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Coyote
5th January 2012, 01:52 PM
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 :

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/1-8.jpg

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.

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/2-8.jpg

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

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/3-7.jpg

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.

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/4-7.jpg

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

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/5-6.jpg http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/6-6.jpg

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

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/7-5.jpg

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

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/8-4.jpg

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 :)

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/9-4.jpg


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

MyFlyDream (http://www.myflydream.com/ViewDetails68.aspx)
Emprex BPR 101 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Emprex-BPR-101-Portable-Recorder-Remote/dp/B001JJDC5Q)
Monitor (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/300582160771)
Tripod (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Universal-Tripod-Stand-Canon-Nikon-Sony-SLR-camera-/120831925846?pt=UK_Tripods_Monopods&hash=item1c2224de56)
Video Splitter (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/350472665153?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649)
10mw 2.4ghz Vtx (http://www.firstpersonview.co.uk/transmitters/2.4ghz/2.4ghz-10mw-fatshark-transmitter)

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

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0055-1.jpg http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0054-1-1.jpg

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

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0069.jpg http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0072.jpg

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

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0073.jpg http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0074-1.jpg
So far so good :)

Coyote
5th January 2012, 01:55 PM
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.

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0083.jpg

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

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0084.jpg

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

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0085-1.jpg

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 :)

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0088.jpg

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

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0089-1.jpg

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 :)

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0087.jpg

ImmersionRC Duo5800 turned up thanks to Mr Simon Dale www.firstpersonview.co.uk (http://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 :) )

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0094-1.jpg http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0095.jpg

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 :)

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0096.jpg

aeryck
5th January 2012, 02:34 PM
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. =]

Coyote
5th January 2012, 03:30 PM
Yeah i could have, but being only within a few meters of the GS i had no problems at all

jiberjaber
15th January 2012, 05:27 PM
Looks great Ian. Where you getting the patch antenna from?

Ugrd
15th January 2012, 11:17 PM
How is the monitor, recorder, etc attached to the arms of the tripod? I cant tell from the photos.

Thanks,
Ugrd

Coyote
26th January 2012, 08:19 PM
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

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0130.jpg

Coyote
26th January 2012, 08:20 PM
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

Pooch
26th January 2012, 08:24 PM
Looks great man. Very clean build.

Coyote
27th January 2012, 03:37 PM
Cheers pooch, all done now, a few coats of plastikote and we`r ready to go play :)

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n39/cayote64/IMAG0131.jpg

icedfusion
13th March 2012, 06:12 PM
Just came across this excellent GS and registered just to comment and ask a question! With the link from GS to FatSharks being 2.4GHz, does that not interfere with your 2.4GHz TX to your model?

I think this setup is fantastic and I am going to replicate it! Cheers for the build log and links!

ice.

Coyote
13th March 2012, 09:19 PM
Hi ICE, many thanks.

The video link to my plane is 5.8ghz not 2.4 so they don't clash. My rx control to plane is 459mhz so that doesn't either.

I'm wanting to be able to swap video frequency as I see fit. So ill be relocating the 10mw vtx to the antenna / rx board. So then to swap frequencies I will just unplug the three plugs to tracker and lift off. Then put the 2.4ghz board with rx and 25mw 5.8ghz goggles tx. Should take 20 seconds to totally swap between each

icedfusion
14th March 2012, 09:32 AM
OK, I see now. My Hitec Aurora RX to craft is 2.4GHz, so I will probably use a wired set of goggles - I am also concerned about this range as I cannot plug in a different antenna, so will have to look more into how to improve that range. I will probably change the recorder to a japanDVR, but apart from that, I think you have done an excellent job. I have ordered the 'cheap' parts now like stand, AV splitter - wanted to look at the site you suggested but it seems to be down atm - so will check back at a later date.

Cheers

ice.

Holt25
17th March 2012, 07:10 PM
The video link to my plane is 5.8ghz not 2.4 so they don't clash. My rx control to plane is 459mhz so that doesn't either.

I'm wanting to be able to swap video frequency as I see fit. So ill be relocating the 10mw vtx to the antenna / rx board. So then to swap frequencies I will just unplug the three plugs to tracker and lift off. Then put the 2.4ghz board with rx and 25mw 5.8ghz goggles tx. Should take 20 seconds to totally swap between each
That is the badass having wireless goggles to you ground station. Something I definitely need to incorporate later. Would make things so much easier for me. Do you like your fat shark goggles? I have not purchased a pair of goggles yet for my ground station and I am trying to decide if I should spend the $300 on them...

Coyote
17th March 2012, 07:13 PM
Ive had the VR1400`s which were ok, tried the fatshark base a few times, which i liked, but the Dominators are in a different class, I love em :)

Rick~K
2nd August 2012, 07:52 PM
MFD ATT Ch6 ordered, ET breaks too much.

Zeeflyboy
8th August 2012, 06:06 PM
Very tidy, I do like it a lot.

I'm tempted to do the while relay thing too - have you noticed any reduction in quality over plugging in directly?