How to Get into Hobby RC: Comfort Mod for FPV Goggles

I’ve worn several different brands and models of FPV goggles. While some may be slightly better than others, I’ve yet to find any goggles that I thought were particularly comfortable. I tend to devote a good bit of time prior to every FPV flight fidgeting with my goggles to get them positioned just right. Their poor fit was something that I tolerated for the thrill of flying FPV. Recently, I decided to take a more proactive approach to the problem.

A popular modification for FPV goggles is to mate them to the frame of ski goggles. These goggles typically have a much larger frame than their FPV cousins, which makes them more comfortable and easier to position correctly. I tried this modification on my Skyzone FPV goggles and I’m very happy with the result.

A Proven Mod Method

I didn’t feel any need to innovate with this project, so I searched the web to see how other modelers have tackled goggle mods. I found that Jim T Graham from RC Groups posted a tutorial back in 2013 that also used Skyzone goggles. I used Jim’s guide as my starting point and pushed forward.

I chose to use different ski goggles than Mr. Graham (actually, he used motorcycle goggles). That deviation created significant differences in the challenges of our respective projects. Some aspects that were no issue for Jim required me to think a bit, and vice-versa. Although there is considerable overlap in our processes, I think that they are sufficiently different to warrant a separate overview.

By integrating my Skyzone FPV goggles with a set of cheap ski goggles, my FPV flights are much more comfortable.

The goggles I chose are just something cheap I found on Amazon. When shopping for goggles, don’t worry about the lens coloring since you’ll be discarding that bit in the initial steps of the modification.

Step 1 – Remove Ski Goggle Lens

The lens of the ski goggles must be removed.

The frame of these goggles was flexible enough that I was able to pop out one side of the lens with very little effort. Then, I carefully slid the lens out from the entire perimeter of the frame.

Step 2 – Remove One Head Strap

You can choose to retain the strap on the FPV or ski goggles. I decided to remove the strap from my FPV goggles and retain the ski goggle strap.

Each set of goggles has its own strap and there’s no sense in keeping both of them. I decided to remove the strap from the FPV goggles and keep the strap on the ski goggles. The Skyzone goggles have a slot on each side that allows the strap to be easily removed.

Step 3 – Joining the Goggles

My initial fit check revealed that the two goggles fit together adequately without any modifications.

I was happy to see that there was no interference between the front of the ski goggles and the back side of the FPV goggles. In Mr. Graham’s example, he had to grind away significant bits of the motorcycle goggles to allow the FPV goggles to join up. Free of that burden, I just had to figure out how to fasten the two goggles together.

Step 4 – Bonding the Goggles

I used two small zip ties on each side to connect the FPV goggles to the ski goggles.

I followed Graham’s lead and used zip ties to attach the FPV goggles to the ski goggles. I routed the zip ties through the now-vacant strap slots on the Skyzones and side vents on the ski goggles. With just two zip ties on each side, the goggles felt secure.

Step 5 – Making Shade

One of the effects of a ski goggle FPV modification is that the eye cups of the FPV goggles no longer touch your face. Indeed, that’s pretty much the point. Unfortunately, those uncomfortable eye cups perform the important job of blocking unwanted light so that you can actually see the video screens.

In Jim’s case, the shape of his motorcycle goggle frames blocked any ambient light, even with the FPV eye cups no longer touching his face. I was not so lucky. I had a wide crescent-shaped gap across the top of the mated goggles that let in unwanted light. I also noted a smaller gap under each eye that leaked a little bit of light.

The crescent-shaped gap between the tops of the goggles had to be covered to block ambient light.

I brainstormed a few ideas to block the gaps. Since I was not yet sure if I would like the final fit of the modified goggles, I didn’t want to make any irreversible changes. I settled on using Velcro strips to create the necessary shade.

I made a few paper templates until I came up with a shape that more or less fit the gap on the top side of the goggles. I then cut the shape from the loop (soft) side of 2″-wide, black, sew-on Velcro. The Velcro I used isn’t perfectly opaque, but it’s pretty close and does a good job here. Many fabric shops sell different types of Velcro by the foot, so you can buy only what you need.

I made paper templates to determine the proper shape for creating a shade. The shade was then cut from 2″-wide Velcro.

On the opposite side, I cut several thin strips of hook-side self-adhesive Velcro. I used these strips to create a perimeter around the gap on the goggles. Once these strips were in place, I just had to lay down the shade piece. The actual gap is a slightly compound curve, so the shade piece does not lay perfectly flat. However, I was able to get it positioned so that all ambient light was effectively blocked.

I applied small strips of self-adhesive Velcro around the perimeter of the gap.

I repeated the process to create and place shade pieces for the underside as well. With all three shades in place, donning the goggles is like stepping into a darkened theater.

Small shades were also applied to the underside of the goggles using the same technique.

Using the Modified Goggles

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this modification, especially since I was using bottom-dollar ski goggles. However, the comfort difference is significant for me. Perhaps there’s even more to be gained by using a quality set of ski goggles. Either way, I’m happy with these for now.

Not only are the goggles more comfortable, but they stay in position better with the modification.

Not only are the goggles more comfortable, but they stay in position better. The raw FPV goggles would sometimes shift a little in-flight and I would have to squint or otherwise contort my face so that I could see the screens clearly. That has not yet happened with the modified goggles. The situation may change as the foam padding gets worn in or the sweat of summer flying comes into play, but it’s all good for now.

The only compromise that I’ve noticed so far is that the extreme outer corners of the screens are no longer visible. This is an effect of my eyes being positioned further away from the screens. The non-visible part of the screens is not substantial. It’s mostly a matter of accepting that the screens are not perfectly rectangular. It’s a worthwhile tradeoff for me to get the added comfort.

Conclusion

If, like me, you find FPV goggles somewhat uncomfortable, a ski goggle mod may do the trick. If you already have a favorite pair of ski or motorcycle goggles, you’re halfway there. As you can see from this example, that of Mr. Graham, and perhaps others, there is nothing particularly challenging or costly about integrating the two types of goggles. Share your FPV comfort-enhancing experiences in the comments below!

Terry spent 15 years as an engineer at the Johnson Space Center. He is now a freelance writer living in Lubbock, Texas. Visit his website at TerryDunn.org and follow Terry on Twitter: @weirdflight

SOURCE:http://www.tested.com/tech/523329-how-get-hobby-rc-comfort-mod-fpv-goggles/

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