TEST: BlackBox D1M, another external DVR module for FPV mask/goggles

INTRODUCTION

The BlackBox D1M is a new DVR external module, a direct competitor of the Eachine ProDVR and the HMDVR. Here also we have a module able to record analog sources up to 1280×720 resolution. Unfortunatly no playback option for the D1M. and it’s sold almost twice more expensive… Clearly, the only way to win the competition is to offer either better recordings with a higher frame rate or to not suffer of cropping artefacts in recording or better connectivity.

BOX CONTENT

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+ 1 x BlackBox D1M
+ 1 x JST-PH 2p (2mm)
+ 2 x JST-ZH 3p (1.5mm)
+ 2 x JST-ZH to 3.5mm female jack
+ 2 x Jack male to RCA
+ 1 x Instruction manual (English)

OVERVIEW

The overview of caracteristics. From either a D1 NTSC (720×480) or D1 PAL (720×576) source, the module is able to downscale in VGA (640×480) or upscale up to 1280×720 résolutions. We will of course check if the rescaling stage from the native input resolution can be done without quality loose and frame rate drop.

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No software included in the bundle …. You can find it attached.

On the front panel, a microSD slot and a unique button to start/stop recording. No other ones to playback a recorded file.

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The rear panel welcomes the DCin power port (with JST-PH connector), a microUSB port, and two JST-ZH ports as AVout and AVin respectively.

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You can directly connect the machine the module via a small soldering job

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Or use more the JST-ZH to RCA

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Cables

To power the module from +5V up to +15V (so 3S compatible), a JST-PH 2p cable is given

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I deeeply regret that the jack connector of the JST-ZH to jack cable is a female model instead of a male. No possibility to connect directly any FPV goggles/mask with Jack output.

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Video formats

Here the media informations of recorded file for NTSC and PAL formats

– NTSC/VGA
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-NTSC/HD
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-PAL/VGA
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-PAL/HD
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More than 12Mbits for the bitrate for HD resolutions

UNBOXING & QUICK TESTING

As soon as you power the module with a compatible voltage input ((5-15]V), for the first 3-4s no real activity then the red light becomes constant then start to flash. In practice there is an auto-recording opton and it’s not possible to turn off via the dedcaced software.

Be aware with the software…. if you update one parameter, I observed sometime the module refused to be turned on. To solve this problem, you need to press/confirm on each indivisual setting then press set. Don’t worry it happens very rarely… probably more linked with a power connexion problem. More … when you reconnect the module to the software, any previous saved settings seems correctly displayed. It’s a bug of the software definitively. But the good news, in practice settings are correctly updated on the module… That’s the more important.

For the cropping test, I used the following OSD layout

-NTSC
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-PAL
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The good news, whatever the final recording resolution and the input TV mode, any cropping can be observed Everything is not perfect, for NTSC HD recording, the image don’t occupy the full screen, a black band is present in the bottom side. Can be probably be solved in a firmware update.

Another good news, for both PAL or NTSC souces, no desyncrhonization with HD sources can be notices. A good point for picture in picture video editing.

The general quality of recording is good at least as good as for the Eachine ProDVR module.

CONCLUSIONS

The blackbox D1M offers good quality recording with high frame rate and without frame rate drop. The adaptation between NTSC and PAL works fine without any extra cropping. The module is a bit heavy and I regret mainly the choice of the gender jack connectors not adapted for FPV goggles. Finally, I am not covinced that the D1M is much more interesting than the proDVR.

PROS

+ Good quality recording w/ higher bitrate
+ No HD desyncrhonization for both NTSC/PAL
+ No extra cropping for both NTSC/PAL
+ MicroUSB port
+ A lot of cables provided

CONS

– No playback feature
– Configuration software bugged
– Can be bricked with bad settings of NTSC sources
– Twice more expensive than proDVR
– JST-ZH to jack female instead of jack male

Black Box D1M software

This DVR have been courtesy provided by Banggood in order to make a fair and not biased review. I would like to thank them for this attitude.
You can find it actually for 27USD at https://www.banggood.com/Black-Box-Micro-D1M-1CH-1280×720-30fs-HD-DVR-FPV-AV-Recorder-Support-32G-TF-SD-p-1187267.html

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