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A micro ear phone similar to cell phone to listen to your lap times as you drive would be a plus if you could get the lap counter to "talk". Why not it is the ultimate?!:thumbsup:
 

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Hehe... I can see it now... The talking lap timer that insults you as you drive around the track...

"Wow! You call that driving?!"
"My grandma could out drive you in her wheelchair!"
"Pick up the pace, sonny, or you might as well pack it up!"

hehe
 

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Hank, I realize that RF is omnidirectional. That is why I commented that RF would be the way to go for a crude GPS style solution. Each emitter would broadcast its own number and a timestamp. The receiver in the car would also have a timestamp. The difference between the car's timestamp and the timestamp of the emitter would be used to determine distance between receiver and emitter. This would be the foundation for a simple GPS style solution. With three to four emitters, accurate GPS style information could be generated. If you are going to section off the track with a bunch of emitters, a GPS style solution might make sense.
 

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I like Shiloh's idea... now if we could just get the US military to think of a use for it... they might build it... It could potential put ABM out of business... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #27
As I said, transmitting and receiving data via RF is expensive. Just an example, an IR pair (transmitter/receiver) is about 3 bucks. A data transmitter/receiver pair is about 50 bucks. Add the cost of 2 or 3 more transimtters and you are well over $100 just for transmitter/reciever set. Now let's add in the other hardware needed and you are over $200... not very inexpensive.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Just to add, Shiloh's idea is not off the wall but can be done much less expensive. With $5 worth of parts (plus extra memory, but memory is cheap) you can get much more info. Here's how.

Monitor speed (rear wheel RPM), steering position (via the rc receiver/servo connection) and lap time. You can then plot any point on the track. A little fancy software work can take those 3 items and draw the track. When the data is plotted in the software you can point your mouse pointer to any data set and it would show you your position on the track when those data points were taken.

Sound too far out? It isn't, that type of system is already being made for karts and full size cars. Doing the actual hardware is easy, the hard part is the software to change the data into the track.
 

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hankster said:
A data transmitter/receiver pair is about 50 bucks. Add the cost of 2 or 3 more transimtters and you are well over $100 just for transmitter/reciever set. Now let's add in the other hardware needed and you are over $200... not very inexpensive.
Well, compared to $4000 for AMB...

For a personal system, I think you're right, IR is the way to go. It's what the LapDragon guys did. It would also be a pretty good approach otherwise.

My reasons for using radio in FreeLap have been explained before, but with the closing of the Full Throttle track, I'm going to wait and see if the rumored new track will be run dry.

The Linx LC chips I found for the FreeLap system are pretty cheap, less than $10 for a Tx and just over for an Rx. But their data rate isn't quite high enough to suit me and therefore collisions may become a problem. http://www.linxtechnologies.com It's possible to have two transmitters go at once and have a receiver get both of them, but it requires some data processing that I didn't want to deal with.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Dan, I never said that RF was wrong for a full blown timing and scoring system, it was others trying to say that it would be the way to go with a personal timing system that I think are wrong.

Anyways, I have no plans, nor do I want to, design or make any type of full blown timing and scoring system. With the things I have in my design book, it could keep me busy for a looooong time. :thumbsup:
 

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Another alternative to Orion

There already is a personal lap counter besides the Orion system. It's called the Lapdragon system. The price is very low($80). It uses infrared and is totally self contained(no need for a PC).

The web site is www.lapdragon.com

-BC
 
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Dan the Man said:
To be fair, LapDragon is not without its own limitations, not the least of which is the need to stop the car to read your lap time.
Dan - I'm not sure I see how this is a limitation. Are you suggestiing there is some sort of advantage to being able to read lap times *while driving the car* ?
Jep
 

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Hank - I didn't read all the posts, so please excuse if this has already been mentioned. I would like one that could take readings from multiple points around the track. I don't care if it is from 3 different boxes that have to be laid around the track. I run only road course. From the current personal lap counters, I can see that I improved my overall lap time, but where did it come from (straight away speed, hairpin tight turn car set up at one end of the track or sweeper/mid tight/90% on power steering set up. Then I would also know if I lost something in the set up.

I don't know how you would do this, but I.m not an electrical engineer. Maybe the data would have to be captured in three seperate boxes then loaded into something else to compare data points?

You build it, I'll buy it.
 

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Jep - yeah. Especially when you're trying to choose lines, or if driving on an oval where you have a fresh lap every seven seconds and pulling the car off is inconvenient.

This is why most systems put a dumb transponder in the car and put the data processing trackside...

Lapdragon also has trouble with direct sunlight.
 

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Any system that uses Infrared technology can have problems with direct sunlight. There is no way to prevent this except for being careful where you place the transmitter/receiver zone. If there is a shady spot near you track, it would be best to have the car pass the transmitter there. It usually isn't hard to orient the sensor away from the sun.

As I said, all infrared systems are susceptable to sunlight including the Orion system(their manual even mentions this under the section on Environmental Influences). It doesn't mean the system will not work, but care should be taken to minimize direct suinlight on the sensor.

Brian
 

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Regarding split lap times, there is a way to do this using the Lapdragon. You would need extra transmitter beacons, but then you could place them in different areas along the track. For example, if you wanted to know how fast you are going around a hairpin, you could place one beacon at the entrance to the hairpin, and one at the exit. Then, your laptimes would represent the time it took to get through the hairpin.
 

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I think the "line" for an IR system ought to be above the track, not to the side, to avoid being blocked by other cars. You could build it into a tunnel (trackwide, maybe 2' long and 2' high) and thereby provide shade as well.
 

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Just a note on IR...The orion system seems to have a little bit of inaccuracy depending on where it's placed on the track. The receiver picks up a cone shaped area of the track, if the car is close to the receiver, it scores close to the middle of the "cone". As the car passes farther away, it's further out on the "cone" and is scored earlier.

The point is that it's not really a problem but the receiver should be placed at a point (or points) on the track where the car will be passing at approximately the same distance each time.

FB
 
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