my diy ground control station

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

3690993321?profile=original

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

3689502089?profile=original

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

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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

3689502162?profile=original

 

 

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

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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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Replies

  • Old laptop was kinda slow and used way too much power, so I got one of these instead:

    http://www.banggood.com/Vensmile-W10-Quad-Core-2GB-RAM-64GB-ROM-Win...

    3702159252?profile=original

    Uses about 0.5A at full speed and runs Mission Planner without any issues at all. Hooked it up with small 3A ubec.
    Slightly reluctant to open it up and connect the on/off switch to the case switch, so may just keep it in sleep mode.

    • 3702611801?profile=original

      Since the laptop is no longer in the lid, I could ditch the fans and put in a set of small 3watt speakers there instead.
      They're powered by a PAM8403 board like this:

      http://www.ebay.ca/itm/1Pcs-2-Channel-3W-PAM8403-Class-D-Audio-Ampl...

      Much happier with this setup. The laptop version would start to struggle once the voltage dropped below 11.5v, this one didn't really suffer until it hits 8v, when I tried to see how low it would go and then it was only the monitor that struggled.
      The SLA wasn't very happy at that point, but I may replace it with a smaller one anyway, as I now pull about 1.2A at full power. 

  • JfDfWmgl.jpg

    Waiting for some SMA connecters, so I can move the telemetry module inside and plug the antenna into the side of the lid, but its otherwise fully functional.

    • Looks awesome and similar to what I have in mind - what case is that? 

      • all the project parts can be found in the post

        pelican 1520 - ebay

    • Great groundstation.

      Mind passing on any information about what lvds controller board you used?

  • Great work here Elad. 

    Sunday

  • Slowly getting there:

    Zy8Eofwl.jpg

    First display board I got was wrong, 2nd one got lost in post, so it took a long time to get to this stage.

This reply was deleted.

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