First Person View is introduced in our earlier article. As mentioned there, it can be quite a technical endeavor, although some newer machines may come already set up and ready to go.
For those who want to understand the systems, we provide the following diagram and descriptions.
First Person View gear for drones work differently than the digital cameras we are familiar with. They are analog systems, and therefore use either a different (2nd) camera or an analog A/V output from your existing digital model. This output is coupled to a transmitter with it’s own antenna – and often needing it’s own battery (or a feed from the existing battery). The video signal is then transmitted from the quad down to your ground station and displayed on a small monitor on on the inside of specially designed googles. Many hobbyists prefer to keep the entire FPV system separate – with it’s own small cam. FPV does not require a high resolution, so the camera can be very small and light.
In the diagram above, #4 through 6 are parts of the FPV system. They can be described as:
#4 – FPV Camera or Analog (usually composite) output from existing quadcopter camera (GoPro, Keychain Cam, etc.)
#5 FPV Transmitter and antenna – this takes the “TV Type” signal from the FPV Camera and broadcasts it to the ground.
#6 FPV Receiver and Monitor or Goggles – This receives the signal from your drone and then displays it on a connected monitor or goggles. In some cases, a smart phone or computer tablet acts as both the ground receiver and the monitor.
Not all equipment and connections are not shown in the above diagram. These include the battery or power connection to the FPV camera and transmitter and connections for triggering the camera on or off from the ground TX. FPV gear setup can be quite technical and a full discussion is outside the range of this article. If you are not comfortable with technology, it will probably be best to look for a unit sold Ready to Fly with FPV, such as the upcoming Phantom Vision or even the AR Drone. Even the tiny micro quad Hubsan X4 is now being offered with a complete FPV system.
Here are some further FPV resources:
(Site with extensive documentation – also sells FPV systems and quads)
(Book – Beginners Guide to FPV)