I have been asked many times the question, “I want to keep my quadcopter as low profile as possible, can I use my Mobius or GoPro camera as the FPV camera for live stream video, through the video transmitter, to my goggle or monitor?”
The answer is certainly yes, both cameras have video out. But I would recommend running a dedicated FPV board camera for your FPV goggle or monitor. In this article I will discuss why a CCD board camera is better for FPV. I will also explain briefly how to setup the GoPro and Mobius for FPV if you insists in doing that, also how to run these cameras with external power source.
Learn about how to choose a great HD action camera for your drone here.
Why use a Dedicated Board Camera for FPV?
For me, a few reasons:
- Better dynamic light range
- Smaller Latency
- Extra features: night vision, IR vision, etc
The wider dynamic light range is very important especially flying at places with extreme lighting conditions, e.g. the wood on a sunny day or hills/buildings behind the sun. When the Brightness suddenly changes, some cameras adjust slower than others, and you will lose visibility (“blinded”). I have been using the Sony Super Had CCD board camera, and it seems to do better than the Mobius.
Here is a more detailed explanation on how to choose a good FPV camera.
I made a simple video comparing the performance of dynamic light contrast between the Sony PZ0420 camera and the Mobius.
The latency is also very obviously when you are recording on the Mobius and GoPro, which is not good for FPV. Take a look at this great comparison video.
How to use Mobius or GoPro as a FPV camera?
There is a video out cable you can get for both camera. They go into the USB socket of the camera, and the video end can go straight into a video transmitter just like most FPV board camera.
Many FPV cameras produce interference in the UHF band, and it could affect the range of UHF systems. One possible solution is to keep the cables twisted and wind them round a ferrite ring. Some of these cameras are supplied in a metal casing and it is preferred that this is not removed for this reason.
Mobius Action Camera Video out
For the mobius, you will need to make sure the cable you have is made for video out. That means Pin4 is connected to Pin5. Regular mini USB cables have pin4 floating (not connected to anything) which is only good for battery charging.
Pin4 acts as a hardware switch of video out for the mobius. If you are not sure, try it first. If it doesn’t work for video out, you’ll need to open up the mini USB and bridge pin4 and pin5. (Picture from RC Group)
If you are powering the camera with external power, make sure to use the same ground for the video and for the power, from the camera cable, both go to the same ground input on the video transmitter.
GoPro Hero3 Camera Video out
It’s much simpler for the GoPro, get the video out cable and it should just work following the connection diagram below.
Power Mobius and GoPro with external power
Not much to explain on this, just follow the previous diagrams. But if you are powering them and using video out at the same time on your quadcopter, make sure you use the same ground connection.
To learn how to edit Mobius footage in GoPro Studio.
Both devices require a 5V power supply. However the GoPro demands more current than the mobius, generally getting a UBEC or voltage regulator that is able to provide 1A current or above should be pretty much enough.