SharkByte – digital FPV system

FatShark ventured into HD FPV with a beta product called ByteFrost in late 2019. Fast forward to today there is another iteration of the product, now in the form of an attachable module for your goggles along with a smaller VTX board and a real digital camera connection called “MIPI” (previous iteration was a groundstation solution in combination with a 30×30 sized board and Analog HD FPV cameras)

Why the name change to Shark Byte?
Most importantly it will be to differentiate the name of the final release from Byte Frost because that way anyone searching will only see the new and improved system (it can’t be trademarked either because too many similar names out there).

Byte Frost beta hardware from 2019

What do we know about the Sharkbyte specs so far?

– 720p resolution (16:9 ratio)
– HDMI out
– RX module is 2S/3S compatible (same as HDO2 goggles)
– DVR is integrated into the digital module
– TX module accepts 2S – 6S input / MMCX
– release version of this TX will be between 500mW and 600mW
– VTX dimensions:
25x30mm double stacked with 20x20mm M2 mounting holes
11mm stack height
14x14mm camera size (Nano)
weight of air unit (cam+cable+vtx) is less than 15g
– MIPI camera with less sensor noise (compared to AHD)
– license free

Is 4:3 mode supported?
It does have 4:3 mode to support the earlier 4:3 goggles (like HD2) however it crops the sides of the 16:9 digital image (4:3 is done on the RX side). So you can increase panel usage but it results in lower video resolution.

How does the front module attach to the goggles?
The original fan plate is replaced with a fan plate with integrate pivot mount. The headset with module attached still fits in the existing goggle case.

analog module won’t be blocked by the digital RX

Will original Byte Frost hardware still be compatible with the spring release of Shark Byte?
Yes. The transmission protocol hasn’t changed so the RX can’t tell the difference between the AHD camera or the MIPI camera. Its only the encoding between camera and TX that has changed.

Is ByteFrost compatible with the current beta VTX and Groundstation?
The new camera will not work with the old TX

Will it work with timing systems for race events?
It should’t look any different than analog to the IRC race timing system but ImmersionRC needs to validate that still. Even if it wasn’t, an update from IRC would allow it.

Which cameras will be compatible with the new module?
Only compatible with the MIPI RunCam / only works with digital cams

How long is the MIPI RunCam camera cable?
The camera cable is 80mm. FatShark didn’t have any input on the length as they used the existing stock of RunCam’s cable that they use for the Split.

When’s the estimated release date?
In pilot production now (note: info dated 03. May 2020).
Expected to be in stock before end of June. Update 16.07. release postponed indefinitely

Which goggles are compatible?
Every (FatShark) goggle with an HDMI in.
It should work well with Skyzone03s as they have a similar shape to HDO2 and same mounting pattern on the fan plate. Mounting system for Orqa will likely need someone creative but the HDMI input should be compatible.

DVR screenshot of Byte Frost maiden (@ 200mW power)

Is it possible to fly side by side with analog pilots without interference?
Yes, it follows the same channels as Raceband and since its digital, it won’t bleed over into adjacent channels at higher powers.

What’s inside the box of the retail product?
– RX will ship with the integrated front panel antenna (topside antennas won’t be included: would only increase retail price
they really aren’t critical as most of the gain and image mixing is done by the panels. ImmersionRC will make replaceable panel antenna (covers snap off and antenna are connected via UFL))
– power cable adapter for 3S-6S pack that outputs 2S to the goggle and headset

2S Power cable adapter (3S-6S input)

What’s the 7 pin connector used for?
It’s for updating the TX (by connecting to RX module and placing software on SD card.

Is there audio support?
No audio for this release. But there is testing going on with a VTX board which has a built-in mic and audio output via hdmi together with video at VRX.

The front fan seems to be blowing air into the main goggle fan duct as well, so only the front fan needs to be powered even when using analog or does it need swapping the fan power connector everytime one switches between digital and analog operation?
It’s blowing into the digital RX modules only. If using analog, don’t power the digital RX.

What else is on the future product roadmap?
– higher powered TX
– smaller size
– cheaper price

How does the system perform indoors or at bandos?
It performs really well indoors, far superior to analog. It has less interference with other systems as there is less bleed outside the channel and will play nice with traditional analog mixed in. But on the receiving side it is the same: if something like a WiFi router is on the same channel, the signal will be degraded.

What’s the price tag going to be?
There is no official statement about that yet, but we can guesstimate it to be around 250-350$. That assumption is based on two statements from YouTube and Facebook, where it’s said to be probably less than the ByteFrost kit (as it comes minus the screen) but above a user’s suggested price tag of 200$ (Rapidfire retails at 150$)



If this post was helpful to you, Iā€™d appreciate to see you subscribe to my FPV channel on YouTube! šŸ™‚ Thanks in advance!
https://www.youtube.com/chrswnd

05.05.2020 – initial post
07.05.2020 – added two more Q&As

8 comments

  1. Good roundup.

    Small point: technically “previous iteration was a groundstation solution in combination with a 30Ɨ30 sized board and regular FPV cameras” is incorrect. Bytefrost beta uses AHD cameras, which are different to regular FPV cameras (they are higher resolution but are still analog).

  2. I am happy to have HDO2s but every new product like this and antennas allow me to leave the product attached to the goggles which makes my beautiful fatshark case a bit pointless. Can we get a case upgrade for a dollar like TBS ?

    1. Hey Ron, FatShark claims that the goggles with module and all connections would still (tightly) fit inside the existing goggle case.
      Haven’t added that point yet, as I was not sure if that only applies to the HDO2 goggle case or the older ones too šŸ™‚

      1. Hi Chris, the HDO2 case is snug and beautiful, It fits my the goggles and some antennas. I would not squash my HDO2 with some other module at the front. I would basically have a pointless fatshark case if I went with the sharkbyte. perhaps it could come with a big case for free. I am dreaming of course.

  3. Awesome compilation of info!
    Still no hint on price? Is there any idea that it will be same or cheaper than Byte Frost? I imagine the Camera/tx module to be comparible cost, but they ditched the display on the RX, so maybe cheaper?

    1. Hey Greg, thanks for your comment, I have contacted FatShark again and asked if they could give us a rough estimate… I’m waiting for an answer! šŸ˜€

  4. Why does this system need it’s own tx to work,,a vtx and camera are separate from a tx ..so I’m guessing my crossfire will not work if I buy this ,,, that’s stupid, if it’s true ,, you,ll loose alot of business because of that!!!

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