Trakmate - with PC connection

Timing System

Moderator: Jani Soderhall

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Jani Soderhall
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Trakmate - with PC connection

Post by Jani Soderhall » Fri Nov 19, 2004 9:34 am

I no longer want to use software only timers. I do not trust their precision and the possibility to compare times of a software timer with those of a stand alone system. I have asked for a new Trakmate timer with PC output, either continuous or at the end of the race (just as good). Simply whatever is the easiest to develop for Trakmate.

What is done on the PC end will be up to software developers, not Trakmate, to solve. I'll have one of my guys write some routines for picking up the values, but I'm not sure I want to replicate the full spreadsheet capabilities of Dan's spreadsheets. I guess we'll just work out a way to feed him the data, so he can continue his work.

To make this development happen (sooner rather than later) the Trakmate developer needs to know there is a need for this functionality and that he'll be able to sell more than 2 systems. If you support this idea, make your voice heard here. If you want to purchase such a system let me know so that we can make a first accumulated order.

Let's end the timing mess!

Trakmate is an excellent system and stand alone timers use proven technology and doesn't suffer from Microsoft variability...

I'm using either pressure strips or light beams, or a combination of both. Works great. Sometimes the light beams are better (at the end of the course), while pressure strips are better on the ramp itself.

/Jani

Pat Chewning
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Stand-alone timer with PC interface would be ideal

Post by Pat Chewning » Sat Nov 20, 2004 12:55 am

Yes Jani, a stand-alone timer with an optional PC interface would be ideal, as you would get the best of both worlds. Lynn Kramer has built a timer using a STAMP microcontroller which would potentially have the capability to upload times to a PC. You might ask her what her plans are....

If something like this were to be built, it would be nice:
-- Standalone and portable -- does not rely on a PC -- good for practices
-- Allows upload of times and reaction times to a PC for big races.

I can't add myself to a potential purchase, though. I'm quite satisfied with the Chronocone timer. But I can sure see the attraction of this approach.

-- Pat

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Post by Jani Soderhall » Wed Nov 24, 2004 5:34 am

No interest???

Really, nobody wants a timer that outputs the results to a PC?

Riderz want one. I want one. I'm sure there are others out there that would want one.

/Jani

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Post by Ricky Byrd » Wed Nov 24, 2004 12:35 pm

Count me in!

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Tag-Heuer

Post by Jadranko Radovanovic » Wed Nov 24, 2004 5:45 pm

I had today a meeting with the account manager of the Tag-Heuer company, how makes chronemeter for the formula 1, FIS SKI and Really.

We will buy a system from them for our next race in Grueningen.
It is the official timing system of parallel snowboard races. You can connect the system with a computer or run it without a PC. On the Chrono you have a termo printer and a backup system.

We will buy 4 cells, 2 digits lines for show the times, and a clock starting timer. Then you can see the falsstarts like in morro bay. There is a gps in the clock to get the european time from the atom clock in frankfurt.

The chrono is to 1/250'000 exact.

If somebody from Europe is interest in, we will rent it out.

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Post by Vincent Berruchon » Wed Nov 24, 2004 6:08 pm

But can we have an idea of the price of the Trakmate system Jani?

(I suppose Tag Heuer is a lot more expensive...)

Jani Soderhall
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Pricing, timing systems

Post by Jani Soderhall » Wed Nov 24, 2004 6:15 pm

My guesses:

Tag Heuer, clock only, $1500
Trakmate, clock only, $250

For sure quality and precision is not the same, but Trakmate's is probably enough for slalom racing.

If we can get a few orders in for Trakmate at the same time I hope that the price will not increase much despite the added functionality.

/Jani

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Post by Jadranko Radovanovic » Thu Nov 25, 2004 12:25 pm

Tag-Heuer the whole system cost $ 15'000 (without 7.6% taxes)
clock only: $ 2800

It's very easy to connect the components with the timer and PC.

And the important thing is. The system is tested and the components works without problems together.

The expensive thing are the digts how show you the time. All the riders and spectators can see the time. The speaker needn't to say the time and you needn't to understand any language. You can read it from the display. The display is very big and cost $ 2800 for one lane.

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Post by Paul Pellerin » Tue Nov 30, 2004 1:13 am

Jani,

How much is the total cost for the timing system ($250 clock only)? I'm new to slalom and the only one in my area. John Gilmour suggested purchasing a timing system for practice. I would purchase one if reasonable.

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Post by Jani Soderhall » Tue Nov 30, 2004 9:18 am

Paul,

The $250 clock price is an approximation. You should be able to get one cheaper if you don't want the latest features. Try an ad on this forum. I'd be happy to sell one of mine if you can't find one closer.

What you need to add is:

- Cabling, for one or two courses, of the length you desire. If its just for practice you only need to buy for one course, at least to start with.
- Tape switches. All you need is 2 times 1 m wide tape switches. I've heard that they are "expensive". But it can't be that much. But maybe they don't sell small quantities.

This company has a short description of these pieces, but doesn't sell them.
http://www.industrialsolutions.ie/Guard ... tches.html
(I have switches similar to the 131A model. Don't know about any of the electrical details though).
I remember there was a company with the name TapeSwitches.com or .co.uk, but I couldn't find them just right now. I'll look around a bit more.

John Gilmour will tell you everything you need to know about these things.

If you want to buy a timer from me I'll include two used ones. JG once upon a time made sure I had enough for the ISSA needs. I'm down to a minimum now, but maybe I can spare two.

/Jani

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Tape switches, wire, etc

Post by Pat Chewning » Wed Dec 01, 2004 12:08 am

See tapeswitch specifications here: http://ftp.tapeswitch.com/pub/cfrs.pdf

We have had sucess with models 131 and 101 . They are about $50 each.

I did have limited success with my home-made tape switches (see "low cost timer" on this forum). Not really recommended unless you have a lot more time than money. I'm thankful that our sponsors, Daddies Board Shop, bought tape switches for us.

You will also need wire. In North America, the wire to use is 4-conductor Modular telephone wire (stranded). Also known as "silver satin" wire. I recommend stranded wire over the less expensive solid conductor wire, since the stranded wire is less likely to break as it is wound up and unwound for each use. 1000 feet of wire is about $40

You can use the RJ11 connectors on the modular telephone wire. You will also want to have some couplers and some "T" or "Y" connectors. A batch of that stuff is about $25, plus a tool to crimp the connector onto the wire ($20).

Unfortunately, I don't know if this wire and connector styles are available outside of North America. This is the wire type and connector that is used to go from a laptop computer with an internal modem to connect to the telephone line in the wall. It might be different in other countries???

One suggested way to connect this together is described at:
http://home.comcast.net/~pchewn/Chronoc ... l_V4_0.doc

Be aware that the Trackmate timer may use a slightly different connector style (I don't have a Trackmate).

If you are handy with electronics at all, you can use the Chronocone software downloaded from my site. Some people have had success connecting tape switches directly to a USB game-pad device for the hardware interface. It works! That will save you the cost of a hardware timer, but the downside is that you will need a laptop to do any timing at all (even for practice).

I find that about 90% of the time and effort in setting up a timing system is the switches and wire, so really I don't mind a few extra minutes to connect the laptop and the Chronocone system. For the best in portability and ease of setup, the wireless timers are great!

-- Good luck,

Pat

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Trakmate PC connection

Post by Jani Soderhall » Fri Dec 08, 2006 2:17 am

Here's something I wrote at NCDSA but never managed to post. It kept telling me that I had not entered the visual number, which I had, so I had to give up. Feel free to copy and paste this onto NCDSA.

Trakmate PC connection

I have discussed this topic with Daniel at Trakmate for a long time and this autumn he accepted to get going providing a PC output to the Trakmate. He should be on the task, but probably needs to be reminded that we're waiting for it. I didn't push him as I considered we had almost 6 months to go at the time he committed to it. I ordered 4 just to make sure he was motivated to take on the task. I have had no news for a while.

When we have the PC output we have to write out own routines to get the times into our software (Gesmers spreadsheet or another such as the EttSexEtt program), but that's easily done.

Adding split times could probably be done, but it needs more connections into the timer, thus some redesign is needed so I think he'll be reluctant to do it. Let's have him finish the PC output first. With that we should be able to play around with different ways to send the signal onward to large displays, be it pc's or displays that can take output from PC's. Like that the PC can prepare the listings etc. The timer itself could never do that (as we need cone counts etc to make it complete). Ideally we should be able to loan or rent large displays from a sports club or stadium.

/Jani

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They are here!

Post by Jani Soderhall » Tue Feb 20, 2007 11:54 am

I have received the new timers - Version 6.2.

We used one this weekend at the Pirates race in Paris.


FOR SALE
I want to sell at least two of the 4 I have received.

(I only purchased 4 to push Daniel into adding this much awaited feature - upload of results to a PC).


/Jani

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Post by Sven Lippert » Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:40 pm

he jani,

the berliners like kongo, peter, marky, me and so on are looking for a timing system as well as frank beste from cologne and his buddy. i mean we are lokking for an affordable version. how much do they cost inkl. shipping ???

cheers from berlin

svenne

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Post by Marcus Seyffarth » Thu Mar 01, 2007 10:11 pm

Actually its version 6.3 or at least the one I got from you Jani.

Whatever, if anyone happens to stumble across one of these and would like to connect them to a PC to check them out you can always try my ugly app that I made for Chris Chaput so that he could test his Trackmates, save data to a database and send a text string to some external display with a given IP.

Download it at:
http://www.ettsexett.com/200/TrackMate_v20.zip

The instructions are kind of vague but from what I've understod you change between starting modes by holding down the top button on startup. You change between IR or Tapeswitch mode by holding down middle button on startup. And you connect the PC on the side and receive data seriall @ 9600bps/no parity/8bit/1stopbit/none. And the format of the string is @0xLyTnnnnn where x is 0 or 1 and represents starttime or finish time, y can be 0 or 1 and represents lane, nnnnn is the time in milliseconds (can be negative).

/Marcus

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TrackMate 6.3

Post by Neil Orta » Wed May 02, 2007 9:19 pm

I was wondering how they were working and if you still had one for sale, I am looking to get one. Email the information please.

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Post by jeff bonny » Thu May 03, 2007 9:22 pm

Hey Marcus, the link to your software won't work for me. Could you fix the link or email it to jeffbonny@shaw.ca?

Thanks.
jeff

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Post by Marcus Seyffarth » Thu May 03, 2007 9:59 pm

My bad, I took the project offline. I started working on a whole race management system, but kind of gave up a few weeks ago. Perhaps I'll continue some time later. Until then there is a light version that I made that just works like a log. Download it and try it at:

http://www.ettsexett.com/200/ExtendedTimerBasic_v1.zip

For those who feel like testing the unfinished (but working) system try this.
http://www.ettsexett.com/200/ExtendedTimer_v069.zip

Feedback is more than welcome!
/Marcus

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Post by jeff bonny » Fri May 04, 2007 1:45 am

Got 'em. THANKS!

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