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Thread: Team BlackSheep system setup philosophies

  1. #1

    Team BlackSheep system setup philosophies

    There is a lot of misinformation being spread in FPV forums, so I feel the need to put all of the things that have been tried & tested in countless environments and situations by myself and other experienced FPV pilots into a nice little list. Follow these simple rules and regardless of what everyone else is saying, you will have success in FPV. This does not mean that not following this list means your FPV system will not work at all, but it does mean it will not work as safely, as reliably and as well.

    Before we get to the list, let me just point out that while these points reduce the possibility of technical failures resulting in the loss of your aircraft, they do not account for stupidity on behalf of the pilot. If you want to fly into a tree and you consequently lose your plane, well, you shouldn't have flown into the tree.

    • Start with the bare essentials and add equipment one step at a time. after each new equipment was added do proper range- and stress tests.
    • Do not fly with a video system that is capable of outperforming your R/C system in terms of range
    • Do not fly with a R/C frequency higher than the video frequency (e.g. 2.4GHz R/C, 900MHz video).
    • Monitor the vitals of your plane (R/C and battery). Flying with a digital link without RSSI is dangerous.
    • Do not use 2.4GHz R/C unless you fly well within its range limits, in noise-free environments and always within LOS. since this is most likely never the case, it is recommended to not use 2.4GHz R/C systems.
    • Do not fly at the limits of video. if you see noise in your picture, turn around and buy a higher-gain antenna before going out further.
    • Shielded wires or twisted cables only. anything else picks up RF and can cause problems
    • When using powerful R/C transmitters, make sure your ground station equipment is properly shielded
    • Adding RTH to an unreliable system does not increase the chances of getting your plane back. Work on making your system reliable without RTH first, then add RTH as an additional safety measure if you must. At this point you will most likely realize RTH is not required.
    • Avoid powering the VTx directly. step-up or step-down the voltage and provide a constant level of power to your VTx, otherwise make sure your VTx runs reliably until the battery dies. Try to avoid 12V VTx on 3S systems.
    • Do not power your camera directly unless it works along the complete voltage range of your battery. step-up or step-down the voltage and provide a constant level of power to your camera. make sure your camera runs until your battery dies.
    • A single battery system is safer. 2 batteries in parallel to mitigate further sources of failure. reverse current protection is recommended, but usually not feasible
    • For maximum video range, use 2.4GHz video with high-gain antennas
    • When flying with R/C buddies that fly on 2.4GHz, or when flying in cities, it is perfectly possible to use 2.4GHz video provided you stick to the channels that do not lie in their band (ch5 & 8 for lawmate)
    • Do not use diversity as a replacement for pointing your antennas. diversity should be used to mitigate polarization issues
    • Improving the antenna gain on the receiver end is better than increasing the output power (except in RF-noisy areas). 500mW is plenty of power, more tx power causes more issues with RF on your plane.
    • Do not buy the cheapest equipment unless it is proven to work reliably (e.g. capacitors falling off, multitudes of bugfix firmware updates, community hacks and mods are a good indicator of poor quality and something you do NOT want to buy). Saving $50 is simply not worth losing your plane.

    Phrases in italics are my opinion and should be taken as such - opinions can evolve over time and are subject to change. The rest is fact, don't even bother discussing it

    I will respond to questions and I'm happy about suggestions to add to this list.

  2. #2
    Navigator GoldCraft's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Hickory Flat , Ga. ,USA
    Good stuff.... I broke a few of those rules early on and it didnt end well. .....fortunately I got my plane back every time because I knew where I was and was recording my downlink.

  3. #3
    Moderator Derek_S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    Awesome, Sentry link this in the Newb thread too!

  4. #4
    Just dog tired. Wearyman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Buffalo, NY, USA
    Huh. I didn't know TBS used 2.4Ghz for video. Dunno how I missed it. Interesting. Are you guys using spread spectrum like Futaba's FASST system for your video, or are you using custom built equipment?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    New Zealand
    Quote Originally Posted by Wearyman View Post
    Huh. I didn't know TBS used 2.4Ghz for video. Dunno how I missed it. Interesting. Are you guys using spread spectrum like Futaba's FASST system for your video, or are you using custom built equipment?
    I think the video downlink is an analogue signal and can't use the spread spectrum technology.

  6. #6
    Wearyman, we use 2.4GHz lawmate for our video.

  7. #7
    I Like Waffles... SENTRY's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    So basically you would recommend a 12v vTx system to run on 4s minimum? What about a 5v vtx (or 6v --- Immersion) with a 12v camera? 3s or 4?
    "I Like Waffles" : FPVLab on Facebook and FPVLab on Twitter

  8. #8
    that is correct. 5V Vtx can be run on anything down to 2S safely. ImmersionRC 3S and up. 12V camera or 5V doesn't matter, as long as you step the voltage going to the camera.

  9. #9
    I've discovered that several cameras work well on voltages way lower then specified. For instance this inexpensive 540TVL camera runs well down to ~6.3V although it's specified for 12V.

    EDIT: They just increased the price with 10USD so it's not quite as inexpensive now.

  10. #10
    boopidoo, yes! most cameras work way down. you can always measure this with an inexpensive variable voltage PSU from - we do this with all our cameras.

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