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Thread: Tamiya F-350 High Lift scale FPV

  1. #1
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    Post Tamiya F-350 High Lift scale FPV

    Hi everyone.
    Here is my first foray into FPV. I have to say I have enjoyed it so far.
    I'm using the Tamiya 3-speed High Lift. My intention is to keep the vehicle looking as scale as possible, while I understand I am going to have to make some compromises to get even mildly decent FPV performance.
    For those familiar with the High Lift trucks, you will know that while the assisted leaf spring suspension looks great, it really doesn't work well at all. It is way too stiff to absorb any real bumps and there isn't enough articulation to climb larger obstacles well. Thinking about limiting vibrations to the camera (plus it's a cool upgrade) I decided to build a 4-link conversion for the truck as the first thing before putting any FPV gear in. Now it also rides on Traxxas Slash shocks with all the oil drained and uses Stampede springs. The suspension is now more like an air bed where before... a bed of nails . I am also pretty keen to keep the stock (concealed) steering servo location where most people who 4-link the truck stick the servo directly on the axle. I was able to set the linkages up in such a way as to make this possible, and the bump-steer is not so bad. Just didn't really want the servo messing up the scale look too much.

    Of course the F-350 needs to light up, I fitted the roof lights, rear lights and main headlights with LEDs and I run them of an old 10A brushed speed controller. This is assigned to one of the toggles on my Futaba 9CP to flip the lights on. It's also a great radio to use in conjunction with the 3-speed gearbox as the 3 position toggles work perfectly, keeping that functionality which is a great feature of the truck.
    I'm using the Corona 8ch receiver at 35MHz for my RC.
    For my FPV gear I got a set of Dominator goggles and the Fatshark FPV 922 cam. I'm running the video over 2.4GHz as that is the easiest legal frequency over here in the UK (apart from 5.8G but that would not be ideal for ground-based). The Hobbyking fibreglass pan/tilt camera mount actually sets up to be a really neat system in the cab of the truck. It's placed just as you would be in the driver's seat, LHD on the F-350, they don't get imported to the UK. You'd practically have to be a millionaire to fuel one up anyway! From the goggles it really feels like you are sitting in a huge truck.
    For the video Tx I got one of the cheap 100mW systems from Hobbyking with a separate receiver and a crappy cam included. Actually the camera seems ok but the board on the back is really too big to fit in the truck on this p/t mount. I also have the Fatshark goggle-integrated receiver which I found gave terrible performance compared with the standalone Chinese one. Is that normal? Rubber duck Tx antenna and a 11dBi omni on the receiver. I'm going to try a 25dBi yagi in a couple of days, but I haven't got any tracking just yet.

    As for performance, well I can get a good 250m on the RC link without any problems, probably got a lot more in it, and this is in a housing estate full of wifi and buildings. Worst case. The video isn't so good, on the omni setup I can maybe get 50m, LOS. ANYTHING in the way and it is out of there. I am hoping the yagi will punch through better. Also thinking a lot about the CP setups like the skew planar wheel and helical pairing from circular wireless. Really hoping to hear some positive feedback on this because I have read NOTHING about this being used on the ground. Seems to be a hot setup for planes though.

    My ultimate hope is to be able to drive out of my estate and across the fields to explore around there. The first part of the journey is by far the hardest. I am expecting something like the CP antennas will be needed, maybe a better transmitter/receiver combo and a roof mounted tracking system. That's all to come though, if needed.

    Here are some pics of the truck:






  2. #2
    I like boobs j45on's Avatar
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    That is one nice truck looking forward to seeing more.
    What is your opinion of the dominators ? I need some goggles.
    Last edited by j45on; 3rd July 2012 at 05:31 PM.

  3. #3
    Fly like a Pelican pelican's Avatar
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    Very nice. Love the details and keeping it scale. Take us for a ride (video).

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    Navigator Bluestreak's Avatar
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    Oh very nice! The intitial vehicle I wanted to use for FPV was a scale army Land Rover I made but I found it much harder with such a small vehicle (1/10) - No chance with a Gopro. Still might try with a smaller cam. If you can try a lower frequency than 5.8 gig that will help heaps with obstacles. I'm yet to build my helical antenna but hear that it is the one to go for in ground based applications. 25DBI Yagi should help a lot! that is pretty high gain so you'll have to make sure you point it in the right direction!
    The idea of having the receiver integrated with the Fatsharks is a neat idea (makes everything very tidy) but the thing I don't like is that it is way to close to your transmitter antenna. I tried putting the video reciever on my head (like Wobby did) but it was a total disaster with the Dragonlink (Dragonlink stuffed the video signal until I moved it away).

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    Good info BS, thanks. To clarify I am using 2.4G,, not 5.8. Should get the yagi in a few days but I can see an order being placed for the helical very soon to be honest. At the moment I have no way to record video, any pointers on good equipment choices would be useful. Not to mention that with only 50m of range I certainly haven't made any journeys worth watching!

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    Navigator Bluestreak's Avatar
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    Oh, looks like I misread that. 2.4ghz is certainly more ground friendly than 5.8ghz!

    I use a BEVRC PV700 recorder. @$120
    See here: http://www.bevrc.com/bevrc-pv700-hig...rder_p297.html
    It is the same as the $200 FPV-Japan DVR (http://www.http://fpv-japan.com/item...r-sd4/lang/en/) but with the BEVRC firmware.

  7. #7
    I like boobs j45on's Avatar
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    I have the same DVR but from foxtech And it gets a thumbs up from me as well
    In fact it is all I am using at the moment to drive around,as I can't decide which goggles to buy.

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    I will look into getting a decent recorder like that in the future, once I have a good system working.
    A few days ago I received an Ebay 25dBi yagi. Pointed at the truck I got solid video until the first house in my estate, but I can't go behind it. At least it seems to be blind to the wifi routers from the houses either side of the street, I am guessing the narrow beam width is helping me here. But I need to punch through the house on the corner to get going.
    Got a spare TV antenna mount and so soon I will be mounting the yagi right up on the roof of my house. Then I just need a reliable way of getting the signal down to somewhere sensible. I am guessing I would be better off leaving the receiver up in the roof space somewhere and piping the signal from that down to the goggles.
    J45on, I like the Dominators so far, the diopter lenses work very well for me so I don't need my glasses. I consider that a major plus. Also they seem to be the most up-to-date goggles at the moment and I was keen to buy something good, once. I do not want to have to replace these anytime soon as they are the most expensive single part of my system. The integrated (optional) head tracker works well, but my advice would be to avoid the integrated receiver as mine performed very badly even compared to a cheap Hobbyking receiver.

  9. #9
    Navigator Bluestreak's Avatar
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    Mounting the yagi up on the roof improved mine a lot! Although - then you need to organise a way of making it pan around to point at the truck.
    This is what I did:


    Improved since this video by using a servo tester for the pan controll and glueing on some cable ties to stop the damn Magpies using it as their favourite perching spot

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    I thought I would update this thread.
    A few years ago I owned my own Toyota Hilux pickup. It was a great truck and loads of fun. I always wanted to do an RC replica of it. Well I finally converted my FPV F-350 into a Hilux using the beautiful (but costly) RC4WD injection moulded body.

    Here is my original truck:



    And here is my model, with a few more tweaks yet to add including the tubular roll bar and rear bumper.




    I've added some scale features to try to replicate the original fairly closely. Engineering is my other hobby so I have quite a bit of custom machining in the truck now. Including the number plates, which are the same registration as the original! 1988, great year for trucks.


    Here is my light mounting system. This machined beam functions as a mount and heat sink for the LEDs. the LEDs themselves are designed for bike lights, 3W each and so extremely powerful. I'm using the reflectors moulded into the front grille that come with the body, painted chrome silver. Seems to work well and the plastic doesn't get too hot. The system runs off an old brushed 10A ESC from one of the free RC channels.
    I also made the wheels which are identical scale copies of the originals. I think they were Mickey Thompsons. Made from solid billet they are extremely heavy and actually help to reduce the CG, especially considering the extra weight of the FPV gear that is mounted quite high. I was really pleased with how these came out.



    So basically trying to keep this thing as scale as I can has meant I have hardly done any real FPV driving. Got some CP antennae now to try so I hope to get some serious stick time in soon.

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