What features do you need on your FPV Drone Racing Goggles? | Drone Racing Report | Vol 12

Welcome to the Dronucopia Drone Racing Report One of the most essential pieces of equipment for FPV flying are your FPV goggles

In fact, we recommend that beginners use a good part of their budget on quality goggles since they can be used with multiple drones and will likely be used for some time With so many choices, styles, and features available, it can be mind-numbing to figure out exactly what you might need… and what you could live without So here’s a breakdown of what you should know about FPV goggles The first obvious difference in FPV goggles is between the two main types: box and compact Box goggles are large, bulky, and often heavy

They are also very inexpensive They are quite literally a box built around a single LCD screen Because of this design, they offer a really wide viewing angle and are less prone to fogging up Because of the spacious design, they are also an excellent option for pilots wearing glasses Compact goggles are smaller, lighter and more portable

This design incorporates two smaller screens, one for each eye While more expensive than box designs, the increased portability and convenience make compact slimline goggles the preferred choice for most pilots The first important technical consideration for your FPV goggles is the screen resolution This is very important for the clarity and quality of your images We always recommend a minimum resolution of 640×480 for your goggles

What you will need will also depend on the type and resolution of the FPV camera that is on your drone, and what is being transmitted by your video transmitter If the signal from your drone is 640×480, then you won’t necessarily benefit from goggles with a higher resolution However, having better resolution means you are prepared if you decide to upgrade your camera in the future It is also important to know the screen ratio you are using or are comfortable with Thought not always the case, many FPV racing cameras run at a 4:3 ratio, while Go-Pros and cinematic cameras traditionally use a 16:9 widescreen ratio

If mismatched, you will still get an image, however it will be either stretched or squashed in order to fit the screen Some 16:9 screens compensate for this by cutting off the sides of the screen, however this results in a smaller field of view Check to see what screen ratio is output from the FPV camera on your drone The video receiver that your FPV goggles uses is a critical component and needs to match the drone you are flying Some goggles have a video receiver already built-in

While this is convenient, it also limits you to that specific type of receiver and available channels Units with external receivers or a modular design will give you much more flexibility by allowing you to match your goggles to the specific drone you are flying, or specific requirements of a race you are participating in When it’s time for a race, simply swap out your regular receiver for the one that is race-approved and you are ready to go The Field of View, or FOV, is also an important factor to consider This is the angle from your eye to the edge of the screen

The wider the field of view, the more immersive and realistic the experience For the best results, we recommend a field-of-view of at least 35 degrees Some box goggles like the Oculus Rift can give you an FOV over 100 degrees While this is amazing and incredibly immersive, it is not always the best choice for drone racing For some pilots it is distracting and you may find your eyes drifting around the screen

The Inter-Pupillary Distance, or IPD, is the measurement between the center of both eyes This can obviously be different for everybody Since compact goggles use a separate screen for each eye, the ability to change the Inter-Pupillary Distance can be a very important feature depending on the user Some compact FPV goggles have a fixed distance between screens, while others allow the IPD to be adjusted Be sure to check the model you are looking at

Fogging up is an issue that many pilots are confronted with, especially with the compact FPV goggle designs To battle this, some FPV goggles now utilize small anti-fogging fans in their design to improve the ventilation This is a great and sometimes necessary feature, especially in hot and humid climates Another feature that is optional but we feel is almost essential is what’s known as Diversity Diversity is essentially a type of redundancy for your video receiver, giving you a more reliable signal

There are two basic types for FPV goggles: antenna diversity and receiver diversity Antenna Diversity uses a single receiver with two antennas, to pick up a wider range of signals Receiver Diversity (or RX Diversity) on the other hand is a much better option It uses two active receivers, each with its own antenna It works by switching to whichever receiver has the strongest signal, giving you a more consistent, reliable signal and better image quality

When using multiple antennas, it is common practice to use two different types, such as a directional and an omni-directional antenna in order to pick up the widest range of signals If you are using a circular polarized antenna on your quad and another on your FPV goggles, make sure you match the direction for the best results These are denoted as LHCP or RHCP for left or right handed Mixing right-hand and left-hand polarized antennas will result in significant signal loss Lots of FPV goggles now have built-in DVR’s, recording your flight footage onto a micro-SD card

While we prefer the footage from an onboard DVR such as a high definition GoPro, the DVR in the goggles has come in handy many times when searching for a lost quad after a crash The ability to quickly play back your last footage can save you hours of searching and hundreds of dollars Some goggles without a built-in DVR will have the option to connect to an external DVR While not as convenient as a built-in system, it at least gives you the ability to add this feature to a set of otherwise good goggles An HDMI input can now be found on some models, allowing you to connect them to a high-definition source such as a computer or video game console

While a luxury, this is a great option to have for watching movies or practicing with a drone racing simulator such as Liftoff Some goggles even have 3D capability built in Head Tracking is a feature that matches the camera movement on the drone to the movement of the pilot’s head This provides a more immersive experience for some pilots, and is an optional feature that can be found on some higher end goggles While we think it is a nice feature for camera drones, it can be distracting for many racing and freestyle pilots where a fixed camera view is more popular

This feature will mostly depend on your personal preference The color of the goggles is another factor that is seemingly minor but can affect you In direct sun and hot climates, black goggles can heat up more quickly than lighter-colored ones This can make them more uncomfortable and prone to overheating On the flip side, dark goggles are better at containing light leakage, giving you a more immersive experience

A front facing camera is an interesting feature usually only found on higher end models of FPV goggles It is easy for a fully-immersed pilot to lose themselves in the moment and neglect their surroundings A front-facing camera allows the pilot to briefly switch from the FPV view to a front-facing view for a quick look around for safety and awareness We think it’s just as easy to lift the goggles momentarily, but this camera makes it easier to catch your friend who is sneaking up to prank you while you’re flying We always recommend getting the best FPV goggles your budget will allow and have found the sweet spot to be around $300, even for beginner pilots

If that is just too much for your budget, then consider one of the box-type goggles to get all the features at a much lower price Your goggles are the piece of equipment you will likely keep the longest, so make sure that what you choose has the flexibility and features you need now and in the future Do that, and your FPV goggles will last you for years to come Join us next time as we continue to dive into the world of FPV and drone racing Have a question or idea for a topic? Comment below or visit us on Facebook at Facebook

com/Dronucopia Don’t forget to check out our video series “Top-5 FPV Videos of the Week” to view our favorite FPV videos submitted by users Have a video you wish to share? Submit it to our Facebook group “Drone Racing International FPV”

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