These are the most frequently asked questions we receive from our customers.
See if your question is listed below, and "click" to display the answer, it will save you time and frustration.
1. What do I need to know to get into FPV?
FPV stands for First Person View. In order to do FPV you will need a camera, transmitter, receiver, antennas, and a video display. These components are the "core" and the most important items responsible for quality and performance of an FPV system, anything else is just bells and whistles. The camera needs to be connected to the transmitter which will send video wirelessly to a receiver that will be connected to the video display.
The transmitter: is responsible for transmiting/sending audio and video wirelessly to the transmitter, and it can handle basically any analog camera. Some digital cameras provide analog video signal that can also be compatible with our FPV systems.
The camera: is responsible for image quality of your FPV system,and it connects directly to the transmitter. Investing in a good camera is very important if image quality matters to you.
The receiver: is responsible for receiving the signal sent by the transmitter. One of the most important features in a transmitter is the sensibility, the more sensitivity the better the receiver will "listen" to the signal sent by the transmitter.
The video display: is responsible for displaying the video received by the receiver. One of the most important features a video display for FPV can have, is the ability to show some image when video signal is weak or poor, without going to a solid black or blue screen; which is not a good thing to happen when doing FPV.
The Antennas: Are responsible for sending and receiving video signal. Antennas have a very important role in the performance of your FPV system. The bigger the sensibility of the Antenna connected to the receiver, the better and the stronger the video signal will be. The antenna is the ear of the receiver, the more sensitivity (dBi) the antenna has. the clearer the receiver will "hear" and understand the transmitter. Just be careful because some antennas with very high sensitivity have a tendency to be directional; in other words, it must be pointing towards the transmitter.
Installation rule number 1
Most importantly, when starting with FPV is to start simple but right. Avoid adding bells and whistles to your system, simplify everything. Start basically only with a good camera, transmitter and receiver and upgrade your stock antennas for better performance. If you’re planning to fly around the park within 1 mile or less, then a good set of circular polarized antennas is a good way to go. For a long range flight, a patch antenna for your receiver and a “Whip” or “VEE” linear polarization will do the job.
Distance between the r/c receiver and the video transmitter is a must, the bigger the distance between them the better the results! Also keep in mind that the further you go with your model, the higher it must be to avoid loosing signal.
Choose a stable airplane preferably with no ailerons, just rudder and elevator (example: Easy Star, Slow Stick...). Avoid windy days. Whenever you go fly your r/c airplane with FPV system, find an open area to fly (no buildings, tall trees or freeways). If it’s possible, go to Google earth and observe carefully the aerial view for the area, and try to keep the landmarks in mind to help you figure out your position in the air. As soon as you take off, go to a decent altitude for better view, maybe 100’-200” (30-60mts) high should help. Take someone with you to be your spotter to watch your plane while you’re flying. All of this will give you a more comfortable flight and you will have a good first time experience with FPV... which is very important. It's very common for a a/v transmitter to get hot due to its power and the small size. Just keep it with as much air flow as possible to keep it cooler.
FPV is a fantastic and amazing hobby, and there is a learning process that should not be ignored. Don't be lazy, read as much as you can to learn the details about FPV, and it will significantly help you to troubleshoot and improve the performance of your FPV system.
2. What is the best FPV system?
First of all, what might be the best system for you doesn't mean that will be the best system to everybody else, and vice versa. It all comes down to what you expect from your FPV the system and budget. The first thing to consider is find out what band (frequency) of FPV setup you can use.
If the radio control system (R/C system) of your aircraft/vehicle is on 2.4 GHz frequency , than you can only use the following systems: 900 MHz, 1.2/1.3 GHz or 5.8 GHz FPV . If your remote controlled vehicle has 27, 40, 72 or 75 MHz radios, then basically any of our FPV system is suitable to you.
FPV systems on 1.3 GHz or lower frequencies have much better performance flying around trees and obstacles than 5.8 GHz system. Many people don't know, but Fatshark video glasses can be used with any FPV we carry. All Fatshark video glasses come with A/V cable allowing you to use the glasses with any analogue video devices, even DVD players.
Always avoid having the FPV system and R/C gear in the same band, it can cause interference and eventually loss of control of your R/C model.
Typically the more output the transmitter has the, bigger its range will be. Thus the "Further Away" you will have to instal the video transmitter from the R/C receiver even if they're not the same frequency (band). If your RC model has a small limited area, then we suggest using a transmitter with lower amount of milliwatts (mW). If your model is big enough allowing you to instal a 1000mW (1W) transmitter at least 15" inches away form the RC receiver, then the FPV1012 1.2 GHz 1000mW will be a nice option to go with.
Upgrading the stock antennas of your system is a must, and it will definitely improve the performance of it. In fact a 400mW FPV system with upgraded antennas can easily surpass the performance of a 600mW system with stock antennas.
If you just want to try the FPV with your model and don’t want to spend too much money without having to deal with soldering and messy wires, then theFPV Plug and Play Starter Kits are the best option not only for beginners but advanced users also.
If you're looking for a complete FPV setup for RC airplane for long range applications then this is our best suggestion:http://hobbywireless.com/docs/Best_FPV_system_airplanes.html
3. What frequency is better?
Lower frequencies travel further than higher ones. Lower frequencies also have better obstacle penetration, such as trees, buildings or even clouds.
That means, a 500mW transmitter on 900 MHz has a much stronger signal compared to 5.8 GHz, and the difference is big.
The advantage of higher frequency devices is that the antennas are typically smaller.
4. What is the range of the FPV system? How far can I go with the FPV system?
As already briefly mentioned, the type of antennas used with the system is a major and important factor that make huge difference on the performance of the integrity of the signal, and reception quality.
We have customers using the same 900MHz 500mW fully tested transmitters getting different performance varying from half to 1 mile (with the stock antennas), and 2 to 4 miles (with directional antennas to the receiver). Since there are so many variables involved, it would be impossible to determine specifically what range each FPV each setup and installation will have.
5. What is the difference between the "FPV Plug and Play Starter Kit" and the "FPV Set Receiver + Transmitter"?
The FPV Set Receiver + Transmitter requires soldering and some basic knowledge with electronics. The wires and connections need to be customized and must be done by the user. It has audio capabilities, but the transmitter does not come with a built-in microphone (which is really important to hear what is going on with your plane in case of a servo jittering or the motor stops running.) Over all, the performance/range is the same as the Plug and Play kits. Click here for illustration.
6. Testing the range of your fpv system.
- Keep the antennas for the receiver/transmitter in the upright position for optimized performance. - Instal the transmitter as far as you can from any other electronics i.e. ESC, motor even camera. - For best reception, the receiver's antenna must be placed under open sky, with no obstructions such as roof, building, under trees, inside of trailer or car etc.
7. Is it recommended to use a high gain antenna with my receiver?
8. Can I Record the Camera Image and use video glasses at the same time?
9. What is the minimum altitude I should fly if my aircraft is about 1/4 miles away?
10. What do i do if my OSD GPS function is not working properly or not finding any satellite?
11. What is a Head Tracker?
12. How do I get a HAM license in US?
Getting your HAM license is quite simple and it's not hard if you have directions. Besides you will learn powerful information that will help you to improve the performance and operation of your wireless system.
To pass the Technician class exam, you must answer 26 of 35 multiple choice questions correctly. This information can be found on the www.fcc.gov website.
U.S. licenses are good for 10 years before they have to be renewed. You can read more about renewing here.
The test costs around $15 and you will need to bring a legal photo ID, Social Security card, two 2 pencils, and a pen. You can read more about what to bring on the ARRL website. The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is a great resource for Ham operators. I suggest you browse through their website and learn about HAM.
These are very helpful links.
1. Getting your technician license
2. Exam practice
3. FCC Official Site
13. What antenna should I purchase for my 5.8 GHz system?
For long range and no multipath issues: Skew Plannar for transmitter and Heliaxial for the receiver.
For long range and linear polarization using whip or vee antenna on the transmitter: AN580, or AN5811 antennas for the RX360
14. What does MHz, GHz and mW mean on the transmitters?
The abbreviation W is a unit of measurement used to measure the amount of output power of a transmitter, and mW (milliwatt) is 1/1000 of a watt, 1000mW=1 Watt, 500mW=0.5 Watt
15. To watch flight in real-time, should I buy an LCD display or video glasses (goggles)?
16. Why certain transmitters are not legal in US and some have channels locked for US customers?
17. What is multipath and how to deal with it?
18. Is the remote control Long Range System (LRS) compatible with any FPV system?
19. I have a specific application using wireless video. Can Hobby Wireless help or guide me with my project?
We can help you providing information about the products we carry. Although if your application is not conventional FPV, we can't tell how you should do it.
20. Can I use GoPro HD camera for FPV piloting?
21. Li-Po Batteries, how to charge and store them?
Store your batteries with 3.85v per cell, i.e. a 3S pack 11.6v and 4S pack 15.4v and preferable store them in a dry place without direct sun light and between 40 and 70 degrees F for best results, when transporting keep them from 30-100° F.
Check them at least every 3 months using a simple such as HW Mini Lipo Battery Voltage Meter 1-8S METER 1S-8S http://hobbywireless.com/electronics-gadgets-c-226_208/mini-lipo-battery-voltage-meter-1s8s-dual-alarm-buzzer-p-841.html.
Note: We have customers that lost their using GoPro for FPV piloting, and the camera turned off in the middle of the flight causing completely loss of video.
General Store Questions
1. Does Hobby Wireless ship to addresses other than the billing address?
2. Does Hobby Wireless ship international orders? Is there a legal way to avoid or minimize this customs duties (importation fees)?
3. How much is the shipping cost?
4. What type of payments does HobbyWireless accept?
PayPal: This is one of the best and the most secure method of payment online, at no extra charge.
Credit Card: Will be accepted via paypal. You do not have to open a PayPal account, just pay using your credit card with no extra charges. PayPal will provide you the best and most secure online payment.
Western Union: This payment method can be done from anywhere in the world. It's simple, fast and secure. CLICK HERE TO FIND A WESTERN UNION AGENCY CLOSE TO YOU.
Personal Check: Personal checks can be held up to a period of five (5) days until cleared at the bank.
Money Order: Pay the order of: Hobby Wireless. Please make sure your money order is signed as well.
Cash Orders: Please send it by registered mail for your protection.
Our mailing address:
Hobby Wireless LLC
12000 Starcrest Drive, Suite 109,
San Antonio, Texas.
5. Problems with our website, Login or any other issue?
If the problem persists please email a copy of your PC screen showing the issue by using the "Print Screen" feature. To capture the active screen, hold the ALT and the Print Screen ( "PRTSC" or "PRTSCN") keys to capture the shot. This will save your screen shot. Then press the right button of your mouse to paste it into a Word, PowerPoint document or directly into your email and send it to us.
6. Problems at the checkout page, checkout page freezes. Credit Card payment is not going thru or declined?
Answer: 2: Payment not going thru, error, declined... To solve this issue please make sure your credit card has international acceptance. Make sure your credit card and billing address are the same. If the addresses are not the same, call your credit card company and update your billing address. Also make sure your credit card has funds available. If your name and address contain specific characters (ex:Æ, Ø, ñ,ü,ß,ä) avoid them, just use the plain English characters (ex: Niño type Nino).
If the problem persists after you have checked all these points...here is what we can do:
Place an order by choosing "check/money order" as a payment selection at the checkout page. Then, come back here and click onSEND SECURE PAYMENT - free service
On section marked "To", type this email address: email@example.com
On section marked "From", type your email address.
On section marked "Amount", type the total amount of your order including shipping cost.
7. I want to change my account information, how do I do it?
8. Why does Hobby Wireless not provide technical support over the phone?
9. Why do I keep getting the PayPal error: Transaction cannot be completed
Verify if your PayPal account has your bank information or if you have a credit card on your PayPal account. Otherwise it can cause this 10417 error.
Make sure you credit card shipping and billing address are the same, and make sure your credit card or bank account have funds available.
If the problem persists after you have checked all these points...here is what we can do:
Place an order by choosing "check/money order" as a payment selection at the checkout page. Then, send us an e-mail requesting a PayPal money request with your order number. For faster transaction click on the picture below and follow the settings.
Making a manual payment for your order is easy, free and very secure.
No additional costs and you don't need to have an account with Paypal.
Just follow the picture as an example in red on how to fill out the form.
From: type your email address here
Amount: Place the total amount of your order including shipping cost.
Select "Goods" and click continue...Click on the PayPal picture below to make a manual payment.
10. No replies from e-mails written to Hobby Wireless?
Also see our Technical Help page.
11. Want to know more details of your package shipped using USPS (United States Postal Service)?
12. How many steps are in the checkout process ?
Keep clicking on the Checkout button to move to a desired page where op tions will be available, see screen examples below.
Click on the image to enlarge.
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