How to pick a VTX? What’s it for?
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With FPV Quads, the amazing sport of racing and freestyling through First Person View, you must have a set up that includes an FPV camera, Goggles and a VTX. These are the things that turn boring flying into a world all of its own!
VTX stands for video transmitter, this is the heart of FPV life system. Pumping life into the many possibilities of FPV. VTX’s come in many different shapes, sizes, strengths and wiring set-ups. Strapped to the front of the quad is an FPV camera, and strapped to head is a pair of FPV goggles. How you can watch live, instantaneous footage right from the cockpit is because the VTX is sending the footage received from the camera and out to the goggles.
Picking the right VTX for you. This will start with knowing if size and weight is a factor for you. If you are planning to race, and only race, then you will select any VTX that is light in weight. It’s probably important that your VTX can do pit mode and channel control (depending on which one you choose). This may be a smart audio feature or the tramp protocol. Pit mode is where you will be able to set your VTX to a certain mode that allows you to power up your quad without powering up your VTX to keep you from blasting video and trampling over other racers on the track. Channel control allows you to change your frequency right from your radio for easy switching at a race, or to prepare your quads for the race the next day. Seeing that range is not so much of a factor in a race, only 25mw is allowed, and all that you need. So you can pretty much pick any VTX when it comes to figuring out which is best for you and your power output needs.
If you are a freestyle pilot, these features probably won’t matter for you. If they do, whether you race, freestyle, or if you just want more features, be sure to make sure that the one you purchase can do these things. For the freestyle pilot, weight really isn’t as much of a factor. The most important thing will be to be sure you can have clear, strong signal while power looping or doing a building dive from 65 stories up. This is why selecting a strong VTX will be more prevalent for the freestyle pilot, something that does 600mw or even 800mw. If you are one of our long range students, you will select in comparison to the freestyle pilot, possibly even more power up to 1000mW depending on your range goals and be mindful of your antenna placement.
Wiring your VTX will be based on which one you found as your best fit based off the information above. There are quite a handful of VTX’s that will accept a higher input voltage than others, this is important due to giving it more voltage than it can handle. This is a good way to fry your video transmitter. Some VTX’s offer audio, some offer 5v output to power your camera, it will all depend on which VTX best fits your needs. When mounting be sure to keep away from high voltage wires as to not disturb your video wires coming in and out of your VTX. Also check out our capacitors lesson in the MyFPVSchool curriculum to make sure that you are filtering when and as needed, to help get that crystal clear vision. Your video transmitter is high on the list of mounting in a location that will be protected to avoid damage. Watch out for letting your antenna ground touch the frame of your craft, as carbon fiber is conductive and could result in poor video, or if a feed wire touched the frame you would create a short circuit and fry your equipment.
Your VTX will come with a connector option, for example: SMA, RP-SMA, MMCX or UFL (sometimes referred to as IPEX). You will need to pick according to your preference, if you’re not sure which is right for you, be sure to see our lesson on antenna connectors. After you have selected your connector style then be sure to match your antenna to that. Use the chart below for reference.
As the bell rings, class is dismissed for today. We hope to get your feedback and see you in the field. Fly hard, crash harder and remember to Power Loop The World!