In this article we show how to build an 5.8 GHz FPV set (camera & transmitter) for about 20 USD which only weighs 5g and runs on an 1s lipo battery. The low weight means that you will be able to use this even with your smallest aircraft.
When the set is finalized, this is what it will look like. What you see here from left to right are the camera, the 5.8 GHz video transmitter module and the antenna:
In order to start, we will first need a transmitter module. Here we used a FX758-2 5.8G 200mW VTX module, which is available for about 11 USD from Banggood. What is shown below are the front side and the back side of the module. There is a heat sink on the back side. The front size shows all the pads to connect the antenna and the camera. On the top left one can see the GND, ANT and GND pads which are used to connect the antenna to the module. On the bottom right, one can see the +5V and GND pads, which are used to power the module. On the top right one can see the VIN pad, which is used to connect the camera. The camera connection also needs to be grounded, for this there is another GND pad available on the right center of the module.
Next, we will need a camera. For this we use a 600TVL CMOS mini camera, which is available for about 8 USD from Banggood. This mini camera offers very good image quality, given its light weight and small size. One can see red, black, yellow and white cables coming from the camera. The red and black cables are used to power the camera with 3.7 – 5 volts. The yellow cable is the video signal which comes from the camera. The white cable is the audio signal which comes from the camera, since this camera also has a microphone. For this project we do not use the audio and also removed the microphone to make the camera even more compact.
Last but not least, we need an antenna. In my case, my goal was to stay as light as possible and I was ready to sacrifice some reception quality for this. So what I did was to take one of the dozens of (otherwise useless) cheap rubberducky antennas which come free with any FPV set and simply salvaged it. For this, I simply broke the plastic casing with some force, which let the dipole antenna itself slide out of it. I then also removed the metal part of it, which effectively made the dipole antenna a single pole antenna, just to save 1-2 more grams. If your application is not that weight sensitive, you do not need to remove the metal part, as it is very light weight. A slightly heavier alternative to this dipole antenna, but with much better reception, is to use this Micro Cloverleaf Antenna.
On that last image above, you can nicely see the signal line and the shielding of the antenna. The signal line is on the very left of the antenna. Then there is a plastic shielding, which separates the signal line from the actual shielding of the antenna, which looks like aluminum foil. All three sections can be nicely seen in the image above from left to right.
We now need to solder this antenna to the GND, ANT and GND pads of the video transmitter module. We need to connect the signal line of the antenna to the ANT pad and the aluminum shielding of the antenna to the GND pads. In order to connect the aluminum shielding of the antenna to the GND pads, I simply took a bit of wire which I had lying around and first soldered it to the shielding and then soldered it to the GND pads. The signal line of the antenna was soldered direclty to the ANT pad. The following images will illustrate precicely how this needs to look like.
When you solder this, please take care that the shielding wire of the antenna does not connect to the signal wire of the antenna, else you will short out the antenna and you will not have any signal. In order to make this connection a bit more robust, you can just put a drop of hot glue on it, which will strengthen it.
Finally, you will need to connect the camera to the module. This is quite straight forward, by simply soldering the yellow video cable to the VIN, the red cable to the +5V and the black cable to the GND, as shown below. You will also use the same +5V pad and one of the GND pads to actually connect the power source (e.g., a 1s lipo) to the module. Below we have simply soldered to more cables to these pads, which we can hook up with a 1s lipo for example.
This completes our DIY 5g micro FPV module. We can now put it on our scales to measure its weight, which should arrive at about 5g.
We can now test the module, by connecting a 1s lipo. For this I have simply soldered two pin connectors to the power cables of the module, which I can use to connect a small 1s lipo. This is only for testing purposes, which is why the connections are not heatshrinked. You can now tune your video reciever into the channel of the transmitter and if you did everything right, you should have a nice and clear picture, as shown below.
This concludes our DIY 5g micro FPV module build. We also did a complete video tutorial on this, which provides a video guide on how to build it and which includes a lot of additional details. You can watch this here:
If you have questions, inputs or ideas, please feel free to leave them as comments to the above YouTube video. Simply click on the video title to get to the YouTube page, where you can comment.
Hope you enjoyed this little tutorial. I’m looking forward to see your own little FPV sets