Runcam released a new FPV camera – the Racer 2. Yet, it’s not “just another new camera”, it has some fancy features that makes changing camera configurations much easier in the field.
Not sure what FPV camera to choose? Check out my FPV camera buyer’s guide.
Where to Buy?
Beware there are two lens options: 1.8mm and 2.1mm, offering 160° and 145° FOV respectively; choose the one you truly want. I personally would get the 1.8mm, it offers a wider FOV and allows you to see more of the environment, which I find better for racing.
What’s in the Box?
- Racer 2 Camera
- Micro to Full Size Adapter Mount
- “Selector” Joystick Extension Board
- Silicone cable harness
- M2 screws and plastic washers
Instruction manual doesn’t come in the box, only available online.
New Lens in Racer V2 FPV Camera
From first glance, I noticed the Racer V2 is using a different lens. Not sure about image quality at this point as I am currently on vacation, I will test it on my return.
Revolutionary Camera Control – Best of Both Worlds
Back in the days, FPV camera settings could only be changed using a “joystick” – a remote controller that you plug into the back of the camera (OSD and GND pins). You use the joystick to work the menu.
Later on Betaflight developers figured out a way to operate the setting menu from our radio transmitter, by connecting those OSD and GND pins to your flight controller. I call this “OSD Pin Camera Control” and I have a how-to on my blog.
However, that doesn’t always work and requires additional hardware. So Runcam introduced UART interface in their FPV cameras to replace the joystick interface (replacing OSD and GND pins with TX and RX pins).
It’s a more reliable solution, but the downside is that you can’t use the “joystick” anymore! It’s inconvenient for some people who don’t use a flight controller (wings and planes), or simply too lazy to setup camera control.
So, finally Runcam came up with this “ultimate” solution for changing camera settings – they combined Joystick and UART camera control! With the same pins, you can now change camera settings using either joystick or flight controller.
Kudos to Runcam for the innovatoin, and always listening to what the community wants!
Camera Control Doesn’t Work?
If camera control, or joystick doesn’t work on your Racer V2 camera, that’s probably because you haven’t selected the right mode.
You can switch between UART mode (aka. remote mode) or Joystick mode (aka. cable mode), simply by shorting the G/TX and M/RX pins before powering on the camera.
The two modes don’t work simultaneously, you have to select one.
New Tool – The Selector
The Racer 2 comes with a mysterious joystick extension board, which is identified as the “Selector” on the product page. It looks to be a simple extension board, but after asking Runcam I realized it’s a pretty clever and handy tool!
Without the joystick attached, you can switch between different preset modes using the onboard push button on the “Selector”: Personal, Outdoor, Cloudy, etc.
With the 30.5×30.5mm and 20x20mm mounting holes, you can install it in your flight controller stack for easy access.
You can easily hook up a joystick to this board, and have access to camera settings in the field without FC camera control or taking your quad apart to plug in the joystick. Very handy!
Micro to Full Size Adapter
It comes with a “micro to full size” adapter. Many frames still only support full size cameras of 28mm width. This camera mount increases the camera width from 19mm to 28mm.
You can buy this mount separately, and it should work with most micro size cameras. However it’s expensive! It costs $5, so it’s great to have this included with the Racer 2.
The latency is on par with the Racer V1 and Foxeer Predator: min 7ms, average 15ms.
The video quality actually looks very nice, though I would probably change a couple of things in the default. The camera in the following video is the 1.8mm lens.
Some more info regarding the test rig:
Mini quad is the Holybro Kopis 2: https://oscarliang.com/holybro-kopis-2-drone/ OSD is showing GPS data. Here is how to setup GPS: https://oscarliang.com/gps-mini-quad/ I am using the Frsky R9M module with R9MM receiver in this quad: https://oscarliang.com/setup-r9m-r9-mini-betaflight/ And I am using FPort, which is a more convenient protocol to use than SBUS/SmartPort: https://oscarliang.com/setup-frsky-fport/
WDR (wide dynamic range) and light/dark transition are excellent, but white balance has a bit too much green hue, I would probably lower that, or add a bit more magenta.
Digital sharpening is also too high, you can clearly see the shimmering in the grass and branches when are you are flying proximity. I guess it’s not a problem, or even preferred for racing so you can see obstacles more clearly? But I personally would lower that slightly.
Not a deal breaker because you can simply adjust these settings in the menu to your liking.