Basic Knowledge FPV Racing—The Beginner Guide

Basic Knowledge FPV Racing—The Beginner Guide
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In this article, I would particularly like to help beginners to get started with our Hobby FPV Racing. I will try to explain a few basic things to specific topics and point out some important topics, such as security.
For further information I link to external pages, and also directly to products I used. I consciously do not go into the depth of the individual topics, but would like to give only an impetus for further research.
I would also like to emphasize that it is my personal opinion on the individual topics.
Feedback is very important! If I have forgotten points or find their mistake, please point me out. So we can expand and improve the guide. Of course, I am happy about discussions in the comments.

This article was translated by Daniel. Thank you!

 

fpv_racer_guide_en

 

General

What kind of hobby is that?

We fly with small multicopters (mostly quad-copters), over and against obstacles. With a video google, we sit directly in the aircraft and steer from the pilot’s perspective.

What we do not do: take the drone and spy on our neighbors.

How expensive is the hobby?

This is hard to say. It all depends on what you use for parts and how much parts are broken when flying. This question has often been asked in the community. Calculator for a complete new start with the hobby with at least 1000 €.

Do I need special skills?

Actually, you do not need special skills. It would be advantageous if you know what voltage, current and +/− means and are not a coarse motorist.
The most things you will learn quickly. Soldering is an essential part of the hobby without which you cannot get away.
Soldering is not difficult and the rest can be learned with some self-initiative.

Make or Buy

Fertig montierter Quadcopter

Finished mounted Quadcopter – photo by rctech.de

If you are not building a racer, you can also buy a finished racer like the ImmersionRC Vortex or TBS Vendetta.

ANZEIGE:

Advantages:
– You can start flying immediately
– You have a tuned setup
Disadvantages:
– usually more expensive (spare parts, purchase)
– if something breaks, someone has to repair it for you

Whether you crash  your own- building or RTF (Ready To Fly) Copter does not matter. You must repair it anyway and therefore you will not be able to solder and tinker around. That’s why you dare to assemble and build your first copter completely by yourself. You can find help with the compilation in our community.

Bausatz

Kit – Photo rctech.de

You can also find ready-made sets. With this set everything is matched and you just have to mount it.

Community

FPV Racer Germany - Facebook Group

FPV Racer Germany – Facebook Group

An important point is the community. You will surely have noticed that there are not many people in your environment that run this hobby.
That is why the „FPV Racer Germany“ community was founded on Facebook. At the moment more than 3,000 members are registered, all of whom follow the same hobby.
Especially for beginners this community is very helpful. You can quickly get answers to a question.

Do not be surprised: sometimes „escalates“ something in the group. But you will experience that yourself.

Other communities: www.fpv-racing-forum.de

 

fpv_racer_schweiz Note: There is also a  Facebook group for Swiss FPV racers.

Card of Members

FPV Racer Germany Members Card

FPV Racer Germany Members Card

In any case, have a look at the members card. Perhaps you’ll find Like-minded to fly in your town.

General construction

Here is the typical structure of a FPV Quadcopter:

1× frame
4× motors
4× motor controllers (ESCs)
1× flight controller
1× FPV camera
1× Video transmitter (VTx)
1× receiver for control commands
1× Battery (LiPo)
4× propellers (2× left turn, 2× right turn)

In addition, you still need:
1× video receiver, Video googles (VRx)
1× remote control

Frames

ZMR250 V3 from rctech.de – Photo rctech.de

ZMR250 V3 from rctech.de – Photo rctech.de

There are tons of frames. High quality, very expensive frames and also cheap ones. It is a matter of taste, whether you like the a frame or not. Nevertheless, one should pay attention not only to appearance, but also to the quality, serviceability, spare parts availability etc.

Material

CFK replacement arm – photo rctech.de

CFK replacement arm – photo rctech.de

Usually the frames consist of carbon fiber (CFK), glass fiber (GFK) or other plastics.
I recommend choosing a frame from CFK as these are extremely light and stable.

Size

Also the size plays an important role. The most common size is the 210–250 class. 250 is the dimension in mm diagonally between two motors.
For the beginning, I recommend a ZMR250 frame out of CFK. It is the most widespread and very stable.

Motors

Tiger Motor

Tiger Motor – photo rctech.de

In order for the copter to fly, it must be propelled. Brushless motors are used instead.
Again, there are differences in price / performance. Note that the motors must fit your frame as well.

High-quality engines are for example:
EMAX RS2205 or DYS SE2205

Motor controller—ESC

ESC DYS BlHeli 20A 4S

ESC DYS BlHeli 20A 4S -photo rctech.de

The flight controller have to control the motors. This happens via the motor controllers, also called ESCs.
Again, there are a variety of manufacturers and variations.
It is important to select the voltage for which the ESCS is designed. If you want to fly with 4S Lipos you also need controllers and motors that can tolerate this voltage.

Power Supply

For the power supply we used lithium polymer high performance rechargeable batteries

LiPo

Tattu 4S 1300mah 75C LiPo

Tattu 4S 1300 mAh 75C LiPo – photo rctech.de

Important for the Lipo choice is:
– Number of cells: 3S for beginners, 4S for experienced
– Capacity (guideline for Racer: 1000 mAh to 1800 mAh)
– C Rate: Unload rate

charging a LiPo

Do not load unattended. Do not deep discharge and never overcharge. LiPos store a lot of energy and can cause a lot of damage (fire) by improper handling.
Loading on a fireproof pad. Do not place flammable objects near Lipos.

LiPo Bag

Lipotasche

LiPo Bag – photo rctech.de

Charge and transport your batteries best in fireproof LiPo bags, metal containers or clay vessels.

PDB (Power Distribution Board)

Power Distribution Board

Power Distribution Board – photo rctech.de

Power Distribution Boards are small boards on which the power supply can be easily soldered. They are not mandatory, but make the work and the construction easier.
There are already PDBs with integrated LC filters. Here you can find my PDB Guide.

Cables

Kabel mit Silikonmantel

Cable with silicone sheath – photo by rctech.de

Make sure you use cables with silicone sheath. They keep great temperatures and can be laid out wonderfully.
In addition, you need to adjust the cross-section of the cable to the current and select the correct size. There are AWG tables for help.

Charger

Ladegerät

charger – photo rctech.de

You also need a charger specifically for LiPos. Do not buy cheap chargers. Calculate with cost of about 80–250 €. I suggest using this charger. With that one, you can charge up to 4 LiPos at once. If you want a cheaper one, this is also good.
If you want to charge LiPos on the field, this is your choice.

Flight controller

Naze32 Acro

Naze32 Acro – photo rctech.de

The flight controller is the heart of the Quadcopter. It controlled the motors and evaluated various sensors, controlled LEDs and much more.
Widely used is the Naze32 controller of abusemark in the Acro version. There are many other flight controls:

STRM32 F1 Boards

STRM32 F3 Boards 

STRM32 F4 Boards

As a flight software (firmware) I recommend a regular cleanflight (link to my manual) or  BorisB Betaflight.

Remote Control

Fernsteuerung

Remote Control – photo by rctech.de

Buy a remote control with at least 6 channels. 4 channels for the control and 2 for flight mode and, for example, Pieper for finding the model after a crash.
The mostly used is the Taranis from FrSky. However, there are also different manufacturers like Graupner, Turnigy or Spektrum.
Also, note that your receiver should be compatible with remote control.

Frequencies

Cotrol of the flight model over: 2.4 GHz
Video transmission: 5.8 GHz (Übersicht der Kanäle und Bänder)

Actioncam

Xiaomi Yi Action Cam auf einem ImmersionRC Vortex

Xiaomi Yi Action Cam on ImmersionRC Vortex

In order to be able to see the flights later in decent quality, actioncams are mounted on the top of the Quadcopter. The cameras are usually angled, otherwise in the forward flight only the ground would be filmed.
These cameras are often used: GoPro, GoPro SessionMobius, RunCam HD

GPS

Forget GPS. There’s no place for it on a racer 😛

Maiden

Erstflug

first flight- photo von https://www.facebook.com/sebastian.brenner2

The Maiden is a magical moment. A new Copter lifts for the first time and has its first flight.
Absolutely do filming, there happen the most amazing things. =)

Screws

Schrauben und Muttern

screws and nuts – photo by rctech.de

Most screws that are installed in a racer are M3 countersunk head screws with hexagon socket. Lid head screws are ideal, since the screw head is nicely flat and rounded.
When choosing the nuts, I would only rely on self-locking nuts. These cannot be solved by vibrations. I recommend the purchase of an M3 screw assortment with different lengths. My screw terminal is either the local metal trade or www.screwsandmore.de.
It also does not always have to be metal screws: where little or no forces occur, nylon screws are often used.

Weight

Racecopter on a Libra

Racecopter on a Libra – photo von https://www.facebook.com/gregor.mader

When building a copter, always pay attention to the weight. Keep the cable as short as possible. Use no too long screws. Clearly abstain from unnecessary ballast.

LED

WS2812 Led Beleuchtung

WS2812 LED

For a better orientation LEDs are often installed. These makes it possible to assess the flight situation when flying, and in the case of FPV flying, other pilots recognize the other models better. Here is a tutorial for the connection of LEDs: To the tutorial

Telemetry

Telemetry is the transmission of flight data such as signal strength of the spark or voltages of the lipos to the remote control. The data are displayed on the remote control display.

FPV

Pilot with googles

Pilot with googles – photo by https://www.facebook.com/aylmerdominick.loria

 

FPV means „First Person View“. The fact that you are wearing a video google, you sit almost in your copter. Unlike flying on sight, you do not have to rethink when the Copter turns.

Videosender

Videotransmitter with rod antenna

Videotransmitter with rod antenna – photo rctech.de

If you want to fly FPV you need a video transmission. The FPV camera, which is installed in the front of the copter, sends the signal to the video transmitter (VTx) which sends the picture again analogue 5.8 GHz transmission to the video receiver (VRX).
In Germany, 5.8 GHz transmitters can only be used with 25 mW power and transmit in the frequency range 5725 MHz to 5875 MHz.

Never without antenna

Cloverleaf antenna

Cloverleaf Antenna – photo rctech.de

Tip: Never turn the video transmitter on without an antenna, otherwise the transmitter can be damaged and will not provide the full power or burn completely.

FPV Camera

FPV Kamera

FPV Cam – photo by rctech.de

FPV cameras are very small nowadays. A super camera is the HS1177 camera. Good cameras are also from RunCam and Foxeer. A complete list of all fpv cameras can be found in this article

LC Filter

LCFilter

LC Filter – photo by https://www.facebook.com/philipphorstmann86

If you have stripes in the video, this is due to disturbances in the power supply. An LC filter basically filters the voltage and thus minimizes stripes in the FPV image.
These filters are available in various shops on pcbs. Self-built filters can also be purchased from the FPV Racer community (e.g. Philipp Ho).

FPV goggles

Pilot mit Brille - Foto von https://www.facebook.com/aylmerdominick.loria

Pilot with goggle – photo by https://www.facebook.com/aylmerdominick.loria

Finding the right FPV googles is not so easy. There are many different models, manufacturers and types. If possible, set up and test the googles of your fellow pilots. Well-known brands are: Fat Shark, Skyzone, Headplay or Eachine

Video frequencies

There are different video frequencies. If you are flying with other people, you must first vote, which frequency everybody uses. Nothing is worse when you suddenly have the wrong video clip on his googles.

Propellers

Bullnose Propeller

Bullnose Propellers – photo by rctech.de

Advance: Propellers are consumables. You should always have a handful of them.
A common propeller designation is, for example:

DAL 5045 Bullnose or Gemfan 6030

DAL and Gemfan is the manufacturer. The first number is the size in inches. So 5″ and 6″. The last two figures describe the slope of the propellers.
Since bullnose have more surface, with which air can be moved, they develop more thrust. The power consumption increases and the flight time decreases.

Gemfan 5030 Propeller

Gemfan 5030 Propellers – photo by rctech.de

Tools

Workbench - ordered chaos

Workbench – ordered chaos – photo by https://www.facebook.com/bastian.wierzoch

If not already available, you will also need various tools such as Allen wrenches, screwdrivers, wrenches, cutter knives, scalpels,  wire strippers and side cutters. Also here, who buys cheap, buys twice.
In addition you need a soldering iron or better a controllable soldering station, solder tin and a desoldering pump.

LiPo Pieper

Lipo Buzzer

Lipo Buzzer – photo by rctech.de

A beautiful aid during the flight to monitor the voltage of the batteries is this Lipo Buzzer or Lipo Warner. It checks each cell individually and warns with a loud beep when the battery pack is empty.

 

Plug XT60

XT60 Buchse

XT60 Plug – photo by rctech.de

Apart from gold contact plugs, you do not need many plugs. The most common connector is the XT60 connector. The 60 means that the plug can withstand a maximum of 60 A continuous current.

FPV Races

Bexbach 2.0

Bexbach 2.0 – photo by https://www.facebook.com/christopher.rohe.37

In Germany, there are not many such races, but the second big race in Bexbach, a place in the Saarland, has already been played. Rolf Venz has organized both races and put a lot of work into the organization. The next races will be announced in his Facebook group.

Safety

Bullnose VS forearm

Bullnose/Cobra VS forearm

Race Copter are not toys! Fly where there are no people and where you can destroy something. Do not fly over people. When you fly in the garden, take care of dogs and small children.
And this point you should ALWAYS take into account: Propeller off when you work at the Copter!
Often you can read in the community of material damage, meat sore severed tendons and tattered tablecloths. The propellers rotate at extremely high speeds and can be very dangerous

Camping chair

Bequemes FPV fliegen

comfortable FPV flying

Sooner or later you will buy a camping chair. Because if you wear a video google, you see only the video image from the copter. To stand for several minutes is very stressful and you have to concentrate even more. I used this chair, for example

Legal Issues

I am not a Lawyer and would like to briefly mention this topic. You cannot rely on what I write here.

Fly only with supplementary liability insurance, because the normal liability insurance does not usually cover this. It is required by law that you must complete this insurance. It costs you between 50–150 € per year.
Fly only on your own land or on land where you have permission.
You should stay away from: airports, hospitals, industrial areas, people gatherings, substations, high-voltage lines, military …

3D Print

3D printing parts for a ZMR250

3D printing parts for a ZMR250

On  Thingiverse.com, you’ll find a variety of designs for all kinds of frames. From landing legs to camera shades, spacers or even antenna brackets you will find many good designs for printing with a 3D printer. Do not worry, you do not need to buy a 3D printer to get these parts. In the community, you can help each other and there are some, like I have, for example, a home printer and print it against a small donation for you.

 

References

Most parts come from China, as they are also produced there. There are several shops in China but also good German shops in Germany if you value on service and fast dispatch.

Inland

Good shops from Germany:

 

Foreign countires

Credits

This article was translated by Daniel. Thank you for this! =)

Thanks to all who provided me with the photos. Thank you also to
rctech.de Logofor the product photos.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask questions in the comments below.

.


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2 Antworten

  1. 13. November 2016

    […] Basic Knowledge FPV Racing – The Beginner Guide […]

  2. 14. November 2016

    […] In this article, Phil would particularly like to help beginners to get started with our Hobby FPV Racing. He will try to explain a few basic things to specific topics and point out some important topics, such as security. For further information he will link to external pages, and also directly to products he used. Phil consciously will not go into the depth of the individual topics, but would like to give only an impetus for further research. He would also like to emphasize that it is my personal opinion on the individual topics. Feedback is very important! Best read for begginers so far on blog.seidel-philipp.de […]

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