Author Archive: fpvcentral

FPVCentral is a private, independent news and review site for all things related to First Person View RC model flight. Covering everything from hobby, commercial and military drones, RC models and electronics related to FPV flight, we are not sponsored by any manufacturer or affiliated with any company or project.

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FPVCentral.net in new, mobile-friendly design

FPVCentral.net in new, mobile-friendly design

March 22, 2013 15:28 | By | Add a Comment

FPV Central now comes in a sleek new design that is responsive and scales smoothly to whatever device you are using to access it. We’ve also changed our article format a bit and made the individual news and article postings more pleasant to look at and read. Let us know what you think in the comments!

Crius All In One Pro Review

Crius All In One Pro Review

March 18, 2013 15:38 | By | 7 Comments

With MultiWii 2.2 out and advanced features like waypoint navigation becoming really usable on this platform, versatile flight controllers become more and more important. But is the Crius AIO Pro a solid choice, or should you keep your distance? Find out in our review after the break!

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Crius All In One Pro GPS Howto – Updated for MW2.2

Crius All In One Pro GPS Howto – Updated for MW2.2

March 17, 2013 0:38 | By | 9 Comments

The Crius AIO promises loads of functionality with its many ports. But how do you hook up that GPS module anyway? We’ll show you how in this updated MultiWii 2.2 tutorial. Things are substantially easier with the new version, read on after the break.

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MultiWii 2.2 Released

MultiWii 2.2 Released

March 16, 2013 14:52 | By | Add a Comment

MultiWii 2.2 is now available for download from the project’s Google Code site. This is a major update that boasts greatly improved GPS support (incl. native ublox GPS support, no more manually setting baud rate and GPS update speed!) , new flight modes, improved stability, as well as a redesigned ground station software. Want to do waypoint-navigation via google maps on your mobile phone? This is the way to get there without breaking the bank.

Full changelog after the break.

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HD FPV is possible today, for a price

HD FPV is possible today, for a price

March 13, 2013 12:27 | By | Add a Comment

Yearning for that HD FPV experience but don’t know how to transmit the video back from the plane? Boxx TV offers a HD video transmission system, the Zenith, for a pretty penny. For over $5000 this is probably not going to be within reach of the FPV hobbyist, luckily there are alternatives. Around $3000 will get you the MicroraptorHD, a 1W transmitter capable of transmitting between 1GHz and 6GHz.

Still too expensive? In that case, the Wireless HD Dev Kit can be yours for just $925.

Bottom line: HD FPV is definitely possible, but it hasn’t quite reached the hobbyist price point yet.

RCExplorer sends FPV Funjet into Space

RCExplorer sends FPV Funjet into Space

March 12, 2013 16:15 | By | Add a Comment

David from RCExplorer.se is always a good address for interesting projects that push boundaries. This time they sent a modified Multiplex FunJet into space via weather ballon, and then piloted it back to the ground via a 1.2GHz FPV link.

Not all went well however, as David explains they lost almost all the build pictures, their ground recording equipment stopped a few minutes into the ascent, and a cable on their receiver broke just while the balloon was nearing the burst point, which is why they were unable to sever the cable to the balloon before it popped.

Regardless of the difficulties, there’s still plenty of awesome imagery and detail in his writeup and the annotated video. For example, one might not know to remove the grease from your servos to avoid the grease freezing – unless you watched his video!

 

 

HefnyCopter Firmware 0.9.6 for KK2 released

HefnyCopter Firmware 0.9.6 for KK2 released

March 11, 2013 16:59 | By | Add a Comment

Do you like the KK2 controller, but wish it had support for telemetry and altitude hold? Hefny’s latest alternate firmware is here to serve. All the details after the break.

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High-Performance Quadcopter for $120 – Part 1: The Shopping List

High-Performance Quadcopter for $120 – Part 1: The Shopping List

March 11, 2013 14:11 | By | 95 Comments

We’re giving you a step-by-step guide on building your own $120 high-performance super-stable quadcopter! This is part 1 of a new series, so dive in!

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Hobbyking selling iMaxRC X200 for half the price

Hobbyking selling iMaxRC X200 for half the price

March 7, 2013 11:45 | By | Add a Comment

Remember the cool-looking-but-pricy X200 charger? Hobbyking is now selling the very same device under their brand for less than 90 bucks, a little more than half the previously circulated price. The technical data is identical, as are the benefits (UI) and drawbacks (external connector box with proprietary plug).

Still, $90 is a much more sensible price and one where a lot of RC enthusiasts are likely to spend a little extra for a fancy color screen instead of buying a plain four-button charger with the same power.

RC flying threatened by laws across the globe

RC flying threatened by laws across the globe

February 25, 2013 15:19 | By | 4 Comments

FPV and RC model flying as a hobby are under attack by new legislation which is being introduced around the globe right now. Read up on some examples and draft proposals after the break.

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iMaxRC X200 Touchscreen Charger

iMaxRC X200 Touchscreen Charger

February 11, 2013 12:03 | By | 2 Comments

200W for 150 bucks doesn’t sound like a steal, but the X200 charger tries to soften the blow with a fancy touchscreen user interface. Read up for more pictures and details!
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“Black Hornet” mini-drone wows people who never taped a keychain cam to a RC helicopter

“Black Hornet” mini-drone wows people who never taped a keychain cam to a RC helicopter

February 5, 2013 20:20 | By | Add a Comment

Is it a toy? Is it a RC model? No, it’s a $200.000 drone for the military! Read on how these ebay toys suddenly look like even more of a steal.
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FrSky X12D and X16D

FrSky X12D and X16D

January 28, 2013 22:06 | By | Add a Comment

Dying for a transmitter with a bigger screen? FrSky is here to quench that particular thirst, with several new models that obviously expand on the theme of larger color screens on transmitters. More technical info after the break.
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Turnigy 9XR now properly uses the source, Luke

Turnigy 9XR now properly uses the source, Luke

December 27, 2012 14:23 | By | Add a Comment

Developers of the er9x open source firmware were up in arms about the situation regarding the release of the Turnigy 9XR Transmitter, which shipped with their firmware but without following the terms and conditions of the GPL license, under which the firmware was released.

HK have responded and promised to post the sourcecode, and they linked to the creators of the firmware as well as fixed the manual to include the proper credits. While this should’ve been done on day one, it’s very positive that they stepped up and fixed the issue without any beating around the bush. In the end both sides will get what they want: The RC community gets a radio that is cheap, solid and gives them the freedom to choose their favorite RF system, while HobbyKing gets a community that is more than happy to contribute work and development effort to their product.

It’s quite likely that the whole aspect of GPL licensing was simply overlooked when the marketing campaign for the 9XR launched. Luckily the aims of the GPL match what HK is doing with the 9XR, so it makes perfect sense to leverage the power of the community for the common good AND profit.

With the er9x Firmware now coming pre-installed on a transmitter that even features a GPIO port for easy flashing of firmware updates, chances are that even more people will be interested in participating in the development of cool new features.

Turnigy 9XR’s software violating the GPL? (UPDATE: HK responds, fixes the issue!)

Turnigy 9XR’s software violating the GPL? (UPDATE: HK responds, fixes the issue!)

December 25, 2012 14:54 | By | 4 Comments

HobbyKing has just released a new transmitter, the Turnigy 9XR, with updated looks and some neat features like integrated LCD backlight.

IMG_1689_2

Price point is an unbeatable $49.99 for the transmitter sans module, and for $30 bucks more you can have a 9-channel DSMX transmitter. They even did the right thing and got rid of the protruding antenna, instead building it into the carry handle (a much better orientation in terms of RF effectiveness anyway!)

Overall this is the same 9X we know and love/hate, but with better firmware, a nicer design, and backlight preinstalled.  Could’ve been a lot better, but for the price it’s a good offer.

We’d be happy to end the news here, but there is a problem: The software feels eerily familiar. It is in fact the Open Source er9x Firmware. Using that firmware is of course not an issue, however a look over at HobbyKing.com or even the transmitter’s own site, www.turnigy9xr.com, neither acknowledges the authors of the firmware, nor do they offer a firmware sourcecode download. The site only vaguely mentions “the users” and “members of the RC community” and makes every impression that the major developer of this software was HobbyKing, and that they gratiously let other people upload their own firmware if desired – when in fact this firmware came from the RC community and HK is using it without conforming to the GPL or even simply acknowledging its source.

This  is confirmed by a look at the 9XR User Guide and comparing it to the official e9x community manual. It is obvious that the changes were only cosmetic, transmitter images were changed out and worst of all, the credits section by the original firmware authors was simply deleted.

For HK the next steps are clear: They are required to state the origin of their firmware, they are required to release the full sourcecode and all tools required to build it under the GPL v2.0 (It has to be GPL since the original code is already released under the GPL), and they need to step up and offer an apology. If they don’t, they will alienate a big part of the creative community that writes the software they use in their products, like the KK line of multicopter controllers.

 

UPDATE: HK have responded and promised to post the sourcecode, and they linked to the creators of the firmware as well as fixed the manual to include the proper credits. While this should’ve been done on day one, it’s very positive that they stepped up and fixed the issue without any beating around the bush. In the end both sides will get what they want: The RC community gets a radio that is cheap, solid and gives them the freedom to choose their favorite RF system, while HobbyKing gets a community that is more than happy to contribute work and development effort to their product.

Kudos to HobbyKing for doing the right thing.