Well first of all I'll start with the reason I chose to build this ground station instead of using a laptop

So after many times of carrying the laptop around assembling and disassembling parts and cables xbees usb cables and such I figured my laptop days as ground station will be numbered

Because of this I decided that I needed a ground station that would save me the need to deal with the assembling and disassembling in the field and will be more durable then my laptop

First I had to plan my shopping and inventory list

I had an old laptop with a broken screen that did not survive its frequent trips around and my poor handling skills And an older laptop screen that i planned on using with the other laptop mother board in order to do it I had to buy a lcd adapter that will let me use the vga port on the motherboard with the lvds laptop screen

That's about what I had to start with

The second thing was to look for a case that will be large enough to contain the mother board the screen another small screen that will fit in the remaining space and some lcd meters for giving a better look mostly and some 3 position switches

After many searches I found an old stock of Pelican at an affordable price and size that is suitable for my budget and needs i measured the space that left after installing the main screen and figure out that a 5 inch screen will just fit

then i needed to think of a way to install everything in a way that would give me easy access to the parts just for any case

after trying multiple materials Plexiglas plywood and others which are not very easy to work with without machinery which i didnt have access to i found just what i needed a pvc foam it is not the perfect material consider his toughness which is lacking but it is very easy to work with and so i chose it and start to cut holes and install the switches and lcds

for the finishing touch of the station i used a vinyl sticker in a 3d carbon woven pattern which gave the panel a nicer look



some technical details:

for powering the station i chose to use a sla battery instead of lipo for some reasons

first it is easier to deal with in terms of charging it and is much safer then lipo

second it is cheaper and heavier so I can save money and use it for balancing the case

i also wanted to be able to hook the station to ac power when its available

so i searched for some ac/dc converter that will meet my power demends and it turned out that i missed it in my calculation by a bit but for the moment it is working and i see no reason to change it but when it brake i'll certenly buy a bigger one capable of outputing more current

I then wanted to charge the battery while using the ac/dc convertor and giving the station more reliability i found a charger which is also a ups that is just what i wished for

also used step up regulator from 12v to 19v for powering the motherboard

and a step down regulator from 12v to 5v for powering the usb hub

both regulators are adjustable with lcd meters for convenience reasons and capable of outputting more current than consumed 


bom for the station is:

laptop mother board and screen - free

pelican 1520 - ebay

LCD Controller Board DIY Kit  - for connecting lvds screen to the motherboard - ebay

VGA 2AV driver board 5inch HSD050IDW1 800×480 screen - ebay

12v to 19v step up convertor with lcd for powering the motherboard - ebay

temperature meter with two sensors (inside and out of the case) - ebay

power meter with 2X lcd voltmeter and amp meter - ebay

12v to 5v step down convertor with lcd for powering usb hub - ebay

picoUPS-120 12v dc micro ups system - ebay

4X  3 position 6 pins switches - bought at a local electricity store - ebay

4X  Delta Fan for Compaq 12vdc  .15A  40mm EFB0412HHA - ebay

3d carbon woven pvc vinyl sticker - deal extreme

ac/dc convertor 100-240v input 12v output 3.2A  or higher :) - ebay

pvc foam sheet - ebay

access point modem asus wl-330ge - ebay

usb hub 7-ports - ebay *

thermal skin for wires - ebay


* if you want to build your own usb hub you can do it using fe1.1s chip or similar very easily

**and so on with the other regulators it is just to my believe cheaper and faster to order it assembled :)

features of the station:

up to 2.5 hours of use on a single 12v 7Ah sla battery

secondary screen switchable between av and vga (via pc hdmi port and vga converter)

wireless connection to antenna tracker (xbee repeater, Bluetooth, 5.8Ghz)

access point modem - for multiple connection to the station (andropilot for ex)

can be easily modified and upgraded


sorry for my poor writing and description capabilities/skills

the uav station is not done yet still need to do some more things I will update the post as It go

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Very cool!

Very good job. Would love to make one like this soon.Will be in touch when I start.

One more thing.Instead of hardcase keyboard, you could use rollable  rubber keyboard that can be placed inside.

Good Job Elad, but there is some potential issue needs to point out:


             2.Rainproof, nothing really, just capable for expected mission!

rain isn't much of a problem here so each and is own custom specs but

I guess that if you really want to make it an all terrain-weather proof you can just coat all the surfaces with hydrophobic spray or paint mount the vents differently add a filter for dust and you got a all terrain/weather control station without much of an effort

or you could cut a piece of dark nylon and use thin carbon tubes for forming it the shape and size you need  and make it foldable so it wont catch much space that way you could also improve the station screen readability

regards to the field assembly I plan to place it on the tripod so i just need to epoxy mount hole at the case cg

sorry for not taking care of the post lately

I hope that soon I can get back to the project and finally finish it

write a complete manual/guide for the control station and hopefully also for the plane that should go with it :)

best regards and great weekend 

Hi there.

Awesome work you laid down in building this station. Somehow exactly what I'm looking for to build for myself. I would really like to see your complete manual/guide on your control station.

I have an old Acer Ferrari 4005 laptop that I'm planning to use for my station. All I need (for now) is a complete PC system, so I can use this "control station" to update/maintain my quadcopter (3DRobotics with APM 2.5) and to use the station to monitor my video transmitted from my quad with OSD.

Already got my hands on a used Pelicase (yellow) for this purpose.

WOW! In my dreams ;)  - might have to ask my techy guy to help me out... Thanks for the post, awesome job!


Can you tell me the inside depth of the lid of your Pelican case? I have not been able to find information on the inside depth of the lid for the Pelican cases. The website only gives the internal depth from the top of the inside of the lid to the bottom of the compartment.

I am presently putting together a GCS to be powered off of my car's battery with a SLA battery for backup. I am using an Intel mini-ITX embedded Atom motherboard that runs off of 12 - 25 vdc with a 120Gb SSD. The mini-ITX is running MS W7.

I have looked at various 15" LCD OEM displays and the Pyle 15" LCD is self contained and is designed for RV installations. It only needs a VGA input and 12vdc and comes in a shallow metal chassis that I think will fit in the lid.


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer


the lid depth is 1.79" (4.5 cm).

here is other specs


Thanks for the link. Much appreciated.

I am just about ready to start installing my GCS components in a Pelican case and have been evaluating the different size Pelican cases for suitability. I have found that you can buy brand new Pelican cases on Amazon for not much more than the used ones on eBay if you belong to Amazon Prime and get free shipping. The shipping on the used cases on eBay is usually $20 or more. If you add that to the price of the used case, then you are pretty close to the price of a new one on Amazon.


TCIII ArduRover2 Developer

Some of the ebay prices for Pelican are very  low compared to new ones. Amazon prices have been higher compared to ebay in some cases.  In any case shipping cost is the deal killer. I am still searching for the case.



current photos of the station sorry but i'm too lazy to finish it

please send me specific requests or points that you wish me to include in the upcoming complete how to guide

again sorry for starting and not finishing ( yet :) )


Looking good! Keep up the good work when you can.


TCIII AdruRover2 Developer

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