Why FPV ?
Flying a drone First Person View (FPV) or from the pilot’s perspective is an amazing experience. By strapping a camera to the front of the drone and transmitting this video feed as a live stream to a screen or video goggles, you can control the drone as though you were in it. Although the technology is relatively simple, there is quite a bit of cost involved with switching from line of sight to FPV flying. A large proportion of this cost goes towards the goggles or screen used to view the feed. Today we are looking at the Fatshark Dominator V3 Video Goggles, which are a very good option for those who want a compact lightweight mobile solution.
If you have recently started out flying FPV, it is likely that you went with a system comprising a separate receiver and screen or a set of goggles that utilise a single large screen and a lense to help you focus. These are both great value for money and allow you to get a feel for the hobby without spending too much money. The sacrifice for the low budget is often a system that is bulky or low specification.
The Fatshark Dominator V3 Video Goggles provide a very compact solution, incorporating a built in/swappable receiver, DVR and a screen for each eye. The goggles sit comfortably on your face thanks to the foam padded faceplate, which also blocks out external light, providing a really immersive feel. This is one of the biggest upgrades for users swapping from a screen or the large style goggles, which are heavy and allow light in. Extended flying sessions are now possible with no discomfort. In addition, the padded faceplate has a built in fan to keep the lenses free from any misting. We have found this particularly useful when flying in cooler weather when the goggles would otherwise have fogged up.
Onto the most important thing, video quality! The Fatshark Dominator V3 utilise a 16:9 aspect ratio and an 800x480 resolution. There is a 35-degree field of view and IPD adjustment, so you can line up each screen to each eye perfectly. The image is clear and reasonably crisp even at the corners. The perceived screen size is large, but not huge, we would compare it to having a laptop or tablet at arm’s length. If you are moving from a single screen with lense like we did (Quanum V2) then the screen size may actually be a step down for you, but the screen quality itself is very good and allows you to see even fine details clearly. When using the HDMI port to connect to a computer, the image appears even clearer.
For us the HDMI port was a very attractive feature, as not only does it allow the goggles to be used with FPV drone simulators for a more realistic and immersive feel, but there are now HD FPV systems available like the Connex Prosight. Having HD ready goggles, with the connectivity required to be able to make the most of the new HD systems was important for us.
The DVR is a feature which we had always missed on the Quanum V2 DIY large screen type goggles. The DVR allows you to record the analogue feed viewed on the goggles and also play back this footage. This is very handy if you ever lose a model and either don’t have a buzzer or the battery disconnects, as you can watch the footage back to see where you crash landed. Being analoge, the goggles can tune into and record your friend's video feed too! A great feature on the Fatshark Dominator V3 DVR is that if you disconnect the battery without stopping the recording, it will still save. This is something that was missing from earlier versions. One thing we would like to see is an auto-pause when there is no signal, as we regularly forget to stop recording between batteries and now have hours of static recorded…
The battery that comes with the goggles is reasonably sized (both physical and capacity) at 1,800 mAh. The battery generally lasts us a whole session of flying, which could be 10-15 packs. It fits nicely into the side of the headband, where it sits comfortably on your head and doesn’t seem to add much to the weight/feel of the goggles when wearing them. If you are planning on dosing a longer flying session it is worth picking up a spare battery; when the battery voltage gets low the goggles make a few beeps before turning off shortly after!
The final piece that makes the whole system work is the changeable receiver module. This is compact and has a cover which seals it into the goggles nicely. The standard module utilises the 5.8Ghz band and supports a single antenna. There are now a number of alternative receivers available, which offer increased functionality such as diversity and favourite channel lists and these slot right into the existing module bay.
- Built in DVR
- Mini HDMI port
- External video feed in - you can use your old receiver
- Screen for each eye - can view 3D content
- 720p, not full HD
- Small screen size compared to cheaper options
- Not much time between low battery warning and video loss
We recently made the switch from the Quanum V2 DIY goggles to the Fatshark Dominator V3 and are very happy with the Dominator V3. The perceived screen size is smaller than the Quanum V2 and there are other options out there that have larger images (such as the Dominator HD2), but we feel that the Dominator V3 provide a good compromise between screen size and blurred edges (experienced when the screen size is too big). The small form factor is fantastic for long flying sessions without getting uncomfortable and the ability to record each and every flight without adding a heavy and expensive camera to the drone is a great feature. We will admit that the price tag is large, but we think it is justified and would definitely recommend the Fatshark Dominator V3 to anyone looking for a set of FPV goggles.
Got a Freerider / Liftoff?
How to use Fatsharks Dominator V3 Goggles with Liftoff or FPV FreeRider
You may all know the famous quadcopter FPV simulators Liftoff and FPV FreeRider which allows you to use your transmitter while being in the virtual quadcopter world. I have seen many people complaining how they want to use these simulators with their Fatshark goggles. Unlike the Headplays HD, where you can simply video out the display through a digital HDMI cable. Fatsharks can only be fed with an analog signal. As you may already know, most computers only have digital display ports.
The trick to convert digital video signal to analog video for your FatShark Goggles :
What you need is a simple module that converts the HDMI signal into the old style yellow composite. eBay sells these “HDMI to composite converter” for surprisingly cheap, only around 15USD. It runs off a 5V USB battery supply which can be connected to the computer while you are using it.
First connect the USB power supply into the little converter. Then unplug the HDMI cable from your monitor into the little converter. If you have a laptop, you will need to plug in an HDMI cable and allow the computer to mirror out through the cable. Once that’s completed, connect the male auxiliary to composite cable provided by Fatshark into the female composite port on the converter. Turn off the video transceiver and you should then only be getting the video from the computer. Voila!Your Fatshark Goggles are now ready!