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

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  • SNAP :-) I was just about to put up my ground station which is scarily similar. It has 2x10.1" Pixel Qi screens, a Raspberry Pi and a Beagle Bone Black. I use two screens because one is the computer (running APM Planner) the other is used for video. I will write up more details in a few days.

  • That's a great , economical set-up!

    I too have had some terrible times trying to use a laptop outdoors, stuffing my face into the LCD screen when trying to adjust APM parameters.

    I eventually got a used Itronix XR-1 laptop after stalking ebay for 5 months. [It's not exactly a great video display unit]

    The screen colours wash out in bright conditions, but it is somewhat legible in direct sunlight.

  • great... Looking forward to the release of the Kit....

  • Awesome Wayne !
  • I love the screen! Nice build.

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