Things to Know Before Installing Camera on RC Car

Things You Wish You Knew Before FPV-ing Your RC Car

FPV (First Person View) experience is still a relatively new phenomenon in the RC car arena. This begs the question that some of us might be asking – why should we FPV our RC car and what’s the fun in doing that? Well, we shall leave that to be answered later. Meanwhile, if you’re gearing up to get into FPV-ing your RC buggy, slash, or truck, here are some heads-ups that you may want to know beforehand.

You Can’t Feel How Fast Your RC Car is Going

We’re so used to the second-person view of seeing our RC vehicle racing around on a road or track. This external POV (point of view) easily gives us the sensation of speed as the car zips past through our field of view from one end to the other.

But a first-person POV is quite different because we’re not actually sitting inside a seat in our remote-controlled vehicle. The science of physics does not apply here. Thus, we entirely depend on our eyesight to give us the feel for speed and this can be a tough one for a first-timer. This is compounded by the lack of audio cues from the electric motor.

If you had clocked in some flight hours in a drone, then it may not be a completely new experience. For the rest who are moving from spectating from the sideline with a pistol-grip transmitter to a front-row seat in the cockpit, you’d find it rather difficult to gauge how fast you’re actually going.

You may need some time to adjust to this new seating arrangement and one trick to speed up the assimilation process is by feeling your throttle range.

Consider Using Two Cameras – For FPV and Recording

No one actually told me this and I learned it the hard way. Your FPV camera is usually an analog device which means its video quality is nothing close to the digital 4K cinematic footage you see from drone videography. Having said that, drone pilots often use two cameras mounted on each drone – the analog unit is for flying and the other is for digital recording. Geez, why didn’t I think of that!

I was hoping to use my FPV goggles for direct recording and it turns out as a complete dumbass failure. So please learn from my lesson. Consider installing two cameras (analog and digital) on your RC car if you wish to do recording or invest in one complete digital rig such as those from DJI. Meanwhile, there are some units that support simultaneous recording and broadcasting which allow you to kill two birds with one camera such as Runcam Split, Hawkeye Thumb Pro, or even GoPro Hero.

The Higher the Placement of FPV Camera the Better

Bear in mind your RC vehicle is a miniature version of a man-made 4-wheeler. Putting a camera on an RC will give you a low-ground perspective. Being low, the distance that you can see ahead of you is compromised. That is why it’s always best to place your FPV camera someplace higher on your rig than on the lower part of your vehicle. The back wing of a buggy and the rooftop of the body shell are ideal locations but you may not have the luxury of choices on mounting the camera. Planning ahead on where to mount your camera is a good practice.

They Will Shake Till They Drop

Expect your camera to do just that – shake till it drops. Unlike drones or RC planes that slipstream through the thickness of air, ground RC vehicles have to take the uneven heat from the ground.

It’s critical for you to securely mount your camera on your RC and double-secure it. A simple double-sided tape or super glue may not suffice especially when you’re going off-road.

I often use cable ties these days after trying lots of improvised solutions. And still, sometimes my camera pops out from its stronghold.

Also remember to plan for crashes. Your camera may get knocked down or off from its rig in an accident, thus a camera protective case is recommended. Better be safe than sorry.

The Noise From Your RC Vehicle is Bewildering

If your FPV setup doesn’t come with audio input, you might experience an odd sensation when the sound coming from your RC doesn’t sound the same as they used to be, thanks to the FPV perspective.

For instance, you are hearing your RC car approaching from the left and yet your eyes are telling your brain it’s heading towards you. All you need to do is ignore your ears and focus on what you see.

You’re Not Able to See the World Around You

Yes, once you strap on your FPV goggles, the real world takes a back seat while you’re in the driver’s seat of your RC car ready to pounce. Fascinating isn’t it?

Do make some effort to notice the things around you, especially people.