Custom ADS-B Desktop Screen. | Guide and Story

Hello, IFC I hope everyone is having a magical day so far.
I just wanted to make a quick thread on how I made an ADS-B receiver out of a raspberry pi and then was able to output into a tiny screen on my desk. I know there is a thread about how to make ADS-B receiver with a pi, but this one is a bit different.

Backstory :

So I never wanted to make my own ADS-B receiver, nor I have I made anything with a pi before, so this was bit out my league. But I did have basic knowledge of coding and all of that.
So I was scrolling through tiktok like one does, and on my for you page, someone shows how they made one of these receivers and got a Flightradar24 , business gold account for free. Now this account is worth $500 usd a year. And I was like, I need this in my life. So I go to flightradar’s website and I go to this page , this had the instructions and parts that you would need for this. And I was like, I am a going to do it. So I hope onto amazon and buy the parts. And after that , I start watching youtube videos and I come across this video. . So , I then go to the GitHub link and all of that, and I was like there is no instructions and I don’t need any of these lights. But, then I found this . It was my golden ticket. It had what I needed. And guess what I get back onto amazon, and buy one more pi, a screen and everything else. So you must be thinking, NC we have the instructions, so we don’t need you. That is true, but there was some issues with the code, as well has it did not have the files for the little case and all of that. And some parts of it was a bit confusing. But what is also cool, is that you will will get Flight-aware Enterprise . So I made two different systems, and we will be talking about the Flight-aware one, which is used on the desktop screen. So here we go!

Parts that I used :

  1. Raspberry Pi 3b+ with some accessories
  2. ADS-B receiver with Antenna
  3. Dupont Cables
  4. 20x4 LCD

Optional :

  1. 5V 3A power cable
  2. Cooling Fan
  3. Powered USB Hub
  4. USB Cable Extender

For Version 1 you need :

  1. Soldering Iron
  2. Solder Wire
  3. Female USB Port with wires

*Please not that I am not sponsored by any of these companies , nor are these affiliate links.
*The fan and powered hub are highly recommend to keep the temperature of the pi down, and to help not overload the pi. The ads-b usb does get hot as well. W

Difference Between V1 And V2 :

So, V1 requires soldering as it is a small size factor. But V2 is able to allow the existing usb hubs on the pi to be used. So no need to solder a new one.

The Housing :
The housing came from this file . But I had to change it for our needs. This part you will need a 3d printer, or better yet a friend that has one. You can also find companies online that will print this for you.

V1 Housing : Download Link
V2 Housing : Download Link
V1 and V2 Back Plate : Download

Install Instructions : Here . *I did not use glue on mine. Or print a back panel . Planning on making one later.

As well, if possible print it in white, so you can spray paint yours, like I did with mine.

Setting up the PI and ADS-B antenna
Updated GitHub . This is the one that I fixed up. But I do not claim credit for most of the work, I have only edited to fix the issues that were occurring. The original one can be found here

Please read the instructions here : Instructions

Next Step : Installing the components :

So if haven’t already go ahead and put that front panel pice in. I recommend doing it from the back of the back and pushing it in. Just like the video. You might not think that it will fit, but trust me it does. I had my doubts as well. Push it until it is nicely in. No need to be too gentle.

Next, we need to put the screen in. First plug the cables into screen, and the put the top of the screen in and like push it along. Again, this time you will really thing it won’t fit. I actually started to print another Version, because I thought that it would not fit. But it does. Just keep trying.

After that plug those cables into to the pi. And if you are V2 user you just need to put your pi like straight into the housing. Don’t turn it like sideways. As then our USB ports will be too close to the wall of the housing. That is the issue with V1, and that is why we need to solder this new port. You can also try to like secure it, maybe with some heavy duty tape or something. I also recommend getting a usb extender for V1 And V2 users, so you hide the ADS-b usb. As even the V2 housing does not have space for it, as it is a bit large. And I wanted to keep a kinda small form factor. The Antenna and really go anywhere, I am going to hide it a cabinet under my desk.

But if you are a V2 user, that is it! Congratulations you did it, now you have a cool desktop accessory. But V1 users we have a bit more work to do.

V1 Instructions :

So follow the instructions above. But the issue that we need to fix, is that the usb receiver will not fit. So we need to solder our new usb port.

Please follow these instructions : Here

*My legal team, did make me tell you that if you do break your PI in any way, that is not mine or that person who made the instructions. Please do this at your own risk!

And after, this I plugged in an extender as I wanted to hide the cables on my desk. The main reason that I stuck with V1 is that, I did not have enough filament . I don’t want to pay 50 for a roll of filament , after spending a good amount on all of that.

So V1 users, plug you usb stick in and it should be working nice and dandy. Just make sure to run your code!

How to read the screen :

Ok so this what the screen will look like. Of course it is not this dark, I just had to edit it has it had a bit of glare.

The top center we have the squawk code

The second line on the left we have the Altitude, so in this case this aircraft is at 1,000 feet. If the aircraft was at like 12,000 feet it would say FL###. And then on the right we have the speed.

The third line, we have the aircraft type.

And lastly, on the last line we have the callsign.

On the original code, the callsign was on the top, and it was hard to see it while looking at from a seated position.

Final Remarks

I hope this inspires someone, to go ahead and make on of these. Best part is if you make one of these you get Flight-Aware Enterprise. I am not the best with things like this, but I did it. It look a good amount of time, and effort to get this running. But with the updated code, and manual it should be much easier. It was a fun project overall. If you have any suggestions or if you need any help, feel free to type up a reply or even DM me on discord Lord NC#2040. (Just PM on IFC first, so I know who it is , and I can accept the friend request. :) )

And if you just want to make a ads-b receiver for Flightradar24 and get a free Business plan, I recommend reading this and watching this . These two resources will help you get up and running in no time! And if you want see what planes my Flightradar24 set-up is tracking. Go to filters, radar and then type in T-KMIA35 .

Like, I mentioned before, I will continue to update this project. I did finish the back plate, you can get that now.

I would like to thank everyone for reading my topic. I hope you enjoyed it. I have some fun stats right after this section, and then some photos. Lastly, I would like to thank the members of the @ifatc discord server and @DubaiVirtual’s discord server, for dealing with my updates. I hope everyone has a magical day! See you around!

Fun stats :

  1. Over 10 hours, of trying to make this system work. This includes code etc.
  2. 11 overs of 3d printing.
  3. $189.72 Spent on this project .
  4. 3 ish hours on the thread.
  5. 10 years off of my life, for breathing the the solder…jk

Images :
So this photo below , was a proof of concept. This was the first time, I was able to get it work. I was at this from 4 pm to 9:30 pm.

After that, I went ahead and modified a 3D housing so it would suite my needs. And I went ahead and tried it out. A better proof of concept. This is where I learnt that putting that screen in is a pain.

This was after I sprayed it, and weathered it with black paint, to make it look used and old. I was kinda going for like a star wars them. Like it was old, and someone found it on a planet . It matches the custom working lightsabers that I built my 3d printing parts, and putting them into a chaise from Savi’s Workshop. It looks better in person.

This photo, is when I put the screen in, and I was like ready to go. I did it it works wowo! I was happy.

And here we can see it working. But a bit messy behind. And this was the time, that I realized that the PI won’t fit with the usb.

And here it is all done!

And that is ! Like I said, before thanks for reading this. And I hope you liked it. It did take a great deal of time, and I am happy that I was able to do this. And now help others to do it much easier.

Have a magical day!

-NC

52 Likes

amazing!

By the way, what’s an ADS-B reciever?

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Thank you, I had the link on the topic. But here it is again, https://www.faa.gov/nextgen/equipadsb/capabilities/ins_outs/

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oh sorry I didn’t realize

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oh my goodness, I just realized I use it all the time and didn’t even know the name of it.

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All good, I tried my best to put links for everything .

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Wow, this is incredible!!

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I’ve seen some whacky things done with a Raspberry Pi before, and whilst this isn’t particularly crazy in the grand scheme, it’s still damn impressive. I’ve got an old 2B at home that used to be used as a smart display, but it’s sat in a drawer unused… this seems like it could be a cool project!

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Thank you . You should try to make your own. It’s really nice.

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thank you. Ya try to use your 2B it should work, as well.

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Very nice! However, I can’t seem to find the Radar filter on FR24.

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Whoaaaa. This is impressive and really cool!

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Mad lad! Nice job figuring that out. This turned out great!

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You’re going to go far with this kind of creativity and innovation. Nice work!

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Thank you so much!

Thank you Tyler 🙏

Thanks, you need to be on the webpage, sadly.

Thanks , really happy that it worked. After hours or trying to figure it out, and then trying to solder wires into a tinny connecter.

It should be on the filter list. No idea why it’s not on the app.

Ha! Love this! Fantastic job getting it to work. That takes some real perseverance

2 Likes