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
Here are some pictures of my completed GCS:
In this shot you can see the 2" speakers near the back of the top plate and the color coded voltmeter over on the upper right side of the top plate
Here is a shot taken from directly above the top plate to give you an idea of how I located the keyboard, touch pad, speakers, and various other components on the top plate.
There is a switch just below the voltmeter leds so I can turn the voltmeter and the speaker amplifier off when the mini-ITX is shutdown. You can see the two wire cable coming into the run/charging connectors from my 13.8vdc 10amp battery eliminator. If the GCS is not running on the battery eliminator in the shop, it can run off of the internal 12vdc 7amp-hr SLA battery or my car electrical system through a car 12vdc power port in the back of the car's center console.
TCIII ArduRover2 Developer
Really good one!
How heavy is this?
How does the lid stay up without lid stays?
I know this thread is over two years old now, but how's that ground station holding up? Also how does the screen perform outside in the bright sunshine? Looking to build mine now, as I realize that I have 90% of the parts laying around, just not sure if I should get a brighter screen.
The screen does washout just like a standard laptop does in the sun. However I use the GCS in an area that is shaded from the sun most of the time.
Tom C AVD
Good to know, thanks for the quick reply!
Nice Job :) Good to see a good stuff :) keep it Up :)
How do you make a diy joystick recognizable via USB?
I am thinking make a rc controller like joystick for Android based ground station using controller's joystick like the one below.
I would just buy a cheep pc joystick and take it apart and use the electronics from that to give you the usb connection, i doubt you will find anything easier to do it with, i have been thinking of using a flight stick for my control input to my radio transmitter as with a flight stick you get three directions in one stick as the yaw can be controlled by twisting the stick which is easier than trying to balance two joysticks at the same time.
i have been looking for a small flight stick that i can fit to my transmitter as well when on the computer playing any type of flying game it is much easier to fly that way than using two joysticks like on a RC transmitter.
regards Poppy Ann.
I really like this concept and you guys have completed great GCS's that are portable, clean and rugged.
I really like the idea of having a permanent hard mounted telemetry antennae that swivels for closing, that seems to be a weak link with a laptop.
What is the best screen to use in order to avoid the dreaded glare when out in the field?