Yet another Arduino based track timer...

Discussions on buying or building timers, solenoid start gates, light trees, weigh scales, and other race related electronics.
Indy
Pine Head
Pine Head
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:27 am
Location: Twin Cities, MN

Re: Yet another Arduino based track timer...

Post by Indy » Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:46 pm

rcrit wrote:My question is: how do you protect the IR receiver?
What type of track do you have?

For a BestTrack track and I'm assuming most metal tracks the method shown on the PDT construction page should work pretty well (scroll down to the emitters/detectors section):

http://www.miscjunk.org/mj/pg_pdt_info1.html

Basically the detectors (receivers) are mounted in a LED holder and a hole slightly smaller then the holder is drilled into the track. The holder is then pushed up thru the hole from underneath (it won't go though because of the smaller hole) and a piece of foam can be used to keep it in place. There are pictures of this method at the link above. (Clicking on the pictures should zoom them and some have additional detail in the zoom.)

Let me know if you have any questions.



rcrit
Apprentice
Apprentice
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 3:49 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: Yet another Arduino based track timer...

Post by rcrit » Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:52 am

I have a wooden track but otherwise configured the same way (e.g. I'm using LED holders, push from the bottom, etc).

The problem I have is that the wires for the receivers (+ the wire to the timer) are bent into 90's and weaken over time and break. What I wonder is if there is some sort of shield I can wrap to keep this from flexing too much and breaking.



User avatar
Vitamin K
Master Pine Head
Master Pine Head
Posts: 980
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:26 pm
Location: Montgomery County, MD
Contact:

Re: Yet another Arduino based track timer...

Post by Vitamin K » Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:56 am

rcrit wrote:I have a wooden track but otherwise configured the same way (e.g. I'm using LED holders, push from the bottom, etc).

The problem I have is that the wires for the receivers (+ the wire to the timer) are bent into 90's and weaken over time and break. What I wonder is if there is some sort of shield I can wrap to keep this from flexing too much and breaking.
What if you snipped the leads for the photodiodes down short and soldered flexible wires to them?



Indy
Pine Head
Pine Head
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:27 am
Location: Twin Cities, MN

Re: Yet another Arduino based track timer...

Post by Indy » Sun Apr 03, 2016 2:02 pm

Hello all,

Over the last couple of months I've been doing a major update of the PDT website's content, specifically on the following sections:

Construction - covers timer bridge, circuits, displays, etc.
Software setup - covers configuring & upload of timer software, interfacing to PC software, etc.

I've tried to address the main issues builders have come across while building the timer. There are still a few areas I'm working on (solenoid start gate circuit, updating the schematics, etc.) so it will be an ongoing process.

There are a couple of custom configurations that I've helped people with and I'm working to make them a general configuration option for everyone, these should be done in the next week or so:
  • option for the timer to drive two displays per lane (front & back of finish line) for up to 4 lanes
  • option for the timer to drive the Adafruit 1.2" displays (they have to be used upside down because of the decimal point location)
A few examples of recent PDTs built are shown below, you can see more on the Timer Builds page of the website.

Image
Image
Image

Let me know if you have any questions.
David



User avatar
gpraceman
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 4607
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2003 12:46 am
Location: Highlands Ranch, CO
Contact:

Re: Yet another Arduino based track timer...

Post by gpraceman » Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:20 am

Glad to see that you are keeping your site going. I know that your site have been a great resource for many people.


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

Indy
Pine Head
Pine Head
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:27 am
Location: Twin Cities, MN

Re: Yet another Arduino based track timer...

Post by Indy » Sun Oct 30, 2016 10:23 pm

Hello all,

It took longer than expected but I've finally finished a huge update to the PDT - I'm calling it the Halloween update. :D

Over the last couple of years there have been numerous custom configurations that I've helped people with and I've finally added the best of them as general configuration options on the PDT.

Version 3.00 of the PDT firmware adds the following features:
  • capability to resend race results (when queried by GrandPrix Race Manager)
  • option for the timer to drive two displays per lane (front & back of finish line) for up to 4 lanes
  • option for the timer to drive the Adafruit 1.2" displays (mounted upside down because of the decimal point location, also requires modifying display library)
  • a hardware test mode to help test and verify the PDT construction. If the PDT utilizes displays the HW test mode will let you test lane detector and start gate operation and set the display brightness level
The updated firmware (Arduino sketch) and instructions are now available on the website: http://www.miscjunk.org/pdt

Let me know if you have any questions.
David



User avatar
Vitamin K
Master Pine Head
Master Pine Head
Posts: 980
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 7:26 pm
Location: Montgomery County, MD
Contact:

Re: Yet another Arduino based track timer...

Post by Vitamin K » Mon Oct 31, 2016 7:21 am

Very cool! I also heard you were onhand to help with the Guinness Book world record attempt, so props for that too!



Indy
Pine Head
Pine Head
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:27 am
Location: Twin Cities, MN

Re: Yet another Arduino based track timer...

Post by Indy » Sun Nov 06, 2016 4:57 pm

Vitamin K wrote:Very cool! I also heard you were onhand to help with the Guinness Book world record attempt, so props for that too!
Thanks! It was a lot of fun to be involved in that effort. Here's a picture of the timer I built for them:

Image

A few interesting notes of the build:
  • the timer could measure up to 9 minutes, 59.99 seconds
  • a filtering circuit was added to the start gate input to handle spikes induced by the 1,800 feet of wire
  • a 1x4 matrix of displays was utilized on both sides to show times as 1:16.7, unused portions of displays were masked by enclosure
  • building the enclosure took the most time (by far)



ironband
Apprentice
Apprentice
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:58 am
Location: Livermore, CA

Re: Yet another Arduino based track timer...

Post by ironband » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:56 am

jzarvey wrote:
Hi all. Thought I would give an update on this project. I was able to "splice in" to our Pack's Fast Lane P2XL timer. Note that this "timer" only displays finish order and for this year we were looking to be able to interface it with a computer to use with Grand Prix Race Manager. With the help of Indy's Arduino timer, some help from Indy himself, and some reverse engineering of the Fast Lane timer I was able to accomplish our goal and save some money for the pack.

Our derby was today and everything worked the way we wanted.

I will be putting together an outline of what I did and posting it in the near future. For now, it is time to recover from the Derby. :D
Hi all,

I our pack also has the P2XL timer, and I'm interested in "splicing" in an Arduino to facilitate serial communication to a computer running Derby Day software. Did the outline referenced above ever get put together?

Andre



User avatar
gpraceman
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 4607
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2003 12:46 am
Location: Highlands Ranch, CO
Contact:

Re: Yet another Arduino based track timer...

Post by gpraceman » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:42 am

Indy,

Had a GPRM user that was running into trouble using the software with your timer. I did notice that the GPRM settings on your website list a Retrieve Data command. That command is not necessary if the timer will send the results to the computer automatically after the heat is over. I had the user remove that command and the interface started working for him. If you could update your settings, I would appreciate it.

Thanks,

Randy


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

Indy
Pine Head
Pine Head
Posts: 51
Joined: Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:27 am
Location: Twin Cities, MN

Re: Yet another Arduino based track timer...

Post by Indy » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:11 am

gpraceman wrote:Had a GPRM user that was running into trouble using the software with your timer. I did notice that the GPRM settings on your website list a Retrieve Data command. That command is not necessary if the timer will send the results to the computer automatically after the heat is over. I had the user remove that command and the interface started working for him. If you could update your settings, I would appreciate it.
HI Randy - thanks for the heads up on this issue. I've corrected the website to indicate that the field needs to remain blank. I also cleaned-up the wording of that section to match the labels, etc. of the latest version of GPRM.

Thanks again,



User avatar
gpraceman
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 4607
Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2003 12:46 am
Location: Highlands Ranch, CO
Contact:

Re: Yet another Arduino based track timer...

Post by gpraceman » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:00 am

Thanks for those updates.

Sent from my SM-T550 using Tapatalk


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

Post Reply