Tuesday, November 6, 2012

FPV Goes Live

"First Light" today on the Q450 quadcopter! I don't have any video available yet because I don't yet have the video recorder. The final steps left before I could fire it up for the first time was simply to mount the camera and video TX on the quad.

Camera Mount

After using a plastic electrical box cover to make the KK2.0 Flight Controller mount, I thought I could find something in the Menards electrical aisle that would work well for a camera mount. Low and behold, a low voltage box looked like it would work great. One low voltage box will make two camera mounts- maybe one FPV camera and one GoPro?

Low voltage box with the trim lines marked

Test Fitting the camera

Test fitting camera after trimming box

Camera Mounted- 2-56 x 1/2" machine screws, lock nuts, and rubber grommets between camera and mount. Hopefully the grommets will act like enough of a shock mount to prevent vibration from shaking camera too much.

Note slot cut in base using dremmel cut-off wheel

Bolted to Hobbyking Q450 quadcopter frame

Video Transmitter (TX) mounted to the "roll cage" using velcro tape and a zip tie

So, the big question- how does it work? No video or photos yet... The video quality looks pretty good, but when the motors throttle up there is a fair amount of vibration visible. I'll have to use thicker / softer grommets to isolate the camera better. The camera body might also be touching the orange plastic of the mount- I'll have to grind some material off of the mount to eliminate any possible contact. Other than that, looks great. It was already dark outside so I wasn't able to try any test flights of any distance.

Changing out the old Canon point-and-shoot for the FPV camera and Video TX didn't seem to affect the balance of the quad- no trim adjustments necessary. Adding a GoPro or similar might change the CG more.

I did adjust the camera mount slightly down so it wasn't looking through the rotors. It was very easy to do- just use a small torch to carefully heat the bottom edge of the camera mount, and when the plastic starts getting soft just bend to the desired angle. Not bad for a very cheap DIY FPV camera mount.

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