FPV and quad racing just entered into a new era. For those who participated in earlier races, it was always a hassle to mount some kind of transponder right before the race on their quads. Now during the races many of these got damaged and often many of them got lost as they have fallen off from the racers. The IR based sensor often did not pick up the passing quads because these were either too fast to detect – or just the sun simply changed positon and blinded the sensors.
The introduction of the RSSI based race timing systems managed to eliminate the above problems. No more transponders, no more problem with the sun shining in the IR sensor. The RSSI based timing systems lock on the video frequency of your FPV racer and detect the maximum signal strength as it passes through the gate under which the race timer is placed. While the personal race timers like the LapRF have only one receiver built in and was designed to pick up the signal from one quad – or time sharing with 2-3 racers, the 8-way event timer system has 8 individual 5.8Ghz receivers where every single one will be dedicated to measuring one individual racer. This increases the accuracy of the measurement dramatically above other systems.
Instead of using a standard receiver module in their 8-way timing system, ImmersionRC’s hardware engineering team designed a custom module, which can be calibrated on-the-fly to adapt to the different power levels found in races. Sensitive enough to detect passing quads, but selective enough to ignore adjacent channel interference. Heavily filtered to ignore off-band interference common at race events.
They also designed custom antennas with gate-shaped beams which let the race director precisely define the detection area of the timing system. These antennas are designed for RHCP/LHCP, and Linear polarization, covering everything that will be seen at a race event. To adds to the above benefits, the LapRF is just as comfortable in the digital world as analog. Many successful mixed Analog and Digital races have been run by race director Joe Scully with a great deal of success. The Connex Prosight transmitter signal is just as precisely detected as the analog TrampHV video signal. The Prosight TX units must be in fixed-frequency mode in order to properly work with the 8-way LapRF.
At the time of this writing, the software a race director should run to properly benefit from the advantages of the 8-way LapRF race timing system is the LiveFPV scoring engine from LiveTime. ImmersionRC worked with the folks from LiveTime to improve the integration and support for the 8-way LapRF with their scoring engine. Joe Scully has run numerous races using these two systems and we could all benefit from the precise lap timing and race management of these two systems.
We also equipped the Fatshark RCC (Race Command Center) with an 8-way LapRF, and this way the FatShark Race Command Center can just show up anywhere, it takes about 30 minutes to deploy and connect the receivers and external equipment, then it is ready to race, This is the race flight line on wheels, it can be ready to race within 30 minutes of arrival. Please take a peak of the special 4 way Scorpion diversity receivers lined up on the side:
The 8-way LapRF is now available from New Generation Hobbies, please click on the ling below to purchase it:
Here is an update to this page after we received the first shipment. I prepared an unboxing video which was streamed live to Facebook and YouTube as well. Please check out the unboxing video below:
Originally we were asked to host a drone racing event on August 26th at the Toronto RC airfield in Markham, Ontario. Unfortunately last minute the club decided to dramatically reduce the drone racing time and sessions throughout the event which would have caused quite a bit of downtime for people who dedicated their time to come and help us out with this demonstration.
Humber Valley RC Flyers however decided the grant us the use of their RC field for this event and loved the idea or us doing a drone racing presentation and race on Saturday, August 26th, 2017:
My discussion with the executives brought us to the point where the whole club’s approach is very positive towards drone racing and if this event goes well, the club may decide and work out the details for next year to create a drone racing area as well as a new membership category for drone racing. For this reason people and pilots who will come out to this event and will fly with us should consider joining the club for the next years flying season.
The agenda of Saturdays event is as follows:
8:00AM – 9:00AM – Race course and RV setup
9:00AM – 9:30AM – Continue setup and finalizing race course
– Registration and check in (MAAC membership card has to be shown)
– Joe Scully will register each pilot in his software as well as we need you to sign in on a sign in sheet as well for the club.
– Coffee and Timbits will be available on site provided by NGHobbies
9:30AM – 9:45AM – Pilots briefing, overview of safety rules and do’s and don’ts. During this time fixed wing flying will be possible.
9:45AM – 10:45AM – Practice rounds
10:45AM – 11:15AM – Fixed wing flying – time could be less if nobody wants to fly.
11:15AM – 12:45PM – Race heats
12:45PM – 1:45PM – Break, fixed wing flying and lunch – pizza, water and POP will be served by NGHobbies
1:45PM – 3:45PM – Race heats
3:45PM – 4:00PM – Announcements, close-up notes
4:00PM – 4:30PM – Tear down, pack and go home
To approach the field come to the intersection of Kipling and Steels and turn north on Kipling. From there follow the chart below made by Jorge Razon:
Just as a follow up, we had a great time on this race. There were a total of 14-15 pilots who came to race with us and about 10-15 spectators and club members. The day went by pretty fast, all pilots raced one battery after the other. Joe Scully started to pass on the family business to Marshall, and teaching him how to comment on pilots actions, etc.
The HVRCF club executive was quite pleased with how nicely this event was organized and how complex this operation really is. Since Humber Valley will be discussing during he winter the possibility of opening a permanent drone race track at our park, this event really brought us close to that by showing how coordinated the event is and how disciplined the pilots are. MAAC and Club safety rules were applied and enforced, and through this we won the possibility to go back there again.
Lastly enjoy some pictures from this event below. You can click on each picture to enlarge them.
Back to School Fun Fly and Race
Just like the title says, the LapRF is a personal race timing system recently released from Immerison RC. We had the pleasure to test-drive this product for a while and provide feedback on it’s operation and software development portion as well.
Expect little and be surprised
Since this is a “Personal Race Timing System” it was designed to measure the precise timing of the laps of a single racing quad. In that this device excels and it provides much more. When we received this “puck” as everybody call it, the software was still in development stage, however on the first try we managed to hook it up and connect it to our iPhone or iPad, pick up the Bluetooth connection and read/save settings to it. In a matter of seconds it was operational.
How it works:
The LapRF has a single 5.8Ghz receiver inside armed with a clever firmware to measure the RSSI (receiver signal strength indicator) value when a transmitter is near by. You can see a visual presentation of this if you switch to the “Diagnostics” page and if you bring your racing quad closer to the LapRF the line measuring your signal strength should increase and as you move it further away should decrease in length. If you plan to measure more than one racers with the LapRF, then the single receiver will be listening half time to one pilot, the other half to the other pilots frequency. Since it has to switch between frequencies to listen to both, this decreases the reception speed, and accuracy. The more pilots you add, the less your gate speed should be to get accurate readings.
Testing and racing:
The first test of tossing a racing quad or a small transmitter above it registered the time right away as it was enable for racing or practice. Then a more thorough test followed where we put the LapRF puck inside of a racing gate and started measuring laps as we passed through the gate. This was all indoors, and the distance from the puck to the phone was only a few feet. To our surprise, 2 and later even 3 quads were timed perfectly, of course within the limitations of the speeds advertised on the setup page. The Babyhawks we were flying had to make a 180 degree turn before passing through the gate on the below video which slowed down the gate speed considerably:
Armed with the successful results from the above test, we took the LapRF puck outside for some further testing. In order to increase the range of the Bluetooth and stay at a safe range from the racing gate and track, it is better to have sufficient range to keep the phone/tablet around the flying stations, while the timing gate is 30-50ft away from you.
Upgrading the Bluetooth antenna:
To upgrade the Bluetooth range we used items similar the following kit:
After he antenna was upgraded we headed outside to test the range on the newly upgraded LapRF Bluetooth antenna.
I personally do not really trust the Bluetooth standard. I have tried many Bluetooth headsets for different phones and my general opinion is that if it has to pass through your body, the signal degrades with 50% and the other party can’t hear you good any more. However I was pleasantly surprised on the range results of the upgraded LapRF. I have to specify here that in my tests I used a 7dbi 2.4Ghz antenna specifically designed for WiFi routers. Using a lower gain antenna will somewhat diminish your results, but even with a 2.15dbi antenna like in the upgrade kit above should be able to give you a good 50-100ft range. So here, watch the video I posted about my range tests:
As you can see, I had perfect Bluetooth communication from 147ft away, about 55 meters, which I think it is pretty awesome, compared to my very expensive Bluetooth headset which often does not pass through my body.
With all this I am very pleased with the LapRF, and while I am not a racer, now every time I can I get my buddies to come over with their Babyhawks so we can race together and have lots of fun.
You can purchase the LapRF and upgrade kit from out website, by clicking on the following link: http://www.nghobbies.com/cart/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=207_340
I have been to many ad-hoc races organized around our city and one thing was common – in almost every case there was a cardboard with a grid drawn up with permanent markers, names and frequencies on it, often not clearly visible and nobody really new if they were interfering or not with other people. For this reason I took some time to design this frequency table which is color coded, contains all the frequencies one could use for FPV racing. I did not include low bands, because those in many counties are outside of the legal frequency bands.
The frequency chart is color coded, easily visible, and groups are easily identifiable. You can run several heats as long as you keep fliers of other heats offline while one is flying.
A low resolution version can be downloaded by right clicking on the image above, but in case you would like to purchase this printed on a 12″ x 18″ corplast board, please click the image above.
Some frequencies are close by, these can be used in the same heat – one or another. This is marked with the “OR” signal in the middle. The frequencies which should not be used in North America, this includes USA and Canada are crossed out with red.
We have been asked by our customers on several occasions on how to install ur find previous versions of cleanflight now that version 2.*.* is out and it will not connect to their boards with versions under 2.0.
Searching YouTube we have come across a very nice and detailed video which explains it all and gives you a step by step guide on how to do this. We have embedded this video on this page for your convenience. Painless 360 gives us an excellent explanation and guide on how to do this, so there is no reason to reinvent the wheel, just use this guide to install it yourself:
If you finished watching please make sure to send Painless 360 a “like” for his excellent work.
Fat Shark is just about to release the new Attitude V4 Anniversary edition goggles. These goggles are the follow up to the Attitude V3 edition and it comes with a few enhancements and upgrades you would definitely need to know about before you go and order any other goggles. The red/black color scheme of these goggles will raise the eyes and turn the heads of even most professional FPV pilots. You can pre-order these goggles by clicking here or on the image below.
The Attitude V4 will come in a new rounded case similar to the previous well known, rounded, Fat Shark Attitude cases. There is not much improvement on the display modules used in these goggles; they are identical to the Attitude V3 and the Dominator V2, delivering a 4:3 ratio, 640×480 resolution, 32 degrees FOV crisp, smooth image which many have been happy with so far.
The touch and feel of this case is very similar to the previous one, however it is not identical and parts are not interchangeable. As you can see there are 3 control buttons on the top of these goggles and one more on the new, slick Fat Shark OLED RX module. The two buttons on the top middle left and middle right of the goggles are actually 4 way joysticks, one the left one allowing brightness and contrast control, while the right one controls the built in DVR function.
The brightness and contrast is the same as on the previous models, and the DVR function is the same as it is on the higher end Fat Shark goggles. Push the button in for about 3-4 seconds to enable the DVR (the LED above the micro SD card slot will light up at this time) then a quick press will start the recording with one beep and another quick press will stop recording – confirming it with 2 beeps. The DVR will only work if an SD card is inserted. Here is an image on where the SD card slot is and where the DVR LED is:
In order to watch back the videos recorded on the DVR, you will need to flip the RX switch on the bottom of the goggles into the OFF position and if the DVR is on as per the operation described above, you will need to push and hold the DVR button for 3-4 seconds to start the playback menu.
The Attitude V4 comes with a brand new receiver from Fat Shark, that is the new OLED receive module. This receiver module has been vastly improved over the previous versions, and new features have been added to make the setup/flying easier and faster. Firstly, it is a one button operation, you can select the frequency band between Fatshark, Raceband, Band E and Band A. To do this you need to hold the button on the OLED RX for about 5 seconds. The RX display will go in scanning mode, and from there if you push the button once, it will switch bands. To exit, just roll the channel switching button on the top to either direction and that will save the band you are at right now.
The second most important thing is that Fat Shark improved the receiver module built into this to add better reception, higher sensitivity and better signal separation. This receiver has way fewer interference lines compared to its predecessors when the signal is getting low or being interfered with. Much smoother image handling puts this receiver on the top of the list making it almost not necessary to get a diversity solution.
When booting up, the OLED module displays a small Fatshark logo for about 2 seconds, then it goes into showing you the channel you have selected as well the associated frequency:
The channels can be changed with the rotary dial on the top of the goggles we all now very well from the previous Attitude versions. However, if you push the button on the right side of the display you will enter into the frequency scanner. This will not only display which channels at being used at this time, but also how powerful the signal is compared to your location:
It will only scan the active band. When the bands are switched, the receiver module will go into the frequency scanner mode and right away starting to scan the band for available channels. One very positive thing is that you can look into the goggles while it is scanning and you can see the channels quickly flipping, thus providing you a visual feedback on who is on what channel.
The Attitude V4 will come with a tall zipper case to provide proper carrying for your goggles. We should start to see the Attitude V4 Anniversary Edition in stores around the beginning of May 2017.
The improved OLED receivers will also be available for purchase, so you can upgrade the receiver module in your existing Fat Shark goggles.
We just receiver a shipment of the new Racekraft 5051 propellers what the racing community was buzzing about for the past few weeks. I did not spend a lot of time researching these propellers, but some pilots swear that this is the next best thing what happened in the drone racing.
My personal opinion does not really matter, because I am only a “once a month” racer, and I am not burning batteries like most of you guys do. This is mostly due to the fact that running a hobby shop for the past 9 years kind of eats up my time. However when I heard about this I started reading and researching and I was barely waiting to get these in and test them on the thrust meter.
I realize measuring the thrust of a propeller might not be an ideal way of measuring the propellers performance in flight, but I would not claim that anyway. I am just simply comparing the two propellers on a thrust-stand to see what thrust factor can one expect during flight.
A good resource which I read about these propellers was written by the folk on Propwashed: (http://www.propwashed.com/racekraft-5051-prop-review/) If you want to know more about these propellers I highly recommend reading their article. I don’t even pretend to understand propellers as well as these guys do. So without a delay then after you read that article come back and watch the video below on the results of the thrust testing and comparison of these propellers with the Dalprop 5045 V2 triblades.
At the end if you like want you see and would like to purchase these propellers, you can click on the following picture and link to take you to the website where you can order these:
The EMAX 2205 red bottoms have been in use now for over a year. These motors still seem to dominate the racing grounds, even though newer motors were developed since. some of the newer ones have better bearings, some even have ceramic ball bearings which will minimize the noise.
The EMAX 2205 however is still a strong competitor to most motors our there. Many people walked by to our store and were asking for parts on these motors. It seems that the low price on these motors have a toll on the quality of the parts they are coming with. We know for sure that the bearings are not the best, but they do the job. In most cases people start hearing the bearing noises after a few flights.
While it is very rare to bend the shaft of these motors, a hard hit to a soccer pole can do the trick. We have seen some requests for these as well.
To accommodate all these requests, we are now bringing you the most essential replacement parts for the EMAX 2205 red bottom motors. The pictures below link you to the product pages where you can purchase these.
The Ball Bearing:
The release of the Fatshark Dominator HD3 is around the corner now. It is time to take a look at what these goggles will offer our customers and what will be the benefits of using these new goggles.
Continuing the trend of using high resolution LCD modules for the HD line of goggles, Fat shark’s new flagship goggles, the Dominator HD3 will come with set of 800×600 SVGA resolution LCD modules. Just like it’s predecessors the HDV2 or the HD. The Dominator HD3 will provide a huge screen size compared to the other goggles, and it will eliminate all the complaints from the previous versions regarding the blurriness around the edges. These goggles have a diagonal FOV dialed back to 42 degrees to maintain large screen experience while delivering a crisp optical performance and perfect OSD readability.
Pilots flying with digital video transmitters like the Connex or the Prosight will appreciate the new 16:9 display format when in HDMI mode. The HDMI input will detect and match the display aspect ratio for HD systems and automatically present the image in a 16:9 (letterbox) format. The native resolution of the LCD display module is 4:3, and pilots flying with a built in receiver or an analog video input will enjoy a huge full screen 4:3 image providing a crisp and clear image received from the 4:3 FPV cameras.
The official specifications released by Fatshark are as follows:
– FOV 42° Diagonal
– 59-69mm IPD Range (adjustable)
– SVGA 800 X 600 Display
– Support Side/Side 3D
– NTSC/PAL Auto Selecting
– High definition media interface 720p Support
– Modular Head Tracker Bay
– Modular Receiver Bay
– DC in: 7-13V (2S/3S)
– Power Consumption: 4W
– Integrated Analog DVR (does not support HD recording)
What you should expect when opening the box:
– Dominator HD3 Headset with fan-equipped faceplate
– Zipper Case
– 7.4V, 1800mAh Battery with LED Indicator
– AV Cable
– Mini to Mini high definition media interface cable (include Mini to Micro, Mini to Standard high definition media interface adapters)
The HD3 ships with new lower profile Velcro backed (removable) faceplate foam for a more accommodating fit. The HD3 is the most powerful, most versatile and portable FPV goggle which appeared on the FPV market yet. This will and the top choice of drone pilots.
We will receive the first shipment around November 1st. You may preorder these amazing new goggles till then by clicking here.