Been wanting to give surface FPV a try for a while now. Finally broke down and started gathering the parts for the project. Here’s what I figured I need for a decent experience.
Vehicle: Something that could go on and offroad. Didn’t want to invest into more RC’s at this time so after looking over my collection I decided to use the EXO Terra Buggy that I had bought used several years ago and rebuild. I had never really ran this so it was like brand new. Powered by a Castle brushless system it would give me the slowness to start and some speed down the line.
Camera: Went with one of the micro all in one units for now. It includes the camera & tx built into one unit. This might end up being an issue when I decide to hook the camera to a servo so it will pan with the turning of the wheels. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. Right now I have 2 cameras both aprox the same size but one I can reverse the image so it can be mounted upside down if need be.
Monitor/Goggles: Wanted the goggle experience, already had a monitor and camera combo I had bought years back to use on a quad but never did because the camera was a pain to charge. The monitor is ok but not the best in the world, paid $50 for the set. Finally decided on some box goggles off ebay. I knew I wanted one with a DVR built in so I could make some videos of the adventure.
Vehicle: Exo Terra Buggy
Camera: 5.8G 40CH 1000TVL 1/3 CMOS Camera For Eachine E013
Crazepony FPV Micro AIO Camera 5.8G 48CH 25mW Transmitter (this camera got super hot when I powered it up with a 3.7v 1s battery, so it was returned)
RunCam Micro Swift 3 FPV Camera 2.1mm 600TVL FOV 165 Degrees
Video Transmitter: TS5823S 5.8G 200MW
Goggles: 5.8G 40CH Goggles Glasses Video DVR Tracker 2000mA
Monitor: XK X251 RC Quadcopter Spare Parts 5.8G FPV 4.3 Inch Monitor 720P Camera Parts Set
To test the theroy out I mounted the camera on the Exo Buggy using some mounts that I got off Thingverse. I was going to poser it off the vehicle rx but with some test decided this wasn’t going to be a good idea. At times the motor would draw to much power and the monitor/camera would blackout, this was even with the rx being powered by a BEC. So I decided to power the camera off a 1s lipo. I found that the ranges was limited with the 25mW vtx that is built it. In the open it wasn’t to bad but get around obstacles and it was a different story. When I thought the 1st AIO camera had gone south, I ordered the Crazy Pony AIO camera. When I powered it up it go so hot that you could not touch it. Returned it to Crazy Pony. By this time I had decided that I wanted the camera seperate from the vTX so I could mount the antenna in a better spot and it would also make it easier to to the pan down the road. So as a replacement camera for the Crazy Pony AIO I bought a RunCam Micro Swift 3 with a 165 FOV lens. THis should be much better than the 120 FOV of the AIO. For a vTX I went with the TS5823S 5.8G 200mW which I’m hoping with help with the distance and object interference.
The RunCam Swift 3 arrived without cable or a bracket so it was returned and replaced with a Caddx Turbo Mini SDR2 Didn’t get a replacement RunCam Swift 3 because I discovered that the only way to program it was using a FC (flight controller), don’t need a FC for a surface vehicle or fixed wing.
The Exo Terra Buggy wasn’t working out. There was to much jello effect which makes it hard to drive when the background it jiggling like a bowl of jello. So I did a test to see which of my offroad RC’s would fit the bill.
The one with the least jello effect in my opinion was the Rockslide Super Crawler, but I didn’t want to use my 1/8 scale Super Crawler for an FPV vehicle, it weighs in at almost 11 lbs. Y+The next one on the list in my opinion was the Axial Yeti which weighs 7.6 lbs. Tried the scale inside the cabin but it isn’t as easy to drive with a top mounted camera. I replaced the Lexan roof for the Yeti with one made out or Kydex. A 9g mini servo will be mounted to the roof with the camera mounted to it. This will give pan when the wheels are turned by mixing the steering channel and channel 3. This is a mockup of the camera mount.
The camera will be protected by a pod of some sort that is still in the design stage. The Yeti still has some jello at speed. I’m going to try to add some weight to the rear axle to see if that helps any.
I have see some videos where someone used a Twin Hammers clone and made it a FPV vehicle and the ones I saw running off road had very little jello effect. Doesn’t make sense as it is the lightest of the bunch weighing less that 5 lbs. A buddy of mine has one and I will be mounting the camera on it and adding it to the test group.
Wasn’t having the results I was looking for using 1/10 scale vehicles so I ordered a 1/6 scale Redcat Shredder to make into an FPV surface vehicle