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Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch*?

Discussion in 'FPV (First Person View)' started by BostonPhotog, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. BostonPhotog

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    Hi folks,

    I know this is a popular and frequent topic of conversation on the forums and there are tons of threads about it, and I think I've read most of the recent ones, but I still have some questions.

    Let me introduce myself: I'm a brand new member here. I'm an advertising photographer & videographer based in Boston and I've always loved flight (I have a fully manual, single rotor RC hell that is a GIANT PAIN to fly stably… but it's good training!), and I finally took the plunge and bought the following from B&H (being a photographer B&H gets a large chunk of my income :p):
    - Phantom 2
    - H3-3D gimbal
    - 2 extra batteries & a charger
    - extra rotors, prop guards & landing gear

    I'm planning to use an existing GoPro Hero 2 that I already own (until the GoPro Hero 4 comes out! :) )

    Now I'm left to buy an FPV setup, including (as best as I can tell… I've done a bunch of reading but I'm very much a complete newbie at this!!):
    - video Tx
    - video Rx
    - antennae for Tx & Rx
    - video display/monitor
    - attachment bracket to mount display to radio controller
    - telemetry overlay module, such as iOSD mini (optional)
    ? DJI FPV hub??

    Does that sound correct?

    Things that I've read mentioned a lot here on the forum are the Immersion 600mW transmitter and the Black Pearl (either 32-channel or 7-channel) receiver/monitor. There is also the DJI 500mW transmitter (here: https://www.ushobby.com/dji-58ghz-video ... p-254.html).

    I understand that the Immersion transmitter is more powerful (600mW vs. 500mW for the DJI) and therefore will likely have greater range (but also greater battery drain?), but are there any other advantages of the Immersion over the DJI? Would the Immersion actually have greater range? If so I'm not sure the additional range of the Immersion would be useful for me because (at least for a while while I'm learning!!) I don't anticipate flying long distances away (surely not over 1km, which the DJI says it can handle!). Also, the fact that the DJI Tx/Rx SHOULD (in theory?) be designed specifically to work well with the Phantom 2 and be compatible without any complications… right?

    Are there other advantages of the Immersion that I'm not aware of?

    I've also read that the plug & play cable you need for the Immersion is different depending on whether you're using an iOSD or not. I think I have the link for the iOSD version, but does anyone have a link handy for the non-iOSD version?

    Finally, I've seen the DJI FPV Hub… but I have no idea what it does or why it is used or in what circumstances. If anyone could explain that I'd really appreciate it!

    Many thanks in advance for any advice you can give me!

    Best,

    BP
     
  2. BostonPhotog

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    Sorry, additional follow-up:

    I've seen a couple people mentioned very lightweight transmitters (down to even 7 grams!). Which transmitter models are those?
    Related: How serious are the effects of an extra, say, 40 grams on a Phantom 2 (in terms of battery life, handling/maneuverability/performance, etc.)?

    Many thanks!
     
  3. TeamYankee

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  4. BostonPhotog

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    So I'm guessing the FPVLR antennae I've read about here are worth it? :)
     
  5. ASO544

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    Mine arrive today!!! Will let ya know!!! : )
     
  6. syotr

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    I would strongly recommend purchasing your FPV gear from a single supplier in the USA. If you buy from China, you may find that some of the items do not work with each other or not at all and you will not be able to return them. If you buy from multiple suppliers, each will blame the other when things don't work together.
    Consider buying a good monitor which has the receiver and battery and maybe DVR buit in. This will eliminate a mess of wires and weight.
     
  7. rctoyguy

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    I've been trying to decide on a DVR for the FPV setup (if I want to add one or not) and I really like the idea of the rx and battery built in - so I've been on the verge of buying a Black Pearl.

    Do any of you have recommendations on "all in one" monitors that include a dvr?
     
  8. QYV

    QYV

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    general consensus around here is that the battery drain between 200, 400, 600 mW is negligible.. a few seconds of flight time. FPV performance is actually much more about your antennas than transmitter.

    hell yes the FPVLR antennas are worth it. I post all the time about how amazing they are, in low-interference environment I've been out well over 600m on only the pinwheels with no hint of interference. When I fly over cities (high interference) I have to switch to the helix on my receiver and right now I'm losing RC control before I get any hint of FPV interference (650-700m).

    some more items:
    the DJI FPV hub is only for if you're installing the DJI AVL58 transmitter. I would recommend against this it's heavy and sucks too much power there are way better transmitters out there.

    Basically the way to go now is the ImmersionRC 600mW transmitter. There are pre-made cables from firstpersonview.com that accomplish the same thing as the DJI hub making it a plug and play, no solder solution whether you're putting in an iOSD Mini or not

    I would highly recommend the iOSD Mini. Once you start FPV flying you will likely either not be watching the Phantom itself or flying too high and/or far away to see the indicator lights for things like low battery, so having that and other data on the screen is really essential. it's also really useful for getting home just point at the indicator and fly until you spot it and can continue landing visually. and plenty of other reasons.

    This monitor mount is excellent if you can wait til he gets them back in stock. otherwise there are other cool 3d printed mounts out there. google em

    I don't have this equipment myself, but a lot of people around this forum express having trouble with the 32ch version of that Black Pearl receiver. make sure you get the 7ch version say people that I trust.

    I have no recommendation for DVR, but remember DVR doesn't NECESSARILY have to have anything to do with your receiver. You'll be broadcasting a signal which can be picked up by any and all devices simultaneously (think a broadcast TV station) that can tune into the frequency... so theoretically your DVR system could be completely separate.
    that being said, you already have a receiver in hand that's receiving the signal, so using an A/V cable and output from the display (assuming it has one) you can then go into any type of recording device with an appropriate input.
    Why do you want DVR? just curious... FPV is a very low quality broadcast it's basically just for framing your shots... your good video is taken directly on the gopro. the only really useful explanation I've ever seen for DVR is if you have a crash you can review the footage for the GPS coordinates where it went down.
     
  9. BostonPhotog

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    Thanks for all the feedback!

    I ordered the Immersion 600mw Tx, the iOSD Mini, the cable to connect them all, the FPVLR antennae, & the Black Pearl (7-channel!) w/ built-in battery.

    I know installing all that stuff is going to take a bit of time, but with that setup I'm hoping I'll be in good shape. :)

    As far as a DVR, yeah, I don't think I'm going to do that, at least not quite yet. As QYV said, I'll just record the video internally on the GoPro for maximum quality; the FPV is just for shot framing and navigation.

    I took my P2 out in my back yard and got it in the air for the first time yesterday. I am AMAZED how stable it is… I have an unstabilized, manual single rotor RC heli that is a pain to keep stable, and OMG what a world of difference.

    I can already tell I'm going to LOVE flying this thing. :)
     
  10. rctoyguy

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    congrats! Sounds like exactly the setup I'm going with - I have a birthday next week so I'm holding off on ordering anything LOL - I think the recorded video with the iosd overlay is kinda cool, as an addition to the high quality recording in the gopro.
     
  11. QYV

    QYV

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    about 10 minutes.... it'll take you longer to get the case off and back on (all those screws) than it will to install the FPV system since you have that plug and play cable.

    Have you seen pictures/video about moving the CAN-BUS connector from the leg up into the body and putting the iOSD Mini in there? makes your install much cleaner

    also don't forget about updating iOSD Mini bios before you put the case back together (and you're doing an internal install like you should).

    you know never to power on a video transmitter without an antenna attached yes?
     
  12. BostonPhotog

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    Right?? That's a whole lot of screws to hold on a simple plastic cover :p BTW, do people generally cut the color-stripe stickers with a razor to get the top case off?

    I did see one of those at one point a while ago, but I'll do some googling again before I do the install (or if you happen to have the link of a particularly good instruction video I'd definitely appreciate that!).

    That's a big area that I haven't gotten into at all yet. Getting into the firmware (both for updates as well as for tweaking various settings that I've read is possible) is something I haven't done at all. I am totally bummed that it seems like DJI are ignoring Mac users by only releasing the Assistant app for Windows. I can run Windows apps on my Mac, but it's still inconvenient (and given that most photo/video people are Mac users, I have to imagine many of their customers are as well!).

    Anyway, do you think it's essential to update the firmware (both of the Phantom and of the iOSD Mini) before I use them?

    Yes, thank God. :) I've read all the horror stories of people not reading the instructions and powering up their Tx/Rx without an antenna and frying the boards… so sad!

    Many thanks for all the help!
     
  13. QYV

    QYV

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    yea just use a razor and cut through the stickers, it'll barely be noticeable. I didn't even bother putting stickers on my new Phantom I just used a sharpie and colored the sticker areas in. next I think I'm just going to paint the whole top part of the shell

    CAN-BUS: the first minute and 20 seconds of this video. It's so simple... you just remove those 4 little tiny screws and the little metal loops holding the plug to the leg... you'll discard the 4 screws and loops I believe. after it's loose just remove the little white plug from the larger connector so you can pull the cable with the white tip back up the leg and into the body, then re-attach the port. voila. your can-bus is now inside the shell instead of on the leg.

    in that video I linked you, he goes on to describe the manual procedure for soldering the cable but you already have a pre-made cable... but if you aren't 100% sure where you plug into the Phantom main board it's the next bit right after the CAN-BUS port. it's the plug that originally had a 2-pair multicolor cable that ran down a leg and was taped to the bottom of your Phantom along with the gimbal ribbon cable. you'll simply remove that cable from the main board and plug in the appropriate port from your pre-made cable. The other plugs from that cable obviously go to the iOSD mini and Video TX. be sure to run them through the Phantom leg holes and such appropriately so it's tidy.

    firmware updates to the Phantom are... not essential but recommended. if you're already on version 3.x then I don't see any reason not to go ahead up to the latest. If you're on 2.x there's maybe some reasons why you'd want to stay, but in my opinion the benefits gained from fixes in newer firmwares outweigh the benefits of staying on old firmware. MY main beef with the newer firmwares is the reduced speeds and I can get those in Naza/ATTI mode when I want them.

    you should absolutely update the iOSD mini bios. You've gotta have at least 1 friend with a PC/laptop that could swing by and help ... I don't personally have a mac but I've heard plenty around here about DJI's lack of good mac support.

    good luck! let us know if you need any help
     
  14. andersonpaac

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    Hi, I'm planning on getting a similar setup. Can you tell me what FPVLR antennas you ended up buying and how much range they give you over stock. Also , what are the additional cables you bought?
    Links would be super helpful. Cheers
     
  15. QYV

    QYV

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    Tony from FPVLR made this specific bundle for non-Vision, 5.8Ghz FPV Phantom owners with ImmersionRC. He's very responsive, especially on the sales at fpvlr email address, so if you have any concerns just email him before you order... that was how I got to know him originally, before he made that bundle I emailed him about a different bundle (it just wasn't Phantom color themed mainly) because I didn't understand all the connectors - SMA vs RP-SMA and all so I just told him exactly which equipment I had and my order number when I ordered and he made sure all the connectors and such were what I needed.

    remember we're only talking about the FPV here... "stock" antennas that come with transmitters and receivers are absolute crap... the signal pattern they put out is flat (meaning the Tx antenna and Rx antenna have to be physically in line to get good performance) and the performance on them is just nothing... I couldn't get more than 50m with my original antennas. The FPVLR kit is night and day different... in a low interference, rural environment I've been out over 600m with just the pinwheels and no hint of FPV interference.
    When I fly in the city (very high interference) I only get 200m with the pinwheels so I use the helix instead on the receiver and I've been out over 650m and I actually lose RC control at that point... again zero FPV interference. The antennas are amazing... be prepared to wait a few weeks I think he's got a 2-3 week backlog of orders but they're absolutely worth the wait.

    If you're going with the ImmersionRC 600mW transmitter and an iOSD Mini, this pre-made cable makes it a plug-and-play, no soldering needed installation. There's a different cable if you are NOT putting in an iOSD, but you should be getting one of those anyway.
     
  16. BostonPhotog

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    QYV,

    I just got burned by this. I ordered that set of antennae you linked to, but then found out that it is the wrong set if you're using an Immersion Tx. I've communicated back and forth with Tony about this and he changed the website to clarify.

    If you're using an Immersion Tx and Black Pearl Rx, do NOT buy the set linked to above; it's the wrong connector. Instead, this is the set you need:
    http://fpvlr.com/shop/index.php?route=p ... duct_id=97

    If you're using a Black Pearl 32-channel model you need the RP-SMA (male) version of the antennae. If you're using the the Black Pearl 7-channel model, you need the SMA (male) antennae.
     
  17. QYV

    QYV

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    hey sorry about that. The kit I originally linked used to have an option there where you'd choose which type of connector you need, but I didn't realize I guess he pulled the choice after last week there was some confusion about it and one extremely vocal dissatisfied customer. I'll chat with him about which links are for which so I can properly link in the future. I also updated my link in the above post
    glad it got sorted quickly
     
  18. QYV

    QYV

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    I hear ya man. I'll just make sure to tell people to utilize the comments section and be clear on what equipment they have on both Tx and Rx side.
     
  19. BostonPhotog

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    QYV,
    No worries mate. You were being helpful and there's no way you could have known Tony changed the site. I appreciate your help. That's what makes forums like these so nice. :)

    Tony, I emailed you earlier today about sending back the first order and replacing it with the correct (SMA) antennae. Whenever you could respond I'd appreciate it. :)
     
  20. Paloose

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    Re: Current Thoughts On Best Parts for FPV Kit *From Scratch

    I just want to be clear- are we to use one of these antenna on the Immersion 600mw Tx or keep the stock one on it? I saw these were on the radio controller so what about the bird? I would like to see a photo of the set up on the bird. Thanks