The Techstation


Hey everyone,

 I have to admit, I am a little fed up with the "ground stations" available on the market today. First off, good luck seeing most laptops or tablets at all outdoors. Second, good luck modifying or repairing your laptop / tablet. It can be done but its usually a major pain with a good chance of breaking something.


 I used a nanok 910 for the outer case.The techstation features a 10.1 inch display from Pixel Qi. What makes it so special is that it changes from a bright, normal LCD display to a reflective, E-paper like grayscale display, like above, that actually becomes more visible with ambient light. I Combined the screen with a Gigabyte GA-E350n motherboard. for only ~$75 you get a motherboard and embedded AMD E-350D APU with Radeon HD 6310 graphics. Together with 8 GB ram and a 120 GB SSD, There is plenty of power to run mission planner and a USB video frame grabber. All while only drawing about 2.5 amps@ 12v.


The power supply is The M-4ATX from mini-box . It accepts  power from any unregulated 30-6 V dc source. It also provides reverse current and over voltage protection.


For a complete screen solution I used the screen and LVDS driver combo from Adafruit. The driver board gets power from the 12v accessory line coming from the M-4ATX so it is protected as well

20140730_0557341.jpg?w=225&h=300&width=250You can access different inputs to the screen here. It even has a direct RCA jack for video display.

20140729_1452041.jpg?w=225&h=300&width=250You can even tell your significant other it is a new media center for the family. It streams 1080p movies!

20140729_1456031.jpg?w=225&h=300&width=250If that fails Just say "I got it for the kids"

The plan is to provide a simple DIY solution it the form of a kit consisting of the mounting plates, hardware and front panel connectors so you can build one yourself on the cheap. the kits will be somewhere around $50 -$100. You will need to provide:

Mini ITX motherboard/cpu/gpu/ram


10 inch LCD screen preferably this

12 volt ATX power supply

E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Oh, also - what is this MX-60 connector you mention? I'd like to figure out how to power the Eee (or a MacBook) from a LiPo, and if there's an easy adapter for that, I'd be interested.

  • @waynegarris Ha, as long as the black is tactical, I'm sure that's fine. :)

    \I think plywood is a great choice, as it's cheap, easy to work with, rigid, and can even be painted.

    Apparently video capture devices that work in linux are hard to find. I just ordered one with the STK1160 chipset for $6CDN from Amazon, which supposedly works:


    I'm hoping to plug it into an old Eee PC I have lying around for FPV. If that works, and APM Planner runs on it, I may take the Eee apart and try to build it into a case similar to yours. Power draw on the Eee is pretty low, and maybe there would be enough space in a single case for the Eee screen and a separate screen for FPV. The keyboard on an Eee sucks pretty bad, but it is small. Alternatively, I can always get a different one and connect via USB, or use my phone as a keyboard as you suggest.

    I would love to have a pop-up tracking antenna. Please keep us updated on your progress!

  • 100KM

    That looks like a very interesting option. You could even use a blue tooth keyboard app on your phone etc. Being x86 means you can plug just about anything into it. This would be cool.


  • I'm planning on using this as my KB/mouse. Small enough to keep inside.


  • 100KM

    @ mike,

     no internal batteries, just a MX-60 connector. It uses around 2.5 amps @ 12 v so for every 2500 mah worth of 3 cell lipo you will get around an hour of service. I used a 3 cell 5000 mah lipo for the pictures.


     I am currently exploring options for materials to use. I used some 5 play aircraft grade plywood because I have it around for building planes. I did boot up a live USB image of ubuntu just to check it out. I didn't see any problems. The only thing I think you need to worry about is the 3rd party drivers for the GPU. The LCD takes RCA, VGA, and HDMI connections from any device.  I have not had success installing my USB video capture device driver on ubuntu however. 

     Yes I have considered ways to integrate a keyboard. I have not found something I like yet or that will fit. I have a head full of ideas like a second case with a tracking antenna that pops out with video RX built in, a speaker, a small LCD like this for displaying vital information off screen, a larger model with a second screen (thanks scott), . The possibilities are endless. Oh and of course a cup holder and tactical black will have the mandatory 3x markup. Lol.

    picoLCD 256x64 Sideshow (OEM)
  • Nice, I like the wood look.

    So you're using an external keyboard? Any plans to integrate one?

    Also, looks like Windows. I assume linux would work as well, with APM Planner. Any reason you're aware of that this wouldn't work? LCD drivers or other drivers only available for Windows, perhaps?

  • Looks really good!

  • I'm in the process of using the same case to build my own.

    What batteries are you using? And how long will it run in the field?

  • Impressive. Would like to put hands on a kit when they drop.

  • 100KM

    Thanks guys. I have one of these on the way to use for the panel connectors instead of the USB A female to male panel mount I use now. Audio IO would be nice. 

    @ Scott,

     Sounds pretty neat. are you using one of the ARM platforms to encode video?

This reply was deleted.