Best FPV Receiver : ImmersionRC RapidFIRE
RapidFIRE, where have you been all my life? This is the best FPV receiver I’ve ever used.
I’ve been using the FuriousFPV True-D FPV video receiver for the past couple of years. They were a huge step up from the standard FatShark single receiver and have been working good. But two years in this hobby is a lifetime. Time for an upgrade.
This year our local MultiGP chapters started running mandatory 25mw max VTX power settings. Eight quads running at 25mw at the same time, that’s where the trouble started. Some races my video is so horrible that I can’t even fly. That’s no fun.
Over last few months I started looking for new FPV video receiver options.
- Updated my FuriousFPV True-D to the latest firmware (3.7D). The update just gives you a fancy new menu but the video didn’t improve at all.
- FuriousFPV Dock-King – I really really wanted this to work. The Dock-King is a small mini ground station that lets you plug in your True-D receiver. Because the receiver is not attached to your goggles, you can point it in the optimal direction for the best signal. I know a lot of the time when racing I tend to move my head all over the place and end up pointing my patch antenna in the sky or the ground at some weird angle. Well, I’m sorry to say that the image is no better than the True-D attached to your goggles.
- A dedicated ground station – I even built an ImmersionRC ground station. This thing was so cumbersome to lug around I never used it. The video was only marginally better than the rapidFIRE. Not worth the hassle.
- Clearview – These receivers are expensive at nearly $290 for the receiver itself. That’s if you can even find them. Clearview is a small company so they can’t meet demand. I even try to put in an order to carry them in the store but they couldn’t give me an ETA on when they would be available.
Parts Used in this Post
ImmersionRC rapidFIRE Specifications
- Compatible with all Dominator LCD goggles including v1, v2, v3, SE, HD1, HD2, HD3, HDO, and Attitude v3/v4.
- Power 5v @ 350mAh
- Internal beeper
- Modes: rapidFire, Classic Diversity, Upper/Lower RX options (single RX modes to increase battery life)
- OLED screen
- 5 way joystick
- 48 Channels 6 bands (IRC/FatShark, RaceBand, LowRace, Band A, B, E)
If you are using an older pair of FatShark goggles such as the Dominator V3 like me, you need to do a power modification to provide the 5v @ 350mAh needed to power the rapidFIRE.
There are two ways to do this:
- Use the included module and ribbon cable to supply the power.
- Do the simple FatShark ImmersionRC rapidFIRE power mod. I made a tutorial on this. It’s a really simple mod and takes about 5 min.
The fit and finish of the rapidFIRE is second to none. It looks like a premium quality FPV video receiver. All the injection molded parts are smooth and beautiful. Unlike the FuriousFPV True-D which looks like a prototype that creaks when you press the buttons.
The rapidFIRE has a 5 way joy stick that’s really easy to use. On the main screen, move the joy stick left/right to scroll through the bands and up/down to flip through the channels. The great part about the rapidFIRE is that you can use the up/down button on your FatShark goggles to scroll through the channels. You can’t do that with the True-D.
The rapidFIRE can run in two modes:
- rapidFIRE – this is the magic sauce mode running Analog Plus (see below)
- Legacy – this is the standard diversity receiver mode. It compares the signal from the two receivers and uses the strongest signal
Band X lets you fine tune to a specific frequency and save them as favorites.
Single RX mode lets you only use one RX to save power. Useful if you are running a long range system with a patch antenna. This mode still has the ability to run in the Analog Plus mode.
Spectrum Analyzer lets you scan all the frequencies to see what channels are being currently transmitted. One bad thing about the rapidFIRE is that it doesn’t have a frequency scanner like the True-D. Say if you install a new vtx, you really don’t know what channel it’s outputting. You can use the spectrum analyzer to find out. Hopefully in a future firmware they will add that.
There is a micro USB that allows for firmware updating.
The rapidFIRE does have OSD to display RSSI between the two receivers. I find it kinda useless and just turn it off.
What makes the ImmersionRC RapidFIRE the Best FPV Receiver?
The rapidFIRE is not an ordinary diversity FPV video receiver. Normal diversity receivers such as the FuriousFPV True-D are modules that have two receivers and two antennas. The module simply compares the signals from both receivers and uses the one with the stronger signal.
What makes the rapidFIRE the best FPV receiver? The rapidFIRE uses what ImmersionRC calls Analog Plus. It takes the signal from both receivers and blends the images together. Using advanced noise-detection algorithms it can predict and fix noise in the form of tearing, rolling, fades, glitches, dropouts and noise bands before it even happens and repairs the signal all without added latency. It does this without you even noticing anything. I’ve been using the rapidFIRE for about a month and haven’t noticed any latency.
The DVR in FatSharks have been known to drop frames when the signal gets bad. The rapidFIRE prevents that from happening so DVR footage can be reliably used to time races.
I did notice that it does use slightly more power than the True-D, maybe 15% more power. Using the Tattu 2200mAh goggle battery, I can still easily fly all day without worrying about my Goggles dying. It’s not even an issue for me at all but people ask how the battery will last with the rapidFIRE.
Comparison of the Best FPV Receivers
FuriousFPV True-D $80 – There’s really no comparison here. The True-D was awesome when it came out a couple years ago but they haven’t really made any improvements on the module since then. It’s still a standard diversity receiver. I’ve used it the past 18 months and haven’t really noticed all the noise until I started using the rapidFIRE.
FuriousFPV Dock King $168 (Dock King $88, True-D $80) – I wished this little ground station would work well but it doesn’t. The image is pretty much the same as the True-D on your headset. I really got the Dock King for the lap timing feature. I’ll make a post on this.
LaForge $115 (Main $75, Diversity $40) – Sorry, I’ve never owned these so I can’t really say how they compare to the rapidFIRE. But from research from the True-D post, they perform about on the same level as the True-D.
Clearview Goggle Module – The Clearview FPV video receiver are the closest to the rapidFIRE. The rapidFIRE are $160 but the Clearview are about $280, if you can even find them. As far as I know only one batch have been sent out. They’ve been out of stock for at least 6 months.
Unless I’m flying in a brutal location like a bando or parking garage, the video is almost flawless. In normal outdoor races, I almost never have any issues with video. Sure there are tiny glitches here and there but it’s never so bad to where I crash because of the video. To me this is priceless.
If you are looking for the best fpv receiver, look no further. At about $160 the ImmersionRC rapidFIRE is a no brainer.
If you found this post helpful, it would be super cool if you purchased the components from my store or purchase items from my Amazon links. These posts are expensive and take a loooong time to make so the purchases make it possible for me to keep making them. Thanks in advance, I greatly appreciate it 🙂