2.9 for FPV


Got the eyes installed!

The camera bracket is attached with the bolt that secures the arm. This is a camera that 3DR sells that operates in low light and normal light and auto adjusts. I am anxious to do some night FPV flying.

I finally felt with 2.9 that I was ready to equip my Ardu-copter for FPV. I flew some test flights just line of sight in a confined area, and checked the stable mode and the loiter mode and the loiter mode was much improved over 2.81.

The stable mode was fine already in 2.81 and was just as fine in 2.9.  

I tested FPV this afternoon and was very disappointed.  

I have to say though, I am a long time DJI NAZA user, I am still haven't gotten to the point of understanding the usefulness of the  the APM stable mode.  My fascination with drones are flying in FPV and creating videos.

For FPV, what I want is the GPS enabled stable mode like the NAZA gives which allows an auto-pilot mode that doesn't require the pilot to constantly fly. Being able to hold a position lets you focus on running video or taking pictures or inspecting whatever you want to take a look at.  

The Loiter mode seems to be very stubborn. when you set it, it wants to stay at that position, to change position, you have to switch back to stable mode, fly to the new location then set the loiter mode again. For FPV, this is difficult, in FPV, you only see what the on board camera sees and you don't want to be fumbling to operate switch's considering you are basically blind.

When I am in loiter mode and I use the stick to move to a new location, when I release the sticks, it goes back to where It was when I engaged loiter mode. this reduces its usefulness to an FPV flyer, to say the least...


This means you have to switch back and forth between loiter and stabile, and when in stable mode, you can drift all over the place and when seeing through the lens eye, it is easy to get too close to a tree, of other obstacle, which if you were able to move around in constant position hold that can be move around without changing modes, you can fly much safer and confidently.

This afternoon I finished setting my arducopter to use FPV and was able to test it. There was a little breeze and I found myself trying to stay in a confined area with several trees around the perimeter. I am used to flying in this area and have never had a problem with my copter with the NAZA even when it is very windy. In todays testing, I crashed twice, and once had to put it down a little abruptly once due to the behavior of the APM. 

The first time in trying to move to a new loiter position, while in stable mode, I backed into a tree.  (landed upright, no damage), the next time, when switching from loiter to stabile the throttle dropped resulting in a bounce off the ground from about 10 feet and tipped up on its side. (no damage.) the third time, I clipped tree branch's again while drifting due to the breeze in stabile mode. The main problem I was having is being able to move around, yet staying in a confined area, something I haven't had trouble doing before..

In each of these cases, if I had been flying LOS, I would have avoided any problem, but in FPV mode, copter stability is more essential due to not being able to see around you.

I could just fly in loiter mode and it would hold its new position rather than go back to the original position, I would happily continue perusing FPV, but being blind with the googles on and experiencing the unpredictable responses and having to be switching modes frequently is not what I want in an autopilot. I'm hope that a mode like loiter mode, but that can be moved and updated without switching out and back into loiter  mode will be considered, for an FPV pilot, I think it is essential


One more thing..

I also installed a minimOSD. I didn't take time to really mess with it yet, but for now, it only says "download charset". I guess I will need to search the WIKI and start figuring this out. Am I going to need anything special to configure that?

I have 3DR radios and mission planner.... 

Thanks for help from anybody!


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  • Ahh.. ok I understand. The avoidance part would seem to apply both in daytime and at night, and for me it is this;

    Fly under 400 feet altitude and avoid approach paths into airports or anywhere else where you expect to encounter aircraft at low altitude.I typically don't exceed 200 ft, so I don't test the 400 ft limit, I respect airspace, and know it is not a good idea to go above 400 ft, which if adhered to leaves a buffer for full scale aircraft.

    For the detect side of the DAA, the first thing I realize is that when flying FPV, the pilot has a limited FOV and is flying very slow compared to a full scale aircraft and obviously a small quad can't carry a radar.

    It is unlikely that the forward FPV view will help at all with detection, as any traffic could overcome you from behind or the side and you would have no warning day or night.  So, still I don't see a big difference in day or nighttime flying when it comes to DAA.

    The only practical plan now might be having a spotter and is probably the best assurance that you will detect aircraft entering the area day or night.  With observing the 400 ft rule, avoiding flying in fog or low visibility and avoiding areas with air traffic that could stray lower than 400 ft, and using a spotter when you fly, I think is a reasonable approach to flying FPV, day or night. 

    However, putting on the thinking cap for a minute gives me this idea;  

    We could create a system like FindU.com only for Aircraft positions, rather than APRS stations. Instead it could have a network of transponder receivers that would relay transponder data to a website that geo-mapps the data  into a form that could be localized and streamed via an internet connection to be used in the Mission Planner, where it could be displayed at the GCS but also sent via MAVlink to the MinimOSD (or whatever) so the pilot could see the aircraft on the OSD, along with altitude info. Imaging flying with googles, and seeing a "bogie" coming in at a close rate of over 100 MPH!  IT could be a blinking icon with a altitude label moving toward screen center, yikes!

      This would be quite a project requiring a network of web servers, transponder receivers, modifications to MAvLink, MP and the OSD. but entirely do-able and would provide a partial solution to the whole issue of DAA in general.  I think the FAA would like to see and answer to the issue.  The HAMS have done just that with APRS, and I think it could be done with Transponders.

      I say "partial solution" because I am aware that not all aircraft will have their transponders on. Nothings perfect!  (thinking about agricultural aircraft etc, maybe a spotter is the only sure thing)


    APRS Database Access
  • Moderator

    Detect and avoid, how are you going to stay clear of aircraft at night.

  • Hi Gary..  I don't know what you mean by DAA??  

    I'm not  up on the lingo much...


  • Hi, with your MinimOSD problem, you just need to connect the Minim up to your PC and upload the hex file charset then setup your displays.  You can download the software and .hex file here - http://code.google.com/p/arducam-osd/downloads/list

    Just use the software to upload the hex file to the minim and you'll be away!

  • Moderator

    Night flying....... how to you handle DAA?

  • Looks awesome! Please post some cool video's next time if you can I'd love to see what it looks like in flight.

    Editor of DroneCafe - The Daily Cup - Blog - Joshua Johnson

  • Developer

    it really hasn't been possible until the inertial navigation system was completed. That took a while and quite a bit of faith that it would actually work. But once enough smart people contributed we finally have something everyone can benefit from.


  • Thanks, thats really cool!

  • Developer

    For FPV, what I want is the GPS enabled stable mode like the NAZA gives which allows an auto-pilot mode that doesn't require the pilot to constantly fly. Being able to hold a position lets you focus on running video or taking pictures or inspecting whatever you want to take a look at.  

    Check out 2.9.1 when it arrives after testing. Leonard has been able to do exactly what you're asking for with Loiter. 



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