Have you ever consider mounting a microphone on your quadcopter, and getting live audio feed while flying FPV? In this post we will discuss the benefits of doing so and how.
A few weeks ago, I was sent an external microphone to put on my mini quad. At first, I was like, why on earth would you do that? All you get is annoying motors humming and props screaming, right?
After trying it, it kind of changed my opinion and I start to think it could be useful, so I decided to share it.
Benefits of onboard microphone for FPV
FPV flying should not be limited to what you see. Sound is a big part of the experience, and what you hear might actually help your flying! With live audio feedback, you get the following advantages:
- throttle position – motor/propeller speed
- low battery warning (buzzer beeping)
- You don’t get confused with other quads that are flying around you
- Works as a range indicator too because you always lose audio before video signal
I can’t speak for everyone, but I fly more confidently when I can hear the motors spinning. When the quad is far away and I couldn’t hear a thing, I start to panic a bit.
With the audio feed, you can hear the throttle response even when you are miles away. You can also hear the buzzer beeps when voltage is low, which could potentially be used to replace your telemetry or even OSD.
However, some people might hate it!!
The quality of the audio depends on your signal strength just as much as your video. On a good flight it’s like hearing your motors singing to you, but when you get interference, the speaker will shout at you with super loud electric noise.
How to use a mic on a quadcopter
There are 3 ways to get audio on your quad:
- Built-in Microphone on your video transmitter (VTX)
- Built-in Mic on your FPV camera
- External MIC
Here is some quality comparison between a VTX built-in MIC, and the External MIC, as well as a GoPro. It was less noisy when I was flying, it got worse when it was recorded on my DVR for some reasons.
An example of camera that has mic built-in would be the mini 600TVL Camera, or the Runcam Swift 2.
However I prefer to use this external mic from BG, which only cost $2.2 each.
Or this one which has a wider sound frequency range: mic 2.
The audio quality is also better IMO. Simply power this mic with 12V, and connect the white (signal) wire to your VTX audio inputs and that’s it. There are normally 2 inputs one for left channel one for right, I just connect audio to both channels.
To play the audio, if you are using FPV monitors, there are usually built-in speaker should have an audio input where you can connect directly to your audio output on the VRX (video receiver).
For those who are using FPV goggles, for example on my Fatshark Dominator V2, there is a 3.5mm earphone jack for audio output. I could just plug in my headset or earbud there.
If you think the noise is too loud, and there isn’t a Potentiometer Knobs you can turn down the volume, you can alternatively add a resitor to the signal to quiet it down.
Also, there is noticeable wind noise when you flying fast. You can reduce that by covering the mic with some foam, and put it behind the camera to avoid wind blowing directly on it.
I don’t expect it will make me a better pilot or anything, but somebody might find it useful!