Just got the Walkera Hoten FPV. not being particularly impressed with the factory installed camera, I did what every guy would do.. tore it appart and installed a GoPro Hero3, I used my 3D printer to make new parts for a easy fit. the result both flies and is quite smooth, but is too heavy. Read on for pictures of the setup and test video and a 360spin of the rig.
Out of curiosity I ordered the Hoten-FPV brushless edition, it come with the DV04 recording camrea and also TX5803 pre-installed, ready to record 720p and FPV out of the box. I mean what is not to love about that concept.?
Turns out, the hoten is a low-powered easy flying and easy to love little quad, its larger than I expected, but with small motors and slow props, resulting in very low energy vibrations and clean video. = easy to love.
Secondly it turns out.. the DV04 recording camera is NOT love at all, the camera bufferes the video, and will at times pause the video in-flight. I tried a bunch of different micro-SD cards, no luck. if you fly immersive FPV (goggles) with this camera you likely will hear the crash before you see what you hit. So the build-in DV-4 simply gotta go.
EDIT - the DV04 sucks - BUT FatShark have a starter kit with a great 720p recording camrea, i would suggest getting it instead of the DV04
Thirdly, the hoten also arrived with the TX5803 vtx, which works OK, it have a neat little plastic casing. but the ImmersionRC 600mwh 5.8g vtx reaches longer, so I have not particular love or hate for the TX5803 if you need a VTX then its not a bad vtx and at about $40 its cheaper than the immersionRC vtx.
So having flown the bone-stock factory offering, and getting both itchy and annoyed after crashing because of the FPV video going blind, I decided to "upgrade" the Hoten-X a bit.
350grams is the stock hoten flying weight. that is LIGHT.!
350grams is a scarry low number.
The stock camera and VTX netted about 30 grams. a GoPro is 75grams. sigh. long way to go, saved another 10 grams from the canopy. canopies are for sissies anyway. but that is still only 45 grams. meaning the GoPro setup is still about 10% or maybe 40+ grams overweight. and on a device this light 10 or 20% overweight is a huge deal, resulting in wobbly stabilisation because it simply don't have the horse-power to manage the weight in a wind-gust or a sudden change of direction.
So in the end, I printed a GoPro mounting clip and some spacers to extend the landing-gear by 5mm. and also printed a new battery clip to mount the battery. The new parts mounted on the Hoten with no problems on the first try.
Having the battery stick out back a little balanced the GoPro camera perfectly. and the hoten flew beautifully indoor. (and that is actually my real plan for this device) however outdoor, there were issues with stabilisation.
Flight-time with the GoPro seems to be about 5 minutes, I set my radio timer to 5 min and had good control when the timer did go off. however 4 minutes might be a better timer setting for a bit less stressed landing.
I used a zip-tie to attach the ImmersionRC VTX on the main body in the same place Walkera used for the TX5803. the VTX was already setup with a JST plug, so it was litterally plug-n-play to install. nice.
Then I put a SpiroNET antenna on the VTX, I cut away the plastic shell to save the extra 6 grams of the shell. (after all, Im on a budget here)
Finally I put a small 2grams flight camera on the front of the HotenX, I choose to use the flight cam for several reasons, at 2 grams it is about the same weight as a GoPro video out cable, and because it is a dedicated flight-camera I don't worry about it freezing or runing out of battery mid-flight. As long as there is battery to fly the Hoten, my camera works. you can see it on the front edge in the 360spin below.
Testflying the GoPro-HotenX in the Riverbed.
Several things are easy to see.
1. when in a stable motion the camera is very stable
2. when I turn around into the wind, the quad have a hard time accelerating
3. bouncy. clearly under-powered and struggeling to maintain stable particularly up higher in the wind.
Slow-Motion props is GREAT
While this is not really a perfect platform for a GoPro, there is one noteable side-effect of the incredible low weight. Fully loaded with VTX and GoPro Hero3 this thing is about 400grams. 400 grams is about 1/3 of my Phantom with a brushless gimbal, the props on the Hoten-X is about the same physical size as the Phantom props.. it don't take much imagination to realize the Hoten-X props then goes much slower compared to the phantom props. Follow me so far.? Why is this cool.? Simply because the vibrations in the Hoten body is SIGNIFICANT less powerful. and as you probably noticed from the GoPro video, there is virtually no Jello.!
Flying the Hoten FPV is fun, and the thing is cool becuase it is so quiet. I plan to use this setup with the GoPro for filming a ice-dancer for the next season, I am supposed to shoot a bunch of video indoor in a scateing hall, and I want something that is less scarry than my DJI-S800, I feel completely comfortable flying the hoten+GoPro indoor FPV, naturally FPV to easily frame shots and the GoPro video quality is fantastic. you will be seeing some posts with ice-scating soon enough here.
BUT.. for outdoor the GoPro is just too heavy in this setup. so the next steps is naturally to "rip" the GoPro back off the Hoten-X and replace it with a HoryzonHD which is 40grams lighter.... Stay tuned for my report on that experiment.
Second option.. the landing-gear weigh about 22 grams. that is a significant amount and since I will be flying hand-launch in the ice-rink.. I will probably drop the landing-gear while flying the GoPro at the ice-rink. and might also drop it for outdoor flying with the HoryzonHD.
Im improving the GoPro mount for the Hoten-X if anyone is interested in a copy, i can stick it online. let me know.
I got my Hoten-X from Dave at WalkeraHelicopterSupply.com
Turns out Im not the only one who like the hoten, a Australian put together a nice shopping list here