Complete FPV Setup For Your Drone

[Ioannis] is like anyone else who has a quadcopter or other drone. Eventually you want to sit in the cockpit instead of flying from the ground. This just isn’t going to happen at the hobby level anytime soon. But the next best option is well within your grasp. Why not decouple your eyes from your body by adding a first-person video to your quad?

There are really only four main components: camera, screen, and a transceiver/receiver pair to link the two. [Ioannis] has chosen the Sony Super HAD CCTV camera which provides excellent quality at the bargain basement price of just $25 dollars. A bit of patient shopping delivered a small LCD screen for just $15. The insides have plenty of room as you can see. [Ioannis] connected the screen’s native driver board up to the $55 video receiver board. To boost performance he swapped out the less-than-ideal antenna for a circular polarized antenna designed to work well with the 5.8 GHz radio equipment.

It seems that everything works like a dream. This all came in under $100 which is half of what some other systems cost without a display. Has anyone figured out a way to connect a transmitter like this to your phone for use with Google Cardboard?

17 thoughts on “Complete FPV Setup For Your Drone

  1. In regards to the question about hooking up the transmitter to your phone for use with Google Cardboard, has anyone done an FPV system in which the drone has an onboard computer such as a Pi that is able to connect to a 4G network and relay video via some form of internet protocol? (even if it is really low frame rate?) I’ve been wondering recently what it would be like to have the capability to pilot a semi-autonomous drone over a cellphone network outside the range of a typical radio frequency.

    1. Low framerate is not as much of a problem (within some bounds) as latency. There are a few commercial quadcopters that use digital video transmission, but there’s no single one that compares to plain old NTSC/PAL in terms of latency. And a 50ms delay can easily make the difference between a happy copter and one smashed into pieces against something.

      1. Thats true! I was doing some experiments with Raspberry Pi as well, together with the official Camera module. I was transmitting the image back via WiFi. I’ve used web server to watch the video link, Motion-MMAL, direct streaming etc.

        It works, but the lag is just enormous! And is not consistent either!

        Furthermore the weight of all of those equipment reduce significantly the flight time!

  2. Nice job fitting the receiver in the back of the monitor. Here’s a cheap dvr if you haven’t found one yet:

    To stream to a phone you need to capture and encode the analog ntsc stream.
    A raspi with an easycap and gstreamer will get your started. The next challenge is warping the image for the cardboard hmd, gstreamer may have tools for that too.

    Really nothing beats analog video gear on price or latency for amateur use.
    Check out for more builds.

  3. While we all agree on the point of way too much lag when using digital streaming digital is not impossible and/or impractical an has one huge advantage over analog: you can pipe it over any channel you have handy at the time. Also that greatly increases range of the flyer, far beyond visual range limited only by aircrafts flying range. Slap some 3g/4g modems to it and use local cell towers for two-way comms and voila, you can even fly that thing while you are on vacation couple of thousands of miles away. Of course, realtime reactions are out of question so advanced autopilot aides should be implemented to the design as well – aided take offs and landings, preprogramed safe flying corridors, as well as additional radar-type sensors on the drone itself for situation awareness and so on

  4. I still don’t see a drone anywhere in this article. Sure, I see an RC quadroter, and a very nice FPV setup for it. But no drones.

    (Sorry, I hate being nitpicky, but…)

    (I lied. I love being nitpicky.)

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.