So you want to try FPV flight based on what you’ve read so far about it. Perfect! Here’s what you need to do. I will be focusing this week on an ARF model that you’re going to have to assemble the parts yourself. The ImmersionRC Vortex Mini Racing Quadcopter ARF is a great starter for those new to building their own. The great thing about this product is that it comes with all the drone hardware you need with specs that include
Weight: – 350g without battery, or HD camera
Power Requirements: 3s-4s LiPo
ESCs: Full Custom, 12A continuous, 16A peak, rotorSENSE, Oneshot125
Flight Camera: Fatshark 600TVL CMOS (std), fatshark 700TVL CMOS, and 900TVL CCD optional
HD Camera: GoPro Hero 3&4, Mobius (not included) can be powered from onboard BEC
Receiver Compability: PPM input, with S-Bus and Spektrum Satellite converter cables optional
Flight Time: Highly dependent upon battery and flying style
The next consideration is the goggles or the screen view. I would recommend for the full immersive FPV experience that the goggles be choice, however the screen offers the ability for others to view your flight. The FatShark Attitude V3 Headset is a widely considered model by users both entry level and professional. The brand name has become iconic in pioneering the smoothest tracking to the camera available.
Customization is a huge part of the ARF drone builds, so from the above specifications most can be interchanged and swapped at the users discretion. Video links which acts as your transmitter is a popular choice depending on the intended flight course. For example the current options that are used include:
- 900 mHz
- 1.2 – (1.3) Ghz
- 2.3 -2.4 Ghz – *if a lot of racers this channel can be prone to more interference
- 5.8 Ghz
The difference between these bands is that the lower the Hz output:
- The video quality to the goggles/screen will be less quality
- The antenna on the device will be bigger (could affect flight time/maneuverability due to weight)
- The penetration through walls and obstacles is better
- The range is longer from the user remote
For Higher frequencies:
- The ability to fly with more people as the frequency is more distinct
- The antenna is smaller that allows a smaller craft
- The video picture is clearer
- Range is slightly less as the frequencies increase
- Sometimes penetration within thick walls (warehouse flying in and out) or dense forest can interfere
With the majority of the batteries, the length are very dependent on the flight course and type of flying. For example, if lots of flips are made and speed is at maximum for the duration of the flight it will affect the battery. Simple lipo batteries will suffice, but can change at the users need. The idea is that the more powerful batteries will be heavier and thus limit the “freestyle” aspect of the tricks and rolls the drone ca do, however will give you and increased length of flight. Thus; depending on the course layout, the user might like to have a heavy and light battery.
The antenna is another highly customized part of the ARF FPV drone. There are initially two types that need to be considered. Firstly Linear that is the stock standard that acts as a star shape and distributes a signal from the top of the wire. The next is circular that have polarization characteristics and spiral up the antenna. The best way to distinct these initial choices is by footage of them both in flight.
Typically, linear antenna’s are associated with lower frequencies and Circular with higher more intense builds.
The pattern type of the antenna is then something that needs to be conceptualized. Again, this can be influecned by the type of flight the user is intending on.
Omni Pattern – this radiates a signal in a 360 Degree pattern within the same range as the controller. This is ideal for warehouse freestyle flight or small short courses where laps are involved in a small radius. It allows you to stand facing any direction and the craft will still pick up a signal.
Directional – The directional pattern is intentional for long range flights. Those that have a trail course hat perhaps have a longer distance from the user is where this option should be considered. The signal is sprayed in a “shotgun” type focused beam of around 90-120 degrees in which the control needs to be pointed majority of the time at the aircraft.
I’d like to dip into the regulatory mechanics of an FPV racing league at university, and why the idea of it with RTF drones at campus can be the entry into flight expertise.