APM/Pixhawk compact GCS build

This is one of our earlier designs, however, we've built this very version for our APM/Pixhawk user clients. Notable differences are the customary rotary flight mode switch and the aerial video/stills specific line-up of the toggle switches. All direct remote camera functions from zoom, focus/shutter, video start/stop, etc. can be implemented by using the very same line of toggles, which include 2-3 position, SP-DP spring loaded and lopsided spring versions.

The direct RC TX in the tray is based on the OpenTX architecture, so installing a third joystick wasn't an issue. The user has the choice of mapping the camera pan-tilt functions on the small extra joystick, or just keeping this function on one of the original sticks with a mode switch.

Of course, this station is only rugged for transport, as the controls are not IP types, but we can still say from experience that a light rain doesn't do it any harm. :-)

Those of you already familiar with our GCS designs know, that we nearly always use Peli cases upside down for a reason. For one thing, the body of the box can act as a sunshade for high nit monitors. Even more important, the control tray should be as shallow and flat as possible to avoid the extra strain on your wrists, when working for more than just a few minutes with a console. This, and the fact that a higher console panel position makes it impossible to use such an upright set properly seated at a field desk, as then your knees wouldn't fit under the desktop...

With this framework we had to modify the original top loader Peli case to achieve an ergonomic fomat by replacing the top handle with a fold-down type under the tray. Although the station is perfectly stable on any flat surface, we have also included a tripod mounting plate right in the COG of the open case.

That handle between the monitors is not ornamental, as nothing really is in our builds. In addition to protecting the monitor panels as a hard internal barrier, because the body of the station is constructed as a single block, you can pull out the whole entrails by this handle after removing only 4 screws. Otherwise you would have to shake it out... :-)

The LCD panels are 7" 1280x800 high nit IPS types, so they are very much sunlight readable even without the natural shade of the recess they're mounted in. We were thinking about mounting matte protectors from 3M, but the high resolution would always suffer, even with the highest quality hazy films. Also, the stock surface of the panel already has a low-reflectance coating, so we've left them glossy.

The current PC hw is an Intel Core i3, so Mission Planner under Win7-8 works straight from the box. Because this motherboard can drive two monitors, you also have the choice of using both screens as an extended desktop with the downlink video in an overlay/window (the frame grabber is already in there). Otherwise you can use one screen for the PC, while displaying the direct video feed on the other, as both LCD controllers have composite and digital inputs.

The original version uses a broadcast quality 10bit TBC for a smooth video feed, but that TBC is way out of production, even though we still stock quite a few of them. The new stations have an SD card based DVR in the same spot on the front panel with an automatic TBC still in the loop inside.

The internal LiFePO4 packs are fully balanced and protected from overcharge, overdischarge and short circuit. At around 300Whs of total capacity the station has a battery endurance of at least 8-10 hours. The internal charger accepts DC voltages between 12V and 30V.

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  • Very nice job, every useful feature you usually look for in a GCS seems to be present. I really like the flight mode switch.

    How much does it weigh ? Is the telemetry radio module already integrated ?

  • Anthony: www.horus.hu or send me an e-mail: floyd@horus.hu

    peRISKop, Professional sUAS Ground Control Stations, RF Links and Rugged Field Equipment
  • very interested in your companies work, could you include a website and information to find out more about your products and services?

  • This very piece was just under $5k, but it all depends on exactly what you need for your UAV system. We don't sell anything off-the-shelf, but we have a number of POCs and tested GCS frameworks that we can fill up with your heart's desire. :-)

  • Whats the cost?

    I like it alot and would like your GCS to part of our high end solution when we sell out Vortex 700. 


  • Both of these systems were probably in my mind when I came up with the original idea. I can only add the SX version of Commodore 64, the portable one. This all comes from our age, well not exactly old, but 46 nevertheless in my case. I always liked instrument solutions where the carrying case was an integral part of the design, and not just a bag or a cover. Somehow it just seems right. I also prefer rugged or semi-rugged laptops to have an integrated handle.

  • Moderator

    3701836890?profile=originalMaybe I can convert my IBM PC Portable?

    It still runs, but the amber monitor is really, really faded.

    I could tear the guts out and add some 7" screens for the GCS.

    Don't know if it would be worth the trouble, but damn, those case-based solutions look clean, esp. Azjeg's designs.

  • Developer

    Reminds me of an Osbourn 1. But t a lot more capable. :-)


  • You do beautiful work. :)

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