Eye In The Sky!!!
Many of you are familiar with the Eachine E010 and E011. If not, check out our initial review of the E010 and our discussion on the E011. This is part one of the series to discuss the upgrades that are available for the Eachine E010 and E011, and how they can help you create a drone that performs even better than the stock versions. In this article, we look at the most common addition to these drones…. an all-in-one FPV (First-Person View) system. The E010 and E011 are nearly identical in this regard so the instructions and concepts will be the same.
I am going to stop you right here and mention that our video linked below has nearly the same content as you will see in this article. Check it out if you prefer video over reading. If not, continue reading after the YouTube link.
Find The Right FPV Camera
There are two major considerations when choosing an all-in-one FPV camera system for the E010 or E011. The first of those being weight and the second is power consumption. The first time that most people see these drones in action, they are amazed that such a small drone can perform so well. Their exceptional performance is due to the fact that they are super lightweight and the motors use minimal power compared to the amount of thrust they provide. Any modifications to the E010/E011 should strive to keep both the weight and power consumption as low as possible for the drone to be used for FPV flight and racing.
The first camera that we installed on the E010 was the Eachine TX03. This camera has the option to adjust the output signal between 25mW, 50mW, or 200mW. This is a great feature for an FPV camera system because it allows you to use the camera for indoor drones at the lower output ranges and also accommodates outdoor flight at the 200mW setting. The price you pay for these additional features and components is… you guessed it… weight. This unit weighs in at a hefty 6 grams. Below are some alternatives that come in at almost half the weight of the TX03. This difference results in a nearly 16% weight reduction for the E010 (without battery). That reduction will most certainly result in more flight time and less battery charging!
Recommended Lightweight Cameras:
- Crazepony VM275T or CM275T (3.4 grams w/o cover and connector)
- Eachine EF-02 (3.6 grams)
- FX798T (3.9 grams)
*All three cameras listed are 25mW
Check out our post listing a bunch of other Tiny Whoop camera options! Tiny Whoop Camera Upgrade Comparison
***Make sure you grab some spare dipole antennas, because you are sure to snap one off at some point. We have had good luck with the CrazyPony FX798T replacement antennas.***
FPV Power Consumption
We mentioned the TX03 has 50mW and 200mW settings. These settings output a stronger transmit signal than the 25mW setting and consequently use more battery power. The important thing to note is that this drone performs best indoors, and for indoor flight, 25mW is plenty of transmit power for most applications. Also, the E010 and E011 are limited in the size of battery they can haul while still being agile. With this in mind, it is in your best interest to limit the amount of power the camera system pulls from the battery to increase the amount of time you get to spend flying your drone.
TX03 vs. the Competition
For comparison purposes, the TX03 draws 250mA @ 5V DC(1.25 watts minimum). Below we list the same recommended cameras with their respective power consumption. As a note, current in amperes x volts = watts (power). We used a consistent 5V DC so that all you only need to look at is the current draw in milliamperes (mA) to compare their total power requirement.
Recommended Cameras (Power Consumption):
- CM275T or VM275T (200-215mA @ 5V DC –> .200mA x 5V = 1 watt)
- Eachine EF-02 (280mA @ 5V DC –> .280mA x 5V = 1.4 watts)
- FX798T (205mA @ 5V DC –> .205mA x 5V = 1.025 watts)
You can see that all of these lightweight cameras use similar (EF-02) or significantly less power(VM275T/FX798T) than the TX03 in its lowest setting(25mW). So, we first chose a camera that weighed almost double the weight of other cameras on the market and it consumes more power than 2 out of the 3 recommendations above. As you may have guessed, we decided to replace the TX03 with another camera and settled on the VM275T. We were
extremely pleased with the increase in flight time and controllability of the E010. The TX03 was temporarily used on the E011 just because it has the larger 7x16mm motors.
Installation of the FPV camera is straight forward due to the ideal layout of the 5V DC battery termination “pads”. These metallic pads are where the FPV camera power wires must be soldered. The pictures below clarify how the wiring should be terminated. Just remember to be careful that you solder to the correct side since the V- and V+ labels are only on the bottom side and the FPV camera is soldered on the top side of the flight controller.
Racing drones inherently rely on lightweight components and efficient electronic parts. This is especially true for tiny whoop size drones like the E010 and E011. Part two of this series will continue to utilize this same concept. Stay tuned for part two: Battery Upgrades.