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Thread: FPV Ground Station Build Log - Finally finished :)

  1. #1
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    FPV Ground Station Build Log - Finally finished :)

    Gday! First of all I'm an FPVLab noob so hello everyone!

    Thought I would post the finished stage one build log (ground station) of my ongoing FPV project, thought it might be useful to some, and well.... Im kinda proud of it Any useful criticism welcome!

    PART PRODUCTION

    A while ago I built a modified mendel 3D Printer, took about six months to get it right, but it's paying dividends now. Several parts were custom designed and printed in ABS for the ground station. As we go through the build log you'll see that sliding monitor base rails, dual battery plug, monitor mount and a few other bits have been custom designed and printed in 3D.

    Half the monitor stand hot off the printer...

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    Finished and assembled mount....
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    Rather nice fit!
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    Last edited by SkySnaps; 20th November 2011 at 04:57 AM.

  2. #2
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    Ground Station Panel

    I used plywood to make my ground station panel, mainly for ease of production. The next one will likely be from cnc cut perspex. To get everything in the right place i found it helpful to stuff everything you intend to have in the ground station into your case and then arrange it to give you an idea of what sits best where.

    I am going to be using quite a compact case so it took a few different arrangements to get it right. Good practice is to try and keep video wires seperate from power wires.

    Here is my piece of plywood cut and under-coated. I had to cut a hole for the cooling fan later as it was an after thought. So, make sure don't forget the fan mount hole BEFORE you paint if you're going to have one.
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    Off to the spray booth for a slick coat of bright yellow. I didn't go with black because I didn't want the box getting hot from direct sunlight, and shiny black shows dirt and smears really easily.
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    Finished and ready for the next step!
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    Last edited by SkySnaps; 20th November 2011 at 04:40 AM.

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    CASE PREPARATION

    On to the case... I chose a fairly compact case size, I would probably go a little bigger next time. Basically all I did to prepare the case was screw in some panel support beams, a floor panel for mounting electronics which also strengthened the case itself.

    Supports and floor panel screwed in...
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    I painted everything black so it didn't show through any gaps in the panel..
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    External inputs and outputs. I have A/V in which will come from my tracking station, 2 isolated 12 volts out for the tracking station receivers and the EagleTree GS with antenna tracking, and a custom dual battery plug (I like the XT plugs from HobbyKing so the plug was designed to accept batterys with these particular connectors)
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    Last edited by SkySnaps; 20th November 2011 at 05:08 AM.

  4. #4
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    POWER SETUP

    I wanted several things from my power setup as follows....

    Redundant Main Power Supply
    Regulated 12 volts from 4s Lipo's
    Clean power through out the system

    The RC Immersion Power Box was my choice as it had all the bells I was looking for including video signal splitting and amplification. You can see here I have broken out all of the power wires and battery supply wires. It's a good idea to tag them as I have done, it'll save you a mountain of headaches later on...
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    I designed a couple of analogue power regulators, I didn't go with switched regulators because I believe the analogue path provides a "cleaner" power. One circuit for each Lipo... The circuit uses a zener diode (12.1 volts), 2 x 5 watt 1ohm resistors in series to give 2ohms at 10 watts with a heatsync for cooling, and finally a fast blow 3amp fuse. This converts and keeps the voltage from a 4 cell lipo at a nice flat 12volts. Let me know if you'd like a circuit diagram.
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    Most of the electronics and wiring done. I've also wired up the video system. You can see I've used alot of filters on my cables to ensure lowest interference possible to video signals. I got my rocker switches from Ebay for about 25 bucks for 10. You'll also see a video source selector in there... This is so I can switch the video monitor display between DVR Recorder playback and the FPV signal as required.
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    Last edited by SkySnaps; 20th November 2011 at 05:03 AM.

  5. #5
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    FINAL ASSEMBLY

    Time to put everything together!!

    Ground Station panel with fan, sliding monitor mount and other bits fitted
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    TADA! Everything fitted and powered up ready for testing. I don't have the secondary power supply connected in this photo but one thing I did want to mention is that I never had any issues with the LED on the second switch being wired up as some have previously mentioned when using the RC Immersion's dual mains for redundancy. Both switches (1st switch top row is battery one, second switch top row is battery two) have the LED wired and so far no smoke or burnt LED's. I mounted my monitor on a sliding, tilt mount on the panel rather than in the lid as I wanted the best viewing angle possible when standing in front of the ground station. If you mount your display in the lid you'll need a 5 foot+ stand/table top to get a decent viewing angle. This was a much better solution for my needs since my tracking station will be a separate piece.
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    Closer look... I got my DVR Recorder from Ebay too, cost me about 100 bucks and it records at 720 res PAL or NTSC at a smooth 30 frames per second. It also comes with a handy infrared remote. Switches in order are Battery Mains 1, Battery Mains 2, DVR Recorder Power, Video Receivers power switch, Eagle Tree GS power switch, Fan and 9 volt aux power switch.
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    The monitor slides in as you shut the case. All ready for its first field test!
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    Last edited by SkySnaps; 20th November 2011 at 04:37 AM.

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    TRACKING STATION

    The parts I've gone with for my tracking station are of the 5.8ghz variety...
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    Decided to go with one of the mass produced tracking kits designed especially for EagleTree setups, saved on production time and was surprisingly rigid once glued up and reinforced...
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    More custom parts being printed for a protective casing for my EagleTree GS, I wanted to keep the weather off my Ground Station as it will be doing ALOT of field missions
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    EagleTree Ground Station casing ready for some paint!
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    Tracking kit nearly assembled...
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    Looks good mounted on a tripod!
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    Just waiting for the UPS man to arrive with some last minute bits and pieces so I can finish
    Last edited by SkySnaps; 23rd November 2011 at 08:56 AM.

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    STILL WAITING FOR UPS TO ARRIVE

    Sooo the UPS man has still not arrived with my last bits and pieces... But this has given me time to finish off the Tracking Station, and build a tripod mounting plate for my Ground Station case.

    Finished Tracking Station minus some cables (Cmon postie!!) EagleTree GroundStation Module was chosen (it's in the black box)...

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    Ground Station and Tracking station each have their own tripod, a 6ft long shielded 6 core interface cable runs between the two units, so that means I can sit under the shade of a tree, tent etc and still have my aerial out in the open. I can also operate without the ground station case by plugging a power source straight into my tracking station(There will be an LC Filter on the tracking station for this very purpose). This way if I just want to fly casually, and send the signal straight to a pair of display goggles I can travel very light.

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    Packs up nicely into two cases.... the tripods take two seconds to attach/detach so it's still a very portable unit, with all the "mod cons" IMO

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    Once the cables I need have arrived I'll be ready for complete power up and see if all this was all worth the effort
    Last edited by SkySnaps; 4th December 2011 at 09:32 AM.

  8. #8
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    nice work, what's the reason to put the diversity box and video rx next to pan tilt and not inside the case?

  9. #9
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    I would imagine that it is too keep antenna lines as short as possible. He mentioned eagle tree for diversity, well thats a combo unit as it is also the ground tracker and that would be better off with the tracking unit. Just my guess...

  10. #10
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    right, makes a little sense.
    just thought why not put everything in a case and just run the antenna cable and two servo wires to that tripod unit? wonder if making the antenna line long would make a difference on the reception

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