do it with others planes. It's important for me to see a part of the cockpit in the video, I realy fell like if I'm in the planes when I see the cockpit.

" Very, very good solution to my problem with AMA here. AMA in US forbids FPV flying so I can't legally fly on a regular RC field. If one can demonstrate that people can learn to fly FPV with light electric planes - this may change the situation."

Exactly what I was thinking. It will be ridiculous for the MAAC to continue to tell it's too dangerous to fly FPV.

By using light planes, I expect many peoples will be interested to do it.

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I ordered an easystar today, at this cost, why wait :)

This planes don't have ailerons, so the ailerons joystick will be free. I will plug the rudder at the place of the ailerons in the receiver, the right joysick will be use to fly the planes like I'm use to, and the left joystick will serve for throttle and camera movement.

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