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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I know it does not supply 6 volt ac i said it would contain everything you need to get the 6 volt ac and you would have to play around with it.

even if you just get a small transformer from the 220 volt ac to 6 volt ac would be easy to find and if you cannot find one they are easy to make, 

it looks great, do you still use the rc transmitter or do you program the flight into the flight controller and let it do all the work?

I am still in the process of building the quad so have a long time before i get to your stage i have all the equipment but as yet i have not put it together.

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.

GOOD JOB! I am a chinese.thanks for you share!


My Company Is prototyping and designing a ground station that we will be offering for sale this is what we have so far its an amd quad core it has video capture for the osd in mission planner solid state hard drive it has 2 1.3ghz receivers and a diversity controller an additional 7" lcd 900mhz telemetry radio  it has 10 amp hrs of battery witch is running it on battery with  everything running for around 3 hrs just looking to get a feel if there is anything else a commercially available ground station should include oh yea the price point is going to be right around 1000$ your thoughts comments appreciated

Lots of great ideas in this thread! I looked through all the pages before I made my ground station :)

Some specs:

17" 1800 nit LCD

3 Video Inputs (RCA, HDMI, VGA)

Internal Battery with UPS

Volt/Amp/Watt/Time Meter

AC or DC Input for power/charging

Analog Video Input using ethernet cable from antenna tripod (up to 800 feet of cable)

Internal storage compartment for cables, joystick gamepad, etc.

Other little secret devices :)

Everything encased into a weatherproof/airtight case

Electronics mounted on vibration dampers for shock absorption


Thanks for looking!




You GCS looks nice. Third pic shows some custom job on the sides for RJ45, VGA, HDMI, USB ports.  Either the back plate is custom made or is this case completely custom molded?  Thanks for sharing the pics

@Chris Khosravi 

great job

extremely neat

how long does your station run on battery

sharing the build will be much appreciated

Thanks! I will try to take some better pictures, some of them are too dark. Maybe I'll take a video of how it all works as well.

The panel for input/output was custom cut for the panel-mount connectors. Makes for upgrading easy (still have lots of room for more inputs/outputs).

As far as runtime goes, the old SLA battery that I have in there now only lasts about an hour and a half. I'm getting ready to replace it with a li-ion battery. The whole ground station pulls around 2.5 amps or 30 watts at the brightest setting and all components powered on.


We've been developing a input device for controlling UAVs and are now trying to get it integrated with a ground control station. There are some more details here and a photograph of the prototype below.

My idea is to use the point-and-click functions for the mission planner / way point editing and the 3d joystick functions for either manual aircraft piloting or camera gimbal control.

We had it flying a quadcopter through the DJI ground control software but I'm wanting to get closer integration. Some of the ground control stations on this thread seem ideal. Can anyone help?



Nice job, looks really awesome. 

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