To improve my fpv image I wanted to upgrade my old rusty ImmersionRC Uno to a diversity receiver. I found the ImmersionRC duo 5800 too expensive (and boring! DIY is much more fun!) and was looking for some alternatives when I stumbled upon the GE-FPV RX5808 diversity receiver.

I recently received my GE-FPV RX5808 diversity receiver from Banggood, based on the opensource firmware and hardware from Shea Ivey (see the github project: https://github.com/sheaivey/rx5808-pro-diversity/blob/develop/docs/diy-custom-board.md)

The Diversity receiver hardware is really nice despite some minor drawback, among others it suffers from not using buffered/amplified video outputs and the serial pins are not broken out. It will work out of the box but you can make it better by using a simple electronic circuit. I will tell more about this in another post.

For now let’s focus on the firmware. The GE-FPV RX5808 comes shipped with an old version of the rx5808 opensource firmware and it is recommended to update the firmware to the newest version. In this short howto I will show you how to do this in a few simple steps.

There are multiple firmwares available that works on the GE-FPV RX5808 hardware, but we will be using the rx5808-pro-diversity firmware from Shea ivey. The process for flashing all the other firmwares out there is (almost) the same.

What do you need:

  • Any arduino (uno, mega, tiny, whatever) (or a programmer that can program a atmel 328P chip and is capable of supplying enough current – my programmers (usbasp’s) weren’t!)
  • 6 breadboard wires (or any other wire that can be fitted to the arduino
  • GE-FPV RX5808 diversity receiver (dooohhh)

!!If you will be using a programmer instead of an arduino, you can skip steps 1 and 2. !!

Since the GE-FPV RX5808 diversity receiver didn’t break out the serial pins from the atmega328p we only can program the diversity receiver with the 4 pins ISP (in-system programming) header.

Step 1: Flashing the arduino with the required firmware

  • Open the arduino IDE
  • go to File–>examples–>arduinoisp
  • Uncomment line 81:
    old: // #define USE_OLD_STYLE_WIRING
    new: #define USE_OLD_STYLE_WIRING
  • connect your arduino to your pc and choose the right comport and board type in the Arduino IDE as you normally would do. If you have no idea how this works, please check https://www.arduino.cc/en/Guide/ArduinoUno
  • upload the sketch to your arduino
  • after sketch upload is complete, disconnect your arduino from your computer

Step 2: Wiring the arduino to the GE-FPV RX5808

Connect the following wires from arduino to the ISP header of the GE-FPV RX5808 (see image!). I used a pinheader soldered to the GE-FPV RX5808 for this, but you can also use wires, breadboard wires, etc.

Arduino – GE-FPV RX5808

    • pin 10 –> rst
    • pin 11 –> mosi
    • pin 12 –> miso
    • pin 13 –> sck

arduino_ge_fpv_isp_firmware_update

Step 3: Flashing the newest firmware to the RX5808

  • Download avrdudess if you don’t have any avrdude software installed yet from this website: http://blog.zakkemble.co.uk/avrdudess-a-gui-for-avrdude/
  • Install the software.
  • Connect your arduino to your pc. Your GE-FPV RX5808 should power up now. If not, you did something wrong or your arduino can’t supply enough power to the RX5808.
  • Open AVRDUDESS and use the following settings in avrdudess:
  • at MCU (-p), click on “Detect” and wait for a while. AVRDUDESS should recognize the atmel chip on the RX5808 automaticly and should say that it is an ATmega328P. If it fails something is not right. Double check the comport, your wiring and make sure that the RX5808 is powered up by the arduino!
  • If all went while, you are ready to flash the newest firmware!
  • After downloading go back to AVRDUDESS and at the “flash” section choose:
    • the rx5808-pro-diversity-vX.X.hex file that you’ve just downloaded
    • click on write
    • format: Auto (writing only)
    • click on “Go”
  • AVRDUDESS will now flash your GE-FPV rx5808 with the newest rx5808 firmware!

avrdudess_upload_gefpv_rx5808

If all went well avrdudess will let you know and you are ready to use the newest firmware!

 

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FrSky Taranis X9d

FrSky Taranis X9D

Since a week I’m the proud owner of a FrSky Taranis X9D. I really love this transmitter and I think you can’t get more bang for bucks than with this one. OpenTX is simply incredible and FrSky did a great job in delivering a affordable transmitter and still maintaining good quality.

One of the many great features of the Taranis X9D is the ability to map any sound you like to switch positions or (a combination of) stick positions. Last weekend I’ve create some sounds to be used with MultiWii. I like to share the sounds with the web, so feel free to use my soundpack. The soundpack contains the following sounds:

-mw_acro (acro mode)
-mw_armed (armed)
-mw_baroact (baro active)
-mw_disarm (disarmed)
-mw_GPShol (gps hold activated)
-mw_GPSinac (gps inactive)
-mw_GPSrth (gps return to home)
-mw_headfr (headfree)
-mw_horizon (horizon mode)
-mw_level (level mode)
-mw_mag (mag active)

You can download the zip file here

The sounds are created with the text to speech engine from Acapela-group.com and I’ve selected the voice of “English (USA) Laura). The sounds are edited to be compatible with the Taranis X9D firmware with the open source audio editor Audacity which is available for free here. If you want to make your own sounds, please see the YouTube video by R. Scott.

MinimOSD heat mod

Posted: 11/15/2013 in Howto
Tags: , , ,

In my last post I talked about the RcTimer MinimOSD. I explained what the MinimOSD is, how it works and why you should do some simple modifications to the MinimOSD.

In this post I will write a simple (and short) solution to make sure your MinimOSD won’t overheat anymore. In fact the 5V mod should be sufficient, but since the MinimOSD plays a really critical role in your FPV setup I wanted to make sure it would last for a long time and be very reliable. If the MinimOSD fails due to overheating the Maxim OSD chip, your video feed will be gone immediately and without a warning! Crash guaranteed! So just to be sure, I do everything possible to get rid of the heat from the Maxim OSD chip! Better safe then sorry…

Let’s start!

First find some heatsink (do not confuse with heatshrink…:) ) to cool the maxim chip on the MinimOSD. You can find heatsinks in a lot of hardware what needs some cooling. You definitely will find a heatsink on GPU’s from a (old) pc. If you can’t find a heatsink somewhere or just are a bit lazy (like me), buy some on Ebay. I’ve bought this one: 5pcs 11x11x5mm adhesive Aluminum Heat Sink For Memory Chip IC. Only $ 1.15 including world wide shipping. You can buy them in a lot of different dimensions. This is how they look like.

Heatsink for MinimOSD

I’ve bought a bit bigger heatsinks on purpose so I also can use them for some voltage regulators and other stuff. Please be aware that the Aluminium is conductive and that you should not let the aluminium touch any pins on circuit boards. The adhesive 3m side isn’t conductive so it isn’t a problem to let the adhesive side touch any components.

Heatsink for MinimOSD 2

I decided to cut the heatsink with my dremel tool so it does fit nicely on the maxim chip only. It will provide more then enough cooling to keep the maxim chip from overheating.  You could also saw it. Try to make sure that the adhesive side doesn’t get all the material on it from using your saw or dremel, since it won’t stick then anymore. For example, you could pack the heatsink in some scotch tape. Now gently cut the heatsink to the right size. If you don’t want to cut it that’s also no problem, just make sure you don’t hit any components.

Here’s my result:

Heatsink for MinimOSD 3Heatsink for MinimOSD 4

The final thing you should do is wrap the whole MinimOSD in some heatshrink. Cut some slots for the heatsink, so that the “legs” of the heatsink make contact with the air so the heatsink can dissipate the heat. That’s all. Your MinimOSD should stop getting hot and last longer! The heat will be dissipated nicely by the aluminium heatsink! Enjoy your flights!

RcTimer MinimOSD 5V mod

Posted: 11/01/2013 in Howto
Tags: , ,

This post will be dedicated to explain a really simple but very effective method to make the RcTimer Minimosd run on 5V for both the digital and analog side of the board. Some other very important information about the RcTimer MinimOSD can be found at this rcgroups topic. I highly recommend you to read the section that’s talking about how to hook up the supplied 4pin header! Even better: buy the 6pin header as recommended in that post!

First let me start with a little introduction of the MinimOSD and why you should do this mod.

What is MinimOSD?
MinimOSD is an OSD (on-screen display) originally designed by 3DRobotics. The MinimOSD can be hooked up to a APM (ardupilot Mega) flightcontroller and with some other firmware it’s possible to hook it up to a MultiWii based flight controller. The OSD projects all sorts of flight information on your FPV image: speed, altitude, angle of attack, distance to home, etc etc. The original MinimOSD can be found here.  The MinimOSD is produced by A LOT of other vendors at the moment, for prices as low as $ 10,-

A small demonstration of the MinimOSD running RushOSD firmware:

A little explanation about the MinimOSD
The MinimOSD works like this: It consists of two parts on the board. A digital side running on 5V with the atmel microprocessor to facilitate the communication between the Flight Controller and the MinimOSD. The other side of the board is the analog side, standard running on 5V – 12V and consists of the MAX7456 chip (responsible for the overlay on your image) and a voltage regulation circuit. The digital side will be sending the digital data from the flightcontroller to the analog side (the maxim chip) and the analog side will overlay the data.

Why you should mod the RcTimer MinimOSD
A lot of people have fried their MinimOSD in the past. The regular way to power the MinimOSD is with the 5V from the Flight Controller for the digital side and 5 – 12V from the Video TX to the analog side, this can be both with a 1 and 2 Lipo set-up. The problem with this standard way of hooking the thing up is dat due to differences in GND the Maxim OSD chip is prone to burn out. A much better way is connect both the digital and analog side of the MinimOSD to the 5V from the Flight Controller. This way the Maxim chip will survive! Another reason to do the mod is when you’re using a LRS (Long Range systems) operating on UHF (433Mhz). It is known that the switching regulator on the analog side of the MinimOSD (normally responsible for reducing the analog voltage to 5V) is making noise on 433Mhz, wich will reduce the range of your RC link.

How to do the mod
Since the RcTimer MinimOSD lacks the solderpads to connect the digital and analog side as seen on the original 3D Robotics MinimOSD you will need to do some really simple mods.

Start off by getting some small gauge wire you’ ve laying around. Lay the MinimOSD down on his front.

1. Take the wire and  solder it on the +5V pin at the digital side. Make sure the wire isn’t connected to any other pin then the +5V!
2. Take another wire and solder it to GND on the digital side. Again make sure the wire isn’t connected to any other pin then the GND!
3. Solder the other side of the GND wire to the analog GND IN pin at the digital side.

MinimOSD Back

Now turn the MinimOSD. We only have some minor and easy work to do.

4. Solder the +5V wire to the component on the analog side as shown in the picture below. This way we’re bypassing the switching regulator and feeding the 5V from the digital side, coming out of your flight controller, directly to the maxim OSD chip. (remember what I told above? The switching regulator will make noise on the 433Mhz (UHF) band what will decrease your UHF range!)

At this moment do NOT connect a 12V battery anymore to the analog side! You will destroy your MinimOSD! We’re going to solve this at step 6

Frontview of MinimOSD

6. In order to use the pins on the MinimOSD’s analog side as a pass through for the + between your video transmitter and camera, we will have to cut the trace that’s running from the + pin to the regulator circuit. Use a exacto knive and make a cut at the trace as seen on the following picture. You can cut the trace at point A or point B, whatever you like. Make sure that you check afterwards with a multi-meter that the connection is really gone! If you did it wrong and didn’t interrupt the connection you WILL release some magic smoke from the MinimOSD when you plug the 12V in. So again: MAKE SURE THE CONNECTION IS GONE!

MinimOSD cut trace

Allright! You’re done! That’s all. Simple huh? Now it’s time to flash the firmware and add it to your flight controller and camera/video transmitter.

I use two servo plugs to hook up the camera and video transmitter to the MinimOSD. This way the video signal, 12V and GND will run from my video transmitter to the MinimOSD. The 12V will never enter the circuits but only be connected to the “12V out” pin to give my camera the 12V. The GND from the camera and the vTX will make a common ground with the digital ground. The Video signal will be fed into the Maxim chip, get some data overlay, and then will be redirected to my video TX.

I will publish some pictures soon how everything is hooked up. I will also write a small guide how to upload the RushOSD firmware for use with MultiWii.

Update: Check out my new follow-up post howto apply a heatsink to your MinimOSD!

Questions?
Do you have any questions? Don’t be shy, just post a message below the article. I will try to answer them asap!