Aftermarket Equivalent to DJI Video Transmitter

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Hi All,

I am looking to get an affordable long range video setup equivalent to the DJI Phantom 3/4 or better.
I recently got a Cheerson CX-20 opensource. Which includes a mount for a GoPro.
The is a cheap knock off of a Phantom, so the camera and transmitter would need to be of equivalent size/weight.
My main goal is learning Arial Video and Photography.
So this is a training platform to see what I can do, and decide if I need to save a few grand for a DJI, or end up finding out I can get buy just fine with a DIY setup.

Camera Pre-Reqs:
Should record 1080p minimum to a local SD card.
Should be able to use a 128GB SD card (256 would be nice)
It doesn't require a separate battery, the drone has 5v and 12v hookups.
But I also read it is better to use a cam with a separate battery to avoid line noise.
I would like the widest FOV I can get without getting any fish-eye effect.

Would like to get 1 to 2 km of clear video like DJI.
But my the CX-20 only has a 300 meter range.  So at least this for a start.
The drone's transmitter is 2.4G, so does that mean video should be 5.8G?

Any basic 5" LCD would be fine.
Should it be a diversity receiver? (is that even correct? Something with two receiving antennas?)
Like patch and cloverleaf? Or patch and regular?
Does not need to display 1080p, though that would be nice.
But should be clean enough that it can be used for very basic FPV (mainly lining up shots).

I see after market action cams for sale on the cheap all the time.
Like the SOOCOO C10S.

Are these even viable? Can you hook a transmitter to them?
Can you hook a transmitter to a GoPro?

It doesn't have to be a GoPro or even an action cam for that matter.
It could be an eachine mini as long as it meets the pre-reqs above.

As for cost I am looking to stay around $100 to $200 if possible.
But if that is not even viable, can you please let me know what I should expect to pay?
I can get a Phantom 3 Standard for less than $500, so I would think a comparable aftermarket system should be less than half that?
Or is DJI's propitiatory system just so ahead of the game, that getting a 3 Standard is really the cheapest option?

I am very hands on with electrical and assembly, and built my own FPV goggles for less than $50 worth of supplies using the screen that came with one of my drones. So I am not afraid to get my hands dirty.

Any other pointers or tips?
Any links to some good tutorials or guides online?

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.


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Hello.   I'm kind of a newbie myself.  Got my first quad the beginning of March.  JJRC V686g.  It was my "throw away" because I knew I was gonna crash and burn at least a few times.  And I did.  That thing is now in about 5 pieces in my "archive" drawer.  Next was a Syma X8hg.  Now I have another one and an X8hc.  The first one has become a "parts" machine.  But I was bit big time.  I loved the whole Aerial Photography thing.  So much so that I ordered a kit off of eBay for $135 with freeshipping.  It became what someone on another forum dubbed "Frankendrone".   It's becoming my first AP platform as well as learning vehicle.

Here's the parts list of the kit I got:

1 x S500 frame kit w/carbonfiber landing gear
2 x Hobbypower 2212 920KV Brushless motor CW
2 x Hobbypower 2212 920KV Brushless motor CCW
4 x Hobbypower Simonk 30A Speed Controller
1 x APM2.8 Flight controller
1 x NEO-7M GPS
1 x Gemfan 1045(CW+CCW) Black Propeller
1 x Gemfan 1045(CW+CCW) Orange Propeller
1 x GPS Bracket
1 x Spare parts pack 


My control is a Flysky i6 that's been upgrade via Firmware to a 10 channel transmitter.  The receiver is a Flysky iA6B.........using PPM I have 8 usable channels.

Add on include.....3dR telemetry and a Hubsan H109S-17 LiPo 3S 11.1V 7000mAh(I got two of them).  Also got various propellers, propeller nuts, black zipties(I hate white on a black frame), a pair of gimbal mounts and finally a cheapo camera gimbal that is really just a camera holder with vibration isolators.   I will be getting in the next few days and upgrade power module for battery status, a 2 axis real camera gimbal and finally an addon voltage meter/alarm.  All totalled I'm still under $300.  My initial camera for the gimbal will be a knockoff of the GoPro camera$50).  Future upgrades include a standalone FPV system.......2000mW transmitter with an OSD module wired in, connecting to a 7inch LCD.  As well as an Object Avoidance sonar system. Oh, and a Flysky iA10B receiver.  My primary goal with this thing....proof of concept.  For myself as well as for the machine.  My next project will be an octocopter with a Pixhawk PX4 V2.4.8 Flight Controller.  I like open source.  The software for the APM/Pixhawks is called "Mission Planner".  It ain't simple, but it is extremely versatile.......and that's my watch word.

I don't like "proprietary" stuff.  My Symas are very limited on what I can change/modify.  But what I could, I have.  I'm not interested in turning them into "brushless" knockoff of a DJI quad.  And the only thing that works with Syma quads, is Syma gear.  Same pretty much from what I've seen with DJI.

If you're good with soldering circuit type stuff, you should check youtube for antenna mods for your Cheerson.  I did one for my X8s that supposed to give me 1300meters range.  But I can't see it much beyond 400 meters so I haven't really tried it that far out.

My recommedation from what your requirements the hell out of your Cheerson while you research what direction you wish to go. 





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Hello @DroneDragon or rather Chris,

When I first started building and flying my first drone I too did not want to spend too much on a camera in case I crashed so I purchased a Mobius action camera for about $80.

I also added a 2 axis gimbal that I purchased from Hobby King.

and this USB (video out/power) cable to connect to a 5.8 G video transmitter.

I used a $25 car DVD monitor and 5.8 G video receiver as part of my ground station in order to get a live feed from the camera.

The results were not too bad although I was getting a lot of "jello" on the recorded video.

I then purchased a 3 axis gimbal for a GoPro camera.

I was going to purchase a GoPro but at they were around $400 at the time I purchased a Eken H9 for $68 which is physically the same size. The issue I had with this camera is that unlike the GoPro Hero 4 black there is no composite video out of the USB port. There is a mini HDMI port but as this is a digital signal it would need to be converted before sending it to 5.8 G transmitter. There are several converters on the market but instead I went back to my Mobuis and turned it into a GoPro form factor with this

and mounted it on the 3 axis gimbal and since I already had the usb cable could connect it to my video transmitter.

I may eventually get a real GoPro as they seem to be the most economically cameras for DIY drones but because of their wide angle lens they do distort buildings so not great for real estate photography. This company does sell no distortion lenses for GoPro cameras but the recommended one is $140.

The other features that I've been struggling to add are

- ability to remotely change camera settings

- geo tagging of photos 

features which are typically included with a DJI and other off the shelf drones.





Edited by Spitfire76
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