ClearBoost enhances your FPV/UAV/Drone video reception so you see less static and can fly further.
Since the beginning of FPV and Drone technology, intermittent dropouts and range limitations have been issues we've all had to live with. Celestial Reach has now solved the problem. By enhancing the radio signal your video receiver sees, you experience greater range and less bursts of static/noise.
Over the past three years we've worked to adapt orbital satellite technology for use with FPV/Drone video. The result of that work is ClearBoost. We have created a device to revolutionize analog video telemetry.
When flying First Person View or receiving video telemetry from your Drone or UAS there are inevitable dropouts/signal quality issues - as you fly further away the quality of the image exponentially degrades.
Traditionally to solve these problems you could use a directional antenna on your receiver, and/or use a higher power transmitter. Directional antennas limit where you can fly, as you need to stay within its beam width - or require the use of expensive antenna tracking solutions. Higher power transmitters are not always an option - legal requirements, power consumption, weight, heat and space can all rule out a high power transmitter.
ClearBoost sits between any antenna, and your existing receiver. When connected to power (it needs less than 20mA!) it amplifies the signal received by your antenna, and feeds it to the receiver. You get about the same performance gain as a high gain directional antenna without the flight restrictions.
For pilots in countries that require the use of a 25mW or less certified transmitter module, ClearBoost gives you the same RF Link Budget (total combined signal strength of your antennas, receiver sensitivity, and transmitter power) as using a 600mW video transmitter without it. If you live in Europe, or fly at racing events in the USA or Canada - then ClearBoost offers you a clear advantage by giving you far more signal.
Whether you are FPV racing, on a film set, or surveying a farm, ClearBoost will give you more reliable video and give you more freedom in flight.
We have dedicated ourselves to creating an extremely high quality product. Every component in the RF path is an RF specific component, which far outperform regular components at high frequencies. Our components are only sourced from top tier RF manufacturers such as Johanson Technology, Murata, Laird and Panasonic. We do not accept any substitutes in our supply chain.
Great effort has gone into optimization of the RF design. All apertures in the enclosure are sealed with shielded parts, there are extremely tight tolerances on the parts to ensure no air gap for stray RF to make its way in. Extreme measures were taken to offer a completely sealed enclosure. We even opted to removes the LED/Power indicator as this would leave the enclosure vulnerable to RF penetration.
We also have an excessive amount of power filtering to ensure no noise from your ground station, or stray RF from other parts of your ground station can be transmitted into the enclosure via the power supply cables.
5.8GHz is an extremely high frequency, we treat it with the respect it deserves for ultimate RF performance. At this frequency, every small flaw or bad design choice makes a large difference.
Due to Kickstarter limitations, all rewards are listed in Canadian Dollars. One Canadian dollar is worth about US$0.75. Backers in the USA may see US Dollar amounts.
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We hope to have all rewards shipped and delivered for Christmas 2015. We have a very tight supply chain and do not anticipate any issues with this delivery schedule.
Backers from the first 14 days will receive an extra survey to help determine our power cable specifications!
- If you would like to receive more than one reward, or multiple of a reward simply pledge the extra amount. When surveys are sent at the end of funding, we'll also contact you to confirm your extra choices.
Your video transmitter radiates energy in the form of radio waves, on the ground these are picked up by your antenna and then passed into your video receiver. The video receiver then converts this signal back into a video picture... hopefully pretty similar to what went into the transmitter.
If something gets in the way of that signal, even just air, the video picture starts to look fuzzy or broken. Flying behind something like a tree can instantly ruin your day by reducing the signal so much the receiver can no longer make an understandable video picture out of it.
The solution to this is simply more power, on one end or the other. A more powerful transmitter sends out a more powerful signal, however this isn't as viable as it might sound. Going from a 0.5 Watt (500mW) transmitter to a 2 Watt transmitter might sound like a lot, with four times the power, but it is really only 6dBm (the units RF power is measured in) - as decibels are logarithmic this means you only get twice the signal strength from four times the power! Increasing transmitter power offers rapidly diminishing returns so instead you must look at the other end of the RF equation, the receiver.
Furthermore, in many countries (all of Europe for example) regulations limit you to just 25mW of power. In these regions, using a more powerful transmitter is not an option at all - so any signal enhancement must be done on the ground.
So far in the FPV/Drone world the best choice is a high gain antenna attached to your receiver. A typical high gain 5.8GHz antenna from the well known brands gives you around 13dB of gain - about the same as going from 0.5 Watts to 10 Watts on the transmitter side! However there is a downside, you can now only fly where the antenna is pointing. We love the Circular Wireless Helical, but with just 11dB of gain and a beam width of 60 degrees we lose 300 degrees of flight options horizontally and have to watch our flight altitude. Note that many directional antennas are mid gain, around 7-9dB. With 4-6dB less gain that the high gain antenna, or ClearBoost, they offer one third to half as much signal strength.
ClearBoost provides electrical amplification of the signal on the receiver side. Adding 13dB of gain to such a weak signal as received by your antenna consumes just 18-20mA of power - about 1/10th of what your receiver is using. Its about the same as using a 10Watt transmitter (assuming you started with 600mW) on your aircraft, or using a high gain directional antenna on your receiver, but without the limitations in flight direction or smoking hot transmitters.
Surely there must be a negative we hear you say? There is, just like if you use a cheap audio amplifier and turn it up too far the audio starts to sound distorted, an RF amplifier distorts the signal somewhat. The good news is, ClearBoost is an extremely high quality LNA - the LN stands for "Low Noise" - meaning just 1.2dB of noise added to the signal. Looking at video received through ClearBoost, there is no visible effect on quality, just like with a high quality audio amp you cannot hear any signal noise difference between a quarter volume and half volume.
In short, ClearBoost turns your received signal up to 11 (from about 4) without doing anything weird to it.
Absolutely! We've spent 2.5 years flight testing 4 generations of ClearBoost, and side by side testing has shown real world improvement. Lab tests show it's performance (see the ClearBoost Datasheet) but as with anything RF related - a real world test is better than any lab test.
We believe we have the product as highly optimized as possible, both for use and for production. Now that we are finally satisfied with the result, we're seeking your help to bring the project to maturity with it's first production run.
Here's a long flight test, we've sped the first 8 minutes up by 600% Flight level is 240-260ft. We resume regular speed at around 2km distance.
ClearBoost has been tested with all brands and models of 5.8GHz receiver/transmitter pairs we could get our hands on. The list of compatible receivers includes, but is not limited to:
- DJI AVL58 (but not Lightbridge)
- All ImmersionRC/Fat Shark generations and versions, including NexwaveRF, Raceband and goggles
- Team Black Sheep
- Iftron Yellow Jacket
- Monitors with built in receivers, including those with DVR capability.
After the funding period, we will send out a survey to check which adapter you need for your receiver. If you have both RP-SMA and SMA receivers, you can receive both adapters by pledging an extra CA$7, or CA$17 to receive both RP-SMA and SMA connectors in both Right Angle and Straight orientations.
Cinematography grade commercial systems like those made by Paralynx, Teradex, DJI (Lightbridge) or other extremely high quality HD/Digital/4K links, are almost certainly not compatible. These systems use bi directional data, and ClearBoost will block data going out to the video transmitter. ClearBoost is receive only, and will strongly block any signal going the "wrong way" through the device. There is not much we can do for these systems, as we can not tell when they are in a transmit or receive state.
Basically, if you paid under US$1000 for your receiver, you have an analog receiver and ClearBoost is completely compatible with it.
ClearBoost runs off a wide range of voltages, which makes it easy to integrate with your existing ground station. Anything from 4 to 17 volts (a UBEC or 2-4 LiPo cells) will happily power the device and draw just 20mA. There is extensive power filtering in the device to deal with any power fluctuations/quality issues that other devices in your ground station generate.
- Frequency 5000-6000MHz
- Gain 14.7dB at 5000MHz, 13.8dB at 6000MHz
- Voltage 4-17V
- Current 18.5mA
- Noise Figure 1.2dB
See the full technical datasheet here.
You might notice we call it a 13dB LNA when RF laboratory testing has proven it performs better than this. We believe in delivering what we advertise, by underselling the gain we allow for aging over many years of operation as well as tolerances in manufacturing to ensure you always receive what you paid for.
Three years ago Mark was contracted to develop a low noise radio signal amplifier for use in an orbital satellite sub-system. The final product exceeded the design requirements and Mark started thinking about adapting the design for use with his primary hobby - First Person View flight. The initial tests of a modified version proved very successful at improving received video quality. Mark began working on a version which could be produced for the FPV/Drone/UAV industry that would be both affordable and offer excellent video performance.
The initial versions used exotic PCB materials for orbital use, as well as having cases that were CNC machined. The design was adapted to use regular FR-4 PCB substrate, yet the expensive case stayed.
After extensive testing, it was determined that an extruded aluminium case would perform just as well, and at a fraction of the cost. The design, now in its fourth generation is finally ready for mass production and commercial use.
Mark has partnered with Rob Davies, a local businessman, FPV store owner, long range FPV pilot, and adviser to Southern Alberta Institute of Technology's Drone Program. Rob's extensive knowledge of business management, finance and drones complements Marks considerable experience in the UAV/Drone electronics industry.
Mark Harris (Lead Engineer)
Takes care of product design & manufacture. 20 years of R/C flight, a decade of FPV flight, 8 years of commercial UAV electronics/RF design & manufacturing experience.
Rob Davies (Managing Director)
Keeps the business running smooth and tests products to death. "Too many" years of business management, 3 years of commercial FPV/Drone piloting.
Tarryn Harris (Media & Support)
Handles our social media, marketing and support. Degree in communications, registered teacher (all grades) in two countries.
Risks and challenges
With extensive experience in electronics sourcing and manufacturing, we have our supply chain well in hand. All parts in the design have an immediate availability through distributors.
Our anticipated volume of rewards is below our assembly and manufacturing partners typical minimum order, so scaling up will pose no time burden to the project.
We already have 4 generations of prototypes built, tested and flight proven. There are no further electrical changes to the design required to move from pre-production to consumer ready.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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