Good FPV setup for a beginner? - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 07-25-2020, 07:41 PM   #1
rallydarkstrike
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Good FPV setup for a beginner?


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Hi all! I just joined this forum....I'm a newbie, so go easy on me, haha!

I've been contemplating getting a fixed-wing FPV setup for several years now, but as I'm relatively new to it all, it's all a bit overwhelming! I do computer repair on the side and am not averse to tinkering

I've got limited R/C experience IRL, just one of those small mostly-indoor micro helicopters, which is a whole other ballgame, I realize...but I do enjoy playing flight simulators, so I feel I would be most comfortable with a plane rather than a drone, and I feel it would be a bit more forgiving for somebody new to the hobby.

I've been watching a few R/C and FPV channels on Youtube (rctestflight, as an example) and I know I'd need goggles...and a transmitter, and a plane...battery...motor...etc, etc. I've done a little research and the Volantex Ranger series keeps popping up as a good little plane; Zohd planes have popped up in my research as well? I'd be looking for something with lower-speed flight....something I could 'cruise' with and just take in the sights

Does anybody have suggestions for a relatively inexpensive kit (that would include most of what I am looking for already?) or a list of parts I would need for a decent beginner setup? I know things can get expensive, so I don't expect things to be cheap, but I'd be looking for a decent combination of mid-range gear...relatively affordable, but not necessarily the best I could get. I don't want something so cheap things will fail on me! I live in Nova Scotia near the coast, so things are slightly hilly and quite tree-y here, so whatever I got, I'd have to make sure the transmitter was strong enough to work with things possibly being in between me and it...I think I would likely like an autopilot system as well for waypoints and return-to-home in case I lose control of it (Ardupilot is the only one I can recall off hand...?). I'd probably be looking for like...a 6-8km range, maybe a 40-50 minute flight time...? The autopilot and greater range could come later though...

Sorry for the rambling post, haha! You folks sem pretty knowledgeable from doing some reading here and there are SOOOO many options, it's all a bit overwhelming, as I've said, haha! If you reply, best to treat me like a total newbie and list out EVERYTHING I could need. I have a gist of what I would need, but I am pretty sure I'd probably miss something...

Of course I'd likely get your basic cheap R/C plane to practice with first, but it would be nice to have a good idea of a list of decent parts for when the time comes!

Cheers and thanks for any help or suggestions!
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Old 07-25-2020, 09:02 PM   #2
Max
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Re: Good FPV setup for a beginner?

There are 3 things you must have to have a good FPV setup. This is of course, in addition to a GOOD stable FPV platform.

Might as well talk about the stable FPV platform first. From what you write, you want something with trainer-like qualities. A gentle flier with good slow flight characteristics and something that will self-stabilize in the air.
My BEST stable-flying aircraft for general FPV goofing-around are:
  • Kadet Senior: One of the best trainers in the RC world (The orignal rudder and elevator version. Has a diehedral wing for awesome stability. My BEST FPV plane; It can fly from any size field and can fly in all kinds of weather. In spite of what you might pre-judge about a 3 channel model, it is very manoeuvrable and very stable)
  • Kadet LT-40: Another rock-solid performer. 4 Channel and has a faster flying speed. Very manueverable and yet stable. My second favourite tooling-around FPV plane
  • Bixler: My third favourite tooling-around model. Not as good as the Kadets but still fun and compact. It flies best in smooth air. Flying on windy days is crap because it gets knocked around a lot by turbulence making FPV flying un-enjoyable when compared to the smoothness of the Kadet Sr or Kadet LT 40


Ok Now that that is out of the way, lets talk about the basic 3:

1) Video Transmitter (Aka VTX)
2) Video Receiver (Aka VRX)
3) Viewing apparatus. (Goggles/screen)

First question is how much money do you want to spend? Do you want to get an "Inexpensive" set-up for starters (low cost; mediocre {but good enough for most people}quality), or do you want to go for best gear on the market?(high cost; amazing quality)

For beginners, I recommend a 5.8Ghz setup. The range is limited but should be good enough for most FPV users.
Your best bet is to get a VTX/VRX combo. You can shop around to find a combo set, otherwise you will need to shop around to find each one.

For the viewing apparatus, I prefer a 7" screen. You can buy these from any online seller like amazon/bang-good, aliexpress, etc. Get one that is made for car player systems, they run on 12V, which you can power from a lipo. You will need a sunblocker or a hood to keep the screen in the dark or you wont be able to see it well in the daytime. You can easily make one out of dollar-store foam. If you have lots of dough, you can skip the screen and go with a set of goggles with a built-in video receiver. In that case, all you need is a video transmitter and the goggles (with built-in receiver).

That is pretty much it for starters. As you mention, there are SO MANY different options and set-ups you can purchase to get into FPV. Rather than going on-and-on about all the different hardware you "could" buy, why don't you decide what you prefer to do based on what I suggested so far so that you can be further advised based on what direction you see yourself going.
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:43 PM   #3
rallydarkstrike
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Re: Good FPV setup for a beginner?

Hi!

Thanks for the all the info! I was thinking of going sortof, middle of the range....if that is an option? Not mediocre, but not the most top-dollar stuff...?

I have heard good things about the Bixler! The Volantex Ranger was another model that I've heard a lot of positives about, if memory serves. The Kadets look very nice, but I'm not sure they are my type....or as durable as a foam/plastic plane would be (like the Bixler), so I'd probably go with the Bixler of the three!

I'd probably want to go with goggles rather than a screen, I think....easier to see with Goggles all the time. I know hoods help, but a screen still may be a little harder to see, depending.

I'm hoping to get one large enough that it'll have the FPV cam and also space for a HD camera for recording some nice footage
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Old 07-26-2020, 09:36 PM   #4
Max
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Re: Good FPV setup for a beginner?

OK now were talking.

For goggles I would go with the Eachine Goggles/DVR. Its the best value for the money. It also features diversity reciever (2 recievers that pick the best video reception signal.) That means on one side you can have an omnidirectional antenna for all-round reception, and the other side can have a high-gain directional antenna.
The built in DVR is a bonus. For FPV, a DVR has 2 uses: 1) it records your flying for your youtube videos , and 2) If you go down in the bush, you can play-back the recording to see where you were last before it went down. Trust me, I and my friends have used this feature many times in the early years..
The goggles have a multi band capability meaning it will work with virtually all 5.8g systems; Fatshark band, racing band, etc.
Finally, I find the eachine goggles have a much larger field of view than the Fatsharks. Also, the picture is sharper and brighter, and appears "Bigger" when viewing than fatsharks. After I got my eachine, I stopped using Fatsharks altogether (and I have 3 different versions of the Fatsharks and none of them are as good as the eachine)
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32810544622.html

Now you need the VTX.
For a simple start for close proximity flying, (IE Indoor plane or UMX plane) get one of these:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32739132515.html

Its a camera with a buit-in VTX. These are a blast to put in a UMX plane. I have one on my UMX timber and flying FPV inside a gym or outside at the local park is a blast!! It's small, ultra-light weight, compact, fits on just about any plane and installs in seconds with hot-glue. And remember, when you want to take it off, a few drops of rubbing alcohol on the hot-glue and the camera pops off, with no damage to the plane, then you put it on the next plane and off you go!!


A normal set-up would be one of these:
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000266204505.html (choose the last on the end, its the combo package with camera, VTX and antenna.)

That's pretty much it for starters. Get these (or whatever other system you prefer) and that will get you going. Other details like OSD, return-to-home, GPS trackers, etc... that will come to learn later as your experience and knowledge grows.
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My Aircraft Albums: https://www.rccanada.ca/rccforum/album.php?u=13173

Last Photo added: Dec 15; Warwing Foamy for FPV
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