Ardustation Mega with Graphic LCD

 

I’d like to share my latest hardware ground control station. I call it the ArduStation Mega.

It retains all the features found on the DIYDrones Ardustation, as well as my Ardustation Uno but with some very important upgrades.
 
 
Notably the main processor has been upgraded to an ATmega2560 giving 8 times the size of both flash and ram, amongst other things :)

Also there is a graphical LCD that should provide a larger, more user friendly display.

The extra serial ports (4 in total) will enable future expansions as and when required. One is dedicated to the USB for loading software as well as potentially being used to allow a computer to share the installed Xbee.

If you don’t want to use an Xbee, or want to use more than one, that’s fine- three of the serial ports are broken out to the left of the board. These could also be used for adding a GPS unit, or perhaps a bluetooth to pc link for example.

Also broken out is the i2c port, so you can link it up to a magnetometer if need be (could make for simpler antenna tracking alignment)

A micro SD card will allow data logging, parameter saving, mission uploading and hopefully more!

The rotary encoder (like a radio’s jog dial) should help with faster navigation / value editing. The buttons are also on a separate PCB such that they can be mounted flush with the display or separately subject to enclosure constraints. (Also this means I can change the layout of the buttons)

The battery supply and Xbee RSSI are connected to give health information on voltage and telemetry link signal strength. Additional analog pins are also broken out for monitoring external sensors.
 
The PCB has been sized to match the dimensions of the LCD, giving a neat install that can be attached with screws and spacers. All of the components are mounted on the inside as well, such that the total unit size is minimised.
 
As with my Uno version, I use a single cell LiPo for the battery source, with an efficient step up regulator for the 5v supply. There’s also inbuilt USB charging.

The antenna tracking will be achieved by the two servo headers on the right hand side of the board. These also have a solder jumper for selecting off-board power in case heavy duty servos are to be used.

Please let me know what you think!
 


 
If you want to see more, here's a video of me showing it off:
 
 

Views: 16160

Comment by Sebastian Gralla on March 18, 2013 at 11:32am

I once wrote a code for a graphical groundstation (back when Arducopter was still in alpha stage, without Mavlink)

I never got to add Mavlink support. What it has, is a rough 3D model of a copter, showing the orientation of it in mid-flight, got about 20 fps on an atmega 328.

If you want I can search for the code and share it with you (it's somewhere on my old PC).

Comment by Colin on March 27, 2013 at 7:55am

Hey Sebastian. Sorry for the delayed response, I've been away. That sounds really cool, looking at graphics is much easier than reading off numbers when glancing at a display during flight.

If it's easy enough to find then please do share it and I'll add it in :)

Comment by KM6VV on April 4, 2013 at 2:30pm

@Colin, all,

I have a few Hantronix HDM64GS12L-Y10S 128x64 graphics displays that I interfaced to an ARM7 several years back.  What LCD are you using?  I don't remember the chip set used on the Hantronix, but we were able to find an on-glass LCD with the same chip, so I think it's a standard chip. 

Which LCD are you using?  Is there a schematic available? 

I'll probably just buy the mega ground station for now, but I'd like to be able to build similar "graphics" terminals for other projects (like on the 'bot). 

Thanks!

Alan  KM6VV

Comment by Colin on April 7, 2013 at 1:40am

Alan,

I used this LCD

http://www.rapidonline.com/Electronic-Components/128x64-Graphic-Dis...

I'm not sure which one Jani is including with the one for sale, it might have a slightly different pin out but will be using the same driver. You're right they're fairly common chips. Unless you need a lot of computational power, the mega does quite well at driving this display.

Colin

Comment by KM6VV on April 7, 2013 at 12:55pm

@Colin,

Thanks for the URL.

I'm surprised the mega can drive them.  More overhead then a 2x10 LCD, plus all the graphics, and taking five writes to put up a character with your own font table.  But a lot cheaper then the ones I was buying five years ago.

Alan KM6VV

Comment by Sebastian Gralla on April 8, 2013 at 10:20am

Hey Colin,

I gathered all the files I found, they are uploaded right here.

It uses the GLCDSS library from savitch (arduino forums) for easy 3D rotating. It is contained in my uploaded file because one can't find it anymore.

Hopefully my files can be used to make ardustation even better :)

drop me a message if there are some problems.

Sebastian

Comment by Colin on April 9, 2013 at 9:13am

Awesome. Thanks Sebastian. I'll have a play with that at some point this week :)


Developer
Comment by Jani Hirvinen on May 6, 2013 at 6:33pm

Great, new batch is electronics is also arriving today. We fixed GPS connector and make those small keyboard/GPS connectors stronger.

For display, We are using similar display and it's pinout is same on what Colin pasted link earlier. It is normal GLCD 128x64 Display with KS0108 interface white on blue background. Physical measures can be found from http://www.jDrones.com/media/parts/display/GLCD-128x64.pdf 

We will add this display to our store too as extra part for people who want to make their own systems. 

Comment by Greg McHugh on May 7, 2013 at 7:13am

I have the 1.4 version and want to know if there is info on the issues found and the fixes needed for prior versions as the new versions come out? Are there other sources of detailed info on the Ardustation Mega besides this thread?

Comment by Paul Feely on May 7, 2013 at 1:23pm

Greg, You should check out this post if you haven't seen it already.

Cheers Paul 

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