All-in-one portable "ground station" was born in Hungary....

Hi, I'm Adrian from Hungary.

Let me introduce my vision which became reality!

My idea was to make a portable ground station that includes all necessary components for FPV flying or piloting an Arducopter. I decided to use these parts from my previous ground station:

  • Futaba FF9 transmitter with FASST module
  • 868 MHz 3DR telemetry module + USB FTDI panel
  • 8" LCD screen + control panel
  • time base corrector (for screen to avoid sleep)
  • Iftron nano 5.8 GHz video receiver

I decided to add extra functionality to my ground station. Instead of using my Mobile phone, I bought an Android MiniPC (MK808b sunvel clone) and connected to the LCD via HDMI. My first idea was to use a touchpad for input, but I couldn't find any that could match my requirements. So finally I bought an USB ring mouse! The mission control app is Droidplanner.

After I had all the required parts in front of me, I started to design the shape with a 3D engineering software. Here is the final result (rendered 3D images):

Basically it has a top and bottom layer made of 2 mm black glass-fiber plate and FDM-printed spacers/side plates. 

The ground station has the following sockets/peripheries:

  • 2x USB and 1X USB OTG port
  • balancer port for battery
  • video and audio RCA output
  • trainer port for simulator
  • 12V DC input for using external power supply
  • 3 antennas: 2,4 GHz transmitter, 5.8 GHz video receiver, 868 MHz telemetry
  • port for teach panel of time base corrector

I'm using 9 cells of 18650 size Li-ion (3,7V) in 3P3S configuration. With 1.3A measured consumption ground station can operate more than 4 hours!

After I received all parts, I started to put it together. It took 2 weeks, with endless amount of soldering...and also had to make some PCBs for trim buttons, LCD control, power distribution, etc.

Here is the final result:

Both video input or mission control can be shown on the screen:

Here are the external connections: 

The ring mouse and the power switches:

UPDATE: Under the hood...

Finally I'd say thanks to the following team/people:

  • Ground Zero (www.groundzero.hu) for help in 3D printing
  • Arthur Benemann for Droidplanner
  • my friend for sharing his CNC mill station

For further information, please connect me by mail: nhadrian@gmail.com

I'm not planning to produce since it would need serious investment. For example, the FF9 and the 8" LCD screen that I'm using are discontinued, so replacement should be bought...

 

Best regards

Adrian

Views: 18543


Admin
Comment by Morli on September 4, 2013 at 10:37am

One for me pls. Nice work.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on September 4, 2013 at 10:48am

Nice work.  

I built something similar into a Pelican case.  I won't get into it to avoid hijacking your blog.  But you say that you can't make more because you can't get that transmitter anymore.  It's fairly straight forward to make a transmitter from scratch using industrial gimbals and switches, an Arduino, and FrSky transmitter modules.  That's what I did.  Bonus is you can configure the system to have 6 buttons for modes instead of switches.

I have been curious if there is enough demand for these types of things that would make it worthwhile trying to do a Kickstarter project.  I just don't know if there's enough people willing to pay for it.  I can't see doing it for less than $500 just for a basic transmitter in a box.  And most people seem to think $100 is too much for a Tx.

How did you get video into that Android PC?  That's something I'd love to do.

Comment by Adrián Nagy Hinst on September 4, 2013 at 10:59am

Hi,

I was thinking on custom transmitter, but I had FF9 already. So I didn't have to spent money on it.

BTW, I really trust in FF9 + FASST, I use it since many years.

About video input, I connect video input to the screen not the miniPC. So I have to switch input in screen between AV1 and HDMI.

My sad experience is that people (at least in Hungary) would better pay under 100 USD for a cheap Turnigy instead of something thrustful system, and still controll really expensive copters with it!

So they won't pay as much as this GC would cost, I'm quite sure.

BR

Adrian

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on September 4, 2013 at 11:17am

I'm wondering however, as the Arducopter system becomes more powerful and reliable, are people going to do more professional things with it, and thus more people willing to pay for a professional controller?

Comment by Adrián Nagy Hinst on September 4, 2013 at 11:30am

Hi, maybe you are right, and arducopter pilots are looking for quality and reliability. (or at least I hope so)
Anyway, if anybody would invest in such a project, I can help in development.


Admin
Comment by Morli on September 4, 2013 at 11:37am

Lets not forget  we are DIY guys :))

Comment by TBD on September 4, 2013 at 11:51am
Pretty awesome
Comment by Nick Tuttle on September 4, 2013 at 12:37pm

Very nicely done! It looks really finished and well thought out.

I have played around with using gimbals out of a gamepad and an arduino to get PPM into the trainer port of my A9. I want to try to add a wii controller to the mix. I think Human interface stuff is going to pick up as robotics go more mainstream. An RC tx input shield or something along those lines might give a somewhat modular way to swap in and out different inputs depending on the need..

Comment by Alejandro Martin Pirola on September 4, 2013 at 12:39pm

Shut up and take my money!

Comment by Alexsey Novik on September 4, 2013 at 12:48pm

People choose Turnigy for customization, not because it is cheap. My Turnigy now cost more than FF9 since it was hardy customized. And i have no heart scratching feeling when i use dremel with it, because it is dirt cheap.

My Turnigy now is only a box and some switches.

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