RC Transmitter Does Everything

[Demetris] sent in a tip about a project he’s working on: an Open Source Remote Control transmitter. This is one of the most impressive looking RC transmitters we’ve ever seen. The OSRC could be great for a small UAV – just get the GPS position from the aircraft and map it with the transmitter’s screen. There’s also support for a video downlink so flying around New York City is possible with a single device.

The transmitter/receiver combo are more actually referred to as transceivers. According to [Demetris], the radios on both the ‘ground side’ and ‘vehicle side’ can talk to each other on a 115 kbps data link on the 2.4GHz band. Sending commands and getting telemetry to something we’ve seen before, but never in a single integrated package. The expected range is in the neighborhood of 10 – 40 km.  The ground unit is based on a Gumstix board and has a 4.8 inch display. This really isn’t so much an RC transmitter but a computer that happens to control RC airplanes.

[Demetris] has had some success doing some professional development with Gumstix boards, so it looks like he has the skills to build a very nice R/C controller.

56 thoughts on “RC Transmitter Does Everything

  1. pipe dream….Im starting to dislike indiegogo and kickstarter. while I admire the concept…in principle…

    it seems that 48% of each site is ebegging by dreamers that couldnt get a thing done on their own….so theyre e-begging

    48% are just companies looking to presell their next “not so” innovat(ive)ion….so their really just e-commercing…

    and I havent the patience to look for the 4% of truly inspired projects that need an “angel” funding cycle to really make it.

    thanks HackADay for bringing yet another weak project to light…..I cannot seriously imagine any reason that anyone who finds this project of interest shouldnt forgo the ebeggers and just DoItYourself..

  2. “This is one of the most impressive looking RC transmitters we’ve ever seen.”

    The problem is you haven’t seen it… Nobody has, because it hasn’t been made.

    I personally like the idea of kickstarter (and just learned of the indiegogo), but with regard to stuff like this the I think the backers should only support stuff with prototypes. Drawings and ideas shouldn’t reap financial rewards. Roll up your sleeves and get to work. Make it dirty and ugly; by all means hack it together –> but make it function. Then I’ll think about giving you some of my cash.

  3. Agreed, that’s no hack… that’s wishfull thinking… There is already some home made-ish long range RC transmitter plugin available at RC groups… Stuff you can actually buy…

    Not random wankfest of empty promises…

  4. site like that are noble in concept but naturally flawed due to humans’ desire to profit from zero labour. this is a prime example.

    while this controller is a great idea, it’s nothing more than that, and will likely remain at that.

  5. I would think it would be easier to take existing hardware and software and put them together. You should be able to pick up an HTC Hero for less than $50usd and you have your touch screen, OS, USB interface and Bluetooth. Get the hardware for transmitting between the craft and remote and arduino as an interface and house them in a dirt cheap goodwill transmitter from a broken toy. Then all that needs to be done is an app and some hardware / software interfaces. The way this guy is going about starting this project seems backwards. Prototype first then manufacture not manufacture then prototype!

  6. Hi Guys,

    Appreciate you objective comments and enthusiasm :)

    As you will see from the links on the IndieGoGo page and our own site http://www.gizmoforyou.com this isn’t our first device and every single concept that we or a member in our community created came to life and is currently available for purchase in our shop or through resellers and as always is Open Source with all designs available for download. So there is no reason to assume that we cannot make this happen. IndieGoGo wasn’t our first choice for “begging for funds” but it is a good way to get the word spread out and their Credit Card transactions are faster so we can begin working sooner since most of our own funds went towards developing Open Source hardware and currently we are a bit low on what makes the world go round.

    Check out the links in the article, check out our site and if in doubt always ask. Most probably every question you have already has been answered and if not then we shall be more than happy to explain anything on your mind.

    Once again thanks everyone for the feedback (may it be positive or negative)

  7. id have to say that this is something id probably buy, specifically if it could “mix” the FM, 2.4G dsm, dsm2 spectrum, FASST issues so we could buy any RC we wanted and use it with one controller..

    Saying that being unable to “do it myself” would force me to buy it.

    @sintrb – exactly what i thought..

    @demetris – anyone in there up to progressing the Plantranco “buddybox” idea on an Android platform? native Wi-fi or bluetooth or separate 2.4g phone cradle? kind of incorporates all your ideas and saves some of the tech leg work.

  8. @randommate – “Mixing” frequencies or radios is a possibility as the RF and other radios on the control are modular and replaceable. Unfortunately the whole system has too many new features and data going through so if modular placement of radios would be possible then most features we are developing would be non functional.

    The “buddybox” is a nice concept but for the time being we shall be concentrating in this project and pulling all our resources to complete it. If you you feel the need to make this as a separate project then feel free to post it in our forum under “I wish there was..” topic as a wish and we can go from there.

    What “sintrb” is suggesting is quite feasible if you are making one of a king experimental unit. However, we have been in the system engineering business for quite some time. Taking parts like “Arduino”, $50 smartphone and other similar components would be quite unpractical when designing a (hopefully) mass produced unit. Relying on parts or devices which could be out of stock, too expensive to mass produce or simply time consuming to develop on is pretty unprofessional. We have the Know-How on Mechanical design, Linux embedded design and many other fields. It would be silly not to use our knowledge and build a device reliable enough for future support and development as we see fit.

  9. Air & Space Smithsonian had an article in the issue before this one about hobbyists into this stuff.

    The stress seems to be about operating in an ethical and legal manner, so…you know…do that.

    The tech is wonderful. I was into wheeled ROVs for years and it never gets old.

  10. “The enclosure has to be manufactured through Molding the plastic in order to make it affordable in large quantities. We also need to make the actual PCB’s for the electronics, order the displays and work on the initial Firmware release for the system”

    So I guess it doesn’t exist for real yet?

  11. Just what the RC hobby needs to put the final nail in the coffin from the FAA. And this moron flying around NYC really pisses me off. You want to do this shit, join the armed forces. End of story.

  12. If they just made the thing a dock for an android phone and used the open accessory protocol, this would be way more likely to get off the ground. Plus you get cellular connections that way too.

    But I agree kickstarter is just a big pile of people who think an idea is all that it takes to make something awesome.

  13. @Taylor – That would be one way to do it but then we would have to assume that everyone who flies RC planes/Helis/e.t.c in the world has an Android phone and it would not be supplied with the unit, thus limiting lots of functionality which would make the whole idea quite impractical.

  14. 2-way communication.

    How & why is it that major RC comms manufacturers haven’t ventured into this area yet? Companies are almost always looking for new whizz-bang features/upgrades to sell to their customers so I’d have thought this aspect of RC’ing would have matured by now instead of being in its relative infancy.

    Sure Zigbee, XBee and now XRF devices are great for robotics etc. but there’s no ready-made handheld controller system available for these kinds of radio systems, which is why I’m in the process of retrofitting an old Acoms RC controller with an XRF plus a miniature LCD screen and extra buttons so it can be configured to control different RC cars with 2-way comms for sensor feedback, battery voltage etc..

    BTW the XRF radio transceiver module is quite astounding, cheaper than XBee and I achieved 3.4km line-of-sight with default antennas on it and it gives a solid 1km line-of-sight range, so ideal for ground based vehicles.

  15. How does the person expect to get google maps like that on it? To get google maps, you need to be running some sort of hefty OS, such as android or large linux OS. That means a BGA microprocessor or SOC, which in turn means a 6+ Layer PCB. You are not going to design something like that in eagle easily, especially if you are using external DRAM which goes in the 100+mhz range.

    So you have:
    -BGA chip
    -coding for a large OS
    -expensive PCB to prototype
    -a software suite that is capable of high speed multi layer boards, which usually cost a few thousand, like altium.

    I have very very low hopes for this project.

  16. i had an idea to hack together a remote control, taking the cheapest f’ing remote i could possibly find put in a nice touchscreen for 50 dollar and a controller, target price 150 usd.
    try sourcing those 2 main joysticks alone, there are almost no ready made parts for it. every manufacturer makes them, some serious engineering and lots of injection moulds. 15K gets you nowhere.

  17. I wanna know how they got a distance of 10 km. Is that air line of sight or ground thru buildings. How many watts at the 2.4 range. I am in need of powerful radio. For an rc tank with video. The transmitter doesn’t reach the distance of the video. Anyone?

  18. @Joe- The range of 40 KM is managed by a 1 Watt 900MHz modem from Digi. Many Digi modems are replaceable with another and are pin compatible which gives the range (Line of Sight) although allot depends on the antenna used.

  19. As of today there are only 7 days remaining on our IndieGoGo campaign. Although the deadline is coming to an end, there is still plenty of time to reach our goal as long as there is will and resources. We have made tons of work for this project and spent over 2 months of development to get the design and prototype to its final stages of manufacturing. Would be a real shame if all that work and dedication was done for nothing. Check out the project description one more time if you still haven’t and contribute through the available perks to make the device a reality.

    To find out more, follow the project link: http://igg.me/p/33899?a=60860&i=shlk

  20. So… still close to finalization? I’m pretty annoyed with all the hype and hyperbole, it is downright dishonest. For example, os-rc.com says:

    “Become a reseller and join countless others” As far as I can tell there is one “reseller.” If you can’t count to one, I don’t want you designing my TX…

    “LIMITED QUANTITY!” Er, yeah, 0 is a pretty limited number.

    “The wait is over! The most advanced control system Is [sic] HERE!” Uh, where? I’m still waiting…

    Far worse is that you claim to be an open source project and as far as I can tell, have not released a single byte of hardware or software source. There is a bizarre quasi-religious paragraph at http://os-rc.com/89-front-page-statements/87-what-is-osrc-and-how-it-came-to-be about how very open OSRC is. Guess how many times the “OSRC team as well, always supported the Open Source effort and helped … the community in various different fields and applications”? Countless.

  21. So, what is the deal with this Tx, nonsense or incredible? They appear to have a comprehensive website and many accessories available, but then when you go to actually order one, it then seems like its not really ready to ship yet. I am confused. They also have some YouTube videos that show the actual unit, but never too in depth. Some of the features seem really amazing, though, if they are in fact really there in the final release! Can someone comment and clear things up for me, as if this is really awesome then I’d probably be willing to be a test dummy for it to verify. Does anyone actually have one yet??

  22. So, what is the deal with this Tx, is it hyped up nonsense or a dream come true & incredible? They appear to have a comprehensive website and many accessories available, but then when you go to actually order one, it then seems like its not really ready to ship yet. I am confused. They also have some YouTube videos that show the actual unit, but never too in depth. Some of the features seem really amazing, though, if they are in fact really there in the final release! Can someone comment and clear things up for me, as if this is really awesome then I’d probably be willing to be a test dummy for it to verify. Does anyone actually have one yet??

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