On the market today, there are many different video transmitters for FPV, at many different price points. So the question that comes to mind often is: “is spending £50 on a video transmitter, compared to £10 pounds, really going to give you 5 times more fun and performance?” – So we took one of the most popualar cheap VTX and compared it to one of the most preverlent high end VTX to see if those extra bucks are worth it
TBS Unify Pro HV
- It is made by team black sheep, who have proven themselves to make high quality products that work reliably
- It is switchable, it can provide you either 25, 200, 500, or 800mw of video transmitting power, meaning that without a long range system on your drone, at 800mw, you will almost never run out of video. It has been shown that on a pair standard cloverleaf antenna’s such as the TBS triumph, it can provide upto 4km of range
- It covers bands A, B, E, Airwave, and raceband on 40 channels
- It can be connected with the TBS core modules, and can be operated through the osd, so that you can change the channels and power levels on the VTX from your drone controller
- It has a pit mode which lowers the transmitting power to a very low level, so that you can test your video before a race without interfering with other pilots who are flying
- It can support 2s to 6s lipo power, so can be powered directly off of the power distribution board, and filters the current in order to transmit a good picture
- It comes with a pigtail attached via a U.FL connecter, which provided an easily swappable pigtail
- Despite the power ouput, this module only weighs 7 grams, which is extremely light, and also has a very small form factor. We 3D printed a mount for the stack in the QAV-R we have a Drone Insider, and it sat extremely neatly in the drone, taking up little space
- Without the use of instructions, working out how to use this module, and accessing all of the channels would have been difficult, however, online there is an extremely useful manual on how to use this module, and there are a couple of video’s online as well
- Using the TBS core pro, if you have a Ham radio licence, you can set any frequency you want to fly on, you are not only limited by the 40 channels originally on the module
- While powering up and changing channels on the HV module, the power is limited to 0.1mw, creating a clean switch, which stops the power surge of you turning on from interfering with other pilots FPV systems
- It comes with a silicone cable which is very flexible, that will plug directly into the back of a TBS zerozero camera, and have the right pin layout. The plug will also fit into a HS1177, however you will need to re-map the pins on the plug to have them all in the right place.
- During testing, we were getting a considerable amount of interference , and so using a filtered power supply such as a BEC or an LC filter would help diminish interference
- After numerous crashes on one of our Unify Pro modules, the U.FL connecter was ripped off of the board, and once that has happened, you can’t re-solder another connector, and soldering a pigtail is not an option either, making the module very hard to get working again
- The biggest downside of this module is the price. The module can be as expensive as 50 pounds from some websites, which is by far one of the most expensive 5.8ghz video transmitters on the market
- At Drone Insider we have an array of these video transmitters. They are video transmitters that do the job and can withstand the worst of crashes.
- They cost as little as £6 from places like Banggood and Gearbest, making them a very competitive price.
- They transmit a 200mw signal, which is more than enough for most flying with friends or by yourself and the 600mw varient (our prefered model) is only a few bucks more.
- It comes with with 2 connector cables, a gopro video connector cable if you wanted to do fpv with your gopro, and a standard RP-SMA rubber ducky antenna which again does the job for most flying.
- Skyzone are not as well known as team black sheep for there quality control, however at we have a set of the skyzone fpv goggles, which are a very high quality product, with the RF performance rivaling (if not beating) the fatshark modules.
- Like the Unify, it can transmit on bands A, B, E, Airwave and raceband on 40 channels, however, it doesn’t have features such as pit mode and cleanswitch
- It can run off 7 – 24 volts, and so can be powered directly off the power distribution board
- Once again, using a BEC or an LC filter will massively reduce interference of the video, however, the TS5823s’s video is not as clean as the Unify’s video
- 200mw is great, however most races will only let you fly on a signal strength of 25mw or below
- Testing has proven that it is quite clear that not all of these video transmitters are outputting the same power. Often with these cheaper chinese products, the RF power output varies quite drastically between each model.
- The use of dipswitches means that changing channels is only easy if you have memorised the positions of the dipswitches for each channel, and therefore changing channels is not as easy as the Unify however, the upside means you don’t have to cycle through channels.
- It doesn’t have anywhere near the amount of features that the Unify offers
So, after hearing all of those specs, you would think there is a clear winner. The TBS Unify is better in almost every single way. It has variable power output, cleanswitch, pit mode, can be controlled from your drone controller using the TBS core pro. Its only downsides being the U.FL connector, and the price. The TS5823s completely blows the Unify out of the water when it comes to price to performance. The TS5823 can do 80% of what the Unify can do but in some cases it is over 5 times less expensive. So, is the Unify really a product that is 5 times better? If you are an hardcore drone pilot, who needs the extra range, who feels like they need a serious upgrade, who already has the parts to make the full use of the product and who races reguarly the Unify is the clear choice. When you look at the pilots who have used, or are using it, the names of Zoe FPV and Mr Steele come up… but they are professional drone pilots, who have the money, or are sponsored by TBS, and so use the Unify. The TS5823s on the otherhand is extremely cheap, it transmits video, and at Drone Insider, when choosing products, we want products that work, and for us, the TS5823s does just that. If you are looking for the best possible FPV experience you can imagine and have the money, go for the Unify, it is amazing, but for us, it was not 5 times as good as the TS5823s. The TS5823s has not let us down whilst flying with friends, and yes, the product has many floors but none of those floors stop us from flying FPV.