As part of my plans to make a balloon-launched, return-to-launch UAV glider, I was looking out for a HD video camera that I could use in a typical fuselage installation.  I chose to invest my hard-earned into the Drift HD170 mostly because I figured the rotating lens meant that it was probably separate from the main processor board.  Only purchase and disassembly would find out...!


So, here's the full teardown and inspection of the device


The basic unit weighs 138g according the Drift, but stripped to this level it comes in at 58-60g, SD card included. The standard battery weighs 26g, but I intend to power the device from a central on-board battery pack, noise notwithstanding.


I plan on using the Skyfun as my airframe, so keeping the centre-of-gravity under control is my main priority.  This will be mounted in the nose of the airframe, so losing every possible gram is important to me, but damn that lens is still pretty weighty! (about 30g of the 58g total!)



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  • This is an answer to my own question:  I emailed Drift Innovation and the only thing they could recommend is to use a component to composite video converter.  I found one for about $46 that I ordered for home use.  I'm hoping that I can significantly lighten it and use it on board my plane...guess I'll post a blog about this process when it comes in and we'll see if it will work.

  • @Doug or anyone else.  Have you made any progress for using the Drift cameras as an FPV camera?  That is finding a way to get a composite video signal to an on board transmitter?  I have a couple of HD170s and a DriftHD and really want to make use of at least one of them in this manner.

  • The Drift HD170 has a HD output via component cables. How are you doing composite output to a video transmitter?


    The GoPro has composite output, but what about the Drift HD170?

  • @Nicolas. Yes. Maybe we can met once. I still want to visit the EPFL/ETH guys in Lausanne with the swarm UAVs . An old friend of mine is professor there. I actually live south the Zurich Lake close to Rapperswil, but still canton Schwyz (The village is called Tuggen). We have a huge plane here (the Linth) that is ideal for "free" rc, fpv and uav activities. I started my HAB from there.

  • Doug: I like the ImmersionRC so far. It's been easy to setup and mount, although it's bigger than I was expecting. It connects easily with my FatShark video glasses. I have a special cable for connecting the ImmersionRC to the GoPro (which now supports real-time POV with the new firmware upgrade). There is a bit of static when it's transmitting, but I think that's pretty typical for POV. While I'm flying POV, the GOPro is also recording high-defintion onto the SD card. I have it setup and it all seems to be working, but I haven't flown with it too much yet.
  • will it output standard composite video? looked to me like its component video out
  • Robert -

    I took that picture with the Drift HD170 but I did not have it set up for transmitting video. We have been doing some testing with output though and as I learn more I will certainly share. We have thought about interrupting

    the signal to the display as a possibility. How do you like the ImmersionRC transmitter?


  • @Marco, "Collision avoidance" Brilliant!
  • ... drifting off topic I guess.
  • Basically the flight out of sight is not allowed here in Switzerland too. But this is for traditional rc models. I asked our federal bureau of aviation what sense it makes to sue me if I try to land a HAB capsule in a safe area instead of let it land uncontrolled somewhere (highway, airport and so on). He wasn't able to tell me. As I studied law I know that for any law there is a subsuming of the original meaning an purpose of it. In this case to avoid accidents. No law - especially in the case law driven Anglo-Saxon system - can be interpreted literally in all cases. Even a bad lawyer can handle this in first instance.  Just call the system "collision avoidance" and not guided return and it will make a big difference. Trust me.

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