Project FPV setup for a friend is now finished

The project is now finished. It took quite a bit longer that I thought it would but now it is done. Everything worked like a charm during the 3 test flights and she flew very nice with plenty of power from the power setup.

It’s with a little twinge I send it on its way to it’s new owner. It turned out so nice. I hope my friend takes good care of her.
Check out the pics on the project page


Aiptek Z500 PLUS HD camera for FPV

After failing to get the Camileo P10 HD camera to work with a remote sensor head (for pan and tilting) I decided to have another go. I searched around found out that some of the Aiptek models with optical zoom had their sensors mounted on a ribbon-cable. I found a used Z500+ on a Swedish auction site for less than €50, so I gave it a shot.

Recording: 1440*1080p in 30FPS , 1280*720p in 60FPS
Weight: 204 grams (with battery), 178 grams (without battery)

720p in 60FPS is very nice! I look forward towards testing it out.

Time to start disassembling.

Remove battery

Remove the screw above the USB connector

Remove the metal-sticker on the top and remove the screw

Remove the mic protection plastic thing.

Remove the plastic piece on the front that is held in place with double sided sticky tape and unscrew the two screws.

Underneath the rubber screen protector you’ll find two screws.

Remove the plastic around the buttons on the back and unscrew the two screws.

Now the whole backplate will be loose.

Next, remove the metal collar around the lens. It’s held in place with double sided tape. Then remove the screw underneath.

Then remove the screw that holds the clear plastic in front of the leds and flash.

Then remove the screw under that.

And now you can take the back off.
Yay! It has a ribbon-cable!

The PCB is held in place with 3 screws, unscrew them to get it loose.

Unplug the LCD display cable.

Here it is, removed from its shell.

The ribbon-cable between the PCB and sensor.

I removed the zoom lens controller board from the main PCB.

I also disassembled the zoom lens and removed the flash and capacitor.

The backside of the PCB. The camera is built around the Ambarella A2-A1-RH-A270C chipset.

The front of the PCB.

I used my dremel to remove the unnecessary plastic left from the zoom lens. I plan on making a mount for a standard lens.

The back of the sensor.

Here is a comparison shot with with the Camileo P10.

After searching around for anything I could without to much effort modify into a lens mount I came up with this solution. It’s nothing more than two PG-7 plastic nuts that I glued in place. The treads on the nuts were way to steep but after screwing the lens in and out a couple of time they succumbed and the lens is perfectly straight and secured.

I also added some epoxy glue to the ribbon cable connectors to make sure that they aren’t stressed when panning.

Unfortunately I managed to destroy this camera in a crash with my Funjet. I though about building another one but the ribbon cable turned out to be shorter than I needed it to be to be really useful.

Disassembly of the Aiptek Z500+

I couldn’t wait any longer! I had to disassemble the Aiptek Z500+ and find out if had a ribbon-cable between the PCB and sensor.

It did! Success! It it was quite a long cable as well. Perhaps I don’t even need to replace it with a longer one, it might just be long enough as it is.
Great news!

I made a project page on the progress which also contains a step by step guide to how to do the disassembly;
More info and pictures

A HD suprise!

Did you all think I was just going to give up after the fiasco with the Camileo P10? Then you were kind of right… I have given up on trying to make that camera work with a remote camera head. Instead I decided to try my luck with another camera. I found this diamond in the rough on a swedish auction site and won it for less than €50.

It’s an Aiptek Z500 PLUS and it can record in both 1440*1080p in 30FPS and in 1280*720p in 60FPS!

For more pictures and info click the “Read more”Continue Reading


Twinstar II FPV

A friend of from asked me to build a complete FPV setup for him. I got to choose what gear and he would get for me. That sounded good to my ears, so I agreed. Here is the shopping list:

The airplane
Airframe: Multiplex Twin Star II
Motors: 2 Above All 2813-18 1022kV
ESC’s: 2 Above All 18A v2 ESC’s
Battery: 3S 3600mAh 10-15C Electric Power LiPo
Servos: 4 Power HD-1160A Servos
Props: 2 8*6 APC props
All from

The FPV setup
Goggles: Rvision-D
VideoTX: 300mW 1.3GHz
VideoRX: Dual output 1.3GHz
Antenna: 8dBi Patch
Lens: f2.97 “wide”

Camera: 420 TVL 1/3” SONY CCD CCTV Camera

OSD: Flytron Simple OSD Ultralight edition + current sensor
Headtracker: Flytron Dt-3k hybrid headtracker

1 HS65HB servo
1 HS55 servo
1 sheet 3mm plywood

6 pairs of Multiplex battery connectors
4 60cm servo extension cables
4 30cm servo extension cables
1 bottle medium thick CA
1 bottle accelerator for CA

Everything arrived just fine and I started the build with the FPV pod;

3mm plywood

To elevate the camera a bit and have something to hide the filter and OSD in, I built a little box on top of the pod.

I modified this HS65HB which i’m going to use for panning, with a 2.1K and a 1.2K resistor to get 180° of travel. Here is a guide that describes how I did it

This is the 420 TVL 1/3” SONY CCD CCTV Camera from Stock it’s quite heavy, weighing in at 52 grams, but I’m not going to leave it that porky!

Removed some metal…

I also removed the connector and soldered wires directly to the PCB which I then glued with epoxy.

That’s better! it now weighs 22 grams with a f2.97 wide lens.

The pod is coming along nicely.

A HS55 servo for the tilt.

I modified a R617FS receiver with a “lost package indicator” output

This output is hooked up to the RSSI input on the OSD and displays the true RC link health.
Here is a guide for more info and how to do it

The Simple OSD modified with a “lost package indicator” filter
Here is a review of the Simple OSD ultralight

The 300mW 1.3GHz transmitter that I will modify with a DIY antenna and remove the connector.

I removed the SMA connector and will directly solder the new 1/4-wave lambda antenna to the output.

The input connector removed and the cables have been soldered directly to the PCB, as well as the new antenna.
Here is a guide to making your own antenna and tuning it

I added epoxy to make sure that no solder joint get stressed.

The transmitter done with the input cables braided to reduce interference.

Since the FPV setup is going to be powered by the same LiPo as the RC setup, I needed to make a filter. It’s a very simple filter using nothing more than a couple of capacitors and a coil.

This is the schematic for the filter. In my case I used a 1mH for the coil, 220uF for C1 and C2, 100nF for C3 and C6 and 10uF for C4 ad C5. The capacitors C3-C6 are 1206 SMD size and are soldered directly C1 and C2 as you can see in the pictures.

Here is a comparison shot between the AnyVolt micro and the old DIY filter I made a while back.

Soldered everything up.

Added some hotglue.

Shrink wrapped.

And squeezed everything into the box on top.

It turned out pretty darn nice, in my opinion.

Time to start building the airframe. Since I’ve already made a build log on a Twin Star II, I decided to only take pictures of “interesting” parts of this build.

I placed the servos in the back instead of in the front to get them out of the way and get the CG a bit further back.

I used heat-shrink to around the servos and then glued them in place.

I also extended the battery compartment a tiny bit.

The fuselage glued together.

I made a pair of custom motor mounts out of 1.2mm thick DIY PCB lamination.

I extended the aileron servos with 60cm servo cables.

I extended the motor output cables on the ESC’s and re-shrink wrapped them.

Instead of placing the ESC’s in the motor pods, I decided to place them nearer the inside of the wing.

Before glueing.

After glueing.

A close up of the current sensor and ESC in place.

All cables and connectors in place on the wing.

Started work on the ground station. The patch-antenna will be placed on the the lid of the case.

The receiver in place together with the cables.

I used a deans ultra connector between the wings to power the second ESC and multiplex connectors for the signal wires. If you look closely you can also see that I added a piece of foam as a stop for the battery. This way you get the right CG fast and easy every time.

Hurray, it’s done!

It turned out pretty darn good in my opinion.

FPV pod up close.

Magnet latch on the FPV pod.

I added some clear packing tape over the ESC’s and current sensor.

Pretty clean setup, if I might say so myself.

Each motor draws 14.5A @ 11.7V giving 700 grams of thrust and a pitch speed of 75km/h

The ground station finished up.

The piece of wood and rubber band is used for aiming the patch antenna up or down. Works like a charm.

I hope my friend at is satisfied with my work.
I tested everything at least 3 times to make absolute sure that everything worked precisely as it should.

Unfortunately the weather was terrible so I couldn’t get any good video before I had to send the plane away. But this video is made with the FPV pod from this project:

FPV flight on New Years Eve, filming fireworks!

Crazy as I undoubtedly am, I decided to take the TwinStarII out in the -15°C, pitch dark, windy night on new years eve. Armed with two heated wheat bags, two chemical heat packs, a blanket and a flashlight, I went out to the middle of a field by my fiends house. I took of at 23:59 and tried with my freezing hands to control the airplane in the wind.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t had time to try out the FPV setup properly (hadn’t tried it with the motors running) which resulted in some pretty nasty lines as you can see in the video.
I used the FPV gear that I’m building for friend (Read more about it here)
I think the video turned out ok, but I would have liked if had been less windy and a bit warmer. I had a hard time flying smooth and get good video. Maybe next year will be better.

Lost package indicator guide!

Want to know precisely how good your RC link during a FPV flight? This is even a better way than displaying RSSI, it’s a “lost package indicator” for any OSD that has an RSSI input. You only need a capacitor, a resistor and some soldering skill to make it happen! In this guide I will show and describe exactly how it’s done and how it works. After this guide I hope no one ever finding them selfs flying unknowingly beyond their RC link’s range.

Click here to read the guide