We've been experimenting more and more with tablet ground stations here at Event 38 and have had a lot of success using the DroidPlanner app. The software has been working well for us but we found our ground station setup was really cluttered, the opposite of what we were going for when switching to tablets. My main complaint was having the ground side telemetry radio dangling from my phone or tablet. Not only was it a hassle and prone to coming unplugged, it was also hard to keep it in a good position for radio reception.
Following Arthur Benemann's instructions, we set up a bluetooth bridge that would let us at least set the radio down and move freely with the ground station tablet. A huge improvement, no doubt, but still a little rough around the edges, even needing power from a laptop. So we added a nice case and a single cell LiPo battery to power it all. This worked even better, and looked pretty nice as well!
It still had some power management issues but it worked well enough for our purposes. At this point we're thinking about running a Kickstarter campaign to run a production scale build of these but we'd like to get some feedback from potential users before we solidify the specs. I'd appreciate any/all comments on what kind of features you'd like to see on something like this, if any, besides the telemetry bridge to Bluetooth. Right now we're planning on including the following:
- Internal LiPo battery, rechargeable by USB
- Battery status LEDs
- 433 and 915MHz variants to be compatible with any 3DR Radio
- ~20m Bluetooth range
- ~1km telemetry range
- 5-6 hours battery life
- A durable plastic enclosure
Is there anything else we should consider adding to improve the functionality or usability? Do you think this would be priced fairly at $139? Let us know what you think!