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  1. #1
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    Alias modified with FPV camera and transmitter

    Hi everyone,

    I have two Alias quadcopters and I love them. I'm also building a third out of spare parts. But I wanted to take my flying experience to the next level and get into FPV. So I purchased one of the Hubsan FPV quads. That was a good start, but the flight characteristics of the 107D just don't compare to what I've come to enjoy so much about the Alias.

    So I decided to convert one of my Aliai to FPV with a lightweight camera and transmitter (VERY lightweight). It had to be light because I've tried mounting a keychain camera and a Mobius to the bottom of the model but they just kill the performance.

    I was able to find a really small camera/transmitter combo here: http://www.readymaderc.com/store/ind...oducts_id=2861. It transmits on 5.8 GHz, weighs only 8g, and outputs 25mW. No, that's not a lot, but that's the trade-off for being so small and it works good enough for the flight range of the Alias.

    Yes, It works! Here are some photos.









    What's really cool is that I was able to use a splitter cable so that the camera/transmitter share power from the Alias battery. I haven't noticed any shortening of flight time since this setup draws so little power.

    I'll upload some video and post a link as soon as I can. Let me know if you have any questions.

  2. #2
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    That is just way cool. I may have to do this myself! What is your ground set up?

  3. #3
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    Very Interesting. I look forward to some video. If you get a chance could you weigh your beast please.

    Here's what I have Alias with battery



    Alias, battery and 808#16 LD lens.

  4. #4
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    I posted a flight video on YouTube, http://youtu.be/yON2k2OUlQY. The recorded video quality is not great, but it will give you an idea. The upload to YouTube also blurred out and pixilated a lot of the detail.

    I'm using Skyzone goggles with the dipole antenna on one side and a 4-leaf antenna on the other. I also bought a spiral antenna which I have yet to try. The video out was sent from the goggles through a Diamond VC500 video capture device and recorded on my laptop.

    I'll try to get a total weight for the modded craft.
    Last edited by Zigga; 06-11-2014 at 10:52 PM.

  5. #5
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    The previous video somehow got chopped at the end.
    Here is the full version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQYMIgAhfes

    I just weighed the FPV quad with battery and came up with 116 grams.


  6. #6
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    Alias modified with FPV camera and transmitter

    That's not bad at all...even less than the Alias/808.
    Although poor quality video and Utube upload takes even more away from it. And we really can't compare it to say an GoPro 3 FPV...it's not that bad.
    I like it!
    Last edited by ksb51rl; 06-21-2014 at 08:17 AM.

  7. #7
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    Thanks. It's really fun to fly the Alias this way and like I said, the live video (and even the original recording) looked much better than YouTube.

    I'm hoping that when the Latrax camera finally gets released, that there may be a way to tap into its video and transmit that feed back to the goggles while getting a pure, clean recording of the flight with the onboard micro SD. If not, then I'll just mount my current setup alongside the Latrax cam and hope it's not too heavy.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zigga View Post
    I'm hoping that when the Latrax camera finally gets released, that there may be a way to tap into its video and transmit that feed back to the goggles while getting a pure, clean recording of the flight with the onboard micro SD.
    Maybe with any luck someone from the Traxxas R&D team will read this and modify the LaTrax camera to do just that!

  9. #9
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    what was your total setup cost?

  10. #10
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    Skyzone goggles: $410
    Latrax Alias: $150
    FPV camera/transmitter combo with "windmill" antenna (cloverleaf): $120
    5.8G 4 Leaves Omnidirectional Gain Antenna for Receiver (from Banggood): $6
    JST Plugs 2-Male 1-Female 3 Plugs Connector (from Banggood) for splitting power from Alias battery: $2
    Various pieces of DVD case, electrical tape and thread: negligible
    Experience of flying the Alias in FPV: PRICELESS

    Total cost: $688

    Obviously, whatever you already have, you don't have to buy.
    There was also the cost of the video capture device and laptop (or some form of recording device) but these are only needed if you want to record your flights. But like I said, I'm really looking forward to the Alias Camera from Latraxxas and recording the live video right on the quad.

  11. #11
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    I have never flown FPV but it looks pretty cool.

    I have been flying RC for some 45 years (showing my age) and it almost looks easier than trying to look at the model and flying it.

    Is it as easy as it looks? Probably not but would like to hear about it more.

  12. #12
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    Looks like it works pretty darn good for being so light! Very cool project, so what does the receiver cost?

  13. #13
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    The Skyzone goggles have the receiver built right into them, so there is no extra cost for a separate receiver.

    I have only been flying RC for about 4 months now (not including those cheapy $20 indoor-only helicopters or MS Flight Simulator), so anyone with more flying experience than that should have no trouble stepping into FPV.

    Being at the controls while flying from the perspective of the quad is the closest thing I can imagine to actually flying yourself (I've tried hang-gliding, so I know what that's like). In one respect, flying FPV is easier than controlling from the ground. Forward, backward, left and right never change depending on the orientation of the craft to you, the pilot. Remember how hard it was to control the quad when it is pointing towards you? It's much easier when you are 'looking out from the cockpit.'

    Thanks for your comments.

  14. #14
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    Latest video recording of FPV Alias flight. http://youtu.be/PWO-dmGBTNo

    Still just recording the video transmission with static but hope to improve on that soon.

  15. #15
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    really expensive mod but it looks like it has great results zigga!

  16. #16
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    too bad the FAA just made your mod illegal.

    unless your one of the lucky ones not in the USA
    Traxxas please sell kits!

  17. #17
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    Living in the USA but I'll keep flying under their radar.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer83L View Post
    too bad the FAA just made your mod illegal.

    unless your one of the lucky ones not in the USA
    That just is not true at least not yet. The FAA issued some guidelines they are thinking about making laws but so far there are no laws preventing you from flying a Quad with FPV
    BlindMan Racing
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  19. #19
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    Laws or not it's not like the FAA is in the backyard...

  20. #20
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    The problem occurs when a pilot does not use common sense on where to fly (AT&T Stadium in Dallas). Especially in restricted air space.

  21. #21
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    If you're flying around airports, stadiums, over people or crowds, traffic or any number of other areas you shouldn't be you've got nobody to blame but yourself for whatever happens. It is up to every pilot (and driver) to ensure they are operating their vehicle in a safe manner.

  22. #22
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    I just got my pico camera pack wiht transmitter and I also bought a receiver (not goggles, too expensive). It works great, I had to use a spare LiPo battery I had to power the camera and transmitter independent of the quadcopter battery because I am an electronics noob and couldn't figure out to make it run off the same battery.

  23. #23
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    That's great! This setup really rocks. When I was first putting mine together I had to use two batteries as well - one for the quad and one for the FPV components. But doubling the battery weight really kills the performance of the Alias.

    Banggood has the perfect power splitter cable for the job, http://www.banggood.com/JST-Plugs-2-...r-p-77544.html and it's less than $2.00 including shipping! Putting it all together is easy. In my 3rd photo above showing the underside of my rig, the female end of the splitter connects to the battery in the Alias, then the two male ends connect to the Alias and the transmitter. The wiring to the transmitter is long so I looped it once around the front leg and once around the back to take up the slack. It doesn't look super clean but I didn't want to cut the wires down.

    The folks at ReadyMadeRC.com have recently added a video showing the same FPV setup mounted to a Blade 200 QX. You can see that the video was recorded right on the craft using a separate camera (looks pretty sharp and no signal interference as when recording the transmitted video) but the flight movement of the QX just doesn't compare to the fluid performance of the Alias. Them's my two cents.

  24. #24
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    I don't think that splitter will work for me. The fpv components require a very small battery connector. it fits an old 175mA 3.7V LiPo I had for the hobbyzone champ. that little battery is only 4.7g so it's not bad to use it with it. I should add I am using the 1258hz camera/transmitter setup which only weighs 7.2g altogether. So with battery (attached using velcro) I am only adding about 12g of weight to the alias. Oh I guess I should count the velcro stuff used to fasten everything to the quad so about 15g of weight.

  25. #25
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    Sounds like a nice lightweight rig, even with the dual batteries. Post some pics if you're able to.

  26. #26
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    Here are some pics, it weighs less than 120g altogether.





  27. #27
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    Saaweeeeet! I like how the camera is tucked up tight under the nose. And it looks like the Velcro strap makes the whole assembly easy to remove. Do you have to take everything thing off when you change the battery in the Alias? Looks like it's all intertwined.

    How powerful is your video transmitter? My current one is a measly 25mW. Good enough to get it across the football field but with a lot of signal breakup. I ordered a 200mW that I hope will clean things up.

  28. #28
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    yes, switching batteries is a real pain for me right now in the sense that I have to deconstruct and reconstruct the camera apperatus every time. I have this transmitter: http://www.readymaderc.com/store/ind...oducts_id=1301 and it says it outputs between 30 and 50mW but it's also at a lower frequency (You can get as low as 910mhz) so that's more relative power. I have taken it about 50 yards with no problems yet but I haven't truly pushed the limits yet. I need to get a capture card so I can stream directly to my laptop instead of sitting in my living room trying to fly outside lol.

  29. #29
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    If you do get a video capture device, I'd like to see how your system works - especially operating on the lower frequency.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zigga View Post
    I was able to find a really small camera/transmitter combo here: http://www.readymaderc.com/store/ind...oducts_id=2861. It transmits on 5.8 GHz, weighs only 8g, and outputs 25mW. No, that's not a lot, but that's the trade-off for being so small and it works good enough for the flight range of the Alias.
    so been looking at this pretty hard lately, cause I want to do this to my alias.... couple questions:
    •Camera Choices:
    ◦RMRC Pico V2 Camera (NTSC or PAL)
    ◦RMRC Mini V2 Camera (NTSC or PAL)

    what's the difference? between pico & mini and then same question to ntsc or pal? New to all this and want to make a good choice if it's going to be a choice.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zigga View Post
    What's really cool is that I was able to use a splitter cable so that the camera/transmitter share power from the Alias battery. I haven't noticed any shortening of flight time since this setup draws so little power.

    I'll upload some video and post a link as soon as I can. Let me know if you have any questions.
    In my internet scrounging I also read this:

    L-C Filter for Wireless A/V Systemshttp://www.readymaderc.com/store/ind...roducts_id=138

    The filter reduces DC-DC switcher supply ripple and helps clean noisy power from a shared battery. For example, if your robot or R/C model's 12V motor battery also powers the video camera and A/V transmitter, then this LC filter can help reduce the video "noise" that may appear when the motor is running.

    and only reason I mention it is cause of that other guy on here who has the single cell battery with his. Wondered if he had the noise issue......

    love what you've done btw, it's inspiring.

  32. #32
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    Hey Mr Clean, Thank you for your comments and interest in this project.

    I went with, and would recommend going with the pico camera. There's probably no huge difference between the pico and mini but I have found a couple things like this leaning towards the pico: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZF-eCfpFjw. Read the video description in the "About". The heads up display overlay shown in the video is NOT a function of the cameras. Don't be confused. There is a separate component generating that.

    NTSC vs. PAL is simply a video format question. The choice should depend on where you live. http://www.diffen.com/difference/NTSC_vs_PAL

    Thanks for the tip on the noise filter. I probably won't incorporate it into this particular application for a couple reasons. I don't want to add the weight, and the poor quality my videos is more a result of the recording method I used and the resolution downgrade that YouTube caused when I uploaded them. The live video feed into my goggles looked great and I can fly more than the length of a football field before the signal degrades too much - even from the 25mW transmitter.

    I will soon be posting a "build" video on how I put this together. I'll let you know when it's up.

    God bless.

  33. #33
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    If anyone is interested, I just created a "How to" video on how I put together my FPV Alias.


  34. #34
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    Great video!

    I ordered everything at the first of this month. Still waiting for it to ship. very excited to do this.

    I did have one question, did you try the camera on top in any way? Reason I ask is my buddy tells me that in FPV the vehicle is usually tilted forward and that therefore it's a good idea to tilt the camera up about 7.

    So I've been trying to come up with something.

  35. #35
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    Waiting on my Dominator V2 to ship as well so all kinds of waiting going on.

    Only difference I went with is RMRC has a wide angle pico. So we'll see how that looks.

  36. #36
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    I have been meaning to post about Motors as well and I know this is not appropriate thread but it is somewhat related. I knew I was going to be carrying FPV setup so I upgraded my motors Chilean 17 dark edition. And my thought was better motors, carry a little more hopefully. But in fact it doesn't seem to be the case as a test I put my Traxxas camera on it and when I descend it wobbles like it is struggling to stay in the air. So I have taken my camera back off but I'm wondering if anyone else has experience that.

  37. #37
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    Run-on sentence like a Boss.

  38. #38
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    Do I understand that you ordered the FPV combo package from RMRC? Did they give you any idea as to when it might ship, as they currently seem to be out of stock? They still have most of the components available to purchase separately (minus the video transmitter) but it's more expensive if you go that route.

    I've seen photos from other people who have mounted their FPV camera to the top of the Alias or out in front (through a cutout in the canopy, but I prefer the bottom mount and pointing straight ahead. Mounted to the bottom, the camera is more protected during a crash than if it were mounted to the top. Also, mounting to the bottom keeps the props almost completely out of the camera's view. Perhaps that will be different with your wide angle lens but what I see looks pretty clean. And I prefer the level mount rather than angled up or down. Yes, an upward angle might provide you with a better forward view while you're tilted and flying forward but when you stop to hover you won't have a good view of what is out front or beneath you. And unless you're doing a lot of high altitude hovering, a downward angle won't serve you.

    I have three Aliai - one converted to FPV and using standard motors (or even the $4 V959 motors), one regular one, and one with the Dark Edition (CL-0820-17) motors. I do notice much snappier performance and acceleration with the darks (and slightly shortened flight time). For me, they're working great and I haven't burnt one out yet. If you're experiencing wobbles while descending it may be because the added weight with the camera is increasing the turbulent prop wash that quads create (and you're actually seeing the results magnified in the recorded camera video). Try descending differently - either in a steep dive, or sweeping back and forth, or in a spiral to stay out of the turbulence.

    Anticipation is exciting. I hope you get your stuff soon. Let us know when you've got it all together.

    God bless.

  39. #39
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    Ya, the combo was back ordered when I went to their site, so I broke it up individually in hopes that might get me stuff sooner but no such luck, the vtx is what is still on back order. But positive note, I get to try out the wide angle pico.

  40. #40
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    Check out the description (About) under my new video. There are links to a couple other places that sell the same Altitude transmitter and they have it in stock and at the same price.

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