Ground Based OSD


So after reading through the comments on this post, it got me thinking about the possibility of using the MinimOSD, or soon to be released jDrones MiniOSD, on the ground to have one less item up in the air. The appeal of keeping the aircraft light and a little less expensive, in the case of a flyaway or bad crash, makes me think this could be a good idea for those of us that have a more restrictive budget for UAV's.

Doing further research into what I need to get to be able to use an APM2 with an OSD, I decided to eventually buy the MinimOSD when I have the funds (or jDrones MiniOSD if it gets released). I then found this post about how the code was ported over to another different OSD hardware.

Then I remembered that I have one of these in my box of stuff I haven't gotten around to doing anything with.


There are many more capable people than me that could probably do this but how difficult would it be to take the code that runs on the MinimOSD and port it over to Arduino to run on the Nootropic Video Experimenter shield? The guy that produces these shields did a nice write up of displaying GPS data using this shield so it seems like it would be possible to do something similar.


Using this set of hardware, you could easily interface it with the video out of the video receiver in between the receiver and goggles/LCD and then tap into the ground station XBee to pull out the telemetry stream. Would it be difficult to port the code over? I've never done something like that before so I'm curious to find out if this is something that would be useful in any way so I have one less thing that could go wrong in the air.

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  • Porting MinimOSD code to that platform would be a challenge and a learning experience, but no more than that. It will not save you any time and probably any money either - if you actually want to fly, just get a MinimOSD, they are cheap. 

    If you really feel the urge to code something, then I might point out the possibility of contributing to the MinimOSD code, it is open source, and your efforts would benefit the community. 

  • I think this is a good idea - not to burn the telemetry information into the picture send by the flying device, but rather compose the image attributes in the ground station. Just wondering, many of us are using a spare laptop as a ground station, showing also the video using a cheap USB video input gadget. I have a miniature 2.4GHz camera on board, producing PAL video to the ground station receiver, shown on laptor screen.

    On the other hand, there are several applications to produce subtitle text or overlay on the shown video. Anyone found a configurable overlay application that could bind these features and produce the XBEE telemetry on the video shown on laptop screen? That would produce combined video and overlay, just as shown using the separate OSD board combining the information.

  • How would you go about getting the Mavlink data out of the ground based Xbee to the MimimOSD?

    Right now I have a XtreamBee USB adapter on the ground. Can I just change that to a FTDI board (same one as airborne), parallel the data between the MimimOSD and a FTDI to USB cable? The USB cable would then plug into the computer running the Mission Planner.

  • If you have it at the ground, you can also overlay ODS onto ground-based video (e.g. if you have a pair of camcorders - one for video capture and the other to record combined video stream).

  • T3

    Greg, I agree it would be 1000 times easier. I already had this equipment and thought if it wasn't much more work, it would basically be plug in play since it already has RCA in/out and would be an easy way to connect in the receive ground station. I guess with the MinimOSD, I would just need to make a couple of connectors, which although tedious in some ways, is much easier than a code port!

    Well, it looks like I'll need to save up some more!

  • It would be a 1000 times easier to just buy a Minum OSD. It is an Arduino plus a Maxim video overlay chip.

  • I've been wondering this exact thing my self, I'm glad others with more knowledge are working on it! ;)

  • T3

    Does anyone that knows the MinimOSD code base well know is this is something that can be moved onto an Arduino easily? I'm still really basic on my Arduino knowledge but if there is some way to simulate the Mavlink data stream with an Arduino, maybe I could set up two Arduinos, one to send Mavlink simulated data and then the other to receive it through an XBee connection and also display it using this shield.

    Man, wish it was still winter so I could work on this a little more than having to do yard work and other house related things, although it does mean I can actually go out and fly now.

  • This makes sense. The data telemetry has longer range than most video tx options so it would be good to see where you are if the video goes down. The security of being able to see the osd info in the fpv goggles after the video is lost would be worth the price of admission.
  • This has always had me wondering as I would expect the data system to have considerably better range than the video link. If this is the case then the idea has even more merit as if the video link gets excessively noisy or drops out then you have an IFR capability remaining in the display to get the bird back in range if not operating in full auto. Just can't see trees or rocks any more ;-)

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