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Thread: Full Cockpit Ground Station construction blog

  1. #1
    Size matters c5galaxy engineer's Avatar
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    Full Cockpit Ground Station construction blog

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    EDIT June 2015
    This is the latest video taken by VitaminJ here on the lab. It was at the 2015 Colorado Meet in June. The Pilot is Tasche from the Lab. I am the one giving him instructions so he docent crash my plane……..He had a perfect launch and flight.

    EDIT:
    This is a link to the Flit Test web site article that I put together and summarizes this thread without all the BS that comes along with a blog. You can of course wade through the detailed stuff in this thread or read the article with much of the same pictures and a bit less build detail.
    http://flitetest.com/articles/fpv-fu...2-tv?preview=1

    I have been working on this project for a few months now and I am sure some of you have seen me mention it in some threads here and there. I decided to give it its own thread so I can get more input from people that have an interest. There are so many people out there with good ideas and suggestions that it would be a shame not to take advantage of it. Its turned into a long thread so I keep pictures and video updates here as best I can. Below this edit the ''first post'' remains intact so you can read about the evolution of the CGS. Directly below are a few pics and vids from through out the thread just so you can get a big picture and not have to wade through it all.


    Here is the very first walk around video of the Cockpit Ground Station (C.G.S.) waaaay before any of the new radio and dash mods. This was still the ''test'' phase. The video below this is the latest walk around video and you can see all the differences and the upgrades between the two videos!


    This is the latest and greatest ''walk around video'' with all the upgrades!! This is what the CGS has turned into. From the video above you can see it has come along way. From the start I designed it to be a modular system that would be easy to upgrade and modify. Every system or even new systems I want to add are simple to interface with the CGS due to its modular design. The new control radio in this upgrade is a Turnigy 9XR hidden behind a panel. Only its display can be seen and it is dressed in a standard instrument face. It looks like an aircraft instrument now. If has been fun and challenging to make this more than just a place to sit while flying FPV.......It is more like a simulator cockpit and very very immersive! You really get the feeling you are sitting in an aircraft cockpit!


    Flight video using flying a ZII


    and another flight video using a quad copter


    If you snoop around my youtube channel you will find a few others. Coming soon will be a walk around video of the cockpit. Please check back as I will keep this first post updated with vids.


    Here is a picture of it in its initial stage of construction........This is before the 46 inch flat screen TV inside a full hood was added. It is just a picture of the cockpit its self. At this time my Joystick was being interfaced with my radio using a Forcefly from EMR Labs. this turned out not being exactly what I wanted so I moved away from it in favor of my own radio modifications......http://www.nghobbies.com/cart/index....roducts_id=486
    The TV in the picture was just for these pictures and not the one that I planned on using.

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    EDIT: And this is the latest evolution of the cockpit now October 1st 2013. As you can see there have been many changes to it compared to the picture above. The blog is long so I keep these pictures updated as necessary in the first post.
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    And with the new LED interior lighting on.
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    End EDIT



    So what am I doing???
    I want to build a Cockpit Ground Station (CGS) that "feels" like your sitting inside an aircraft cockpit and flying .....ala Simulator.
    I have seen videos of people that have put together pretty cool ground stations that incorporate Computer joysticks and even throttle systems. Most, that I have seen though, stop there and the controls are simply set up in front of a laptop computer and not very ''cockpit like''.

    My goal is the whole deal.....Rudder pedals, center mounted joystick, side HOTAS type throttle control, gear handle, flap handle, Telemetry readout (using IMRC telemetry app for the iPod and iPhone), a shit hot visual system with a backup visual if the main display fails and an off the shelf radio system controlling the IMRC EZUHF system. For further CGS immersion I wanted all components of the Ground Station to have their own aircraft style control panel. For instance.....the EZUHF system on/off control as well as power settings control and bind/fail safe are routed through a control panel on the dash that resembles aircraft type controls but the EZUHF unit is hidden behind the dash panel. Check it out.........
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    The guarded green button is the on off (power) button. The black button just to the right of that is the Bind and fail safe button. The next three buttons can only be activated one at a time, if you push one of them on, one, that is already pressed, pops out. These buttons change color when pressed, from left to right, red yellow and green. If the pilot presses the right hand button it will turn green and lock and hold position and set the EZUHF to low power setting, if he presses the next button the green button will pop out and the button he pressed will turn yellow lock and hold and set the radio to hi power........if the next button is pressed it will turn red and do the same as the others but in the case of EZUHF it is not used.....it will however revert the radio to low power.....the radio will also revert to low power should a button fail to lock in the pressed position. The green guard it there to keep me from turning the radio off in flight thinking I am setting the fail safe......lol. It will also keep the radio from being turned on by mistake during transport.......(transport?!?!......there is a story I will cover later....lol)

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    I also want things like a cockpit style "Gear Handle" and/or flap handle. I really want my feet hands and eyes to move around like I am in an aircraft flying it.
    I also want the cockpit to be completely upgradeable and configurable to different applications. The ''panel'' system makes this extremely easy to do. All the panels are the same size and use the same screw holes so I can change things around if I want to too some extent.

    For the visuals I wanted to be as immersed as possible, as simple as possible and be able to fly pretty much any airplane I have or a friend has as easy as it would be to use a stock transmitter. This meant no 2 or 3 camera set ups.....just a standard FPV set up on the airplane and one sizeable flat screen for the cockpit. I found a ''damaged stock'' 42'' flat screen TV on ebay for only 169 bucks shipped!!! http://www.ebay.com/itm/171019754806...84.m1439.l2649
    Sure it has some scratches and dead pixel at the bottom of the screen but I don't even notice it at all!! Great find!!
    The screen sits about 4.5 feet in front of the pilot inside a blacked out box and fills the vision very nicely. Here is a picture of it in 4:3 ratio mode......put it in 16:9 mode and it is even better. This pic is taken from outside the GCS so it is a bit further back than the pilots view but you get the idea......
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    My hope is to find a giant Fresnel lens to put in front of the TV to help magnify the image even further like real simulators use. I have yet to find a lens of good enough quality so if anybody knows of one let me know.


    Okay......that should be enough to wet your appetite. I will continue with more of how I got this far later. I am open to suggestions that anyone has or advice you got. I will explain the control systems I have used and the problems I have encountered in the following posts. It has been frustrating but it is coming along.
    Let me know what you think guys! Give me some encouragement to keep writing and building.......I hate doing both.....LMAO!

    Here are a couple of the construction shots I will cover later........In Post #25. http://fpvlab.com/forums/showthread....ion-blog/page3

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    Brett
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    Last edited by c5galaxy engineer; 30th June 2015 at 08:34 PM.
    Brett Hays
    JosephOregon.com
    flitetest.com/articles/fpv-full-scale-cockpit-ground-station-w-42-tv

  2. #2
    Semper ubi sub ubi Grox's Avatar
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    That is awesome! I can haz shot?

    Seriously, glad you made a thread about it, very impressive work! The IMRC telemetry is a particularly nice touch
    Get out there and give it all you've got, and win just one for the Zipper.

  3. #3
    Grasshopper Reliku's Avatar
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    Wow! That's pretty sick!

    I've thought about building an entire cockpit around you, but to me it sounds like too much hassle and very inconvenient. At least, for my purposes. But this looks pretty darn amazing!

    I've got one question though: how do you plan on going with head tracking? Or are you not going to use head tracking and limit your view to a tiny portion of an actual aircraft's view by using the screen? That would work, but I think that'd take away the fun a little... If I were to do this, I'd go with both a scale cockpit in the aircraft (to look around you) and a cockpit for you to sit in (so that your control stick, throttle & pedals are all in the right place etc) and use goggles to look around in the scale cockpit while still getting the "feel" of being in an actual cockpit. But regardless, this is a really cool project! I'm keeping an eye on it, good luck with the build!

  4. #4
    Size matters c5galaxy engineer's Avatar
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    Thanks man!
    You seriously could ''haz a shot''. I designed it so you could either bind with my TX or plug in your own UHF TX (minus the custom control panel because I had to hack my TX to get it to interface with the cockpit panel). I kept it versatile so you could plug in an un-hacked TX and work around the control panel.

    The IMRC telemetry was made for this kind of thing I think......its naked without it......LMAO
    Brett Hays
    JosephOregon.com
    flitetest.com/articles/fpv-full-scale-cockpit-ground-station-w-42-tv

  5. #5
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    Full Cockpit Ground Station construction blog

    This totally needed a thread...

    Now for the big question - what planes do you have planned to exploit this beast?

  6. #6
    Size matters c5galaxy engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reliku View Post
    Wow! That's pretty sick!

    I've thought about building an entire cockpit around you, but to me it sounds like too much hassle and very inconvenient. At least, for my purposes. But this looks pretty darn amazing!

    I've got one question though: how do you plan on going with head tracking? Or are you not going to use head tracking and limit your view to a tiny portion of an actual aircraft's view by using the screen? That would work, but I think that'd take away the fun a little... If I were to do this, I'd go with both a scale cockpit in the aircraft (to look around you) and a cockpit for you to sit in (so that your control stick, throttle & pedals are all in the right place etc) and use goggles to look around in the scale cockpit while still getting the "feel" of being in an actual cockpit. But regardless, this is a really cool project! I'm keeping an eye on it, good luck with the build!
    The head tracking is a great question that I wrestled with. I had ideas from a curved screen infront of me and a projector above my head on a head tracking unit as well so if I looked to the right the cam on the plan and the projector above my head would both pan to the right. The projector would then point at the part of the curved screen I am looking at and the cam would also be pointing to the right. It is possible for me to build this later as the hood and the cockpit can easily be separated.......that means I can build and put any type of hood I can think of on it.

    I can also wire the joystick "hat switch" to control the P/T of the cam but it would just be on the main display and not be head tracking. There is also an extra video out on the video splitter control panel that I can plug goggles into as well as a head tracker so it would be as you were saying and the pilot would not use the main display but rather the goggles and HT. I infact have already designed a head mount display that I will use with this when I want to incorporate HT that also has the bottom cut out so I can look down with my eyes and see the inside of the cockpit. Its not prety but who cares if you have the cockpit hood closed.....LOL. It is in my DIY thread.
    http://fpvlab.com/forums/showthread....s-and-projects
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    Last edited by c5galaxy engineer; 7th June 2013 at 05:11 PM.
    Brett Hays
    JosephOregon.com
    flitetest.com/articles/fpv-full-scale-cockpit-ground-station-w-42-tv

  7. #7
    Size matters c5galaxy engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeeflyboy View Post
    This totally needed a thread...

    Now for the big question - what planes do you have planned to exploit this beast?
    A buddy of mine in EU will send me his Eurofighter........he just hasn't realiZeed it yet......LMAO.

    At this point Zee I dont know.......I am chicken to fly anything!! I have a ZephII and a Multiplex Mentor on floats that FPVFlyer left here for me to use it with on the pond but I may just buy a bixler for the test flights!
    Brett Hays
    JosephOregon.com
    flitetest.com/articles/fpv-full-scale-cockpit-ground-station-w-42-tv

  8. #8
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    Full Cockpit Ground Station construction blog

    Well the problem there is that you don't really want a plane with scale cockpit/joystick etc when you already have that in your G/S... You want an unobstructed view, your "scale" cockpit is already there.

  9. #9
    Size matters c5galaxy engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeeflyboy View Post
    Well the problem there is that you don't really want a plane with scale cockpit/joystick etc when you already have that in your G/S... You want an unobstructed view, your "scale" cockpit is already there.
    LMAO........I know, I know.
    Actually, Truth be known.......I want to build an F-18 90mm EDF. That would be the ultimate experience for me.....with head tracking under an HMD hood. I like the Hobby Lobby one. The reviews seem to be the best of all of them unless you are drinking Pete's Koolaid then the Banana Hobby one is ''SUPER AWESOME PILOTS!!''
    Brett Hays
    JosephOregon.com
    flitetest.com/articles/fpv-full-scale-cockpit-ground-station-w-42-tv

  10. #10
    Grasshopper Reliku's Avatar
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    Hehe, I've seen that thread while I was searching for a cheap goggle-setup. I also saw similar cockpits to sit in but I didn't realize that was also your doing! haha

    The idea of only having the top half of your view being fpv seems rather inconvenient to me. for panning it'd work, but.. well, how do I explain this?

    Imagine yourself looking at a screen and your cockpit. The screen views the outside world and the cockpit views the inside world (since you're in a plane eh?). When you start panning it'd work fine I suppose. But when you tilt the camera (and your head) there would be a part of the cockpit becoming visible that previously wasn't visible, and the border line between aircraft cockpit and the outside view would shift. I think it would create a very weird experience :P

    I think it's better to have either the screen move around you as you suggested, or only using goggles and not looking at the actual cockpit at all. But that again would ruin the whole idea of having a functional cockpit, since just a plain wooden one with a few control sticks, levers & pedals would be enough (you wouldn't be looking at it).

    The only option that remains (the way I look at it) is to move the screen around the cockpit, and to not let it tilt below the cockpit (this would require some careful calibration with the plane though). I don't know how you'd move a screen around, and especially when it has to move in two directions (unless you go with a panning-only solution, which seems easier). And of course, the screen is quite a heavy object. It's going to require a way bigger force to let the screen pan with your head (especially with a distance in between the screen and the center of its rotation; your head), compared to the panning and tilting of a camera. If you add in the moment of inertia you're going to have a fairly laggy system in the end, which is something you wouldn't want.

    You could add a smaller screen to your own head (similar to the goggles you built) to prevent this, but it'd put your head under a lot of stress. And no matter how you put it, it's probably best to have the screen outside of the cockpit to fully utilize the cockpit's potential. That brings us back to having goggles.

    I think Zee's eurofighter concept would indeed go very well with such a cockpit, it sounds like the best option to me so far.. But then you'd still be reading telemetry from the OSD, not from actual instruments. Considering the eurofighter has a glass cockpit, I wouldn't consider this such a bad idea.. But actually having these instruments is darn cool. The only way it'd seem to work with head tracking though is a screen, with all the aforementioned trouble.

    I'll give this some thoughts.. I think it's going to be quite a feat to use HT with a screen, but if managed, it would be darn amazing.

    Either way, it's looking very cool so far!

    EDIT: Zee's point is valid. You want an unobstructed view in your video feed, or you want a scale cockpit there if you're not going to be seeing your own cockpit (the one you're sitting in). Depends on whether you use goggles or not.
    Last edited by Reliku; 7th June 2013 at 05:02 PM.

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