HappyKillmore's GCS Alpha Release is ready


I guess I'll call it an Aplha release. I'm not done with the installer yet. The system requirements are .NET 2.0 framework, Google Earth (and maybe the plugin) and DirectX must be installed.


Download the GCS

I would STRONGLY recommend NOT trying this in the field with a live plane! This program is for TESTING ONLY at this point.

To use the program, select your COM port with your GPS or AP connected through FTDI or USB to serial. Select your baud rate. Click Connect. You can try the Search COM button which will cycle through all your available COM ports at different baud rates looking for your data stream. The Search Baud button will only search on the selected COM port for your data stream at different baud rates.

Once connected, if it's an AP unit, the waypoints and home location should be set automatically. If you're not using AP then you can build a mission file using the AP config tool and copy the .TXT file into the missions folder that gets created in the root directory with the GCS executable. Don't worry, this process will be easier in the future.

On the settings tab, you can select different options for your instruments and Google Earth Settings. The cockpit view isn't working yet.

Chances are excellent that nothing will work with APM since I have done absolutely zero testing with APM.

This release also includes NO error trapping and it will fail if you start collecting serial data before the Google Earth window is loaded....

Let me know how things go....

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  • Hi there Paul,
    I'm following your GCS project with great interest and I'm using it when developing firmware for the UDB. Until recently your GCS parsed the "SERIAL_UDB_EXTRA" format just fine, even if I used XBee API activated in the GCS XBee (That means that the data becomes somewhat "garbled" since the API expects the data in packets. The result is that eh XBee adds some characters to the data, but the "raw" data is still there intact. A few versions ago I realized that this didn't work anymore. No great deal since I only use the API mode on the GCS XBee if I need to adjust the XBee aboard the UAV, but nevertheless it was an extra step to do each time. Now, today (29 Dec. 2010) I downloaded the latest(?) version 1.1.25 and can't get it to parse the "SERIL_UDB_EXTRA" format at all. I see the data coming in at 57600, but it doesn't become translated. (I must add that I have some extra strings in my personal telemetry use for controlling the XBee.) The 866MHz PRO has a duty cycle of 10% and therefore has to be reset at least in 6 minutes intervals). I do this via the telemetry data. Another important note is that I use this on a lab bench setup with X-Plane for HIL-simulation. That means that there is no actual GPS in the setup. The GPS data is fed to the UDB from X-Plane and later to the telemetry port. Have you lately changed the parsing so that my setup is "disqualified", or is there anything else going on here?
    Otherwise, keep up the great effort of creating a useful GCS for every UAV nut ;)
    Kind regards
  • Sounds good. I was running the GCS on my remote desktop from my laptop to my office computer and what do you know...same error message you were getting. I stepped through the code and found some lines I had added trying to get the live video combobox to work....but I didn't end up needing. Commented them out and it started working! The only downside is if I detect an error on the DirectX initialization routine, I just disable the 3D model...so there's a good chance you won't be able to have that displayed in the instuments...but you can still have it in Google Earth. I've got a few more things to add tonight...and then I'm on to 2-way communication!!! Mission planning and changing settings....hooray!

  • Happy,

    You got it!  HKGCS opens on my XP/iMac now.  

    The goodies keep coming.  I have played around with the instrument selections and top placement.  I'll test the rest of the GCS with my APM later today.

    Again, THANKS.

  • Irvin, I believe I found the error you were getting. 1.0.39 fixed it.



  • I downloaded the .NET installer, I jumped through all the Microsoft/XP hoops, I restarted the XP, clicked on your icon and got the same error? message.


    HKGCS works very well on my laptop so I'm a "HAPPY" camper.


    If you want to try to plow through the XP/iMac issue, I'm willing to help.

  • The only thing the installer does is make sure you have .NET 2.0 and the DirectX drivers for Managed Code (these drivers don't ship with DirectX for some reason). You can still run the executable alone from a pen drive if you want. You just need to make sure you have the 3D Models folder (and all the files in it) and the DirectShow library. I moved everything to an installer to make life easier for the "newbies" out there and those who don't RTFM about the required pre-reqs.


    Irvin, most of the DirectX errors I have added trapping for. I need to go through the whole program some time soon and add error trapping everywhere...but this error sounds more critical. Maybe a missing .NET driver? Can you run the .NET 2.0 SP2 installer and see if it fixes the problem?



  • In The latest version I even got an animated "drone" in the instrument cluster. I hope this doesn't suck even more resources out of my poor Toughbook... Hopefully the installer doesn't write a lot of junk to the registry and "integrates" itself in the OS. I thought it was nice to be able to run it directly from a USB pen-drive. I haveb bot tested this with the latest (of Dec.12. 2010) version yet. 

  • No, it's not very informative. 

    I could not find any event log.  The error pops up as soon as the icon is clicked on.  Do you know how I can trap any messages?

    BTW - The problem is with the XP system that runs via VMware Fusion on my iMac.

    The latest version v1.0.31 works on my old laptop (Dell Inspiron5150) but failed on my XP/iMac.


    Again,  Thanks for all the work you are doing.

  • Well that's not a very good error message....


    Does anything show up in the event log?

  • Happy,

    I am keeping up with your improvements to HKGCS.  The version I downloaded on 12/05/10 (V1.017) worked great.  So did 12/07/10 (V1.0.22).  The version downloaded on 12/10/10 resulted in this error message:

    I saw this morning that you have changed the format of the download version set.

    I checked your WiKi instruction.  I too was informed that my current .NET 2.0 was newer that the one I downloaded from your link.  I had downloaded the DirectX EURs but just to make sue, I did it again.


    I downloaded Setup_12112010b.exe.  The download went well but when i trued to start GCS, I got the same error message.

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