I installed the FPV (First Person View) video and electronic gear in the Guan Li Catalina this weekend. It took a bit of time to install all the parts and then some friends and I took a quick test flight on Sunday evening.

Here’s some of the stuff I installed in the Catalina, all the pictures can be seen in larger versions by clicking on the gallery collection at the bottom of the post.

In the Catalina Itself: I used most of the Eagle Tree components inside of the plane. The only thing I left out was the airspeed monitor, thinking GPS would provide enough information. The GPS seemed to do fairly well, but I will try the standalone air speed monitor with pitot tubes and all in the future. It’s kind of a neat looking probe to add to the plane anyways.
Futaba R149 DP 72Mhz R/C PCM Receiver
Eagle Tree eLogger V3
Eagle Tree OSD Pro
Eagle Tree GPS v4
Eagle Tree Barometric Altimeter (more accurate than GPS)
WDR600 Camera
DPCAV 900Mhz/500mw Audio/Video Transmitter

FPV Ground Station: I made a simple lash-up ground station as I’m still waiting for the Eagle Eyes to become available for antenna tracking, and then I will need to build an actual FPV ground station.  In the meantime I attached the 900Mhz video receiver to the back of the patch antenna with Velcro and connected the patch antenna to it. I then made an adapter from the Ultra Deans connector to the proper barrel power connector used for the receiver to attach the battery to the receiver.

Using more Velcro I attached one of my older Outrage XP 3s1p 2200 Li-Poly battery packs to provide the ~12 volts power to the receiver.  The Trimersion video goggles connect to the Audio/Video ports on the 900Mhz video receiver. The video goggles have their own Ni-Mh 8 cell battery pack (9.6 volts) powering a 7805 linear voltage regulator I added to them. Unfortunately the portable video recorder did not arrive until today, so there is no recorded FPV video of the test flight.

DPCAV 8dBi 900Mhz Patch Antenna (It’s actually an l-com unit, but unless you buy in bulk, it’s cheaper from DCPAV)
DPCAV 900Mhz Generic Receiver (This is the one I modded with the new SAW filter)
2200mAh 3s1p 11.1v Li-Poly pack (12.6v fully charged)
Custom Ultra Deans to Barrel Connector adapter
Modified Trimersion video goggles w/7805 linear voltage regulator
Generic 2500mAh 7.6v Ni-Mh battery pack for goggles.

I tested the setup indoors and all was working well, but I needed to test it at the field. My friends Ollie and Bryn went out with me. Bryn shot some ground footage of the Catalina flying, while Ollie wore the Trimersion video headset to make sure that the video stayed clear throughout the flight. I flew the plane, of course 🙂 It was a extremely gusty day, and we only achieved one flight on the Catalina for just a few minutes before I brought the airplane down. Ollie said that the video in the Trimersion headset looked great throughout most of the slight with only a minor fade-out of the video signal at a couple of points.

More testing will be done before I try FPV myself, and even then it will probably be with an eyes-on pilot and a spare radio attached with a trainer cord for redundancy. If I loose the video or control of the airplane in FPV for some reason the backup pilot can take over control of the aircraft.

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