Choosing a FPV OSD system

Choosing a FPV OSD system

Last Update:  11/18/2011  updated Eagle Tree requirements, added Dragon OSD
11/20/2011 added
Hobbyking G-OSD II Mini OSD System w/GPS Module
11/26/2011 added Ruby system

Okay everybody, I was going to write this on RC groups, but there was some objection to having a discussion on on-screen displays on the same thread as we were discussing the Bixler FPV conversion.  So instead of writing it fair I’m going to write it here on my blog for now.

This article is not going to make a recommendation as to which FPV OSD system to choose from it’s really for my own benefit as a survey of all FPV OSD  systems on the market and some of their pros and cons, pricing, and features taken from information available on their websites and on the other forms.

If you’re interested a FPV OSD  system I hope this article is of some use to you.  Also,  if you are using a FPV OSD system  which is not mentioned here please comment the article and let me know what system you’re using and the website he can be found on and I’ll add it to this article.  At this point this is pretty much just a list of OSD FPV   as I’m still researching the period.

Let’s get started.

  1. OSD Pro Expander from Eagle Tree System which is listed on Amazon.com for $82.91. This appears to be a modular system where you have the base unit and an add-on for GPS ($63.83) sensor and potentially a flight logging system ($66.45).  The “flight logging” system is required for this to work. GPS is optional, highly desirable.
  2. Remzibi OSD -  “Poor Man’s OSD”  this OSD uses the MAX7456 OSD chips…  A good source of information  on this OSD can be found here.  These are available from ReadyMadeRC.com $129
  3. Easy OSD Easy OSD  is available from FPVHobby.com and is available for $105  Including the main OSD board and GPS.
  4. Hobby King OSD The Hobby King OSD is available for $121.  OSD Display Features includes Timer, Date, Temperature, Power battery voltage, Power battery gauge, power battery current, power battery consumed energy, GPS status, position coordinate, main sea level altitude, compass, direction heading, home direction, relative altitude, altitude scale, climb rate, maximum altitude reached, distance to home, speed scale, speed reading, auxiliary voltage status, horizontal datum, flight recorder status.
  5. Simple OSD is available from Flytron.com for $60.90 and the additional GPS unit is $39.90. This is the OSD used by David Windestål of RCExplorer.se on his Tricopter and other FPV projects.
  6. Range Video OSD this unit is listed at $299 but at the moment the website currently lists it as out of stock.
  7. Black Stork OSD - this is available from hobbywireless.com $186, but I have yet been able to find very much information about this one.
  8. EZ OSD -  this is listed at $179.99 on the Next Generation Hobbies website.   This one appears to be all-inclusive with the GPS unit as part of the package. This one also appears to be the one used by Team BlackSheep in  the aircraft they are selling.
  9. Dragon OSD – $159 full feature system – as used by FPV.LT
  10. Hobbyking G-OSD II Mini OSD System w/GPS Module $43 – just listed by Hobby King 11/20/2011
  11. Ruby System – $345  Includes Ruby controller with 32 bit processor,
    TruIMUtm, 3D gyro, magnetometer and accelerometer,
    power sensor, receiver adapter, cabling, airspeed sensor, GPS,
    and free firmware upgrades .

That’s it for now I still haven’t made up my mind on which OSD system I’ll be getting for my FPV Bixler.   Again if you have any  experiences with any of these units please share them in the comments section below.


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29 Responses to Choosing a FPV OSD system

  1. Eddie (aka rogueqd) says:

    I use Remzibi OSD. To be honest I didn’t really compare them much, I just bought it on bmsweb’s recommendation. For what it is it works great, but it’s not really expandable like the Eagle Tree. Sometimes I’ve thought I’d have been better off paying the extra ~$80 for the Eagle Tree as that would let me buy more accessories down the track.

    Whatever you buy you’re going to be stuck with for quite a while, or you’ll be writing off the money you paid for it. Buying something like an Eagle Tree means you’re locked in to their brand for buying the accessories, so I think you’re smart to do a lot of research before purchasing.

  2. james vanwinkle says:

    I like the Range Video OSD. It is my first and has a lot of capabilities I don’t use (yet). You can set up waypoints, an autopilot to return home in case of lost signal, and you can program the OSD to look pretty much the way you want it. Also, it has a sporty-go-fast look to it with the F-16 type HUD format. Even the remote has an F-16 on it. The RVOSD is a complete unit that does not need additional parts added and for me it was as simple as plugging it in and dropping it in place with velcro. Simple. There is also a great forum where the Range Video guys answer questions as fast as you can pose them. I know from personal experience and they are there to help. They are sold out at the moment, but I believe the actual part out of stock in the GPS. It is worth waiting though in my opinion.

  3. werner says:

    I just bought the Hobby King OSD and the GPS module, this is my first OSD and my first FPV system, I’m a completely newbie in this,,,,

  4. Steve says:

    @Eddie – Are you happy with the Remzibi? From BMSWEB’s videos it looks like it has a nice interface…

  5. Steve says:

    @James – thanks for the feedback? Range Video does appear to me the most expensive of the OSD systems, but sounds like that is for good reason.

  6. HFB says:

    For the Eagle Tree system, you have to have the logger and the OSD at a bare minimum for their OSD system. The GPS is optional but without the logger, the OSD Pro unit itself will not work. For better results, you need to add the GPS. For best RTH results, you should get all three items mentions plus the airspeed sensor and Guardian.

  7. Steve says:

    @HFB – that’s good to know and isn’t clear from their website. Do you have the Eagle Tree system?

    Maybe this is my ignorance, but why would somebody want to add an altimeter and airspeed indicator to a system that has the GPS? Perhaps I could understand the airspeed indicator for people flying in windy condition and you want to measure relative airspeed for stall protection, but I can’t understand the altimeter…

  8. Steve says:

    Anybody see the new system from Hobby King – $43

  9. HFB says:

    Yes, I have the ET system.
    GPS alititude can be quite error prone so it can be difficult to rely on it. It can vary depending on how many satellites it sees, how good the signals are, etc. Having a redundant system helps rectify potential issues from the errors you get.
    For airspeed, you want it for stall protection and also to see exactly what you are flying at.
    The better HK system is about $120, not the $43 one but for a basic OSD, it’s not too bad from what I hear.

  10. tj says:

    My 1st was the Hobbyking OSD System (Full Combo): Main Board, Power Module, USB/GPS/IR/TEMP Modules w/Remote

    I had to buy it all separate.
    Hobbyking had all the parts in, but for some reason were out of stock of the full combo.
    Seems they haven’t the sense to put all the separate parts together to make a combo lol.

    Anyway, I purchase everything except the Temp module.
    Not recommended for a 1st osd.
    Reason, once you finally get it all wired up, the GPS doesn’t work straight out of the box.
    You get the bars showing where it’s trying to lock on to the signal, but thats it.
    Displays well onscreen, so can’t fault that.
    The wiring diagram is totally confusing, black lead goes to the 1st pin on 1 lead, and then for some reason black lead goes to last pin, (facing left to right.)

    In order to get the gps working, you then need the usb module (had I not ordered it at the same time, would of been another week or two to fix it.)

    Can’t fault the flashing process though worked flawlessy, although I’ve read reports something failed and killed their unit. (not good)

    So, you then flash the unit, plug it all in and voila the gps works well.
    You can insert a microSD card and it will record the fly data. (Can’t tell you how well it does, because I never got around to testing that function.)

    BUT, after flashing the unit and getting the gps working, another bug creeps in.
    The Amp draw reading then fails big time.

    Without any throttle at all, the Amp reading states its pulling 50A ?
    If I remember even after applying some throttle it still reads 50A, so then that becomes absolutely useless.

    Bearing in mind, this was installed in/on a HK Bixler, and to be fair the room is fairly limited, this just add to a whole heap of wires, and no space.

    Once you land, you then have to remove every unit to get the battery out, charge / replace lipo, then cram it all back inside.

    Imho, there are osd that do exactly the same but with a lot less weight, and separate units.

    To me the added weight of this osd, coupled with the amount of extra seperate components, and bugs, far exceeds it’s worth.

    For a basic osd, I’ve heard the suppo osd is fine.
    I’ve now purchased my next osd – Cyclops nova osd with RTH / Autopilot.
    Once this arrives, I’ll leave a review.

  11. UndCon says:

    I have the Eagle Tree OSD Pro with GPS and the Eagle Eyes tracker . It works very well and is very flexible.

    I also have an simpleOSD from Hobbyking for smaller machines. and it gets the simple job done.

    //UndCon

  12. Juan says:

    I bought the CE OSD from http://www.foxtechfpv.com

    I love this thing. For little over $100.00 you get evrything. It works really well and the GPS aquires signal very quickly. Its also very lighweight wich makes it perfect for my bixler… Thre are tons of videos in youtube explaining how to set it up!

  13. Hello
    I saw your article about choosing a FPV OSD system. In few days we will start selling our graphical OSD with autopilot module: http://www.pitlab.com/osd.htm
    Could you add it to list on your website, please?

    Best regards
    Piotrek.

  14. Wandert says:

    Hello there,
    I am new in the FPV world and searching the internet for a suitable FPV / autopilot system. What I can’t find is the reason that some OSD’s are using horizontal and vertical IR sensors (Cyclops) and others are using gyro sensors….? What is the difference??? And what is the best for an FPV beginner.
    Kind regards,
    Wandert

    • Steve says:

      Wandert – gyros measure the rate of rotation around a particular axis (x,y,z) not the current actual angle of the plane.

      I’m not familiar with the IR sensors you are referring to – could you send a link of what you mean?

      Thanks,

      Steve

      • Wandert says:

        Hi Steve,
        Thanks for your replay. The system who uses vertical and horizontal IR sensors is the Super Cyclops OSD – flight assistance. I can purchase one of these systems here in the Netherlands but I am a little afraid that the system is over complicated and sensitive for interferences. However while surfing the net I could not find a reason why the Cyclops system is using these sensors and what the difference is in relation to any other system. It looks like the use the IR sensors to monitor movement around the X, Y and Z axes…and I think a “normal” gyro system is simpler and less sensitive for interference…but I am not sure.
        Kind regards,
        Wandert
        p.s. see “super cyclops first impression” on you tube

  15. tj says:

    I have both the Cyclops nova and the storm.

    I’ve tested the nova a few times and all seems to work fine.
    Only complaint is the IR sensors,
    Should it be a nice day but cloudy, you will find that the calibration will keep on giving you an error.

    This is due to it using the ir sensor to detect the ground heat vs the sky heat.
    This is how it determines whether to bank to the left or right to level the plane.

    You can of course trick it to calibrate (i had too a few times)
    Tip the plane onto the wing, and place your hand underneath the sensor,
    This makes the sensor take a heat reading from your hand, after that process is done it has all worked correctly.

    However, with the storm using the other method, this should be a lot better as clouds won’t come into it, and should work flawlessly.

    Will let you know once I get to test out the storm osd.

    Regards
    Tj

  16. Wandert says:

    Yes that’s what I was afraid for. I think I stick with the conventional (gyro) type’s

  17. I have a question about cyclops storm. I have my osd installed in a gas powered seabiplane. I have pictures on RC Group forum under Seabiplane or Finetuned40s posts. I have the 3,s lipo connected to were I removed the jumper pin as I was instructed and it worked. I get OSD display but I havent been able to get vidio from the camera as yet just black background. Two Questions Please help. Is there something Im not doing correct to get vidio from the camera? Also can I still use the current sensor to display gas engine power battery voltage and consumption of that battery on OSD screen and still get OSD and Vidio camera power battery voltage on bottom right of screen. Thanks so much for your time. Finetuned40s

  18. Jeremy Cowgar says:

    Why an airspeed indicator? In addition to preventing stalls, your aircraft has a best climb speed, best glide speed and best cruise speed. These are determined by your airspeed, ground speed has nothing at all to do with them. Knowing your airspeed you can fly your aircraft with much more precision and efficiency.

    Further, it can really help you at determining wind speeds and directions, which in turn can save you from all sorts of problems. For example, start off flying north with a 40 mph ground speed not knowing your airspeed. Fly half your pack, turn around and your ground speed drops to 20 mph. You’re not coming home. If you had an airspeed indicator, you would have seen your ground speed of 40 mph but your airspeed was 30 mph, thus you know you are flying with a 10 mph tail wind and you can figure you are only going to get 20 mph going back home. Thus saving your model. Now, you do this with your GPS speed only but turning around and flying the opposite direction for a few seconds to see the difference but it can change all the time as you change altitudes or the weather conditions change. Becomes a real pain. Another thing you can do is know what your ground speed should be on a day with no wind for a given throttle position and if you normally travel at 30 mph but your doing 35 mph, you can guess you have a 5 mph tail wind. This is guess work though, an airspeed indicator just makes things much easier.

    • Steve says:

      Jeremy – all your points are dead on, and I guess I’ve exposed myself as a fair weather flier.. ;-)

      However do you have any experience with any of the airspeed sensors out there? I might be interested in them for an upcoming project.

      Thanks,

      Steve

      • Jeremy Cowgar says:

        The only one I have experience with is the one for EagleTree. I did some shopping, wound up with an EagleTree system and have never used anything else. I’d like to try others just for the sake of gaining experience with them, but have not yet.

        As for the EagleTree one, it works pretty good, right out of the box, easy to setup and install. The hardest part (I would assume of any of them) is finding a place to mount your pitot tube on the plane where it isn’t going to get ripped off or damaged on a high grass landing. Mine has caught grass a few times. EagleTree does sell replacement pitot tubes for this reason, they are about $8 USD, but I hate replacing them.

  19. Hi FPV lovers! Very nice tutorial… If you want perfect video quality use cloverleaf antenna set.. I bought from fpvcenter

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