Last weekend I’ve added FPV camera and transmitter to my quadcopter. I’ve used FatShark 600TVL camera, ImmersionRC transmitter, minimosd OSD module (flashed for cc3d), FatShark power regulator and a cheap FPV camera mount I got from ebay:
The camera mount requires two servos, which can be used to provide stabilization and view “forward” even when the copter is in deep tilt. CC3D flight controller can use those two servos – see “Gimbal” tab in OpenPilot GCS (ground station).
The build itself was a huge challenge:
* the camera does not fit the mount – I needed to cut the holder and drill a hole for a signal cable.
* the camera mount is designed to point forward. I hoped to hide the camera inside the frame so it won’t get hurt during a crash, but that was not possible – I ended up mounting the camera sticking out a lot.
* there are no mounting holes or slots for transmitter or power regulator, so I tied them with cable ties. They stay in place, but are not rock solid.
* all cables are too long, but I did not have spare plugs, so I could not cut and redo them. All the cables and wires look messy
The result can be seen here:
And here is a video showing the first fligh attempts:
And a longer, uncut version showing a lot of mistakes. It’s not easy to judge altitude with such wide angle lens, so I had few close calls with a ground.
And so I crashed today. I flew too far, lost orientation and decided for a firm landing instead of flying away into unknown. I’m glad I haven’t put cameras on this time.
Just last week I have installed the Diatone 5025 Propeller Guards. They looked nice and the green/red colours LEDs helped with orientation during hoovering, but not in flight. I’ve installed them to match DJI Phantom – red in front and green on the back, but I found them more confusing than helpful. Anyway – they lasted exactly one crash. The propellers indeed didn’t break, but one of them got bent. So the guards haven’t delivered on their promise. I paid £15 for them for which I could 8 full sets of propellers. Don’t buy them.
Most people are drawn towards drones for the ability to take amazing photos and videos. The stuff that can be done using flying machines is incredible yet not all is as easy as it seems.
There are tens of cheap flying models with cameras on board, but unless you invest serious money you WILL be disappointed with the result.
Below is a shot comparison of video recording taken from three platforms:
* Hubsan X4 H107C HD – amazing toy to learn flying, but as you can see the video is useless. £35
* DJI Phantom FC40 – entry level DJI quadcopter (discontinued) – quite capable machine that carries a stock 720p camera. You’ll get similar quality image with similarly priced machines. It’s fun to play with, but the results are shaky. £350.
* The same as above but upgraded with Walkera G-2D gimbal with GoPro Hero3+ Black attached. The image quality is more than reasonable. You can see propeller guards and quadcopter arms in the picture – this can be solved by repositioning of the gimbal. As you can see the gimbal makes the camera rock solid in two axes, but the image is still shaky when copter yaws (rotates). Fixing that would require a 3D gimbal. Total price for this set up £350 Phantom + £70 gimbal + £250 camera =£670.
The video contains 4 parts – three streams combined and then each of the videos is shown in full.
Click fullscreen for best results.