This is my first attempt at building a ground station for FPV (first person video). Now that I have full blown FPV for my Twinstar II and also with a XK Detect V303 I was in need of a ground station that would do the job and have some redundancy (for eventual) mid-range flights. In the meantime, I’ve also modified both my HeadPlay HD and Quanum V2’s to have both 1.3 GHz and 5.8 GHz, so when not using the ground station, at least on shorter, less risky flights they do the job. This article outlines the parts I used and the some of the steps to build this ground station. At the end of the article is a video that breaks it all down as well.
Specs and Parts
LCD Monitor: 8″ RMRC-LCD-8 $93.00
DVR: RMRC FPV1000 DVR with LCD $114 (no longer stocked)
5.8 Video Relay Video Transmitter (VTX) 25mw ImmersionRC (non-raceband type) $49.99
DC Power Splitter 2.1mm barrel: 1 female to 5 male CCTV type $4.55
Toggle Switch: Heavy Duty 20A 125V DPDT 2 Pole Double Throw 6 Terminal On/Off/On Toggle Switch $5.49
Fans: APEVIA CF6025S 60mm Case Fan $3.99
Fan Cover: Chrome Steel 60mm $3.00 x 2
Right Angle Brackets: 90 degree shelf supports, Qty 10 $2.30
EagleEyes EagleTree Ground Station $74
Case: Aluminum Hard Case With Wheels 17.3 x 11.7 x 8.6 inches (440 x 300 x 220mm) $39.99
Screws for the LCD mounting to the plywood backing: #4 .70
Video Receiver – RMRC 1.3 ghz with Comtech Tuner + saw filters $54.99 x 2
5amp BEC/ Ubec $9.99
5.8 Race Band ImmersionRC Receiver $61.99
30cm SMA Male to SMA Female RG316 Extension Cable $5.99
LCD Voltmeter: RioRand $7.56
Deans 1 male to 2 female connector cable (need to verify if i actually used this)
USB Extension for Eagle Eyes: YCS Basics 6″ Mini Female USB Cable $6.99
Plywood for Tripod base on bottom of Ground Station 1/4″ variety (local stores)
Quick Release Plate for Tripod PH-368 $4.59
Acrylic for the switch panel (cut using Band Saw and Jig Saw for the hole cutouts)
“Fun foam” from the hobby store for protection/covering
Plywood for the walls inside the box and compartments (1/8″ mostly)
1/4-20 claw nut for the tripod quick release
See also: Charging Station Build Log
First up is a look at the box that was used. There is a video above that outlines the whole thing as well. This box was listed in the specs section above. The box is deep enough to handle the depth of the Headplay HD Goggles + Taranis x9D, though in more recent days, as mentioned in the end of the video, I have opted to put these plus the Quanum V2s in a bigger box that transports my V303 Quad.
I would have to remove the brackets and “Feet” from the box, which as it turns out is pretty easy to do, just give them a tug and they pull out. I guess that says it all in terms of the lack of design strength of the stock parts.
As seen above, I started by using a plywood backing (1/8″ craft ply) for the components on the lid. I had to find #4 .70 screws that would work with the LCD.
Above you can see how I also used popsicle sticks to give the 1.3 GHz receiver some lift, so that the tops of the components will “sit” flush with the foam I would later use to “beautify” the whole thing.
I had to cut holes in the lid for the antennas for the receivers (above), which now I have 3 receivers.. dual 1.3’s and a 5.8 raceband receiver. I also used those right angle brackets to hold the lid backing in place (not shown).
Next was installing a 1/4″ plywood base to the inside of the bottom part of the case, but first drilling with a hole saw a hole for what would later be the mount for the tripod. I cut the hole only through the case material.. exposing the wood that I screwed in place. I made another hole for a tripod mount. The nut used to connect the quick release is a 1/4-20 claw nut.
As below, I used screws to screw my circular plywood plate onto the other plywood on the inside.
This was my first attempt at making an attachable area for the tripod quick release and as you can see below it works, but its a bit wobbly. In the end I end up using 1/4″ plywood and embedding the quick release in the wood. This works much better using the plywood.
In the image above I did a test of the Taranis and headplay to make sure they fit and also attached the RMRC DVR with some scrap material to give it some lift.
Above you can see how I then used the plywood to make more dividers inside the case. In the top divided rectangular section, this is where the power switches will go, as well as the dual battery connections (for redundancy on a switch).
I used fun foam from the hobby store to line the compartments as you can see above and below. At this point the compartments are coming along nicely.
The area below is where I can have up to two batteries and toggle between them.
I’ll mount a switch panel ontop of this area, using a hard Acrylic type material you can get off ebay.
A closeup look a how I did the wiring for the double throw toggle switch.
I lined the battery area with high temperature flume tape, just to be safe (below). I also had cut the 60mm fan hole on the left and made a small hole on the right side for ventilation.
I also started mounting the various components to the area (using hot glue).
One tricky thing was getting input from the Eagle Eyes to the DVR.. i had to make my own wire and make sure grounds were connected as well (ground being that outer shield, basically soldering outer shield to ground).
Below is the wood (1/4″) i ended up using to attach the whole thing to the tripod, using my circular built in mount, shown previously. This proved to be much more stable, though it still wouldnt hurt to use a bungee cord from the bottom section handle to down under the tripod.
A look at the case on the tripod in the field.
This project began in late 2015 and evolved to this day in 2016. As of now I now have two 1.3 receivers (used 30cm extensions to the top) and a 5.8 immersionRC raceband receiver (used a shorter 7cm extension for that antenna to the lid). I have to swap rcas if i’m doing 5.8 from Eagle Eyes, since Eagle Eyes only has 2 inputs. I usually dont put the Headplays or Taranis in this box for transport, unless i’m not taking my Twinstar II to the field. Usually I bring both the Twinstar II and V303 to the field, so the HeadPlay HD’s, Quanum V2’s, and Taranis end up in a larger box that holds the quad (and i often dont even use the ground station now that both sets of goggles have been modded to work on 1.3 and 5.8 as well as a HMD Mini-DVR on the HeadPlays.
The area under the switch panel looks a bit like this these days (below). Note that I had to custom make the wire going from the DVR to the wiring you see coming out of the panel (has both 12v and BEC 5v wires in there).