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How To Build A FPV Racing Quadcopter

Step 1-1  Step 1-2    Step 2  Step 3  Step 4  Step 5  Step 6  Step 7-1  Step 7-2  Step 8  Step 9-1  Step 9-2  Step 9-3  Step 9-4  Step 9-5  

Step 5: Installing The FPV System

The quadcopter system and the FPV system are actually two separate systems totally independent of one another other than sharing a battery. The function of the FPV (first person view) system is to give the pilot the ability (and really cool experience) to fly and race the quadcopter as if they were actually in the racer itself. When it comes to FPV systems, there are two main types of systems; FPV by a monitor and FPV by immersion where the pilot is immersed through the use of special FPV goggles. Our quadcopter racer is going to be equipped with a Fat Shark Immersion FPV System.

Fat Shark Immersion System

The nice thing about Fat Shark FPV systems (above photo) is that they are truly "plug-and-play" which means they actually come with all the components already connected together and you really just have to take the unit and install it on your aircraft. One small problem though is that the cameras don't have any mounts so you do have to figure out how to mount the camera in such a way that it does not move during flight, which in the case of an immersion FPV system could be disasterous.

To overcome this problem we disconnected the camera and bent a thin wire around the top of the camera. We then fastened the wire to the camera using some five minute epoxy (below photo). We also added some double sided tape to the base of the camera to act as a damper but also to help hold it in place as we secure it to the frame.

Epoxy wire to the camera
Mounting the camera

Next position the camera frame (front nose piece) and the camera and pass the wires through the frame of your racer (above and below photos).

Mounting the camera 2

On the underside of the frame twist the two ends of the wire together to hold the camera securely in place. This type of a fastening method will give us the flexibility to adjust the angle of the camera for optimum view during high speed flight. Once we have a camera angle that we are comfortable racing with, we can use some household silicone caulking to fasten the base of the camera to the frame more permanently. Using caulking to mount the camera will give us the extra adhesion we need, add vibration damping and also allow us to remove the camera alot easier than if we were to fasten it in place with epoxy or a hot glue gun. Then we will have the confidence that the camera is not going to move around even if we crash during a race.

One other thing that we want to do is to turn the Fat Shark FPV transmitter over and remove the protective plastic over the DIP switches using a sharp razor blade (below photo). These DIP switches are for changing the transmission channels of your FPV system which will probably be necessary when in close vicinity to other racers. IMPORTANT: Be extremely careful NOT to damage the board or any components when cutting the plastic away from over the DIP switches!

Cut away the clear plastic over the DIP switches of the FPV transmitter
Mounting the radio transmitter and Fat Shark FPV transmitter to the upper deck

Now mount the Fat Shark FPV tansmitter and the radio receiver to the underside of the upper deck (frame top plate) using cable ties for the FPV transmitter and double sided tape for the radio receiver and reconnect the camera (top photo). (Before you do this be sure to fasten the video camera damping mount to the frame top plate with the four rubber grommets because you will not be able to do this afterwards.) When positioning the radio receiver, pass the antenna through to the topside of the upper plate (below two photos) and be sure to trial fit the top frame plate on the standoffs to ensure clearance between the reciever and the other components. To clean up the wiring, bundle the ESC and camera wires together using cable ties.

Mounting the radio transmitter and Fat Shark FPV transmitter to the upper deck
Mounting the radio transmitter and Fat Shark FPV transmitter to the upper deck

On the topside of the upper deck we slid the radio receiver antenna up into a drinking straw and fastened the straw in place with some epoxy. (below photo). NOTE: The photo below shows that the top plate is fastened to the standoffs to create the upper deck, which we can do after the last step on this page; however, we'll have to remove it again later on when we configure the CC3D flight controller.

Sliding the radio receiver antenna into our drinking straw antenna

When mounting the FPV transmitter you also want to disconnect the red|black wires from the FPV transmitter to the discharge filter supply and pass the wires down through the frame and through the modified cutouts to the underside of the bottom frame plate. Using double sided tape fasten the Fat Shark discharge filter supply to the bottom of the quadcopter racer and then reconnect the red|black wires (below two photos).

Connector from the Fat Shark FPV transmitter to the discharge filter supply
Mounting the discharge filter supply

To power the Fat Shark FPV system we connect the balance lead from our LiPo battery into the appropriate socket (2S, 3S or 4S) of the discharge filter supply. VERY IMPORTANT: DO NOT power the FPV system without an antenna connected to the FPV (A/V) transmitter or you will burn out the internal amplifier!