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Thread: My new Ground Station

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Coyote's Avatar
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    My new Ground Station

    Hi guys, well i decided that now im for financially stable that i could make a Ground Station the way i wanted, not how my pocket dictated. So it made sense to start from the ground up.

    So here comes another ground station

    Im still a big fan of lightweight, practical and easy to carry tripod based ground stations. So im doing another one.

    This time round im using only two parts of my other ground stations, the Emprex recorder and the video splitter. Apart from that its all new kit.

    Onboard will be :

    Myflydream Antenna Tracker - The EZ Antenna tracker was giving up the ghost, the GWS servos on sale were all cheap copies and naff, if it wasnt loosing audio and stopping tracking the cheap copy GSW`s were failing, so in the bin it goes !
    7" Monitor - No JDX tiny screen anymore, a permenant screen large enough to see OSD and for passengers to get a much better view
    Emprex recorder - It does a pretty good job for the price and never misses a beat
    5.8ghz 13dbi Patch - More than enough range and a small compact size
    ImmersionRC 5800 DUO rx - The best 5.8ghz rx on the market, with diversity built in, this means i can compare patches / helical etc side by side on the tracker
    Skew-Planar secondary antenna - The best ground based rx antenna for 5.8ghz
    8 Way Video Splitter - The best ive tried so far and at only 10 a great little unit
    Heavy duty tripod - I like my tripods to have a flat front to the legs, it makes mounting the equipment so much easier
    2.4ghz vdeo link to FatShark Dominators

    So the MyFlyDream came today, after a quick glance over and a quick test i really like this unit. Unfortunatly with the antenna i was planning to throw around on it i think its too much weight and too limiting on the tracker to continue, so im going to go with a 13 dbi patch instead. So ill have to wait to get the patch on there, the MyFlyDream ill post pictures of in daylight tomorrow.

    Todays little task was practicality. With a tripod theres not much useable space to mount equipment, but the more simple the better. Having said that i had extra features to be added but still needed it to be practical so a bit of forward thinking required. The monitor for example was going to need a strong sturdy mount, but being 7" would take up a lot of leg room, so i set about space saving

    The monitor :



    25 ebay special, that comes highly recommended by Shikra from on here. Its a tidy little unit, 2 video in plugs, a surround, remote and mounts. The picture on it is really good so i bought that

    To save the space, but have my buttons to hand, i decided to mount the monitor on top of the Emprex recorder.



    The top two thirds have no buttons or access required so it became a good candidate for overlap.

    The monitor has this metal bracket on the rear for one of the swivel mounts, handy for a mount, but also very handy for the next step



    Remove the bracket and you free up a little room, and whats more, you have 4 mounting holes now available to fix the monitor onto.



    As an added bonus, the now removed bracket, conveniantly is now a stencil for marking holes up on the Emprex

    I took the Emprex front cover off, offered the bracket up to it, made sure that none of the potential screws would interfere with the Emprex`s hardware and marked the holes and drilled them out



    And there you go, you could then put the Emprex cover back on and job done. The monitor and Emprex though has a lot of wires, especially the monitor with meters of cables



    I cut all the cables, mounted the Bec supplying the Emprex inside the monitors cover and joined the 12v supplies and hardwired the AV 1 in. This then meant no cables to hide, no unsightly cables on the outside and only one wire ( 12v and 0v ) coming from the two units



    The Emprex requires one AV in, which will be plugged in once on the tripod, but apart from that, give it power and thats it




    Here`s a run down of parts used as requested :

    MyFlyDream
    Emprex BPR 101
    Monitor
    Tripod
    Video Splitter
    10mw 2.4ghz Vtx

    Here`s the MyFlyDream, its not on the actual tripod yet ( still waiting on its arrival )



    Im pretty impressed all round wth this unit, its very well put together, which s refreshing with some dubious work being presented from manufactorers recently. Well packaged, the servo feels very strong and its pretty easy to use. To actually fly with you cant get much easier, changing settings doesnt need to be done often at all

    The patch and the Duo will be mounted up here so no more wrapping of cables whoop whoop !!!

    Update : Tripod arrived, let get cracking

    I went for a black look this time, so should look nice, added the MyFlyDeam ATT and epoxied the control box on
    Next the Monitor mounted on the Emprex went onto the main leg, epoxied and cable tied this time



    Next the Monitor mounted on the Emprex went onto the main leg, epoxied and cable tied this time


    So far so good
    Last edited by Coyote; 5th January 2012 at 01:58 PM.
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking."

    - Benjamin Franklin

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Coyote's Avatar
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    Next cool mod :

    I`ve got some Fatshark dominators and one thing i hated was wires everywhere, hense the MyFlyDream really, slip ring no wires, so one of the reasons for picking the dominators was the rf board option of wireless conectivity.

    Then i stumbled on a great idea on RCGroups of all places !

    Make the MFD transmit wirelessly instead of clamping a vtx to the tripod

    I opened the MDF, located the 12v pin, 0v Video out and Audio pin.



    I then tapped these pins and took them to a 10 mw Uk legal Fatshark vtx.



    I removed the vtx antenna and extended it and made a di-pole so its located outside the the MDF case.



    Im hoping that being so close to it the pictures fine with the tracker in all orientation, and the 10mw vtx doesnt get too hot in there, but at only 10mw im thinking it wont generate much heat at all tbh

    Update :

    Vtx seems fine after a long test, no problem at all.

    So i got in tonight and the video splitter was here, great ! This meant i could now hard wire everything in once and for all

    I fixed the video splitter to the same front leg so everything is infront of me, instead of on seperate legs which makes changes in flight easy, looks better and more importantly for transportation i can lay the tripod on the other two legs keeping the equipment away from damage



    The next thing i did was take a drill to it !!!

    Method behind the madness............. I need two of the outputs to go to my recorder, and then to my monitor, the second input on the monitor is for playback from the recorder. So i have full flexibility.

    Also, one problem with RCA leads and any connectors on a ground station is pulling in and out and even knocking can damage or make unreliable. Even worse is forgetting the damb cables after you have turned up read you fly ( *Cough PK-Surfing Cough* )With the inputs hardwired to the splitter they never need touching, they are protected, and it looks better

    Heres the hard wire connections



    I just wont use the top two connections for any dispaly as they are soldered to them

    So apart from the ImmersionRC Duo5800 that will be bought next month, thats about it, simple, more usefull features then the last one, wireless to goggles, wireless tracking, no connectors ( other than those permenant ), win win



    ImmersionRC Duo5800 turned up thanks to Mr Simon Dale www.firstpersonview.co.uk and the Rx for my dominators.

    While PK was over i decided to try it out as a fully wireless GS for the first time, i had bars running down my Fatshark LCD`s This was easily fixed by actually remembering its a 10 mw vtx and was sat next to my internet 2.4ghz router and laptop. Turned them off, bars gone and it worked great (Dumbass me )

    So todays progress was simply cutting a ply baseplate to mount the patch and the Duo 5800 too, and i wanted to keep the black theme going so i painted the wood up, looks pretty good ( for a piece of wood )



    Only the patch to add, gutted, i have to wait till the 25th before i can order that Then give it a lick of black paint, and chop its dangly bit and finished. Rubber ducks pictured were put on just because i could, Patch will be added soon

    So there we go : Bar the patch my entire Ground Station, no wires,no fuss, job done

    "If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking."

    - Benjamin Franklin

  3. #3
    RTFM aeryck's Avatar
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    Looks great! Nice and clean!

    The only thing I would have done differently would be to use CP antennas on the 2.4GHz transmitter and the fatshark receiver. Linear antennas may give you multipathing problems, depending on your distance/position relative to the ground station tripod. CP antennas would help to alleviate that.

    But, if testing has given you good results, then it could be a moot point. =]
    Far better is it to dare mighty things, even though checkered by failure; than to take rank with those who neither enjoy much or suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Coyote's Avatar
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    Yeah i could have, but being only within a few meters of the GS i had no problems at all
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking."

    - Benjamin Franklin

  5. #5
    Looks great Ian. Where you getting the patch antenna from?

  6. #6
    Whats up? Ugrd's Avatar
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    How is the monitor, recorder, etc attached to the arms of the tripod? I cant tell from the photos.

    Thanks,
    Ugrd
    Volto: "Asking about range around here is kind of like asking someone how hot their grandma is."

    Me: "WATCH THIS" Famous last words

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Coyote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiberjaber View Post
    Looks great Ian. Where you getting the patch antenna from?
    Simon @ firstpersonview.co.uk It arrived today, 13dbi CP on 5.8, i cut the cable down, made off a new SMA and mounted it

    Here`s the finished product

    "If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking."

    - Benjamin Franklin

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Coyote's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ugrd View Post
    How is the monitor, recorder, etc attached to the arms of the tripod? I cant tell from the photos.

    Thanks,
    Ugrd
    The monitor is mounted by screws from inside the fron of the emprex, you can see this in the first post pictures. The emprex is then cabletied and glued to the leg, very solid and worked great on my last tripod GS
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking."

    - Benjamin Franklin

  9. #9
    LET'S GET PISSED! Pooch's Avatar
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    Looks great man. Very clean build.

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Coyote's Avatar
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    Cheers pooch, all done now, a few coats of plastikote and we`r ready to go play

    "If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking."

    - Benjamin Franklin

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