Palm GCS

I've been toying with this design for a few weeks and thought I'd post it. I'm using a Palm Vx, Arduino Mega, and XBee Pro for a ground control station. It's pretty rough at the moment. The airborne portion is made up of a ArduPilot Mega beta and a XBee pro. After building a airborne system using a Turborix Satelite receiver and Arduino I decided to eliminate the 'RC' equipment from the design completely. It was surprisingly easy and the range of the XBee Pro is better than my RC equipment. Here is the ground station with a simulated signal running to it:

It is really minimal, and designed to be easily read while flying. The scroll bars are F-Fuel, C-Climb Rate, S-Air Speed, and R-Airborne Receiver Signal Strength. I tried a fully graphic horizon but couldn't see it well so switch to a simple roll and pitch indicator. The pitch indicate shows +-60 degrees, higher angles have the pitch line pegged at max. This allows me to fly looking at the Palm. The scroll bars are set to the typical range expected for the flight. I'm using an ArduIMU for stabilization and am working towards a complete fly-by-wire software before going to full auto-pilot.

Here some pictures, don't laugh :), it is a rough 'sketch'. If I ever find the time I'll move it into a nice enclosure but its tupperware for now:

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  • I've added another blog entry to explain it in more detail.
  • Very cool. I smiled, not laugh... :-)
  • Can you do trim and all that? Does this replace a TX box?
  • Developer
    I would not worry so much about the baud rate. Even 9600 baud is 1200 bytes/sec or 24byte/sec at 50hz refresh rate. So just be smart about how you send your data (use some sort of priority system). Latency caused by system design, IO buffers and packet loss/resend is another issue...

    Ohh.. and by the way.. Great work Marc! :)
  • Thats an xbee pro 900 mhz I believe
  • Developer
    Dude this is really cool! Great DIYer. I'm planing on doing something similar but with an iPhone.

    What model xbee is that exactly? I want to get one but can't decide between whats more important, range or kps. I am working on a large gas powered uav helicopter ( bergen intrepid) and would like to be able to control it exclusively through xbee and also get telemetry all without a significant lag. I know some of the Pro models have below 256Kbps rate and I'm not sure how bad that is? Any suggestions?
  • I did laugh a little... Marc that's awsome!
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