Friday, 20 February 2015

1 Hour Mods: How To Make A Cheap FPV Ground Station

So yo want to Fly FPV

Last year I was really interested in quadcopters and I started to learn how to fly by buying a Hubsan X4. This is a cheap £30 micro quadcopter that is equipped with a 720P video camera.

Hubsan X4 Micro Quadcopter with 720P Video Recording

Since learning to fly I moved my attention to a DJI FP450 frame and I proceeded to build one that I was flying LOS (Line Of Sight). This can be quite tricky so because I had a GoPro fitted and a board camera for stills I decided to look into how much a FPV (First Person View) setup would be.

DJI F550 Quadcopter belonging to my Friend Eddie, we used for testing

There are lots of choices on the market, you can use goggles, iPads, and all manner of equipment however they were at the time out of my price range, especially as I didn't know how to Fly FPV. So looking at the basic components I decided to attempt to build one. This however is a project I built last year before my blog so I am revisiting this with the pictures that I took at the time.

Step 1: Basic Components Required

(800*480 350:1 Contrast Ratio) 7 Inch TFT Color LCD Car monitor computer HD digital VGA/AV interface (Support as Computer Screen) Full Color LED Backlight Display Support 1024*768 1280*1024 Input Source for Back up Camera

Depending on your setup you might need a XT60 connector like I did.

The first step of this build was to open the Pelican case and remove the foam to reveal a bare case. I then used a old soldering iron to burn a hole in the top of the lid to enable me to connect my 5.8 GHz antenna when the case was open. I held the antenna in place with the lock nut provided with it and some hot glue for good measure.

Add antenna extension to the top of the case.
The next step was to mount the screen. The screen comes with a detachable plastic bracket, I used this to trace around the foam and cut a hole the exact size of the plastic bezel. I secured the plastic bezel to the lid of the case with industrial Velcro and once in place it was enough to hold the bezel and foam securely. 

Afterwords I simply just clipped in the screen and fed the cables behind the foam towards the bottom right hand of the screen, allowing it to extrude through a cut-out in the foam. I then founds some trunking on a old computer power supply and cut it off and added it to the monitor cables as seen below.

Screen mounted with Velcro holding foam in place
Now it was just a matter of picking out the pick and pluck foam to fit the video receiver, voltage monitor, battery and screen remote. As you can see below once I had the general layout I started placing the items in and running the cables below the foam, This may require you making a cut out underneath to allow space for the cables.

I used the width of my iPod as it was the same as the 4 cell battery. The screen was rated 12V and I wired it up to a loom that allowed it to be powered from the battery or mains adapter, simply by using cables with male and female XT60 connectors.

Once my layout was complete I tested and adjusted that the lid would close without any force and them placed it all together.

Congratulations you are now complete and should have a cheap ground-station for your FPV needs. This also works great for the kids hooking up to on holidays for DVD's etc.

Below are some more pictures show the final build. If you enjoyed this project please comment below and subscribe to me on YouTube and follow me on Twitter.

Nowt that look nice

Up and close view

View from above

You can barley see the screen but it is on, honest

The sun caught this one


  1. Thank you for sharing this knowledge. If you have decided to enter the world of RC quadcopters, and you are looking for one that is great for a beginner, you need to know about what things to focus on. The best part is that the Hubsan X4 offers all those things.

  2. Could you perhaps show all the wiring so that I may know exactly what connects to what?