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  1. #1
    RC poster
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Asheville NC

    The NooB Files: TraXXas Summit R/FPV

    * As you read on, keep in mind all this is from the perspective of a clueless, inexperienced and shamefully unskilled (regarding R/FPV & RC) total NOOB..
    Thank You in advance for your mercy! *

    ** for those who don’t know what I mean by “R/FPV”.. it stands for “Remote (and/or) FPV”.. I came up with that term because you can have an onboard cam recording the action, but not necessarily be viewing/recording it live, remotely **

    Check out my Channel on YouTube

    Putting my R/FPV system together..
    Based on exceptional reviews and the advice of (forum) friends I went with ReadyMade RC for assistance with this.
    Yup.. they definitely know their stuff alright!
    Dave, my Tech/Rep walked me through every aspect of FPV and helped me to determine what system/setup would be best -for what I wanted to do..
    In a period of a few short weeks I received an overwhelming education on the technical aspects and seemingly endless options of FPV systems.

    I subsequently placed my order and here is my setup - as it is for now;

    ( See my Utube channel for items not included in the Pics )

    ReadyMadeRC Custom 1.3 Ghz FPV package: 1258/1280 Mhz
    - 1.3 Ghz Video Transmitter 400mW *
    - 1.3 Ghz RMRC Video Receiver
    - Skew Planar Wheel Whip Circular Polarized RX Antenna
    - Cloverleaf Circular Polarized (side feed) TX Antenna
    - RMRC 600 XV NTSC board camera
    - 2.1 mm board camera lens
    - Pant/Tilt w/9g servos for board cam
    - FatShark Dominator Video Goggles

    - GoPro Hero-2 Outdoor Edition
    - BacPac LCD screen
    - BacPAc extra battery/charger
    - Tripod mount
    - LayerLens GoPro Lens Protection Kit
    - GoPro Lens Replacement Kit

    - Genuine EZCap PC based USB Capture

    - Sidebar - Tech Assistance from RMRC

    I was originally going to get the 1000mW TX transmitter, but here’s some guidance I received from RMRC on why it might not be necessary..

    “.. power for the Tx.. that's always a balance as too much VTX power near the radio RX will cause reduced range in the radio link, thwarting the reason for adding the high watt VTX in the first place. High watt VTX needs to be spaced as far from the onboard RX as possible so as not to reduce range. If you're using a 2.4 radio link I wouldn't expect to make this mission too far.. as 2.4 radio links are simply weak with penetrating power anyway..”


    “.. so the range in miles you're looking for is around 1/2 mile but up to as much as 1 mile. The challenge is the dense objects and terrain and honestly I don't think any of our systems even @ 1.3 will get you clear signals out too far with objects between you. In addition you need both the radio and video links to keep up so it's not about the best link you have, rather the weakest one as that's there you'll stop out at range.

    I think the 1.3 system you'll looking into will be best for this, but I want to make sure you're expectations aren't set too high on what’s possible when blocking the link signal is critical to control. The reason you don't see many ground vehicles making these runs is simply because it's not possible when LOS is broken and too many dense objects are in the way of the TX and RX antenna for a given link.

    I've done a lot of ground vehicle FPV and it’s much more limited than flying FPV where maintaining LOS is much easier. The truck I've had out to 1 mile on a max range test was across open flat ground with the antenna up way high to maintain link... that same system wouldn't get past a thicket of trees no 300' from me to give you an idea of how dense objects will effect the same system in a different environment..”

    Ummm.... Aha

    While waiting for all this cool gear to arrive I played with the Summit as much as I had time for.. and most definitely, the Summit was an excellent choice.. what an AWESOME vehicle for both on and off road FUN!
    Of course, that much fun has to be shared..
    Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the kids were nagging and complaining that one of these cool trucks just wasn’t going to be enough for racing/competing and general group fun..

    *SIGH*.. I could feel myself rapidly sliding into bankruptcy..
    Back to HobbyTown for more advice and guidance.. and I left with the E-Maxx..
    Although different in many ways from the Summit, it’s just as much of an AWESOME vehicle and equally as much FUN! – Good, now everybody’s HAPPY – specially my Credit Card Company!

    Here’s how I setup the R/FPV for the Summit;

    ~ NooB’s > Pay Attention To This! ~

    With all the excitement I was going thru at the prospect of getting my very 1st FPV system.. guess I overlooked a LOT of things.. which I didn’t realize until I actually got my order.. then, I was SO overwhelmed with it all that I started feeling dizzy..

    The first issue that annoyed me is that I didn’t know the Fatshark Dominator goggles I had ordered as part of my system.. DON’T COME WITH A FREAKIN BATTERY!
    The 11.1v 1000mAh battery pack for this thing is sold separately.. DUH!

    You would think.. rather EXPECT.. that at $300+ they would include at least ONE lousy battery! –cheap!

    So there I was, anxious to get started.. and immediately shot down when I figured out I had NO WAY of turning these goggles ON! I Couldn’t even use it for other applications or A/V entertainment since it has all these weird “alternate power” connections, none of which I had -or applied to me.
    Yes, it does come with a little piece of wire, cut off at one end, for the DIY Ac/Dc adapter..
    Excuse me??
    “DIY”.. ME? ~LoL!!~

    Aha, that aint gonna happen!
    Knowing me I’d end up trying to hook it to my lawn tractor battery…
    Ummm, better not..

    Next.. my super cool 1.3 Ghz TX/RX comes with two adorable little 1100 mAh batteries..
    Very nice!
    EXCEPT.. it never occurred to me that I had NO WAY of charging them..
    Talk about frustrations..??

    So far this was like sitting at the bar watching a Master Sushi Chef prepare the most exquisite of dishes.. but you cant have any, LoL!

    Flash would have been proud.. I bolted down to the Hobbystore where the Guru’s there promptly soldered and fixed me up with some adapters so these batteries would fit my Onyx 245 charger – YAY!

    My next panic attack occurred at around the time I saw that included in my order was a bag stuffed full of wires.. none of which I had any clue what they were for of course..

    That was like serving a bowl of spaghetti to a 2 yr old.. LoL!

    Last but not least.. I had ordered a pan/tilt unit for the little board cam.. thinking I would get what was in the picture..
    Ummmm… not.

    I found this little plastic bag full of what looked like jigsaw puzzle pieces..
    Remember what I had said about me and jigsaw puzzles?.. Aint gonna happen!
    There were 2 other bags with these cute little blue gizmos of sorts.. HUH??
    NOT happening either, Ha!

    Oh well.. on to the next step I guess..
    I laid all the gear out on a table and with the expert guidance from the instructions provided by Dave and some forum friends, I proceeded to attempt assembly of my very 1st R/FPV system..!!

    Lemme see here..
    GoPro Hero 2.. + the little wire (included from RMRC).. the antenna and battery to the TX.. DONE!
    RX.. + the battery.. + the antenna.. the A/V output.. DONE!

    Plug it into the big screen TV..

    Houston, we have R/FPV!!

    I never cease to amaze myself sometimes.. to think I actually got this working!!

    Next step is to load the Summit and go for a spin, YAY!!

    .. NOT!

    That idea came to a screeching halt when I realized that the 2.5mm plug/cable that would give me the live video feed I was so anxiously striving for, plugs in to the SIDE of the GoPro.. which then doesn’t fit inside the plastic case anymore.. DUH!!

    Hold On Dude! – I already know what you’re going to say..
    Sure, I could have just strapped down, glued, stapled or otherwise attached the GoPro –without case- to the Summit chassis some other way.. but that totally defeats the purpose..

    Unlike weight concerns on a flying machine, I don’t think that’s too much of a problem here.. SPECIALLY on a beast like the Summit.. and driving this thing around in the dirt, mud, puddles, not to mention potential rollovers, flips and other assorted crashes, that relatively “fragile” little GoPro – with all those exposed ports and particularly the LENS – would be destroyed in no time at all – and knowing me, on the first run..

    Nah.. for ground pounding, I want to keep the case to protect the cam as much as possible..
    Besides, a naked cam is harder to mount unless in a bracket or something..

    So, what to do..?
    Considered getting the Skeleton case from GoPro that has one side open to expose the ports..
    I also have the lens replacement kit plus the lens protective kit I got from RMRC..
    Ummmmm…. Yea.... maybe some other day.

    After a while of sitting there studying the situation and options, I was suddenly overcome by a soothing wave of “McGyverness”.. – or Redneck Ingenuity, call it what you will..

    Where’s that drill thingy we used to have!!”
    IT’S HAMMER TIME!! ~LoL!!~

    I know.. you’re cringing already.. but yea, I sure did!
    Seemed to me the top plastic elbow of this plug had fairly good clearance between where it bends, to where the (metal) plug starts..
    The plastic GoPro protective case didn’t seem that thick either..

    Found a drill bit exactly the thickness of that plastic elbow..
    Loaded the GoPro in the case, marked where the 2.5mm port is.. then removed the cam and cranked that Bosch into high gear!!
    EXCEPT.. my fingers were still inside the case holding it..!!

    Yea.. I bet you KNEW this would happen.. right?
    Aha.. an idiot like me.. with a high powered drill.. and a razor sharp titanium bit..

    Well.. the bit went through that plastic case like nothing – AND my finger - like a hot skewer into a ripe sausage link!

    (hours later)
    .. after mopping up all the blood I got right back into it!
    At this point Im totally determined to become a skilled hobbyist – or amputee, whichever comes first!

    At least it was worth it!
    The plug fits snug right into that hole I drilled.. both in my finger, AND the plastic case -

    Granted, the case is not waterproof anymore (neither is my finger!), but certainly at least water-resistant..
    I have redeemed myself!

    My initial setup of the gear on the Summit was rather crude.. more like just thrown on there and held together in true Redneck style.. with strips of duct tape – for now..

    I proceeded to drive around all over the house, everywhere I could possibly go, just to get a feeling for how it looks.. which is REALLY weird.. the wide angle and low to ground perspective takes some getting used to.. felt like playing a video game, only LIVE!
    - SPECIALLY when I accidentally ran over my dog.. OOOPS, SORRY SASHA!!

    I spent the rest of the afternoon working on making a more pleasant looking and sturdy mounting option for all this gear..

    Several hours later (without further injury, Thank God!) I had a pretty good setup going!
    Not bad for a NooB knucklehead huh!

    Now Im more determined than ever to quit being such a useless slug and get full throttle into crafting, building and putting every ounce of “McGyveresque Ingenuity I may have to some good use – YAY! (~LoL!!~)

    I think Im ready for a real outdoor test drive and take some video to go with it, hopefully soon!
    There’s hope for me yet!

    Coming Soon!
    Summit R/FPV Excursions – The Movie!

    Stay tuned, this is gonna be FUN!!

    Colorful review, but please check the rules regarding language. This is still a G-rated forum and what flies elsewhere does not go well here. Traxxas has a strict language policy. A word filter operates to change inappropriate words to *s. When you see these in your post, you MUST edit them out.
    Last edited by ksb51rl; 12-06-2012 at 07:30 PM. Reason: Language

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