Computer: Gigabyte Brix i5 4200
Primary video: ReadyMadeRC 11" monitor
Secondary video: Fatshark Dominator goggles
DVR: Lawmate 500EVO
Receivers: Lawmate 1.3 gHz (one tuned, one not)
Diversity: Eagletree EagleEyes
Case: Pelican 1450
Tripod: Dolica proline 64"
Tripod base: Manfroto
Having flown FPV for about three years now I got a bit tired of bringing a netbook with me just for programming and telemetry when I go out to the Italian countryside to fly in the weekend. While light, my netbook was not powerful enough for basic video editing, the battery ran out too quickly, it required an adapter, and was frankly was just another thing to carry around. So to make my life a bit easier I collected various parts and built my very own groundstation into in a Pelican 1450 case and it's been all smiles since then!
The picture above is from a couple of months ago in the Sibilini mountains here in Italy. It was a lovely place to fly, given the views and the wide-open spaces.
Adding a Brix to the box
What may be a bit different from other ground stations I have seen is that I have integrated a Gigabyte Brix (i5 4200) into the case to have just a bit more power at my disposal. I use a ReadyMadeRC monitor to switch between the HDMI video/audio from the Brix (for pre-flight and telemetry), and switch to the video while flying (EagleTree Eagle Eyes for diversity). I have a Lawmate DVR integrated into the top panel to be able to record everything and a Fatshark Dominator headset mostly for the enthousiastic onlookers (often local pilots) who want to check out how emersive FPV can be!
The biggest challenge I had was getting all the components to "place nice". The setup runs off of a 6000mAh 3s LiPo, but the receivers and screen need 12V, the DVR runs on 3.7V and the Brix runs on around 18.3V. I ordered a handful of switches, a couple of step-up/down regulators from Pololu, and a hefty variable regulator for the Brix, and started soldering everything together. I have to say the setup works very well, the signal seems strong, images crisp and even with the computer running there is no EM intereference.
Running off of a LiPo is convenient but since the setup draws less than 5A, using a 12v lead starter battery is a safer alternative. The Brix uses the largest share of the amperage (3A using LXDE, a bit more using Ubuntu linux 14.04).
I am running Mission Planner 2.0 for Linux and I have all the usual Windows-based utilitities in a Virtual XP environment, should I need them.
If anyone has any questions, do let me know, and I'd be happy to provide any more details people are interested in!
PS. My immense gratitute to the crews behind the Mission Planner software and the APM and Pixhawk hardware. None of this would be possible without you guys!