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

In this article I will share some tips on how to fix issues and best practices to follow to avoid FPV video problems. Interference and noise in your FPV video feed can be a major headache, and some issues with your VTX can even affect other people you are flying with.

Ta2ble of Content

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

Best Way to Power VTX and Camera

First things first, you have to ascertain what voltage your FPV camera is capable of receiving. Most FPV cameras these days have a wide operating voltage often from 5V to 30V or even higher.

The safest way to power your FPV camera is from the VTX. Many VTX’s these days have a filtered 5V output dedicated for powering FPV cameras. Even if you are already using a filtered power source for your VTX, we still recommend using the filtered output from the VTX for the camera, any additional filtering is better.

If your can’t power the FPV camera directly from the VTX for any reason, the next best thing 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

As mentioned, the majority of FPV cameras and VTX’s these days can be powered directly from a 4S or even 6S LiPo battery. However, just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should.

Any video device likes a stable power source so it can transmit a nice clean image. The constant fluctuating power conditions that are brought about by the ESC’s and motors make the raw voltage from a LiPo battery noisy. This noise can pass through the PDB or flight controller to your VTX and FPV camera, subsequently manifesting as interference in your FPV goggles.

Most VTX’s these days have some kind of power filtering, not only for their own circuitry but additionally for the 5V output. FPV cameras generally have little to no integrated filtering. To eliminate noise in your FPV video feed, you need the cleanest possible power for your camera and VTX, which is where capacitors come into play.

Where to Add Capacitors

Additional capacitors (or caps) are often used at the power input of a device to clean up the electrical noise. Theoretically a cap placed closest to the source of the noise is the most effective, hence pilots adding caps to individual ESC’s on the arms of their quads.

How you are supplying power to your VTX will determine the best place to install a cap. If it’s getting power from 5V then you should put the cap on the 5V rail, it’s it’s 12V then put the cap on the 12V rail. If it’s powered directly from the LiPo, then put the cap on the XT60 pads.

I see a lot of people add capacitors at the XT60 pads regardless of how the VTX is being powered, this might help reduce the amount of noise in your power system generally, but may not be the most effective solution for your video.

Twisting Signal and Ground Wires

It is good practice to twist the video signal and ground wires together, this acts like a shield against induced external noise from ESC’s and BEC inductors. Also keep the VTX signal and power wires away from any BEC inductors.

Keeping ESC aways from FC BEC

The MOSFET on your ESC can create interference that affects your FC, and if your camera and VTX are connected to it, you might get noisy video.

In this post I explained how to minimize noise from the ESC FET’s getting to the FC with shielding.

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, try adding a capacitor.

“Black Lines” in Video?

“Black lines” are usually low 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 from the battery. If this does not solve the issue, you may 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 bypass the video signal pads on the FC.

Almost Last Resort

If you are getting some lines in your video, but none of the above helped, it could be the VTX or camera wires picking up noise from other components. This could be the reason if you run a long signal wires from the camera and VTX.

The solution is to use a “shielded wire” (mini coax wire) instead of normal silicone wire: https://amzn.to/2OjPaFo

LC Filter

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

Check Antennas

Maybe your noise issue isn’t related to power at all, many video problems can be traced back to antennas. Make sure both VTX and VRX antennas are both properly mounted, and that they are of the correct connector type, i.e. RP-SMA / SMA, and the correct polarization RHCP / LHCP. Another thing you can try is changing your channel, you could be picking up interference from an external source.

Flying with Others?

If you fly with others and there is interference, see this guide on how to select the best channels.

Jello on Well-Tuned Quad

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

  • loose camera mount 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”
  • Sep 2019 – added info about “ESC shielding” and matching antennas
  • Dec 2019 – Revised

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

  1. Constantin

    Hi Oscar,

    I have an 6S quad with Matek F722 S2 flight controller and TBS VTS HV V1. When motors are not spinning the video is perfect clean, once the motor start spinnig I get white vertical line (not continuous).

    What do you recommend for cleaning the video?

    The VTX is powered not direct from battery but with a Micro BEC 6-30V to 5V/9V-ADJ Step-down Regulator from Matek. Video camera takes voltage from the VTX.

    Thanks for reply

    Constantin

    Reply
  2. Brad Ivie

    Oscar I simply do NOT understand this…..When connecting camera to vid in of FC and VTX signal to vid out of FC I get nothing but black and OSD does not work neither does smart audio. ALTHOUGH when I connect camera signal directly to vtx signal get picture of course no OSD still leaving smart audio wire connected. WHAT THE HECK??? Why will it work when connected together but NOT when trying to use OSD and go through the FC board with vid in and vid out?? I simply do not get this?? Brand new FC brand new camera brand new vtx tried two different VTX’s as well same thing??? What gives here???? AT WITS END!! THX Brad.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Sounds like your FC might have a dead OSD chip. But you do need to power the FC while testing this, make sure that.

      Reply
  3. ETai

    Thanks Oscar,

    I will wire from the camera’s video signal wire to the FC’s Vin.
    Camera’s 5V and GND to the VTX’s 5V and GND.

    Reply
  4. ETai

    Hello Oscar,

    Question for you, if I power the camera from the VTx’s 5V out, should I ground the camera and VTx to the same ground pad on the FC if using the OSD? so that the video (signal) can share the same ground point?

    Reply
  5. MaKo

    Hey Oscar,

    i just can upload a picture here sorry:

    bilder-upload.eu/bild-1a93fa-1567542515.jpg.html

    like i said, lines dont move and we both use the RunCam Phoenix Oscar Edition with different wiring.

    Hey Oscar,

    hope you can help me.
    Have an unknown problem.
    running an mamba f722 stack
    TBS Unify Pro Race 5G8 HV Race V2
    and the RunCam Phoenix Oscar Edition.
    VTX is on 9v on the fc and the Camera is wired on 5v from vtx.
    I have like six bars on the screen. they dont move. 3 bars are bright (normal), and 3 bars are dark.
    A normal good video, but bright and dark bars.
    Do you have any idea how i can fix that?
    Use this kind of wiring everywhere, and never had problems. always a perfect clear video.
    A friend of mine have the same problem with the same cam, but only 4 bars.

    Reply
  6. MaKo

    Hey Oscar,

    hope you can help me.
    Have an unknown problem.
    running an mamba f722 stack
    TBS Unify Pro Race 5G8 HV Race V2
    and the RunCam Phoenix Oscar Edition.
    VTX is on 9v on the fc and the Camera is wired on 5v from vtx.
    I have like six bars on the screen. they dont move. 3 bars are bright (normal), and 3 bars are dark.
    A normal good video, but bright and dark bars.
    Do you have any idea how i can fix that?
    Use this kind of wiring everywhere, and never had problems. always a perfect clear video.
    A friend of mine have the same problem with the same cam, but only 4 bars.

    Reply
  7. CapnBry

    What a great list of the different noise sources, sometimes ya just need a list of things to try when you’re scratching your head. I also had a ton of problems with the R-XSR with telemetry. On tight small fixed wing builds, the R-XSR would cause the cheap 9g servos to jitter like mad unless the wires were kept a long distance away (5cm+?). I spent hours checking the servo signals with an oscilloscope and trying to smooth the 5V line without any success when I realized it stopped when I turned off the transmitter.

    Moved the R-XSR to my first quad build, since it has no servos, and the video feed was just terrible. Swapped it for a Flit10 receiver and boom perfect video (and telemetry receiving is perfect now, where it was hit or miss before). Definitely consider the receiver’s EMF when it comes to the video as well.

    Reply
  8. Ruben John

    count me in towards another person that has video noise with the r-xsr. In my case as in the others the minute my radio starts receiving telemetry the video goes to crap. I could actually block the interference with a piece of that ESD clear grey envelope by putting it over the rx antenna and the video would come back ! I have video if you are interested…

    Reply
  9. Reinhard Plietsch

    On many of my Builds, I noticed FrSky telemetry over Smartport injecting lots of noise into the video signal if the RX antennae (R-XSR) are routed close to any video signal wire to/from OSD. Noise disappears when switching off telemetry. This refers to SHIELDED parts of the RX antennae, the active ends were far out on the arms. Never thought this could matter.

    @Oscar, with builds getting tighter and tighter (Medical was my 1st ‘cramped’ build, now on Micros/Toothpicks), there needs to be more attention to wire/antennae routing with regards to noise. Wouldn’t this justify a new article on the ‘ideal low-nojse wire and antennae routing on micro quads’? 🙂

    Keep your good work going!

    Reply
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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.

  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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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