Review: Speedybee DVR VTX

by Oscar

If you want to record your FPV flight from your camera without all the signal breakup, then you might want to check out the Speedybee DVR VTX! It’s basically a 600mW video transmitter with a built-in DVR (digital video recorder).

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There are benefits to recording DVR on the quadcopter, rather than from your video receiver. I call this method “onboard DVR“, it gives you the clearest possible footage directly from the FPV camera without the compression and signal interference from 5.8GHz transmission.

While there are several compact DVR module solutions available, it can be a hassle to hook it up to your quad. This is where the Speedybee DVR VTX comes in handy!

Further Reading: Check this guide about 5.8GHz video transmitters.

Where To Buy?

What’s in the Box?

  • MMCX antenna
  • MMCX to SMA pigtail
  • wire harness
  • 2 sets of nylon standoffs and nuts of different heights

Very thoughtful and complete accessories indeed!

Features and Specs

  • 5.8GHz, 6 bands, 48 Channels
  • Selectable Output Power: 25mW, 200mW, 600mW
  • Onboard Microphone
  • MMCX Antenna Connector
  • Input Voltage 7V – 26V
  • Current Consumption: 450mA @ 9V
  • Output Voltage for FPV Camera 5V @Max 250mA
  • Weight: 7.5g without antenna
  • Size: 36 x 36mm with 30.5 × 30.5 M3 mounting holes
  • Supports Micro SD Card up to 32GB
  • DVR Encoder: MJPEG
  • File format: AVI
  • DVR Resolution: 640 x 480

I tested it with 5V and it actually works too, but the output power is much reduced, to about half, and 600mW won’t even work. So make sure you provide high enough voltage for optimal performance.

Just like the TX500, it has VTX control too using IRC Tramp protocol (Not SmartAudio). The Built-in microphone allows you to hear motor sound when flying if you wear an earbud.

Beware that the DVR VTX is in “locked mode” out of the box – power is limited to 25mW and some channels are unavailable. This is to stay legal given the regulations in many countries. However you can easily unlock it by holding down the button for 10 seconds.

From the Spec, the DVR looks to be similar to the one from Runcam – the Runcam Mini DVR. It’s a pretty good DVR, the main downside is the relatively low bit rate. Not a deal breaker though, you can only see the difference when you zoom in.

DVR Recording

The recording starts automatically as soon as the board is powered on. I can’t seem to find a way to change this.

As a work around, maybe you can remove the SD card before connecting power, if you don’t want it to record automatically, and only insert it when you want to record.

You can stop and start the DVR recording again by pressing the dedicated DVR button on the side. But you can also format the card by holding it down for too long (5 seconds), basically erase everything on it. I hope Speedybee could make this longer like 10 seconds to prevent users from formatting the card by mistake.

A new DVR file is created every 5 mins. An 8GB SD card should be enough for 2 and a half hours. An 32GB card can hold up to 10 hours of recording.

Unfortunately, when shutting down the DVR without pressing the stop button, you will lose the recording. That means if you have a crash and lost power, the recording will be gone.

Output Power Testing

R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8
Pitmode < 0.1
25mW 22.1 22.5 22.3 22.6 20.1 20.2 20.6 17.5
200mW 325 403 356 335
600mW 520 548 506 501

Output power looks pretty good! Apart from the 200mW which seems to be considerably higher than what’s specified, the rest are all within spec.

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Andrew Palmer 17th October 2019 - 10:10 am

I fly fixed wing FPV alone so want to use this on 600mW. Haven’t flown it yet but just setting it up on the bench I’ve found it gets VERY hot on 600mW. Obviously it will get some cooling air over it when in a plane but not as much as on a drone, any thoughts? I’m running it on a 3 cell lipo BTW.

Tony 2nd February 2019 - 9:35 am

Why aren’t these guys using pinio to start stop recordings on arm/disarm! Having to press a button to keep recordings is so annoying!

Alex Golovko 26th January 2019 - 8:21 pm

Any video footage example ?