I'm currently working on an university research project in which I will be mounting a thermal camera to the bottom of hexacopter and then trying to spot nesting birds in the marsh that are difficult to spot by other means.

This is basically what my "needs" are:

I am looking for a lightweight(< 100g), low-power and durable(vibration/shock resistant and maybe water also?) solution. It needs be around 640x480 resolution at at least 25fps and we need it to output analog video(i.e. RCA connectors). Also, it will be flying in Alabama during the spring/summer at night(high humidity and upper 70's temp) and needs to be able to identify/spot medium sized birds at a height of around 100m or more.

Does anybody have any experience with this? Because i'm wondering how would this be different from a GoPro FPV? 

I'm just looking for any pointers, etc.

Andrew Boos

Auburn University, Auburn, AL

P.S.- Yeah, I know...how much better does it get? $2000 hexacopter + >$5000 thermal camera and I get to play with it all ;)

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I would start with the GoPro for learning FPV

This is my thermal unit I use. I set it up as a self-contained module so I can easily change aircraft 

600mw transmitter and Fatshark goggles with a 2s lipo for power

I have used a fixed wing platform to see if eggs were in a nest, also in a marsh made simple by knowing where the nests were. I am assuming the nests are difficult to get to because of wetness in your case as well?? If the nests are open to the sky I think shape detection might work for you. A hexacopter is not going to give you long over a wetland. Especially if you are climbing to 100m and then recovering from that height. Do you have a COA?

I'm getting about 25 mins flight time with the GoPro right now, which shouldn't be a problem, as I can make multiple flights/grids. But i'm flying line-of-sight and under 400ft, so isnt as COA unnecessary?

Is that the FLIR TAU? with the camera extension? Also, what frequency is that transmitter and what range do you get?

No it is an old Flir A-10,  5.8ghz  600 mw on the radio

I have not range tested this unit yet. A lot depends on the antennas  you use

but 2 km should not be a problem

Thanks  for the info! It helped a ton!



Where did you get that case??  I need one for my A-10.



Radio Shack cheap project case

Thank you


I'm having an issue with my camera.  Have power but no video.

I have tried several monitor sources, I think either the cable has an issue or the video board.

Do you think I could send you mine and you hook it up to your working cable to test.

FLIR has no support or cables for this item anymore.


Thanks Guy

If anyone needs repair information on cameras that are out of warranty or discountined I have found a company that works on everything.



I am out of town right now....Work
Post some photos of what you have going on
if you have not already sent it off for repair

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