When I was in 7th grade, these cool college kids did some kind of technology presentation at my school. I don't remember anything else but this thing that could be powered by watch batteries or hooked up to a small cable and you could fly it around. It was not called a drone or a quadcopter, just a helicopter thing. It had 4 motors and was basically impossible to control. This was sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990's and Japan still ruled the tech toy world. After the presentation, I went up and started talking to them. They let me try and fly it but it immediately just flipped over. Cheap drones happened in the last 10 years because of mass smart phone adoption driving the cost of sensors to nearly nothing. They told me it cost about $1000 and they bought it in Japan. The dream of indoor RC helicopters had been sparked. Who knows how many hours I avoided listening to what the teachers were saying dreaming of flying a tiny 4 rotor helicopter around?
Fast forward 20 something years and here I am, a 36 year old dad nerd kid who is just blown away at the bad ass indoor RC stuff available for so cheap. The last post I talked about how cool the Eachine E010 is for indoor flying, and in this one I just wanted to share a potentially wicked cool indoor FPV setup. I say potentially because I have not gotten it yet. When you order from China, sometimes it can take awhile to arrive. When you order from China during the Chinese New Year, then you probably need to tack on an extra week or two. I have checked the odd Chinese tracking number about 20 times already because I am pretty excited to try this thing out. The following includes everything you need for a ready to fly, indoor micro FPV drone. No building or tweaking and it will cost you less than $120.
Lets talk about the two products I took a chance on and ordered. I did watch a few videos and read a few reviews but I was always pretty picky about my FPV goggles. I sold my Fat Shark HD Dominators awhile ago because I really liked using my phone with my Inspire 1 to keep the setup simple and easily portable. To be clear, this little indoor FPV setup is a toy and has nothing to do with aerial photography. Although if you are reading this you like drones and you probably would like a cool indoor setup "to practice and improve your FPV piloting skills to keep your more expensive rigs safe and crash free." Feel free to use the previous sentence to explain your purchase to spouses, significant others, parents, or anyone else who does not have a nerd addiction.
Ok I got sidetracked. The first product I ordered is a goggle setup called the Eachine VR D2. They are currently on sale at Banggood.com for $79.99 for another few days. What got me really excited about these is the diversity receiver and included antennas. Diversity is a video receiver feature that includes two receivers and two antennas and then automatically selects the best signal. This helps keep the signal clear while you are flying around stuff, especially with lower powered 25mw video transmitters that are often on the tiny whoop and other micro indoor fpv flyers. Other notable feature is the 40ch 5.8ghz receiver that includes the race band.. no excuse not to recruit your friends now! I have high hopes for these, the bar was not set very high with the Fat Sharks because they cost so much and were never that awesome to begin with. If these can deliver a clear picture and the diversity works well, these will be an easy choice for most FPV pilots.
The other cool product I ordered is the Eachine E010C, which is just the E010 with a camera, 5.8ghz video transmitter, and antenna. It comes with its own controller too. I would never of thought to order this until I flew the regular version of the E010 inside, it is so damn fun. The protected ducted fans and the super stable (but fairly slow) flight controller should make this an awesome indoor FPV flyer. You can bounce off the wall and usually keep flying. If you have large hands, the included controller is going to be a bit of an issue for you but there is a solution I will discuss below. For $37.. I can imagine lots of drone races happening inside.
If this super cheap indoor setup ends up working pretty well there will be a really cool path for upgrades and speed. You can buy a Frsky control board with tuneable flight software. This board also has plugs for the motor making motor swapping easy. They also sell coreless motors that may or may not be an upgrade (they say high performance but who knows). If these goggles work well enough, I will be building up a better version of the E010 and using a proper RC transmitter to get a little more involved. Stay Tuned!