Fixing FPV Video Issues – Noise, VTX Connection, Power Filtering

In this article I will share some tips on how to avoid and fix FPV video issues. They way you connect and power VTX and FPV camera affects how clean the video signal is. With good practices you can minimize noise in the FPV feed.

Table of Content

All FPV Cameras Compilation in this spreadsheet.
All 5.8GHz VTX Compilation in this spreadsheet.

Best Way to Power VTX and Camera

The safest way is to power your FPV camera from the VTX. A lot of VTX’s these days have 5V output dedicated for FPV cameras. If you are already using filtered power source for your VTX, the additional regulator on the VTX is extra filtering for your FPV camera.

If your can’t power the FPV camera directly from VTX for any reason, the next best thing to do is to power both VTX and camera from the same filtered and regulated power source.

Most noise related issues are caused by powering either the FPV camera or VTX, or both, directly from the main LiPo battery.

Power Directly from LiPo is Noisy

The majority of FPV cameras and VTX’s these days can be powered directly by a 4S LiPo battery, some even support 6S. But the raw voltage tends to be noisy because of the ESC’s and motors it’s connected to. The noise can get passed through the PDB or flight controller to your VTX and FPV camera.

When powering your FPV system directly from LiPo, your video quality will largely depend on how noisy your motors and ESC’s are, and how well your camera and VTX can filter out the noise.

Some VTX’s have beefier power filtering, but FPV cameras generally don’t. Perhaps you can get away by powering your VTX directly from LiPo, and power the camera from your VTX.

To minimize noise in your FPV video feed, you want to protect both of your camera and VTX from exposing to noise. It’s best to power them from a filtered and regulated power source.

Where to Add Capacitors

Additional capacitors are often used at the input power of a device to clean up the electrical noise.

Where to add the capacitor depends on where your VTX is getting power from. If it’s getting power from 5V then you should put the cap on the 5V rail, if it’s 12V then put the cap on the 12V rail. If it’s powered directly from LiPo, then put the cap on XT60 pads. This is the most effective way to clean up noise.

I see a lot of people always add the capacitor at the XT60 pads, regardless how the VTX is being powered. It might work, but it’s not the most effective.

Twisting Signal and Ground Wires

It’s a good practice to twist the video signal and ground wires together, this acts like a shield against induced external noise from ESCs and BEC inductors. Because of this, also keep signal wires and power wires away from BEC inductors.

Keeping ESC aways from FC BEC

The MOSFET on your ESC switch many times a second, and that creates EMI that can affect BEC on your FC. If you use this affected BEC to power your FPV setup, you will get noise. In some extreme cases, the noise can even get to your 3V3 regulator and affects your gyro performance (as well as OSD chip).

Therefore, be mindful when mounting your 4in1 ESC and FC (not as much a problem with singla ESC on the arms), avoid having the side of the FC with the 5V BEC to face the MOSFET side of the 4in1 ESC.

Every Ground Pin Is Different

Ideally, all ground pins are the same, but in reality that’s not necessarily true.

Ground pins are connected using a piece of wire or a copper trace on a PCB. Any piece of wire or copper trace has resistance, capacitance and inductance.

Because of this, there will be a voltage difference between two ground pins on a circuit board if there is current flowing through them. Think of this as an extremely tiny resistor.

This is why it’s best practice to connect the grounds of your VTX and FPV camera to the same pin, or to two ground pins as close to each other as possible.

Signal Ground Is Important

There is current going through the power and signal wires, and eventually it has to return to its source via the ground wires. It’s a complete cycle, that’s why it’s called a “circuit”.

When you don’t have signal ground connected, the signal can only return to its source through the power ground. Therefore the signal will be “more vulnerable” to the noise in the power. By having a signal ground, you can better “isolate” the signal from the power.

This is especially important when you are powering your FPV system directly from the main LiPo battery.

“White Lines” in Video?

“White lines” are usually a sign of excessive electrical noise in the power to either the FPV camera or VTX, or both. Adding a low ESR capacitor to the ESC power, or XT60 pads should usually fix it.

Further Reading: why and where to add low ESR capacitor in a mini quad?

When you are getting lines in your FPV video, try to fix your FPV setup’s power first by powering your FPV camera from your VTX. If that doesn’t work, then you can try adding a capacitor in your battery lead.

“Black Lines” in Video?

“Black lines” are usually power related, which are commonly caused by a power hungry VTX. Some VTX don’t do well with stepped-down voltage, and they might struggle to deliver the desired output power.

If you are getting black lines in the video feed, you might find the issue to be worse at a higher output power such as 800mW than a lower power such as 25mw. If that’s indeed the case then it’s definitely related to insufficient power or voltage to the VTX.

You can try powering your VTX directly off of the battery voltage without any BEC (voltage regulator). If this does not solve the issue with black lines, you might just have a defective VTX or camera.

Connecting FPV Camera to VTX Directly

Don’t wire things you aren’t using, such as OSD or camera control. Unnecessary wiring might introduce noise to your FPV system. If you are not using OSD, simply wire your camera’s video output straight to your VTX and bypassing the video signal pads on the FC.

LC Filter

Another solution to cleaner video feed is to use an LC filter between the power and your FPV system. It blocks some of the noise in the power getting to your FPV system, but it doesn’t reduce the amount of noise in the power like a low ESR capacitor does.

Jello on Well-Tuned Quad

Most FPV cameras these days have CMOS sensors, which means they are more prone to jello effect than CCD cameras. You should not have jello in your FPV video if your quad is performing and tuned probably. If you do not hear noticeable oscillations from the quad, but there is jello, check the follow things:

  • loose camera screws?
  • loose camera lens – is the lens lock nut broken?
  • loose camera sensor inside the camera?

If none of these is the cause, try using TPU mounts for the FPV camera. The flexible and soft material absorbs some of the vibrations.

Edit History

  • Mar 2018 – Article created
  • Apr 2019 – Updated
  • Jul 2019 – added “where to add cap” and “twisting signal/ground wires”

18 thoughts on “Fixing FPV Video Issues – Noise, VTX Connection, Power Filtering

  1. Ori

    Hi!
    I have a Tero q215mm quad (rcharlance f4 pro+ v2 FC, 2600kv motors, 30A 2-6S BLHeli – S 4 in 1 ESC, 1/3 inch super HAD II CMOS camera and a FrSky r xsr receiver) that I bought around 5 weeks ago… It was flown before I bought it and I saw it had a normal FPV feed. After Betaflight setup and checking that the drone and the goggles are on the same frequency, I tried yesterday(14/6/19) a flight test… I got no FPV feed when I started to go barely 3 meters away and also got a lot of weird vertical white lines and blackouts even when I’m near the quad (and disarmed) although I have a capacitor soldered to the xt60 (I have an Eachine vr d2 goggles).
    Can someone tell me what should I do or check?

    Reply
  2. MadMossy

    Any idea what could be causing this issue Oscar, my runcam split mini 2 just refuses to work no matter what combination of connection I use. I have tried from the flight controller (clracing f4 mini) and from vbat, VTX doesn’t provide enough power to power the camera directly (TBS Unify Pro HV)
    youtu.be/ucMr8muqlUk

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      In that case you might need a dedicated 5V regulator for the Split, looks like it’s not getting enough power from the FC. VTX is not going to cut it either.

      Reply
  3. Daniel

    I’ve had bad luck running VTX and camera’s off the Flight controller (even with caps installed), such as 5V TBS unify. I’ve been replacing all my 5V vtx’s with HV VTX’s. I find it easier to clean up the video feed with capacitors on the battery lead that’s powering my VTX. I”m flying 4S and this works for me however if your flying 6S that may be a different story, IDK.

    Reply
  4. Mark Pfeifer

    I was resistant to powering my camera off the 5V on the VTX at first. I mean, there’s 5V on the board, and that’s a cleaner build, right? Eventually I realized that the double filtering proved by the VTX power output is the way to go, so now I always power my cam that way.

    Reply
  5. Kevin

    So how do we corrct for an FPV feed that gets washed out?
    My system runs awesome till I’m airborn and the Video starts losing its color.
    Theres a point which the feed becomes a Black & White and only transitions back to color upon landing.
    Other than the color loss the video is crisp and clean, which makes no sence.
    I’ve tried wiring the VTX to the FC 5V and to the VBAT, joined all grounds, filtered and added caps.
    Yet the result is the same regardless of channel or receiver used.

    Reply
      1. Kevin

        I have three copters with the exact same issue. Swapping out the camera, vtx, antenna, power or using another set of goggles / monitor makes no difference.

        All three use the following common hardware without OSD.

        Matek F405
        Matek VTX
        Frsky R-XSR with telemetry

        I have even tried swapping in a micro camera-vtx combo with the same results. IMO this leaves the following posibilities.

        -Telemetry is causing interferance.
        -Local RF conditions are bad. (Its a farm)
        -Hardware in general is crap and thus can’t maintain a clean singal, regardless of range.

  6. Manolito

    You are a crack, I had add a capacitor, and feed the camera from vtx al lines out, good vision but text osd dont stop flickering, I joined all the ground cables and now is all perfect, text osd and view. Thanks

    Reply
  7. Ilya

    there’s an error in camera spreadsheet
    Eachine c800t is 16:9 frame ratio and really it’s CMOS not CCD ( even if manufacturer says itc’c CCD )

    revues.ru/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Eachine-C800T-25.jpg

    and here we can see FH8536E chip

    revues.ru/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Eachine-C800T-26.jpg
    which designed for cmos sensors.

    Reply
  8. ougoureh

    Hi oscar
    thank so much for your helping, I’m very appreciate , I’m beginner in this project so can you help me the link about quadcopter a based Arduino with FPV camera

    Reply
  9. Paul

    I soldered an ESR 1000uF 35V direct behind 4S-Lipo and in addition a stepdown to approxim. 12V, Result: absolut clear cam-video, no horizontal lines and no more interrupts. (FPV-equipm.: Unify, Swift, Immersion-Duo)

    Reply
  10. yves

    So is it better when i connect my TBS Unify ProHV on the DYS D4 Pro directli and from there the cam?
    like the picture of your thread?

    Reply
  11. Neff Ramos

    What type of filtering would you recommend for vtx system that are powered from LiPo. Both of my setups have the vtx powered from LiPo and I struggle woth Clean video. Is there some sort of filter/regulator you would recommend? Thanks

    Reply

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