Hello Everyone,

I have had a lot of fun flying my drone for work but realize that it would be even more fun if I could see what my drone sees. 

Right now I send it up with my camera take my shots for a few minutes than bring it back down and hope all is well.

So any suggestion on a complete FPV system?  I do not mind buying individual pieces just want some advice on what pieces to buy.  If there is a good complete package people have used that would be great as well.

BTW I am running a Quad with 880kv motors, Autopilot 2.5, and GPS.

Some Questions.

1) SD v HD - does the extra resolution make flying easier or is the HD more just for recording the flight for others to see.

2) single view vs. Head tracking -  It seems to me that head tracking might add a level on confusion when flying but be worth it once you got the hang of it.  Or is it more of a gimmick that is not worth the extra set-up and cost.

3) Battery - Can you run the system off of the main battery and if so what kind of drain would it cause?

Anyway thank you in advance for your input.




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Check out ReadyMade RC    . This supplier has starter kits.  Start small, see if FPV is for you and build from there.


Your questions:

1) HD recorded by GoPro or alternative.  The view you get in your goggles / screen is standard definition. Check out this (awesome) video - shows the FPV camera view as an inset onto the HD camera view at 01:18.


2) Probably go with single view as a starter.  I  agree that head tracking sounds too complicated for starter.

3) Yes - can run off the same battery. I've done a grand total of 6 FPV flights so far and I limit my flights to 5 minutes, i.e. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ycPC6QF0-wQ

That ensures that the 2200 mah LiPo is not overworked.  I need a breatha after that time too - FPV makes the heart pump faster.


You should get this new set: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__28750__Fat_Shark_Attitud...

and you need this battery as well: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__20651__Fatshark_FPV_Head...

I don't have it, yet, but as soon as I got the money I will order this setup.

This set offers everything you need. Some well equiped goggles with build in 5,8Ghz receiver   as well as a camera with transmitter.

Just plug it in and it will work.

Cheaper but with disadvantages: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__28342__Fat_Shark_Predato...

Have been doing FPV for a few years now and gone through some gear so I will try to share some of what I have learnt.

1) SD is what you are limited to watching live, as transmitting HD is still out there (about $10K for 100m is the best I have found to date, but it may happen)

2) The question of head tracking. On fixed wing it is almost essential, and is no way a gimmick. Think of trying to fly a plane looking through a keyhole, that is the effect of no head tracking. You can initially just use Tx knobs to move the camera, but you are really there with a simple head tracker, and they are plug n play with the right ones.

On copters it is not so essential as you can be stationary and look around with yaw, but a tilt control, even if just a knob is handy. 

A head tracker is very handy, and gives you more immersion in that 'being there' feeling as you can look from side to side (am I going to miss that obstacle?) and up and down. 

For me, it is what made FPV doable. Just make sure you have a part of the aircraft visible in centre frame as a reference, that's what helps it work.

3) Batteries will depend on a few factors, like how much current it draws, which will depend on the power of the Video Tx, but usually, compared to your motors, the power draw is minimal.

Get the best goggles you can afford. They are the heart of the system and the most expensive item in the setup. Avoid the all in one systems unless you consider the initial outlay disposable. 640x480 resolution is barely adequate, and good 800x600 goggles are available for around the same price. You WILL notice the difference.

The camera should have a resolution of at least 520 lines to be worthwhile. Good 700 line analogue cameras are now readily available. Anything below 480 is not going to give you a very good picture.

If you are going to fly far or high, or you want to stay within boundaries (ie: not go above 400ft, not stray 500m etc) then consider an OSD as well. Little outlay, handy information to have in front of you.

Frequencies- these will depend on your local regulations, but be aware that if you use 2.4GHz radio you aren't going to be able to use 2.4GHz video as well (hence not getting all in one goggles, add the RX that suites). 900MHz performs the best but the current, and only legal video frequency for this country(Australia), is 5.8GHz, which is very line of site and interference prone.

I have always purchased my gear from rangevideo.com

Good gear, good service.


Thank you for your response I feel like it has taught me a lot about what I need to look for.  Let me ask you is there an "all in one" system that you are aware of that you would recommend?


Your answers has me comming up with new questions.


1)  Do the head tracking system come with there own hardware to move the camera or do you need to purchase extra servos, etc?


2) Is there a way to make a GoPro be your live camera feed while it captures photos, or will you need two camera for that?



If you have a look at Rangevideo.com you will see a few complete video setups.

My preference is still to select the best items from each category, it really is just plug and play.

1) The head tracker is just 2 axis movement detector that plugs into your transmitter (Futaba mostly) and sends signals on channels 5&6 or 6&7, it's configurable. You will need to make your own pan/tilt (or buy one) but a very basic pan tilt can consist of little more than 2 servos and some hot melt glue.

2) Rangevideo actually have a cable for the GoPro to enable it to hook to your Tx. So the answer is you only need the GoPro IF it is the model that does simultaneous video out while recording.


I have checked Rangevideo and I see they have an 800 by 600 but does not have head tracking (headplay)  they sell a head tracking system sperately do you have any opinion on that system?


Power- can the transmitter on the quad be powered through the APM 2.5 board?  Or do you need a seperate battery on the the quad?



I have been through 3 different types of head tracker before deciding on the one that works best for my needs.

There are different technologies available in head trackers, Magnetometer type where you have to face a set direction then calibrate, gyro type has no set direction but most suffer from drift during use.

There are probably others and it's a matter of individual taste and how you use it.

With the built in head trackers, of course, you are stuck with that type.

So I like to mix and match to get the best for my needs, and easiest and most reliable in use.

You should never attempt to power anything major through the APM, even a couple of servos on a gimbal can be pushing it, depending how you have the APM powered. I use a separate BEC for all external power requirements. This runs off the main PDB.

So yes, you can use a separate battery, or you can use the main flight batteries, maybe through a regulator, depending on Tx voltage requirements.


Thank you for the education this really helps. What BEC do you use? Have you used the headplay goggles?  They seem to be the only ones I can find that are 800 by 600.  What I do not like about them is the bulky box that the goggles need to attach into.



Any good quality Linear BEC is the go.

I had previously used good quality Hyperion Switch mode BEC's but I think a few problems I have have had may be due to the interference from the switch mode, so I am swapping out for linear types. No direct evidence points to the switch modes, just my suspicion.

The HeadPlay are easily a better quality unit than the rest I have used, the higher resolution is something you find hard not to have once you use it. I too thought the box was a bulky item, but then you need a battery to power most others, and a battery for your Tx, so when you look at the system as a whole, it is a moot point.


With the headplay unit (which I purchased) I'm confused is the "bulky" box supposed to be it's own battery? Or is the lipo battery that came with the unit supposed to plug into the box? Also I assume the battery that came with the unit needs to be notified to be the power supple.


Hello Jason,

some time ago I had a headplay myself.

The battery is supposed to go in the bottom of the box. There is a cover that can be released.

BE CAREFUL: The big connector that enters the box is very, very fragile. Also: Never mess up the power supply. I tried my own 3S power up in my ground station. I don't know how, but I messed up and interchanged +/-. The box instantly burned out.

Luckily I got a new box from sb that dropped his headplays on the ground and the glass optics broke.

But after I sold my headplays. Wasn't practically enough. Too heavy and not protected against light at all.

Also, I suffered from problems with my IPD setup.

On the plus side: 800x600 !!  and the option to playback avi files from usb stick. But again: problems. Every movie file had to be reencoded as xvid avi file to work.

Yes, the battery goes in the box, and replacement boards are readily available if you do blow one up.

All the goggles I have tried have had no real effective light blocking, so you have 2 options.

1 - a head cover, which I started using, and

2 - combine the goggles into a good quality skiing or snow goggles, the wrap around type with the foam cushion against the face work the best.

It's a simple operation and the result is well worth it.

This is what I use now, and the comfort and convenience is way better than any of the head straps I have used that come standard on the video goggles.

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