Recent Articles

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.

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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.

 

F550 Hexa Frame with integrated flight controller

F550 Hexa Frame with integrated flight controller

December 19, 2012 13:17 | By | 19 Comments

This is a sturdy nylon hexacopter frame with an integrated flight controller. And when we say integrated, we mean integrated.

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The specs so far:

  • HJ F550 Quadcopter Frame
  • MWC 2012 flight control board with 2.1 firmware
  • 6 x 20A ESC
  • 6 x XXD 2212 Motor
  • 6 pairs x 9047 Propellers CW&CCW
  • GPS Module

So for $230 you get an okay ARTF hexacopter kit – but you better never ever crash it. If you so much as crack the upper PCB during a crash or a rough landing, you have to replace the whole board with the flight controller. Not exactly a smart design.

All-in-one 5.8GHz diversity receiver

All-in-one 5.8GHz diversity receiver

December 5, 2012 11:10 | By | Add a Comment

GLB is offering the D58-4 four-channel FPV receiver that features both four independent receivers + individual outputs as well as one additional diversified output. The idea is that you tune all four receivers to the same channel, then use the diversity output for your FPV goggles/DVR/etc. – this device will switch between the four receivers and take the one with the best video signal.

Serious FPV pilots can use this to achieve 360 degree coverage, or just additional safety by combining four antennae with different characteristics.

Note that this will not solve multipathing issues, which account for most of the close-range image distortions. You’ll want a circular polarizing antenna for that, like these Cloverleaf Antennae. That said, diversity is a good thing to have and a setup with several types of circular polarizing antennae, for example 3 x patch + 1 x cloverleaf, will give you pretty much the best wireless video link you can get.

Don’t want diversity? This receiver also has four independent outputs in case you tune those receivers onto different channels and record them all at the same time.

Price at Goodluckbuy.com is a less-than-stellar $258.85, whereas the same receiver can be picked up at fpvmodel.com for $209 and at Foxtech for a mere $199. Depending on where you live however, GLB may or may not end up being cheaper due to shipping being included in that price.

MultiWii and ArduPilot GPS + Telemetry Sets

MultiWii and ArduPilot GPS + Telemetry Sets

November 27, 2012 10:25 | By | 1 Comment

RCTimer is having a sale on two very interesting sets that include GPS and 433MHz telemetry.
First is the AIOP-UAV, an AllInOnePro MultiWii/MegaPirate controller, a successor to the AIO controller board we reviewed in summer, complete with GPS module and 433MHz telemetry for data downlink and inflight flightplan updates.

Features:

  • Supports MegaPirateNG and MultiWii firmware
  • Up to 8-axis motor output
  • 8 input channels for standard receiver
  • 4 serial ports for debug/Bluetooth Module/OSD/GPS/telemetry
  • 2 servo output for PITCH and ROLL gimbal system
  • Servo output to trigger a camera button
  • 6 Analog output for extend device
  • I2C port for external sensor or device
  • Separate 3.3V and 5V LDO voltage regulator
  • ATMega 2560 Microcontroller
  • MPU6050 6 axis gyro/accel with Motion Processing Unit
  • HMC5883L 3-axis digital magnetometer
  • MS5611-01BA01 highprecision altimeter
  • FT232RQ USB-UART chip and Micro USB port

The USB port, one of the major issues we had with the original AIO board,  has allegedly been reinforced.

Price: $124.99 at rctimer.com

 

 

 

Second is the ArduFlyer UAV set with GPS and 433MHz telemetry. This is mainly for those who prefer ArduPilot over MultiWii.

Features:

  • Arduino and ArduPilot Mega 2.5 Compatible!
  • Includes both right angle and straight pins for I/O, allowing user to customize as needed.
  • Includes 3-axis gyro, accelerometer and magnetometer, along with a high-performance barometer
  • Onboard 16Mbit Dataflash chip for automatic datalogging
  • Digital compass powered by HMC5883L chip, included on the main board.
  • Invensense’s 6 DoF Accelerometer/Gyro MPU-6000.
  • Barometric pressure sensor upgraded to MS5611-01BA03, from Measurement Specialties.
  • Atmel’s ATMEGA2560-16AU and ATMEGA32U-2 chips for processing and usb functions respectively.

Price: $149.99 at rctimer.com

 

These prices are very reasonable and both boards  have excellent sensor hardware.

10x Zoom Camera Module on the cheap

10x Zoom Camera Module on the cheap

November 16, 2012 11:37 | By | Add a Comment

Want to feel like a military drone pilot, zooming in on the target with your 10x tele camera lens, but don’t want to shell out $400 for the HP520 FPV camera module? This is a much cheaper Samsung-brand camera with Sony CCD and integrated 10x telezoom, for just USD $90.- !

This one goes from a nice f=3.8mm to 38mm, and low-light performance appears to be decent. The only drawback is that you have to figure out your own PPM interface for your RC receiver to control the zoom.

If that doesn’t scare you, this capable little 10x zoomer can be yours for $90, available at Goodluckbuy.

 

Walkera announces Devo F7 integrated FPV transmitter system

Walkera announces Devo F7 integrated FPV transmitter system

November 13, 2012 23:38 | By | Add a Comment

Walkera has obviously been looking at the Hubsan FPV transmitter and has just come out with their own integrated system, the Devo F7 FPV transmitter. This new model offers a color LCD screen and integrated 5.8GHz video receiver. Click the read more link for fancy press photos and details.

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GoPro Hero3 offers 4k video and 120fps recording

GoPro Hero3 offers 4k video and 120fps recording

October 17, 2012 10:30 | By | Add a Comment

The GoPro 2 was due for a revamp, and now there’s not just two models but three. Features range from 120fps video to WiFi control and streaming. Read up on the details and oogle the press shots after the break.

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HP520 10X Zoom Camera Module

HP520 10X Zoom Camera Module

October 15, 2012 8:09 | By | 1 Comment

A dedicated, FPV-ready camera module with zoom capability is something of a holy grail, and FPV-Fever are all to happy to oblige. Their HP520 camera module sports a servo input that lets you control the 10x zoom action. Together with a good stabilizing gimbal this is probably as close as you can get to the performance of military surveillance drones.

The bad news is that this will set you back $400, available now on GLB.

Hubsan H510 FPV Glasses Review

Hubsan H510 FPV Glasses Review

August 15, 2012 21:34 | By | 5 Comments

Looking for lightweight FPV video goggles that don’t break the bank? You’re not alone. Hubsan has a product to fill that itch, the H510 FPV glasses, which are available for as low as $119. Can they scratch the itch, or are they complete garbage? Read our in-depth review after the break!

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Hubsan FPV goggles cost $110, look fashionable

Hubsan FPV goggles cost $110, look fashionable

August 6, 2012 7:23 | By | Add a Comment

We need more cheap video goggles. Hubsan joins the fray with one of the cheapest offerings yet, the $110 Hubsan FPV Goggles. Read on for sources and a link to our review!

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