Its been quite a while i haven't share tips and trick on 'how to' stuff in this tutorial section but i had to return here to documented my desperate need to fix a problem which i wanted to share to you right now. Recently my ground station (which you can find out here) which consist of my DIY FPV analog monitor and DVR unit have been totally damage after crashed down from tripod stands being kicked off by heavy wind and many unstable surroundings element that totalled my GS unit. So i'm broke ain't much cash for a new ground station to record my FPV footage and at the same time as guest viewing display devices if i wanted to share my flight experience live. The best FPV display unit online that does the job with DVR capability would cost me at least USD$150 and that is without shipping of course. Still its a gamble when buying something not knowing how good it perform without major issues such as 'Blue Screen' problem during slight lost video signal and bunch of performance quality to consider about. Almost 45% FPV display unit on the market still carry 'Blue Screen' problem but some vendor hide the problem fear it may deter consumer from buying it. So ok right now for sure i'm not spending more than USD$60 for that or else i'm back enjoying packs of noodle again.
Upon online research i found out that there's a poor man's solution to my problem and ideally best way to get everyone into FPV hobbies without burning too much money with simple modification/add-on has been the thing we always carry everyday on our hand. Yes, our smartphone! Using our smartphone especially Android powered platform as FPV display device seems to be skeptical ideas among FPV idealist but with growing number of external USB add-on compatible with Android platform and lots of Video viewer/capture apps on GooglePlay online made it possible. The heart of device we're talking about is EASYCAP USB 2.0 Video TV DVD VHS Audio Capture Adapter.. This is the hardware than can turn any Android powered smartphone/tablet into FPV display capable with DVR support. Originally was introduce as device used for PC and TV recording but Android Apps makes it possible. Lets skip to the point and later i'll tell you all about it.
To turn your Android smartphone or tablet into FPV capable display with DVR possible you'll need several item to get it working.
Android smartphone that support USB OTG.support.
You'll need atleast latest Android version minimal latest KITKAT, but recommended a LOLIPOP version. Be sure your device support OTG feature to connect to EasyCap.
EasyCap USB video capture device or any clone that have UTV007 chipset.
Some come from original vendor while other are clones but both works fine as long it hase UTV007 or STK1160 chipset on board so it could connect to your smartphone/tablet devices via supported apps.
USB OTG cable.
A USB adapter to connect EasyCap to your smartphone devices.
FPV video receiver module.
A common FPV video receiver hardware without video output port to any FPV display devices. Modular size comes with user pick frequency ranging between 900mhz,1.2/1.3/2.4 and 5.8ghz.
Apps - EasyCap Viewer.
Apps needed to run EasyCap devices on your Android smartphone/tablet. You'll need to purchase online on GooglePlay but don't worry its extremely cheap and doesn't bite your wallet. Additional in-purchase support stereo display for VR head mount upgrades which you can use it as FPV video goggle.
Apps - Unlimited Screen Recorder (*Optional for DVR feature).
This is optional but yet still you can download for free at GooglePlay. To be use as DVR to record your FPV video footage in the background. Unfortunately audio recordings are Localized from smartphone microphone not over the air audio from FPV model.
Here the "How to" connection schematic/Diagram:
Usage and review
I did test it for a week and i must say i'm extremely happy and impress with the functional feature and quality it offered after setting up my Smartphone using the above provided schematics. First of all there no 'Blue Screen' issues when faint signal was present as this is much of concern for most FPV users. Second, there no problem with video lagging or out of sync during wireless 'analog' video transmission between the FPV models and Smartphone/tablet devices via EasyCap. Even when speeding the model around the track the 'Frame Per-Second' (FPS) was at standard acceptable rate. Third, recording went smooth without a hitch with exception that my preferred Apps as DVR (Unlimited Screen Recorder) only record using local microphone audio not the sound from my FPV model while it running around. I did try to find the best DVR Apps capable to record audio from wireless video/audio feed but none found. So best stable bet was using back the preferred free apps -'Unlimited Screen Recorder'. DVR quality between smartphone and real FPV DVR on my Ground Station doesn't make much difference at all, both quality looks almost the same probably attributed using the same FPV video receiver and transmitter module. The only much rant was bunch of dangling wires out from USB port which i avoid clinging around as i move about while operating my models....so best to tied clumps of wires to tidy things up.
After my FPV activity its seems easy to review back my footage by browsing gallery of my recorded video, editing and share it online straight away which is great hand held solution without to much task to transfer medias to PC and etc. Lots of video editing Apps to choose from to enhance the video footages. Then when done i just tuck everything back in my pocket rather than inside big bag of public curiosity if you know what i meant...hehehehe!. Then i also found out the joy of using the similar setup on PC/console gaming as portable game recording device to record gameplay on my smartphone, home CCTV DVR and other creative stuff. Sweeett!!!
Other interesting note that this "EasyCap Viewer" have an in-purchase add-on where it can turn the display into stereoscopic to support VR head mount display aka video goggle or should i say insta! OCULUST RIFT head gear! yup! Awesome huh? You'll need to purchase the headgear adapter for smartphone at least extra USD$25 which is still cheap that buying VR goggle at USD$500/-. So your smartphone can do all wonder thingy!
To sum up everything and comparison of efficiency between mods and commercial type FPV devices as shown below table.
Price, Comparison & Effectiveness
Here are sample of video me FPV using android smartphone connected to EasyCap device i posted on my Youtube channel, i will keep update on latest video on this product soon:
- Product gallery: USB 2.0 Video TV DVD VHS Audio Capture Adapter
- How to video: FPV on android smartphone with DVR using EasyCap.
How to video:
Here are list of reputable vendor/seller which i bought from and also verified by community forum discussion groups. Also i've experienced buying from these places that have good support and services:
Seller Banggood.com - EASYCAP/Clone SB 2.0 Video TV DVD VHS Audio Capture Adapter
Seller Banggood.com - USB OTG cable
Places where you can find help and resources related to this product:
Topic: EasyCap $7 Dongle to turn your Phone/tablet/laptop into a Monitor/DVR
Topic: Laptop as display for FPV, EasyCAP and USB-Live2(hauppage)
Ultimately there so many Pros than Con as mentioned above when you using your Android powered smartphones as FPV display devices. Not only it save lots of money keeping your hobby within budget but also effectively using your existing resources to everyday solution which is right in your pocket anytime anywhere. The conversion of your Smartphone device into FPV capable display using EasyCap video capture devices doesn't make any differences in both performance and usage between pro level FPV video goggle and FPV LCD monitor with DVR cable because it does the same job like both of them with less money, plus Smartphone with platform Android capability can grow with lot of extended capability with latest software updates and selection of attractive apps to improve FPV viewing experience, editing and sharing online with community of hobbyist online all in your hands. When not FPV you can use the existing setup as VR home gaming entertainment, recording your game play footage, as your TV channel PVR, surveillance system or anything creative you can do with it. As for me i'm quite happy with my new smartphone FPV solution because finally i can optimized full use of my communication device capability, less money and also being portable everything i need is in my pocket.