Whats a head tracker ?
A head tracker is a device that monitors you head movement and relays this to you plane to move your camera in the same orientation as your head does.
If you look up the camera looks up, to the left to the right the camera follows. It brings a whole new experience to the flight and gives you much more flexibility.
Sounds great what do i need ?
First of all you need a Pan / Tilt mechanism on your plane. Your camera gets fitted to this and its two servos in this system that move the camera.
You can have just a pan function instead, or maybe just a tilt function. Either way one or more servos are required and one or more free channels on your transmitter / receiver.
Here is an example of a basic pan and tilt system :
Pretty basic, the camera pivots up and down on one servo and left and right on another.
Great that’s easy, what else ?
You can use switches and pots on your transmitter to tell the camera which way to point, but its far better to control the camera through a head tracker.
The head tracker plugs into the trainer port of your transmitter and transmits a signal to the plane from there.
Various types of head trackers are available, some use different means of monitoring your movement.
One example is the use of gyros in the sensor. The gyros learn where their centre is, ie you looking straight forward, then the motion of your head is interpreted and converted to a servo ppm signal.
Here is an example of a head tracker :
Track R2 Gyro headtracker
Priced around £130 this is a high end head tracker, cheaper alternatives are available from £50 onwards. The cheaper units sometimes have issues with drifting off center.
The head trackers can be programmed to change its signal output to reverse the signal, so if the left and rights mixed up you can change this. You can decide how much movement your head has to move compared to the servo movement on the plane.
One limit though is if you want the planes servo to move 180 degrees so you can look down the wings, most servos cant go that far in stock form. In which case you need a servo stretcher
Here`s an example of one :
Only cheap, £12 would get you this one, plug your pan servo into this and your servo can now travel 180 degrees.
Cool i want one !
Its a very nice and yes cool feature to have, but as a novice or when first starting FPV not recommended as a feature to add straight away.
When you first start flying FPV you will find your that immersed your head will tilt and turn in rolls, banked turns and loops. If you have a head tracker active, the camera will point all over the place and you can very easily loose orientation especially if you cant see the aircraft’s nose.
Its one of those things to build up to