FPV Part I – The ground station

ground_station_front

I’m in the process of adding FPV cameras to the ‘copters (yes, even the little one), and have just finished building a portable ground station onto my transmitter.

ground_station_back

It’s based around Boscam 5.8GHz VRx gear, and runs off of 3S LiPos (the same as the tricopter):

  • Boscam RC305 Video Receiver. I added a home made LC filter to the DC barrel plug.
  • Skew-Planar 5.8GHz antenna.
  • Feelworld 7 inch FPV monitor with Sun hood.
  • Glass fibre monitor mount. Dirt cheap, but seems to do the job. I added a metal washer to the 1/4″ tripod mount so that it doesn’t flex when I tighten the screw.
  • Aluminium transmitter stand. This lets me charge and program the transmitter without having to worry about it falling over and damaging the cables, and also gives me more mounting points for gear; I use a battery strap to hold a LiPo on the stand’s struts. I’ve zip-tied the stand in place, to stop it folding back and damaging the antenna on my transmitter module, and to keep a constant centre of gravity on the whole unit.
  • LM2596 DC-DC voltage regulator. Whilst the RC305 and monitor can in theory run directly off a 3S LiPo, the RC305 uses a linear regulator to step the input voltage down to 5V. This can get quite toasty, so I use the LM2596 to first step the voltage down to 8V, a little over the total of the RC305’s internal voltage and the regulator’s dropout. The particular converter I chose has the added advantage of having an inbuilt voltmeter, so I can keep an eye on the LiPo’s voltage. I covered the regulator in clear heatshrink, and zip-tied it to the monitor mount.
  • HobbyKing Cell Key LiPo Checker. This is just Velcroed to the back of the monitor so that it’s within easy reach.

The transmitter is a FrSky Taranis, which I’ve modded a little.

  • I’ve turned the strap balancer upside-down to adjust for the shifted centre of gravity.
  • I’ve replaced the sliders, as the stock sliders felt a little flimsy.
  • I’ve swapped the battery for a 2Ah NiMH one.
  • I use an OrangeRx DSM2 module in the module bay.
  • As the monitor mount just fits behind the main antenna, I’ve wrapped the antenna in insulating tape to stop it getting scratched/damaged.

The quad’s camera hasn’t arrived yet, but I have added a camera and VTx gear to the tricopter (details to follow in another post), so all I need now is for it to STOP RAINING so that I can get out and test it. I’ve definitely chosen the wrong time of year to do this…

 

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