Streaming go pro camera from rc helicopter to my mac or a lcd screen.

Hey guys. I have an RC copter and all the electronic parts like sottering iron (var temp) and resistors, capacitors, all that crap since my dad is an electrical engineer. but We want to stream video from a rc copter. We own xbee's (x2) a arduino uno, a computer to use, a two spark fun xbee shields, a usb xbee explorer, a lcd screen (compatible with arduino), 2.4GHz Duck Antenna RP-SMA - Large, a Interface Cable RP-SMA to U.FL, project enclosures of all sizes and we can order any other parts we need. Is this feasible? And do we have all the right parts, also will the code be super difficult to use or is there code already out there? We appreciate all help!!

(P.S my dad is super busy and Me and my friend are making this. We also plan on using a rover 5 platform to carry the rc copter and then it can fly off of that. )

You haven't entioned the radio technology you were intending using to stream video, or how it is connected to the camera.

thats what we don't know haha. We are looking for advice on how to do it? I appreciate it :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :)!

What's this got to do with Arduino?

I was just saying we had it if we needed it. and won't I need an arduino to control the servo's and stuff? Since we wanted to use a pan and tilt from spark fun (Link for it below :slight_smile: )! We wanted to relay the video feed live from our RC copter and be able to control it from anywhere as long as we are in range. We don't want to mess with any of the hardware on the RC since its not open source. How could we stream the video feed back to us? And also what parts do we need? Thanks!

Sounds like you need an RF link transmitter and receiver suitable for transmitting video. Probably should search on those terms.

As to the pan and tilt, if you are flying a copter of some sort, you should not need pan as you just point the copter in the required direction. For the tilt you would arguably need a separate RC system unless it happens the present control system happens to have a spare control channel - which it well might.

would two xbees suffice, and what kind of config should I run?

If you are feeling ambitious then the Arduplane project gives you the ability to control a camera gymbal to compensate for the aircraft movement so that it can remain pointing at a given location even when the aircraft is moving. That would be a lot better than a fixed camera which would zoom all over the place as the aircraft pitches and rolls.

If your Dad is feeling brave, then the Arduplane is also capable of flying the aircraft for you. However, you might need to be willing to put up with a few crashes while you get it tuned, so this isn't something to tackle casually.

So how could I stream live feed from my go pro camera on my rc copter without a pan and tilt? :slight_smile:

What connectivity does the GoPro have?

The go pro camera has:

Mini USB

Micro HDMI


And It is the GoPro camera you see in those commercials for athletes that is weather proof and crap :stuck_out_tongue:

And It is the GoPro camera you see in those commercials for athletes that is weather proof and crap :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah it's a good camera. We don't typically use it as the downlink camera though. The problem is the GoPro has a wide FOV and HD signal. You can pull a live video feed in standard def from the GoPro, but it's extremely hard to fly with that view because it's "compressed" and things aren't where they appear to be.

What you are attempting is called FPV - and, electrical engineering expertise aside, to do FPV, you need to be a PILOT. So, please, do yourself a favor and accept right now that you probably won't be flying any aircraft by FPV for several months. DO NOT think you can depend on auto-pilot technology to make up for lack of flying skills. We do not need you in the airspace right now if you think that. The FAA is positively attacking our hobby with a vengeance right now, and we don't need to give them ammunition for that fight - everyone flying FPV and model aircraft right now needs be extremely careful. The public is alarmed, and we don't need them more alarmed.

Off my pulpit - please go to this link and learn how to do what you want to do - it's not really an Arduino topic - building a drone is a model aircraft topic.
How to FPV: Newbies thread - New Multirotor tuning video - RC Groups (watch all the videos there, it will give you a list of what you need to buy and what decisions you need to make. Alex (IBCrazy) is the FPV Guru - trust him.

Here's an example of what we usually do - this is my quad-copter flying with two cameras - one camera is used for the live feed and that's the pilot view. The GoPro is just 'on' and recording to its memory card, running on battery.

O BTW - I also have a hex-copter running on the Arduino auto-pilot module (APM 2.5) - you can find more information about that on that same forum I posted before. It's a solid product, but it does not fly by itself really - you need to be a competent pilot to set up and test the system and get it running, and you need to be able to rescue it with manual control when things go wrong, which they often do.

This was about $700 all up, not counting batteries and my radio system... it's a nice copter, it flies by itself most of the time just fine, but it's not 100% reliable - it's about 75% reliable in wide open areas. I'll be adding an FPV system to this eventually - that will be about another $200-250.

caleb sent me some basic questions about quad copters and after writing this up I decided I should share this with the community...

I can't tell you everything about quad copters, it would take many hours to give you good answers to all those questions. I'll give you a basic overview, but you really need to join that RCGroups site and start reading and asking questions there. It would also be a really good idea to go ahead and buy a quad-copter that is already built, so you can learn to fly with something cheap and durable - FPV copters are expensive, heavy, and not durable, if you crash one, it's gonna cost money to fix. You will not be able to fly an APM copter without some experience first. They usually don't fly right on the first go, and you have to be good enough to not crash it while it's all messed up, so you can figure out what to adjust. I've seen quite a few beginners never get their copters to work because they don't have the skills to keep it in the air long enough to figure out what is out of adjustment - and when you crash, you have to start all over again, after you fix the damage.

Keep in mind that a quad copter is primarily a model aircraft - it's a very different thing from a robot, but some of the technology crosses over. Still, it is an RC aircraft for the most part. Even when using auto-pilot units, like the APM, a quad copter is still primarily a radio control aircraft. So, you need to learn some basics about RC aircraft and get some basic equipment like batteries, chargers, a radio transmitter, and a basic aircraft to start with. I personally suggest JR/Spektrum radio equipment, which works with Blade quad-copters - I strongly suggest picking up a Blade Nano or Blade 180QX to learn to fly with.

Here's my review of the latest quad copter from Blade - the 180QX micro quad. It would be good for flying around the house and outside in the yard, it is really durable and can handle most beginner crashes without breaking. It comes with a camera, so you can start to learn how to aim a camera from an aircraft.

This is my review of the Blade 350 QX - it's a little more like what you will eventually need for FPV, but still a little smaller than what we normally want. It has some auto capabilities, but not all the confusing crap the APM has, so it's a good copter to learn with. It flies perfectly right out of the box, no adjustments or anything usually need to be done. As a beginner, that's what you need, so you can learn to fly without having to learn how to program a controller. It doesn't come with a camera but it comes with a GoPro mount, and it can easily carry other cameras that size.

To answer your specific questions, yes the APM drives the electronic speed controllers (ESCs) which plug directly into it, and the speed controllers run each motor. The APM doesn't know what to do without a pilot though, and for that you mount a standard RC receiver and plug it into the APM - you'll need a radio to send commands to that receiver. This is how you control whether the copter is in auto mode or manual mode, and it has various types of auto modes you can switch with the radio - full auto waypoint navigation, altitude hold manual assist, self-leveling manual flight, GPS position hold manual assist, etc... And obviously, you'll need the radio to fly the thing. Contrary to popular belief, the primary mode of operation on these things is "somebody is actively in control" and full auto flying is actually kind of rare. Many people never even get their auto modes to work right, although I didn't have a lot of trouble with it, once I got the manual modes working right.

To send and receive information for a ground control station, like to set waypoints and to view telemetry during flight, you connect XBee radios to the APM and the computer, and use software like "Mission Planner" to connect. I personally use the Android mission planner on my tablet. In my photo I posted, you should be able to see all that - the wires in the front go down to the speed controllers, the wires in the back are coming from the RC receiver, and you should be able to see the XBee's black antenna sticking up, and the wires from it and the GPS go into sockets on the APM.

There's a beginner tutorial for quad copters here, but it's very basic, in spite of being long. There's a lot of stuff he just isn't talking about - building a quad copter yourself is really hard. Mine are all self-built, but I had many years of RC aircraft experience that you don't have yet - and I built mine with 'known' configurations, just copying what others have done.

Still, you should go to the links I posted in the thread about the APM unit - somebody there did a really nice job of compiling all the links together, for everything you need to know concerning APM copters.

Also, 3D Robotics is the company that invented the APM, so I bought my stuff from them. You can save money getting your boards from somewhere else, but the 3D Robotics products are really nice. The other products require soldering and way more setup, and they seem to be having voltage regulator problems lately too, and users have not been receiving the right cables with their stuff - just avoid all that crap and order from 3D Robotics, you'll pay a bit more but it's worth it. Still, like I said, it's gonna be a while before you are ready to buy from them. Learn to fly first - I can't stress that enough - you are the pilot in command even when using auto-pilot stuff.

You aren't bothering me. I think you're a smart kid and I would love to see you be successful on this. We need more kids like you in America right now.