Saturday, 29 September 2012

8" FPV Monitor 800*600

If you have seen my sneak peak look at my new ground station, you will have noticed that I have incorporated a small 8" monitor into it. I've wanted a small monitor for a while to help with lining up shots when doing aerial photography (AP) when flying semi-FPV, so flying visually and then just glancing down occasionally to check that my shot is lined up correctly. As my All in One ground station as AV out for my goggles, it will also serve has a backup screen in case I have a problem with my video glasses.

The usual place that I always go to first when looking for new equipment is ebay and there is a lot of choice when it comes to LCD screens, so it wasn't easy to decide on one. As it was going to go in my ground station, I wanted a screen only, without all the casing or speakers or any extras. I also wanted a screen with a good resolution, as many of the screens are 234x480, which I have found is a bit low. For outdoor use, you ideally want a screen with as high luminance as possible, but I found that with the anti-glare coating on this screen it still works fine outdoors even at only 200 cd/m2.

This is the screen I purchased from ebay seller njytouch and here is the link to it: 8" Monitor

The screen arrived very well packaged and shipping took around 2 weeks. At the time that I purchased it, I paid £34 including delivery, but I see that it has gone up a bit since then, but still represents good value for money. In the box you get the screen, control board, keypad board and various cables for composite, VGA and power, but no instructions.

Getting it to work is a simple matter of connecting the ribbon cable from the screen into the control board, connecting the screen power to the control board (more about this later) and then supplying 12v to the control board. The only slight problem with this screen is that the power cable from the screen isn't long enough to reach the control board if you want to mount the board on the back of the screen and not have it like in the picture above. This is easily solved as it just means extending 2 cables by about 6 inches.

Once the screen is setup to your liking using the keypad, you can disconnect it from the control board as it's not needed for normal operation as it automatically turns on and selects the last input when you supply power. My main reason for choosing this screen is that it has VGA-in as well, so that eventually I can install my Raspberry Pi into my ground station and have a computer in the field with me as well, so the 800*600 resolution will be ideal for that using a HDMI-VGA converter.

This screen does do the black screen of death, but the picture has to be really bad before that happens and it returns pretty quick when the signal improves. This does perhaps make it not ideal as a primary flight screen, but is perfectly fine for use as a backup monitor. The image quality is excellent and the colours are bright and vibrant and as I already said earlier, the anti-glare works quite well. Also, it's a 4:3 aspect ratio, so really good for use with CCTV type cameras for FPV.

Overall, I'm really pleased with this screen as it does exactly what I wanted it to do and apart from the minor issue of the power cable, I can't fault it.

Here's a little video to show how this monitor handles static and the recovery time from blue screen.

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