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Thread: 1st Cockpit Ground Station build

  1. #1
    Navigator KellyR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Gresham, Oregon

    1st Cockpit Ground Station build

    I've only been into RC for about 2 years. I have a Hoverthings VC-450 quad & I've been hanging around here learning a lot. Ever since I started it's been a dream of mine to fly with goggles & a joystick. I had a birthday recently & finally got my goggles so now it's time to tackle a CGS. This, being my first attempt, will be on a small scale. With using goggles I'm not going for the whole realistic cockpit thing (maybe next time ). The plan is to use a lawn chair with the joystick & throttle on the arms. I've been talking with Brett (aka c5galaxy engineer), who as you all know has a killer CGS, & he has been gracious enough to offer to lend a hand in the knowledge department (he lives just 5-6 hours away). THANKS BRETT! For now I think I'll copy over some of the posts from his thread that pertain to this one. If I miss something you can check it out over there.

    Volantex Raptor v1
    Blade Nano qx FPV
    Hoverthings VC-450 camo frame with DJI NAZA M v1 (no GPS)

    RMRC-600xv flight camera & Mobius HD recording camera on tilt gimbal & RMRC 1.3GHz 300mW vtx
    RMRC vrx with upgraded SAW filter, 1.3GHz optimized 8dBi patch antenna, Lumenier DX600 dvr, & Skyzone goggles
    Turnigy 9xr radio connected to Saitek x52 joystick & throttle set with EZuhf & 8 channel diversity reciever, or DX7s/DX5e

  2. #2
    Navigator KellyR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Gresham, Oregon
    KellyR - Is the rudder like it would be playing a video game with a twist of the stick? When I first got my quad I was looking at the ForceFly which lets you use a video game joy stick for flight control. Looked pretty cool. Once I started getting into things & learning I realized how little I knew & put that on the back shelf.

    c5ge - This whole cockpit came about because of the Forcefly. I have one and it started out in the cockpit along with the forcefeedback stick that they recommend......go back to the very begining of this thread and you can see how it was installed. It is not a very reliable system........as cool as it is it just did not suit my uses. I wanted more than just the joystick buttons to controll flaps and gear and the like. No......I wanted a real cockpit feel with real looking controls for gear flaps and others. It was just easier to hack a radio and build my own switches than to try and make the Forcefly system work for me.
    I have real rudder pedals like in an airplane BTW.........Alllll in the very first post of this thread. LOL

    KellyR - Dude, that is seriously bad ass! Did the ForceFly actually work though? I think I'd be happy with just being able to use a joystick, & hat switch for the pan/tilt, without the feedback element of it even. Could an idiot do it? I was a custom cabinetmaker for 15 years. If it's made of wood I'm good, but electronics...I'm all thumbs...but I'm learning.

    Was the ForceFly easy to setup & use? I'd love to at least fly with a joystick without the force feedback. I watched a video on their web site where this guy was flying a tricopter. Looked awesome. Now I want to take a chair out in the field with me.

    Now that I think about it, you've got your rudder on the pedals. That would be a bit harder to fly a quad with a first. It'd be fun to try though. Maybe I missed it, but how do you power this beast in the field? Generator?

    c5ge - Was it easy to set up?? Well, once I learned how the program worked, as with any radio, it wasn't that bad. The biggest problem was the Joystick its self.......It wasn't that great for flying model planes. The action was not that great and this was the 400 dollar joystick/throttle/rudder system. It was just kinda sucky. The device its self is ingenious. I never did set it up with the force feedback engaged.......I just set it up as a standard joystick without the F/F.

    Yes......you missed it.....lol. It is powered with a 12v RV battery. I get over 3 hours of continuous use........maybe even 4 hours, I haven't actually taken the new battery to the end yet. The old battery would start to go dead at about 1.8 hours. The TV runs off a inverter directly powered from the battery but if it starts to go dead the inverter starts to beep alerting me to the battery dying. If that happens, I have a switch that will allow a small 3s battery to take over the 12v duties on the power buss and disconnect the RV battery from the buss. The RV battery will continue to power the inverter and give the TV power but it has no duties on the buss. The inverter has a built in feature that is designed to shut down as the battery runs down and still leave you with enough power to start your vehicle. So worse case I will only lose the main screen but the small standby screen stays powered and I can fly by that just fine.
    This early test flight video is a great example of what happens when I lose the inverter due to a dead battery. Turn up the volume and you can hear the warning tone trying to warn me that the battery is dying. It really is a no big deal since the inverter shuts down and leaves the battery with enough standby power to power the 12v buss for a while. The 3s battery is there just in case there isn't enough power and the whole thing dies for some reason. Its the Flight Engineer in me.......everything needs a backup.......lol
    The screen goes dead at about 4:30

    Mick B. - Hi Kelly at the start of my build thread I have some photos of the original set up and it's very basic. Have a look when you get a chance as it might help you with some ideas on how you could go about a simple build.

    c5ge - Yes!! Micks first CGS was ingenious and simple.
    Here is a pic of my firs attempt at a CGS........Kinda along the same lines as micks. This was suppose to use the Forcefly, Force Feedback system. That is the recommended joystick, rudder and throttle system for it in the pictures. I still have the joystick and rudder pedels but the throttle has been hacked and put back into the CGS. It is the current one in there now. (pics at original post)

    KellyR - Dang...you guys are way smarter than me. I think one of these is just flat out of my skill set. I do remember seeing Mick's pics a while back. An extended stick looks easy enough, but hacking into stuff scares the $#!+ outta me. I know I'd screw it up. I is just not that smart. Now...if you lived next door I'd be knockin' on your door every day goin' "how do you do this...how do you do that". Do you think the ForceFly would be worth doing on a quad? I still really like the idea of having the rudder on the stick. Or, should I just forget it? Was the stick unresponsive? Do you need the gyro feedback board if you're not wanting to use the feedback part of it at all?

    c5ge - No you do not need the gyro board for it to work but the force feedback of course is non functional. The stick centering isnt that smooth and wasnt very accurate either.......just sucky like I said before.....LOL

    Kelly......I really wish you would try to tackle this hack and forget about the forcefly. I guarantee it is not rocket surgery. If you can solder even a little bit or at the very least twist wires and apply electrical tape then you could do this. IT IS NOT HARD!!!
    All I did was replace the pots in the joystick with the same 5-10 ohm pots of the same shape and size that I pulled out of the joystick witch were 100 ohm pots. I found the correct pots on ebay. it was sooooooo effin easy I was ashamed I hadn't tried it before......lol!!!
    AND then....... I just opened up the radio cut the wires to the existing pot and spliced in the wires that ran to the joystick. The pots have 3 wires going to them....a positive, a negative and a signal just like a servo is wired. The signal wire always goes to the center post on the pot and the pos and neg can go to either one of the other two......If you reverse the pos and neg it just reverses the channel output so the servo direction moves the other way for a given stick movement. A non-proportional channel (like the gear switch) is the same way only you just use the signal wire and either a positive or a negative wire depending on which direction you want the servo to travel (which actually doesn't matter because you can just reverse the direction in programming anyway).
    Inside the radio (in my experience) all the positive wires are common and all the negative wires are common. In other words they all come off the same buss and are not unique to each channel. Obviously the signal wire is the unique one for each channel.

    I bought the joystick I am using in the CGS off of ebay as well as my earlier throttle I was using. The rudder pedals are from a computer gaming/simulator system that I bought from a friend but I have seen them on ebay as well.

    The Turnigy 9XR radio is a feature rich loaded super computer radio that cost less than 70 bucks.........This makes it the perfect radio to hack. PLUS......once you start hacking it you will see that it is also the easiest to hack. If you screw something up you can buy new parts for it......even a new mother board. Almost every part of that radio is sold individually on the Hobby King web sight.

    The rest of the CGS is just fluff to make it look like a cockpit. Do NOT be afraid to hack the radio. Get away from feeling like you have to preserve the radio and be able to return it to normal service.......If you need a radio that bad then just buy two......they are only 70 bucks!! Tear into it and plan on it just being the guts for your new system never to see normal life again.

    I could build you a simple system if you really want one bad and really don't think you could do it yourself. The problem with me doing it is the up front cost instead of building it yourself a piece at a time. I do have a Joystick (with a twist rudder) and a throttle. I also have a set of un employed rudder pedals but with a twist rudder you wouldn't need that.

    KellyR - Dude, you are SERIOUSLY tempting me here! I would love your help in making one of these. I have some B'day money left & I'm planning on selling my dirt bike too. Maybe I could make it here & bring it out on a weekend to wire up? The way I look at it is, I have goggles & a ground station already, & when I go out someplace to fly I bring a chair anyways, how cool would it be for that chair to have a joystick & throttle on the arms!?! Maybe even a board on the back of it that had the gear mounted nicely to it with a telescoping antenna for the EZuhf & a small screen (which I have) for others to watch. Now the gears in my head are turning! So, exactly what would I need to do this? A chair, the wood to mount all these things to, a joystick & throttle, the Turnigy 9xr, & EZuhf? Is that it?

    c5ge - Thats about it I think. I have cable for wiring. You will probably want to get from radio shack at least 4 pairs of male/female 25 pin plugs. Also you will need pots to swap out in the joystick but I have tons of those. I also have the throttle and joystick with a twist for rudder. I would be willing to work something out with you and sell you a wired ready to go joystick/throttle system with a Turnigy 9XR(with a set of rudder pedals if you want....or not......your choice). The system would be plug and play and even have a channel buss for you to easily put in your own switches or pots latter (say you built a cockpit and wanted to add a gear switch like I have.......all you would have to do is run the switch wires to the channel buss and screw them in on the labeled screws......sounds complicated but it would be easy cheesy). All you would need then to do is either install it on a chair like Mick and I had in our very early versions or build a cabinet and a full on CGS like we have now.

    Your list above about what you need is very basic and there are other little things (like the plugs) that are numerous and hard to think of right now........but 90% of the small shit I already have sooooooo it would be real easy for me to whip one out......lol. There would be a cost but mostly for parts and a little sum sum for effort.

    If you want to tackel it yourself I am 100% here to help as is Mick and Scott. It can take some time but well worth it in the end.

    Oh yea.....if I built you one it would also come with hand drawn schematics so repair would be a breeze if you ever needed to dig into it.

    KellyR - Ok...it may take me some time, but I have to do this! My friends teen son is buying my dirt bike. He works a part time job. He figured he'd have the money in November. In the meantime, I can't stop thinking about this. I've been looking around at chairs & joysticks & found these. Nothing to the scale of yours, but I'm thinking it's a good place to start (for the first one ).

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    The chair is an outdoor chair that can recline a bit. I'm thinking of making some sort of wood platform that can easily & quickly attach to the arms.

    What do you think of the joystick & throttle? I'm not sure if yours would be better to use or if you'd want to keep them as spares.

    At first, I thought about having the gear mounted on the back of the chair, but if I recline it, even just a bit, it would change the orientation of the antenna & screen. I'm thinking now it would be better to have everything in a box of sorts that would be sitting next to me. Something that can hold all my gear & have the screen & antenna mounted to it. I looked around, but it's hard to find something that fits such a eclectic array of needs. I may have to make something, like a plywood box, maybe with wheels. Any thoughts?

    Mick B. - Yahoo. I've been waiting for someone to build a fold up chair version. Here goes, This IS GOING TO BE COOL.

    c5ge - That is the exact same joystick/throttle I have......the ones I was talking about. LOL. They will work!!
    One thing about the 9XR is you may not need to change out the pots in the joystick......the 9XR has a calibration tool in its menu that may allow you to calibrate the radio to the pots that are already in the joysticks. I am not absolutely sure of this but it may be worth an experiment. Either way you will have to run the calibration tool anyway which takes about 30 seconds. It is really a cool feature of the 9XR.

    Something I was looking at today is that the 9XR mother board may.....just may fit inside the throttle quadrant of this joystick/throttle system and the LCD screen of the radio would simply replace the LCD of the throttle quadrant. I haven't really had a chance to check it out fully though.

    KellyR - That would be slick. If it didn't work I could make a wood box of sorts to fit it & the rest of the electronics. Maybe with the screen tilted at an angle. Like I said, I don't know much about electronics, but wood...I'm pretty good with. I'm not in the business anymore, but here's a kitchen I did a while back.

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    c5ge - Man Kelly........I absolutely need new cabinet doors........lets work out a trade......LMAO! That is one nice job on the cupboards!! WoW!!

    I may just take my joystick system I have laying around and build one anyway. Damn! Kelly has me all jazzed on it now. I have kinda been throwing the idea abound to build another simpler more portable system for either myself or to sell for a while now, and you guys have kind of fanned the flames.

    Kelly......I sure wish you could have come up last weekend and flew the CGS! You probably could have seen that while it looks complex it is really pretty simple. But you could not have made fun of my wood working skills.......or lack of! LOL

    KellyR - I think your woodworking skills are better than you think. Your CGS looks awesome!

    I can't find exactly what I'm looking for, but what do you think about something like this for the ground station?

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    Store the "arms" with the joystick & throttle in the larger bottom compartment & have the top lid flip up & have the 7" screen & dvr mounted to it. Then, in the rest, extra props, batteries, & gear. Maybe add a telescoping mount for the antennas. I like the idea of having wheels so it's easier to drag out into the field. I wish I could have all my gear in one big box. That way I could just grab that box, & the chair, & go, but I'm afraid it would be too big & heavy. There's no way I'd get my quad in this thing too. There's a fine line. Maybe I should have a separate "box" for the quad for transport. I could make something similar to this out of wood. Customized to the size & shape of the needs. Thoughts?

    airtruksrus - Kelly, it almost sounds like you're trying to go the complicated route like I did, Brett thought I brought everything but the kitchen sink with as much shelf space I built into mine. If the catapult can be functional by that time, might instill further interest for anyone else getting one set up.

    This is great if we can get Jim to get started on his as well, would be the start of an off shoot cgs meet in the works by next spring. Wish Mick was a little closer to help out as well.

    KellyR - LOL Yeah, I know...I think the sink is gonna go in the second drawer down.

    c5ge - I looked at these for a ground station. I think the would work but a custom built box would be far better I think! It could be a long narrow box that you could straddle and sit on putting the joystick between your legs. It could even have a flip up seat back and another side shelf able to attach for the throttle. It would be even cooler if the joystick kinda rotated out of the box into position to cut down the setup and hook up time........knowwhatImean?

    KellyR - That sounds cool...a mini CGS, but I was still thinking of using the chair for the joystick & throttle. This would just sit next to it with the screen on the lid & the antenna sticking up. It also gives me somewhere to store the joystick & throttle for transport. My mom has one of those chairs & I've been sitting in it today trying to decide how to mount the joystick & throttle to it.

    c5ge - I have a couple of those chairs as well. I use mine for vanilla flying when I am not using the CGS. I just kick back with my goggles and TX and reeeeeelax........lol. They aare awesome chairs.......good choice!!

    Mick B. - Kelly just use you goggles rather than a screen because it makes you feel like your in the craft, If you cant see the controls or ground/people around you, your brain will think your I a cockpit flying. keep it simple for the first one. then go all out next time.

    KellyR - I agree. I was planning on using the goggles. The screen would be for passengers or if the goggles died.

    I was sitting in the chair today and had a thought. Normally I move the sticks down and in to start the quad, how would that work with a stick and throttle? That's the way my quad came. I'm assuming that's a changeable setting of sorts?

    Mick B. - Good move with the backup screen.

    Just push the right pedal and move the cyclic left and back, throttle will already be back. It feels strange at first but you soon get used to it.

    If your using the twist rudder I would imagine you would twist the cyclic clockwise, back and left.

    c5ge - Yuuuuuuup! Micks right.
    Just think about it and match the control set to arm your quad. I have to press one or the other rudder to arm/dis-arm my KK2 board on my multicopters. Its easy!

    Reliku - Heck, you should be able to change those settings. I have my arming and flight mode select on a separate 3-pos switch.

    Which is obviously what you can also do in a cgs, even if you keep it simple. Just keep the radio next to you

    And it gives you the ability to add a nice switch to your actual cgs if you get on with it, same goes for landing gear etc. Look at Brett's, he's got some awesome stuff there!

    c5ge - Yea.......That is totally an option. I could put a ''Arm'' switch on my dash hook it to a channel and change the FCB setting arm option and............TaaaaDaaaa!!.......I have a cool way to arm my quad!

    On a different note..........Something that I have been working on and for those of you that have followed this thread from the beginning will remember all our discussions about it I am sure.

    I have finally been experimenting with a projector and some plans to put it on a pan mechanism synced with the pan of the camera on the plane. I will of course have to build a new ''theater'' for the cockpit with a wrap around screen and incorporate head tracking. I am not going to even discuss ''Tilt'' at this time......That will increase the cost and complexity to a point beyond what I want to tackle at this time......someday maybe.....just maybe.......Nuff said bout dat!

    So what I will be able to do is pan my head around and look from one wing tip to the other. As the cam on the plane follows my head movement so will the projector so no matter which direction I am looking the center of the projected image should be where my head is pointing approximately 4.5 to 5 feet off the tip of my nose.....lol.
    So wish me luck on this new chapter of the CGS evolution.

    KellyR - OMG dude - a wrap around screen - that would be wicked!!! Are you thinking mega scale, like taking over the garage or building a shed, or are you thinking portable in the CGS? That would be soooo cool! It would be easy to build a curved screen out of wood & paint it white. I used to do curves all the time in kitchen islands. This one here is shaped like a grand piano. The back has a huge inside curve & there's a tight outside curve where the glass doors are. You could just mount a small projector above your head in the CGS. Mega scale would be awesome too! Although a bit more complicated & expensive. I knew a guy who turned his 2 car garage into a movie theater, with stadium seating, & a 50's dinner/ice cream shop with a bar & boothes. It was something to see. If you need any help I'm all up for it!

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    I like the idea of a separate starter switch on the joystick or throttle. That would be cool! Also, I like those stacking tool boxes because, when the top lid flipped up, the screen would be right at eye level if I need to quickly pull the goggles off.

    c5ge - I am so early in the stages of the Theater build (theater is the name I have given the visual portion of the CGS just so you know what I am talking about.....lol). My thoughts are a rectangle 6'-ish long X 10'-ish wide X 5'-ish tall theater box that would contain the 180-ish degree, 5'-ish radius (10' diameter) wrap around screen. I figure I could just build a box and mount it sideways on a trailer (6' or 7' wide flat bead trailer) and use the corners behind the screen for storage of planes and gear. Orrrrrrrr I could just keep it as a half circle cabinet viewed from the outside, but that seems awkward to me and difficult to make weather proof. I think just building a small room with the cockpit box sitting in the center of it.
    I may recruit you Kelly for help.......I am NOT a carpenter at all......LMAO......no, seriously, I am NOT! Thanks for the offer!

    BTW......The projected image will be about 30'' tall (not diagonal) so the screen itself only needs to be about 30'' tall.

    Hey Kelly.......I got a challenge for you! Tell me how to build a dome screen of about 10' diameter so I can add tilt to the equation........LOL It wouldnt have to be a full ''ball'', just enough to give me a really good left/right as well as up/down view of the world. CooooooooL!

    Reliku - I still think the goggles with a cockpit in the plane would be best. Perhaps even invest in an oculus.

    But a P/T projector would definitely be cool too!

    KellyR - A dome!!! Hmmm...that might be a little out of my experience (but I like a challenge ). I'm wondering if a full half circle screen would distort the picture anyways? You might need a special projector for that, or maybe at least a special lens, to let it project like a fisheye? In Portland we have the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. OMSI has a MASSIVE theater that is a dome. It's very cool, but everything is "special", including the dome (it's not a perfect sphere), the projector, the lens, & even the camera it's filmed on. *Although, it is projecting on the dome's entire surface simultaneously.

    What if you just used part of a larger circle, if that makes sense? When I would layout for arcs on an island back, or on a bookcase header, I used a formula that I have in an excel spreadsheet on my computer. If point A is the far LEFT edge of the screen, & point B was the far RIGHT edge of the screen, imagine a line between them with a center point. Value C would be the distance from that center point to the outer edge of the arc. In a true circle, the radius. We called it the rise of the arc. I just entered the width I needed (the distance between A & B), & the rise, & the formula tells me how far apart I need my trammel points to swing that arc. Sometimes I would just use a pencil to make a line, cut close to the line with a band saw, & then sand it in. Other times I would make a jig to swing a router so that it came out perfect. You could use this to make a curved screen with a with of 10' but a rise of say 3'. It would be less severe & maybe not get distorted. Or, maybe I'm totally wrong, & it wouldn't be distorted anyways with a standard projector & lens.

    As far as tilt goes, maybe you could just use this same screen & triple the height of the picture. If the picture is 30" make the screen height 90". When you look up the picture would move up & when you look down the picture moves down. Maybe there would be a way to adjust things so even though your head moves only 30" up or down (as well as the projector) your camera would double the movement to give you more range?

    Making the curved screen would be easy. Making it curve both left & right and up & down...now that I'd have to give some extra thought to. If it wasn't severe I think it would be possible. Just a lot harder. Bending 1/8" or 1/4" material on a curve is one thing, but I'm not sure about bending it both ways. Sometimes I used this stuff called benderboard, but I never bent it both ways at the same time.

    Oh, if you went the route of the Oculus Rift, the guys at EMR that make the ForceFly also have this Transporter 3d thingy. A little spendy at $700, but...


    Well, I've been looking around at flight sims & domes & screens &...I feel like I'm just scratching the surface, but from what I can gather most of them are true half circles. They say the edges of projections are distorted because it's further from the lens & that bending the edge of the screen in makes the distance the same. It makes sense, but at the same time it gets warped because it's not straight on & they use software to correct it. Of course that's because they're projecting on the whole screen at once. Often using 2 or 3 projectors with software to "stitch" the pictures together.

    If I'm understanding you correctly you want the large screen, but you want to move a smaller picture around it? If the projector is going to swivel it make sense that the half circle idea would work. If it's not too big you might not even have to compensate for the edge distortion. I imagine it get's more noticeable as the picture size increases.

    As far as projection screen material goes, I was surprised at how cheap it is. There's all kinds of stuff on Amazon. At first I was thinking you could build a wood screen & paint it (there's special "projection screen" paint evidently), but you might be able to just make a frame & stretch a screen to it. It's kinda too bad the screen has to be white. I wonder if the huge white screen will detract from the effect of the moving picture?

    c5ge - LMAO........Kelly, You said what I have been brainstorming about for the last two years!!!

    Yes......for sure there are a lot of things to consider. I am not to worried about distortion at the edges at this point. I do want to build a small screen that will have the same arc as the finished screen just to see what kind of distortion I am up against. I figure I can build that experimental screen out of foam board or something.

    A great source for the projection screen material is at thrift stores. I buy those old projector screens for about 5 bucks each. I also am not to worried about the screen having to be white. It is so damn dark in the box and the cockpit lighting is indirect so it wont hit the screen plus the screen will be about 5 feet away, way off somewhere in the darkness.....lol. In addition to that your attention will be center screen and even if something catches your attention to the left or right of the projection, you cant turn to look at it without the projection always following your head movement......

    I have looked at a lot of ''dome stuff'' on the internet and I am just not ready to tackle that yet.....lol. I think the wrap around screen will be a good compromise between cost and complexity Vs. immersion and portability.

    I have been thinking about how to do this for a long time. I am not sure if I am going to paint or use the material and stretch it over a frame........I just dont know........yet!

    KellyR - Holy crap...2 years! I think I'd go crazy! I'm not that patient. You've got me all jazzed. I'm not sure how I'll wait a couple of months to get my chair rig running. I agree, the dome sounds daunting.

    A quick way to make a test screen might be to use 1/4" sheet rock. When I was in the trades I saw them bend it around curved walls all the time. Get it slightly damp & it would probably bend even easier. If you could mount a projector on the ceiling pointing down you could put the sheet rock across a couple of saw horses, weight down the center top & bottom edges so that it bends, & test it that way. Quick & easy and not much to build. Just a thought.

    After all this I've got an idea of something I'd like to do, but I'm not sure it's possible. I think it would be cool to mount 3 cameras on a quad. One pointing forward, one 45* left, & the other 45* right. Then have 3 42" LED TVs angled the same. Not up to the scale of yours, but I'd be happy with it. I'm sure I'm not the first to think about doing this, but I've not seen it done. Setting up the cameras & screens is easy, but I'm not sure how to transmit 3 signals from the quad at the same time. It wouldn't be as easy as having 3 separate 32 channel 5.8 transmitters (spaced wide apart on the band) going to 3 separate receivers would it? Is it really any different than going to the field with 2 friends that fly 5.8 too? Thoughts?

    c5ge - I toyed around with the idea of two or three cameras and even tested two cameras and projectors on one screen. I found that 2 cameras and two projectors would probably be enough. Three would be better from the standpoint that the forward view would be seamless but the seam would not be that noticeable with two projectors even mildly synced up. As far as transmitting two signals, that is really only a matter of finding two channels or even two freqs that play well together. That is easy and has been done a million times. The reason I abandon that idea in the early stages is I wanted to make the CGS something that was simple to use for all my planes so I decided that just one forward looking monitor would be the all around best. However, now that I have a taste for it I would really like to take this as far as possible and do what others have only thought about with their FPV planes. Now that the cockpit is built I can do some experimenting. You have got me re-thinking about the multiple screen set up I have to admit though. I am really facing a transport and ease of set up issue as I consider all these ''theater'' upgrades. It has to be easy to use or I probably wont want to use it......lol.

    I think the multiple screen/camera set up would be awesome to fly a multirotor with! One thing to consider with a multi cam set up is the standard field of view of our FPV cams is around 90 degrees. That means only two cam/monitors would give you a total of 180 degrees FOV. So the question is.........How do you arrange only TWO monitors to give you a virtual 180 degrees FOV? You could use smaller (less of a fish eye) FOV cameras and take the hit on your total FOV or add another monitor. Adding monitors, cameras, and transmitters just compounds complexity to a point of ''WTF am I doing?'' that makes it impossible to proceed due to cost and complexity.

    I could go on and on but you see what i am up against. When I first started this thread everyone had great ideas about making it better with visuals or motion or whatever......all great ideas that I had dreamed about also but the reality and practicality lines are very quickly crossed and I have found myself battling all of nuances and experiences of R/C flight simulation. I also discovered there is a reason that everybody isn't doing this........LOL!

    Reliku mentioned a couple of post back about using goggles which I am against doing because it isn't what I am trying to achieve as far as immersion goes but I am convinced it would be the answer to a wider, cheaper, FOV. He also likes the idea of a virtural cockpit inside the plane and I demand an interactive cockpit that I actually sit in. It just shows the two ends of the simulation spectrum that is possible. Somewhere in the middle is the answer.......LOL

    Reliku - Exactly, like Brett says. We're both wrong!

    A dome or multiple screens would be awesome, but it is just too hard Imho. Goggles are definitely the way to go if you want a full immersion (as in, view from the plane), especially if you go with a rift, but it doesn't allow for a real cockpit that you can interact with like Brett says. Multiple screens, domes & projectors or a freakin' cinema would all serve that goal, but add a lot of complexity and cost.

    Well, that being said, simulating a cockpit inside the plane down to the fine details isn't easy either. Just take a look at Zee. LOL

    KellyR - That's the bummer about goggles, you loose a lot of feel for, & ability to interact with, your environment.

    LOL "the reality and practicality lines are very quickly crossed" and "there is a reason that everybody isn't doing this". So true. I can see you driving down the road with a massive flat bed with a CGS with a wrap around screen & hydraulics. If you build it...they will come.

    I wonder if you could add 2 screens to the sides, use a head tracker, & have the picture move to whichever screen you're facing? Not sure how to do it, but that would be cool. Or, maybe not as cool, use 3 cameras on a switch connected to the hat switch on the joystick. When centered, it's on the center screen, & when you move the switch left or right it actually changes to a different camera going to that screen. Easier to do & you could have all 3 on a tilt too. Maybe a little much for a plane, but might work on a multi-rotor. Hmm...I might have to try that one the next time around!

    However, for my first endeavor I'm gonna keep it simple. I was thinking, until I sell my dirt bike, maybe I could start with the control end of things. I have enough now to buy the chair, the joystick & throttle, & the 9xr. Do you think that's enough to get started? Then, later, add the ground station with screen, dvr, & EZuhf. That end of things would need to be PNP for transport anyways.

    c5ge - Yea......keep it simple. If you want to save money copy me, scott or Mick and don't experiment. Not that our way is right but experimenting is expensive. Build your system with expand-ability in mind. For instance.......my channel wires from the 9XR terminate at a ''terminal strip'' that I bought at radio shack then the control wires from the joystick, throttle, rudder pedals, gear switch, duel rate switches, tow release, bomb release, AIM 9 missiles button or whatever hooks in to the other side of the terminal strip. This makes it super easy to swap channels or functions, or even add new ones with out tearing into the radio again........that is just one example of expand-ability that I am talking about. BTW......the terminal strip that I just described I also call the ''channel buss''. So if you hear me talk about it that is usually what I call it. Scott has a similar channel buss system in his CGS also. Im not sure what Mick has going on but he does everything standing on his head down under it is probably backwards anyway......lol. Every one of my switches or functions are in a removable panel with plugs so that I can move them around or re-place them without having to run a bunch of new wires. Sometimes I will have to run a new wire but the power wires are all the same and come off of the an electrical buss system behind the dash that can easily have wires added to or taken away with the twist of a screw. That buss system is just simply two thin metal strips, one positive and the other negative that are wired to the battery through a master switch. It sounds kinda complicated but I assure you it is stupid simple if you saw it. Now when I look back at the wiring I have done it looks like a complex bundle of wires but actually it is just a pile of simple circuts that ended up in the same place......LOL. The wiring itself is nothing to cosmic......Scott and I have spent a little time drawing out schematics to help each other out.

    Like you said......start simple with the control system.......thats what I did basically and look where I am at now.......lol.

    It really would help you out if you could see the CGS in person and check under the hood.

    Reliku - UNLESS you only use the flight stick/throttle/rudder pedals and have a virtual cockpit of course

    Sitting in a CGS with goggles on on any plane, I'd agree with you, you'd be better off with a screen. But a cockpit on board can give you so much more visual immersion, especially if coupled with an oculus

    That being said, a CGS with a screen (or multiple screens or all those crazy ideas ) is something you can interact with, which isn't really possible with a cockpit on board of the aircraft. However, if you have a nice HOTAS system, I think it could be VERY immersive!

    Brett, I'm definitely coming over sometime & bringing the Hawk along, need to try that. I think an on-board cockpit with goggles in a CGS would get very close!

    c5ge - Come on over bud!
    You are probably right!

    I have toyed with the idea of a head mount display like the Rift only something with no bottom to the theater tunnel so you could see the inside of the cockpit you are sitting in. It could possibly be the best of both worlds. I have talked abou it before if you remember.

    Reliku - I don't know how it would work. You should try it out if you haven't already I'd say!

    The best would definitely be a big screen all around you with projectors, just like a real simulator. But that wouldn't be the most feasible. So far so good you've got a really good compromise, but new ideas are always great hehe

    KellyR - I definitely appreciate the invite. I'd love to check it out! Looks like you're the closest guy with a CGS too (next it's the Netherlands or Australia ). It's been 30 years since I've been to Joseph. Is there a Motel 6 or something out there?

    I'll order the radio & the joystick & let you know when I have them. Maybe I'll PM you some links for you to look at to confirm I'm getting the right item. If I have an idiots list for Radio Shack I could get some stuff there too. And of course I'd pay for any of your odd-n-ends I might use (again, appreciate the offer). My hope is that any wiring could come out of the joystick & throttle & run into the ground station. For now that stackable toolbox idea is what I'm thinking. I don't know how big a wad of wires & electronics I'll need to house though.

    Reliku - A CGS in Holland? Who has one? I must check that out!

    c5ge - You definitely do not have to buy the expensive joystick system since all you really need is the mechanics itself and not the brains in the system. But then again you will need to find a joystick system with a twist stick rudder..........I will go look around on ebay and see what I can find and recommend.

    Annnnnnnnd.........where is the CGS in the Netherlands? The one in Australia is probably Mick's R-22 build. Reliku.......go check that one out!

    KellyR - Reliku's signature says he's in the Netherlands. No? You don't have a CGS?
    Last edited by KellyR; 15th October 2014 at 04:27 PM.
    Volantex Raptor v1
    Blade Nano qx FPV
    Hoverthings VC-450 camo frame with DJI NAZA M v1 (no GPS)

    RMRC-600xv flight camera & Mobius HD recording camera on tilt gimbal & RMRC 1.3GHz 300mW vtx
    RMRC vrx with upgraded SAW filter, 1.3GHz optimized 8dBi patch antenna, Lumenier DX600 dvr, & Skyzone goggles
    Turnigy 9xr radio connected to Saitek x52 joystick & throttle set with EZuhf & 8 channel diversity reciever, or DX7s/DX5e

  3. #3
    Navigator KellyR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Gresham, Oregon
    c5ge - I think this would be a great Joystick.....I did a little research and it does have a twist throttle.... http://www.ebay.com/itm/Saitek-AV8R-...item2ed813cd2b

    This is the exact set I started with but it does NOT have twist grip but the throttle is really a good one for what we use it for. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Saitek-X45-J...item3396c22e5c

    The throttle and joystick do NOT have to be from a set.....or even the same brand for that matter since they will be modified and rewired. I am using four different brands .....the joystick base......the joystick itself...... the throttle and the rudder pedals. All of those are different brands because basically all I did was use the mechanics of everything and that was about it. I had to rewire everything anyway so I got my favorites including the grip which is an old thrust master grip I fittet to my Saiteck base.

    KellyR - I was gonna get the chair & the Saitek x52 joystick/throttle combo on Amazon. Gift card for my B'day. The chair is like $50 & the joystick $117. The West Coast warehouse for Hobby King has the Turnigy 9xr for around $70 I think it was. The International warehouse had the same thing for like $50. I'm assuming shipping would be extra & take longer too. I'd rather spend $20 & get it this month.

    Now that you guys got me into this it's all I think about. I'm already planning my next one. Found a utility trailer on Craigslist for $1800 & 3 Vizio 40" LED TVs for $380 each at BestBuy. Even found this whole flight sim system with 3 screens, a chair, & controls that would fit in the trailer for $4k. Of course, that's too expensive & takes all the fun out of making one. It's all daydreaming for now, but it's fun to look around!

    Dude, that AV8R-01 joystick looks awesome! I wish it had a wrist rest. You're obviously more thrifty than I am. Guess I should keep looking.

    I just found this one on Craigslist. It says it's the same model, but it has a wrist rest. It would take me over an hour driving to get it, but...


    c5ge - I got my TV off of eBay as a damaged unit. There are warehouses that deeply discount damaged TV's. They do a really good job at describing what is wrong with it. Sometimes it is cosmetic damage with a few dead pixels as was the case with mine......150 bucks shipped for a 42 inch LED flat screen......pretty dam good. There are some dead pixels but not even noticeable a little bit given the low def cam and signals anyway. There is even one of these warehouses up in Washington so it dosent take long to get it to you. It is DEFINITELY worth a look. I will hunt some more for an example for you. BRB!

    Reliku - To be fair, I'd just get an iron stick or something with a rubber grip on it and mount it on the stick of the tx. Way easier!

    May be just me tho

    And no, I only build small cockpits for my dolls, no full size ones!

    Mick B. - WTF!! You play with dolls!!! lol and you do a damn fine job of it. I think one of those cockpits would be cool using a cgs with goggles. ( including the doll ) Zee's machine would be awesome for me. I wonder if he will let me do the first flight for him using the head tracker. ( what do you think Zee????? )

    philthyy - Just as a heads up to anybody looking into building their own CGS. Check out the hall effect encoders (can be bought at Digikey). You interface those to read the position of your rudder pedals and your flight yoke using a microcontroller (arduinos are easy and cheap). They are great because they essentially have infinite resolution, and are contactless. So they have EXTREMELY high cycle life, as in infinite for all intents and purposes.

    Their resolution is obviously limited by the data sampling rate of the microcontroller, and of course you can only send so many steps/pulses to the radio. Hobby radios are either 1024 steps, or for the higher end 2.4ghz radios, they can support 2048 steps. This is actually important, as the flight yoke will have a much larger "throw" than your normal tiny sticks on your hand held radio. So the steps of resolution are drawn out over a larger amount of physical movement of the flight yoke.

    Of course, you guys that have actually built and flown with your own CGS have probably not even noticed any issues with this, and I could be more focused on resolution than really matters...

    KellyR - Yeah...I didn't understand a word of that. Brett, how about you?

    So are you & Mick the only guys around here to make a CGS?

    c5ge - LOL......Yea!
    The hall effects sensors Philphyy is talking about would replace the standard pots that most radios use. I have not taken the Sateck Stick and throttle (I think its the X-52 or whatever but the one you linked to) but it may already been using the hall effects sensors. Hall effects do not use a sliding contact to change the potential of the circut but instead uses a magnetic field and some magic or sum shit........I really want to try them and do a little experimenting. I think the 9XR wont even need the microcontroler but I am not sure about any of that and that is what I need to mess around with.

    airtruksrus - The best thing to do is not disassembled a perfectly good control stick if it goes through the cal program without issues. Lesson learned...

    Reliku - You're missing Scott (Airtruksrus) - he's got a CGS too.

    KellyR - LOL...have you ever watched Charlie Brown? All I heard was the teacher...whah whah whah, whah whah whah. Brett, I couldn't do this without ya!

    philthyy - Heh. You don't have to get crazy with electronics to build a SWEEEET CGS. But if you do tangle with some custom electronics, you can get really creative and build something very customized and very cool, that fits your requirements exactly. I'm designing a simple, compact virtual groundstation for FPV. It is something I may actually market and sell someday. Mostly, it is an exercise in engineering, project planning and management, and so on.

    KellyR - Like I told Brett, what I know about electronics you could put into a thimble. I feel like I could build an awesome cockpit, but getting it to work is out of my league.

    Okay, 3 guys have a CGS in all the LAB? Wow, that's crazy. I'm feeling very blessed.

    I was doodling at work & came up with an idea for attaching the wood arms with the joystick & throttle to the chair. Nothing fancy, but it works.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A - Looking at it from behind. The dark area is a bolt of sorts with a cotter pin in the end.

    B - 3d of the part that stays screwed, by the 3 top screws, to the arm. Holes make arm adjustable forward/backward based on how far back you're reclined.

    C - Top view of arm with joystick. Dotted lines are the wood track underneath.

    Probably will paint it all black. Any thoughts?

    c5ge - Kelly......I was you about 2 years ago. didnt know ANYTHING about electronics. I have some electrical training and am very familial with the inside of military aircraft but that is all. Electronics is something I know very little about. If you can look at electrical schematics and know which side is the top then you will have no problem. Once you dig into it it will be very easy and understandable........trust me.....LOL

    Oh yea......paint black.......good choice. After all, you dont want to do all this work only to have it look like a video game.....lol

    KellyR - Thought I'd show you what I'll be flying.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've got to fix the anti-vibration camera extension a bit. The holes are slightly off (it doesn't sit totally flat on the center plate tab) & I want to add 2 more posts in the back so that it will have 4 screws in it to make it really solid. Then I'll attach my tilt gimbal for my mobius & flight cam. I was going to use the knob on my DX7s to control it. Do you think we could set it up on the hat switch or would that not work? The knob is graduated, if that makes sense. Would the hat switch just work like a switch & move the tilt either up or down all the way? Would I have to keep my thumb on it? On say the Saitek x52, do you know if there are knobs that could be used instead?

    c5ge - The hat switch is simply 4 push button switches, one for each direction......they are NOT proportional. You could run your tilt channel through the joystick trigger so when you pull the trigger your cam looks down 45 degrees or so. When you let go of the trigger it returns to normal. Orrrrrrrrrr........put it on your throttle switches/pots. Actually there are two thumb and pointer finger proportional channels that could be used for cam tilt and pan.......Orrrrrrrr there is a slide pot by your thumb that could be used for tilt. That throttle you are looking at is an excellent candidate for what you want to do! I used the older brother of this joystick set in my early CGS but have since moved to the duel throttle quadrent (F-15, A-10 style) I have now.
    Like I said earlier in another post I also have the set you are looking at now. While I am not crazy with the stick......only because it is not a realistic looking grip.......I think the throttle is very feature rich. Since you will want all your channels at your finger tips it is a perfect throttle. In my CGS I was going for a very realistic cockpit environment and wanted my functions in a traditional location that you would find in a common cockpit........you know......like a coolass gear and flap lever. You are not going for a cockpit environment, so you will want to keep your channels on your flight control sets and you will need to memorize your button locations since you will be under goggles, not unlike you have to do anyway with a standard radio.
    One thing with the throttle you are getting......it has a mouse function with a small button meant to be able to ''point and click'' the mouse arrow........that is going to be useless to you. What I did with mine was just take it out and add a micro switch (like the ones used on a standard r/c transmitter) for yet another switch/channel function. Orrrrrrrr........you could add a puch button for a trainer type function.........Orrrrrrrrr........do nothing with it because I think you have plenty of options already.........LOL!

    airtruksrus - Brett forgot me so soon... roflmao!!!!

    Have a great point though, blacking out the cockpit does reduce any glare on he screen. If I can get ahold of any Hall effect sensors, could set up a test panel and perhaps a more rugged control stick.

    Finally cut out the dashboard, just need to attach to the instrument panel. I also discovered that the excess silver barrier bubble panel for insulating my garage door works as a fairly decent seat pad when placed up to about 10 layers, feels like the one that Boeing uses on the F-18. Spent the last couple months looking for something that would copy the unique feel that doesn't cut the circulation off to the legs after 15 minutes. Doing the brake rider to and from the wash rack on the weekends has kind of paid off in the end.

    KellyR - Brett,

    Ya know, I'm not a huge fan of the looks of the x52 (it's a little "toy" like), but it, & the x45, seem to be the most prevalent ones out there as far as used goes. I like the look of the stick on the x45 better, but I'm not so hot on the base. The EVO is kinda cool with the red, although a little more sci-fi looking. I like that AV8R-01, but I'm afraid my OCD kicks in when having a miss matched throttle. Personally, I like the looks of the Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog, but I sure ain't paying $450 for it. I also like the Saitek x55 (very similar to the Warthog), but it's $200. I think for my first attempt at a CGS I'm just gonna keep it simple & not worry about it. I may actually be leaning towards the EVO now as long as it has rudder twist on the stick & a dial somewhere to use for the tilt gimbal. I'd like it to be proportional. I can see a use for various angles. One will be straight down & not just for landing. Our family business is bee & wasp extermination. Often times people get bees down the top of their chimney & they can't be saved. They need to be exterminated. Some of the chimneys we get calls on are 60' tall. It would be nice to do a little video recon for my dad. I could also use the quad to hang pest strips in chimneys to prevent bees from moving in in the first place.

    Again, I appreciate all your help on this. I feel like I'm starting to clog up your thread though. I think I'll start another & maybe copy over some of the posts here so that others can see too.

    c5ge - Your not clogging this thread.......quite the contrary. I love the discussion here!
    I would not worry about mismatched anything......They really are all the same. Actually you have so many more choices than a gamer because you get a choice that they usually do not have! You get to decide what throttle works best for you and what stick works best for you despite the brand names. I painted mine all flat black anyways so they look like thy came from the same kit......check em out! 3 different kits here.....the joystick is the X-45 base with an old Thrustmaster grip and the throttle is from the force feed back set because I liked the duel throttle arrangement........The modified 9XR is in the background (pic at original thread).

    Okay...that was a whole lot more than I thought it was.
    Last edited by KellyR; 15th October 2014 at 04:47 PM.
    Volantex Raptor v1
    Blade Nano qx FPV
    Hoverthings VC-450 camo frame with DJI NAZA M v1 (no GPS)

    RMRC-600xv flight camera & Mobius HD recording camera on tilt gimbal & RMRC 1.3GHz 300mW vtx
    RMRC vrx with upgraded SAW filter, 1.3GHz optimized 8dBi patch antenna, Lumenier DX600 dvr, & Skyzone goggles
    Turnigy 9xr radio connected to Saitek x52 joystick & throttle set with EZuhf & 8 channel diversity reciever, or DX7s/DX5e

  4. #4
    Grasshopper Reliku's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Here goes! I'll be watching this space!

    EDIT: Just five-six hours away? God...
    Quote Originally Posted by c5galaxy engineer View Post
    Zee is wrong, Grasshopper is ALWAYS right!

  5. #5
    Navigator KellyR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Gresham, Oregon
    Reserved for build pics...
    Last edited by KellyR; 15th October 2014 at 04:57 PM.
    Volantex Raptor v1
    Blade Nano qx FPV
    Hoverthings VC-450 camo frame with DJI NAZA M v1 (no GPS)

    RMRC-600xv flight camera & Mobius HD recording camera on tilt gimbal & RMRC 1.3GHz 300mW vtx
    RMRC vrx with upgraded SAW filter, 1.3GHz optimized 8dBi patch antenna, Lumenier DX600 dvr, & Skyzone goggles
    Turnigy 9xr radio connected to Saitek x52 joystick & throttle set with EZuhf & 8 channel diversity reciever, or DX7s/DX5e

  6. #6
    Navigator KellyR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Gresham, Oregon

    What do you think of the Saitek EVO? I think this must be an old version. I can't find any spec info on it. I don't know if it has the rudder twist on the stick & a dial.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by KellyR; 15th October 2014 at 05:40 PM.
    Volantex Raptor v1
    Blade Nano qx FPV
    Hoverthings VC-450 camo frame with DJI NAZA M v1 (no GPS)

    RMRC-600xv flight camera & Mobius HD recording camera on tilt gimbal & RMRC 1.3GHz 300mW vtx
    RMRC vrx with upgraded SAW filter, 1.3GHz optimized 8dBi patch antenna, Lumenier DX600 dvr, & Skyzone goggles
    Turnigy 9xr radio connected to Saitek x52 joystick & throttle set with EZuhf & 8 channel diversity reciever, or DX7s/DX5e

  7. #7
    Size matters c5galaxy engineer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Joseph Oregon
    Its al right but if I had to choose I would go with the X-52. I like the throttle much much better for what you want it for.......IMHO
    Brett Hays

  8. #8
    Navigator KellyR's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Gresham, Oregon
    Cool. I'll take your word for it. The x52 it is. I've been watching 3 on ebay. They seem to go for $60-70. I've never used ebay before. I'll have to sign up for an account. My father-in-law uses it. I'm sure he can show me how it works if I need help. We're going over to the in-law's house for dinner tonight. I'll also order the chair on Amazon & 9xr from Hobby King. The balls-a-rollin'!
    Volantex Raptor v1
    Blade Nano qx FPV
    Hoverthings VC-450 camo frame with DJI NAZA M v1 (no GPS)

    RMRC-600xv flight camera & Mobius HD recording camera on tilt gimbal & RMRC 1.3GHz 300mW vtx
    RMRC vrx with upgraded SAW filter, 1.3GHz optimized 8dBi patch antenna, Lumenier DX600 dvr, & Skyzone goggles
    Turnigy 9xr radio connected to Saitek x52 joystick & throttle set with EZuhf & 8 channel diversity reciever, or DX7s/DX5e

  9. #9
    Size matters c5galaxy engineer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Joseph Oregon
    Quote Originally Posted by KellyR View Post
    The balls-a-rollin'!
    Yeeeeeee Haaaaaa
    Brett Hays

  10. #10
    Navigator MICK B.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    North QLD Australia
    Kelly the next twelve months of you life is going to be the steepest learning curve you have ever been through. It was for me and it wasn't just the build stuff it was things like I had never posted a thing on a forum, or purchased over the net, then after I built my chair controls I had to learn how to fly a chopper using a sim until I was ready to FPV a chopper using the controls.

    So hold on it's going to be a great ride and I cant wait to see the first flight.

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