Introducing OpenGSU : Cross-Platform Ground Station


I'm following this community regularly and I must say that I'm very impressed
by all the job done and the good spirit. Congrats to Chris and all the team players!

Some months ago, I started to build a ground station and I realised that
an affordable full-featured ground station with video + data link, antenna tracker,
a good visual way to get some status, in a small shape was not available.

Almost all the features needed their own independant device that need casing, wiring, source
of power, all kind of adaptation, settings to make stuff talking together, dealing with differents
suppliers to finally getting a big heavy mess of wires, connectors, pcbs and boxes.

Then I finally decided to design my own all-in-one integrated solution. So what seemed a simple
step in turning my heli into an UAV turned to a complete project : OpenGSU.


OpenGSU stands for open source ground station unit and the project aims to simplify ground
station building and to provide a rich set of features with the flexibility of open source software.

Today, the opportunity to share my work is sounding great to me, and this is probably due to the
influence of Diydrones sharing spirit.

Here the OpenGSU features list, some are already well running and some are in progress:

- 5.8Ghz Video receiver with two buffered A/V outputs
    - one outputted through an 4-poles jack connector for an LCD, googles or video recorder...
    - one internally connected to an USB video capture allowing the PC getting the video
- Xbee footprint compatible transeiver with independant LDO
- Standalone GCS on color touchscreen feeded by MAVLINK frames
- Standalone SDCard datalogger with real-timestamp (RTC is integrated)
- Standalone Joystick controller allowing control through a regular usb joystick  
- Standalone configurable buzzer-alarm (low battery, signal lost, maximum altitude exceeded ... )
- Standalone Sensorless Antenna tracker based on the data downlink
- 32-bit dev-board allowing execution of custom code
- PC connexion using an unique USB wire allowing (HUB is integrated) :
    - Video link (USB video capture device),
    - Data link (Virtual Com port),
    - Log access (Mass storage device)
    - MCU Firmware update (USB HID bootloader)
    - Compatibility with the well-known GCS : Mission planner and QgroundControl
- Possibility to power from USB only but with some components automatically inhibited.
- 5amp DC/DC with 6-32V voltage input to handle big tracker servos
- Aluminium compact casing or "OEM" version for pelican case machined panel integration

3689502535?profile=original                        Open GSU back panel


                       Open GSU PCB bottom view


                        Open GSU PCB Top view

I'm working currently on a website and it will be online soon.

More details will follow in my next posts.

Meanwhile, Feel free to show your interest.


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  • S E X Y.

  • And the grafics and instruments and barr graff looks frait....And sure the tuch screem will make such a diferance as well...Wow ..please keep us informed.


    I just think you guys are so lucky to have so much so easely avalable at your doorsteps...My fault I live in the jungle with the apes.....the reall ones

  • Wow this is fantastick. You have made it so compact it is grait. I have al the bits and peases and plug it all in and out when i dont need it to move it home. Man cant wait for mor info..


  • Looking good mate. I will be watching this with interest.

  • I have some like that already for running to my antenna tracker.  2m long.  Obviously I'd only need a very short one to do the wiring in my box to get to my external connector.  I just hate having too many connectors.  Would prefer to reduce one if possible.  If not, I can manage.

  • Robert, it's possible to get it with some connectors unsoldered so you can adapt it to your need but for the video antenna it's much better to use this kind of cable RPSMA extension (custom lentgh)

    For the other connectors, there will be always a solution... :)

  • Ah, I see.  I didn't realize the screen was permanently attached. I think I can make that work.  It's a bit inelegant with a bunch of extension cables, but I guess there is no other way.   

    The control USB I won't be using, but the PC USB, I can get a custom wire made for that so I can bring a jack to the base.  No problem there.

    I want to put the unit in the lid, right under the FPV monitor.  So I'd need extension cables to take the antenna to the top.  Or would it be possible or practical to get it with no antenna connectors at all, and I could solder some leads to the board with the connectors on the end? (I'm no RF expert, I'm not sure if this is workable).

    I'd omit the power jack as well, just leave the connector area bare and I'll solder wires to it.  Same thing with the LED's and servo connectors.

    The SD card slot is a problem, but I don't know what to do with that.  Not something I'd worry about too much anyway.

  • Robert, the oem version should be mounted parallel to the panel, you will need a surface of 120x75mm behind the panel and only a depth of 1" (25mm) so only forth of the depth of your pelican case. Please see the following very diy sketch out (the cutouts of the panel are in red, 4 holes and the lcd aperture). If you need connectors to be accessible from the panel, you can use extension cables.


  • This is a very nice custom build. Where and how did you do the alu casing?

  • Can you sketch out the OEM design?  I'm not sure how you are going to work it.  But if you intend that it be installed vertically, with the 120mm dimension facing down, that's going to be a serious problem.  I have a 1500 case, and it won't fit, and that's already a fairly big case.  The bottom of this case is only 4" deep.

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