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Old Mar 05, 2011, 02:04 AM
I can fix that!
beladog's Avatar
United States, CA, Del Mar
Joined Oct 2008
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Wireless PC Monitor For FPV

Here is an inexpensive ($40) way I use my PC's monitor as a stand alone, wireless, portable fpv monitor without making any internal mods.
The process is straight forward, requires only minor soldering and can be completed in about 1hr. Best part, you can switch it back for desktop use in about 10 seconds.

1) Find a monitor.
Most, if not all of you have a flat screen monitor by now, and if you still have a 40lb box taking up valuable desk real estate, then now is a really good time and a great excuse to go update your fifteen year old dinosaur to a sweet new flatty.
These can be had at insane prices at geeks.com, frys, Newegg.com etc etc.
here is a prime example.
http://www.geeks.com/details.asp?inv...560V-R&cat=MON
Look around a bit, this was the first link I clicked.

All Flat screen LCD monitors run off 12-16V D/C and most use A/C wall adapters. This is great news!
Disconnect the monitor's cord from the wall and the monitor and cut the cable about 12" from the plug that goes into the back of the monitor. There will be two wires, either color or stripe coded for +/- and if you are not sure you can plug the socket into the wall and carefully test the bare leads with your volt meter. Wire a male Deans to the the monitor side and a Female plug on the wall end. Now you can still use the wall adapter when you want to use the monitor indoors as you would before the conversion.
Plug a 3S LiPo into the monitor's new plug and press the power button. You should get a blue screen and a message that says "No Source"
or something the like.
Monitor is now complete and ready for the add ons.

It should be noted that a monitor will drain a 3S 3300MAh in about 45min. And will Over Discharge the battery before blacking out. This means that you can damage your battery before you will notice no picture. It is highly recommended you purchase a $3 Low Voltage Alarm that will plug into the balance plug and scream at you when it drops to unsafe levels. You can get these all over the place and you will kick yourself if you dont.

2)
ALL monitors will have a VGA input and some new nice ones will sport an
S-video. In either case, for this to work you will NEED to convert your video receiver's A/V cable (RCA)/"Composite" to VGA. This can't be done with a simple cable adapter and please dont waste your money and time trying. You will need a composite to VGA converter.
These can be found all over Overseas shops and at Deal Extreem for around $30 but I would recommend not having to deal with poor cs and long shipping times and just get one one locally.

You can go here in the USA for $35: http://sewelldirect.com/Composite-RC...-Converter.asp

Or, if you prefer long waits and no return policy there are about five different models here for about $32:
http://www.dealextreme.com/p/cvbs-co...onverter-22843

They all work the same and I have found little to no difference internally between a few different models.

Next step and arguably the most involved (though not difficult) is to modify this device to run off a lipo battery. Easy! lets get it out of the way.
The converter runs off DC already and uses a small 5v ac adapter that comes with it. We will bypass this wall adapter and feed direct DC to the unit.
Grab a small ESC from your flight box, any ESC that can output 2A and 5V should be fine and most, if not all, will do that.
decide if you are going to power it with a 2s or 3s and choose the ESC accordingly. Now I made mine internal but if you want to save time you can just wire the barrel plug end of the wall adapter to the output of the ESC, plug it into the converter and be done.

Pics below show and describe the internal mod that allows a really clean look as well as the option to use either A/C or D/C power.
From here on out I will let the pics and descriptions do the talking.
If you have any questions feel free to pm or email me.
Hope you dig it.
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Last edited by beladog; Apr 22, 2011 at 02:29 AM.
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Old May 18, 2011, 10:30 PM
Registered User
United States, CA, Oroville
Joined Sep 2007
81 Posts
Hello.. following your instructions.. My monitor came without the adapter also.. where abouts did you tie into the board inside the monitor? thanks!
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Last edited by savage 40; May 18, 2011 at 10:59 PM.
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Old May 20, 2011, 11:14 PM
I can fix that!
beladog's Avatar
United States, CA, Del Mar
Joined Oct 2008
670 Posts
HI!
ok so I will assume your monitor had a three prong plug. If you look at the hole where the cord went you should see three metal tabs. If so, two of those are negative leads and one is the positive.
If its a round plug with multiple sockets email me at the address below and I will explain.

Once you pry open the case and can see the guts, you should be able to see where those metal leads attach to the main board. Knowing that two of the three are grounds (and there may be more grounds from the housing of the adapter), all you need to do is figure out which is which. You will need a cheapo voltage meter that has whats called a continuity mode. In this mode the meter will give out a beep when its two probes touch each other. Using that mode, touch any two leads on the board at a time till the meter does not beep. One of those is not a ground and will not have "continuity" (or connection) with the others. Adversely, you can touch each lead with one probe and the other probe to a known ground like the metal housing/cage around the board. One will not ring the beeper and that will be your positive.
Now just solder a positive lead to the positive and the negative to the ...well you got it.
I used two leads from the pos. and two from the neg. so I would have one going to the power source and one going to the converter with its internal regulator(esc). Both coming from inside the monitor. You can tie the esc's leads from anywhere on the power line.
If you need a better explanation or pics or more info please feel free to email me at reobela@yahoo.com
Good luck!
Jake
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Latest blog entry: Ground Station
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Old May 09, 2012, 12:07 PM
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United States, OH, Columbiana
Joined Apr 2012
49 Posts
sorry to resurrect a dead thread, but i'm hoping the op is still around to answer a couple questions.. or at least someone with the knowledge to answer can chime in..

ok so i've read this page over a few times, and being a complete noob when it comes to diy electronics and rc electronics (though i learn extremely fast), i have a couple questions. i'm currently designing my own ground station based on this design around a 17" litemax chassis monitor designed to be used in outdoor kiosks. it's low power consumption with an increased brightness and a heavy antiglare coating.

1) couldn't you put an esc in line with the 3s lipo to get the low voltage cut off and battery alarm? totally prevent destroying the battery? is there something to that i'm missing?

2) how much amperage does that converter draw? i notice you have an integrated esc and are running off the 3s lipo supply. wouldn't it be more efficient to eliminate to the integrated esc and run off the 5v powering the vrx with a slightly larger 2s lipo?
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