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
Personally I am impressed at the job you did on this. When I get my UAV up and running I want one of these. I know it may not look as nice as a bought one but those AC/DC converters can be made from scrap parts. Still though, nice job.
you should fit a small hatch in the roof to launch them from so you never leave the van. (we all dream)
Great way to reuse your old components. Thanks for sharing that with everyone. Have you since finished the project? I'd love to see more pictures if so.
Very impressive integration of hardware and software.
I have a task to be able to show multiple UAVs location on a fixed map in real time.
Trying to find open source software that can be modified working in the 5.8 Ghz frequency.
Its kind of a DIY OSD logger
Any thoughts as where to go or start?
what are you trying to supply? 6 volt ac or you want 110/240 volt ac from a 6 volt supply?
also what is the component you are trying to supply? it may be cheaper to just change the component to what supply you have available.
I have not run across a solution to convert DC back to 6 VAC. AC power is tricky because of the frequency.
I am sure there are circuits to do this. Concerns are weight.
Hi Michael, there are two main ways of converting dc to ac.
The first is a rotary converter which is a dc motor directly connected to a small alternator i remember seeing several in armored vehicles in my past life.
And second is an inverter, an inverter for low wattage is probably the lightest, most brushless esc's are very close to inverters, a brushless motor is is a 3 phase ac motor.
what is it that you want to power and how much power do you require?
i bet you could just buy one of the small inverters like this one:-
and adjust it to give you what you want and it is only at $2.72 so not that bad even if it does not do what you want that is how i go about trying to make something that is different than most people want.
Thanks I like your Ebay solution as it appears to be light weight.
The originator of the question was William Bryant.
My question to William is how many watts does he need.
Everything is a copter is basically DC driven (Yes the ESC's provide AC current to the brushless motors)
I guess you could have some sensor that requires AC power. Ok.
The ebay solution does not supply 6VAC. Rather it is a 12 or 24 VDC to 220VAC supply to drive mains devices from countries that use 220V/50HZ. The 6V listed in the title refers to the USB DC output and that's also wrong, as it should be a tightly regulated 5V, not 6V.
The million dollar question is, why do you require 6VAC? If you are trying to use a device designed to work with a wall wart (transformer) that supplies 6VAC then the device almost certainly has an internal AC-to-DC power supply as almost all electronic devices are driven by DC. It is then likely that the AC is simply rectified to DC. What happens after that depends on whether its internal power supply is linear or switching. If this scenario is what you are trying to accomplish you can feed DC into the "6VAC" jack without too much trouble, but you need more than 6 volts since almost all AC-DC supplies use peak rectification of the AC, which is (for half wave rectifiers) about 1.4 times the AC voltage. An 11.1V (3S) Lipo would probably work fine as it is very close to that half wave peak rectified voltage of a 6 VAC source. If you connect it with the correct polarity the internal diode(s) will just feed the DC to the internal regulator. If you connect it with incorrect polarity it won't do anything; no damage should occur. This assumes the much more common half wave rectification on the internal supply. If it is full wave rectified this won't work.
On the other hand, if you are trying to power something that really needs AC - like a motor, or a linear supply that is full wave regulated into + and - supplies, or voltage doubled, or some other funky thing, then you need AC. That can be done as well though it's more complicated and heavier.
Before you connect anything, it would be helpful if you can post what exactly it is you are trying to power. I can probably help you make it work from a DC source that you already have on the quad.