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Old 11-13-2012, 05:10 PM   #1
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Default data acquisition options

This past driving season I used a combination of things I threw together to capture data on track:

Harry's Lap Timer on my old iPhone
PLX Kiwi Wifi to add OBD2 data into Harry's Lap Timer
Gopro HD Hero(1) for video
RaceRender2 to tie it all together and put the data onto the video.

This was great, when everything worked properly. Unfortunately it often did not. The OBD2 datalogging was mostly not there. Harry's Lap Timer would sometimes miss the finish line, and either give me double-length laptimes or an 8 second laptime at the start of the session coming out of the paddock. Having to export and email the data from HLT then import into Racerender on the computer is livable but awkward. There's no PC-based software to analyze the data. There's no way to do lap vs lap comparisons.

While I did get useful data from this exercise, like learning I could only pull .6g on my rock hard RS2's, I'm ready for something better and more reliable, and potentially easier to use for next season.

My requirements are:

a) it must have its own accelerometer(s)
b) at least 5hz gps resolution
c) needs to be usable with gloves on
d) my car is still a street vehicle, so the head unit needs to be removable
e) it needs to interface with OBD2. Ideally, it will also interface with Megasquirt for when I get one of Reverant's whiz-bang new units.
f) predictive lap timing on the display.

RaceChrono does not have accelerometers.
Traqmate, as far as I can tell, doesn't interface to the ECU.
Racepak G2x - might work; not sure if it has accelerometers; doesn't interface with OBD2. But Emilio uses it, so it must be good.

So far it looks like the Aim Solo DL is what fits every criteria. Aim Solo product page.

Thoughts? Other options I've missed? I'd appreciate any feedback from those that use/have used the Aim solo gear.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:20 PM   #2
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DL1 + Video 4 + Serial OBDII connector is another option (doesnt support MS but I'm sure either race technologies or reverent could help make that work) + Dash 1 if you want a display.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:37 PM   #3
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When you goto MS you can look into shadowdash. It should do a good bit of what you want to do and with a few other tools might be able to do most of them. Only downfall is the glove issue, I am not sure which tablets/phones work with gloves on.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by shuiend
Only downfall is the glove issue, I am not sure which tablets/phones work with gloves on.
None of them do. Anything with a capacitive touch screen (all of them) will not work with gloves. You could sew a tiny magnet or something to the fingertip, my roommate has a pair of gloves he can use his phone with. Not sure how they work, but I assume magnets.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:01 PM   #5
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Its not magnets. Its conductive thread, aka really fine wire. You need to complete an electrical circuit between you an the screen, reasonably at least. Freezer bags are not a good enough insulator to prevent the screen from working. Thats how the gloves work, and its also why the screen gets really confused when its a bit wet and you're trying to use it. I swear I saw somewhere that someone like alpine stars makes a set of fire proof gloves that work with touch screens.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:09 PM   #6
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DL1 + Video 4 + Serial OBDII connector is another option (doesnt support MS but I'm sure either race technologies or reverent could help make that work) + Dash 1 if you want a display.
The DL-1 can do ODB-II and also supports MS. The Dash-3 would be the way to go.

Bang for the buck, the AIM Solo will be very hard to beat, and for your daily-driver, it sounds like it is exactly what you are looking for. I see the Solo as a mid-point between a smartphone app and the offerings from Motec/Race-Tech/RacePak, etc.

All of these systems have one thing in common; their hardware is only as good as their software. If you can, download a free copy and get some data to play with. I prefer Race-Technology over RacePak, the software seems much easier to live with, but that is just my preference. The DL-1 paired with a Dash-3 (or Dash-2 or Dash-4) will do everything you mentioned. If you want something that automatically syncs video, the Video-4 is an option (that can get expensive), or a cheaper alternative is their LED syncro box, which supports any external video camera (eg, GoPro).

All of these systems could easily be more complex than what you have now, but easier to live with, if you know what I mean.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:15 PM   #7
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I think if there was a way to press a single button to start shadowdash logging, trackmaster logging, and video to start recording. Then a single button to stop it all.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:37 PM   #8
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Love my G2X. It takes a lot of black magic to get it working and to understand what's not written in the manual, but it works. All I want to see are shift-lights and over/under on a gigantic scale...it get's busy in the car.

Frankly, the G2X probably saves me tire money because then I know I'm either on a hot-lap or a throw-away/cool down, or I've learned something.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:55 PM   #9
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G2X will do everything you want (on-board accelerometers, 10hz GPS, usable w/ gloves, removable, interface w/ OBDII/MS/AEM/etc, and displays predictive, GPS speed, RPM, etc.). The software has a steep learning curve, but once you get the hang of it they are great units. I love the IQ3 in Rover and I never have problems with it.

+1 to saving money on tires - I can go out for single-lap qualifying sessions and know whether I've hit my target lap for the session right away. That way I can do 1 hotlap instead of 7.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:42 PM   #10
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AiM Solo DL + AiM SmartyCam is a great option program once and parameters are overlayed on screen automatically so no time consuming post processing. I run smartycam + mychron3 display + evo4 + hydra ems. Mychron3 + evo4 is a pretty cheap logging package. I'm a little partial because we sell the AiM stuff. Like any advanced software it is quirky but once you learn it you can gain a lot.

Here is an example video. Was slow with some car and driver issues and didn't have many channels connected yet but still worth a look. I think I am closer to a 2:16 or so around VIR full now, I guess I should get around to posting that as a better example video.


Last edited by vtjballeng; 11-14-2012 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:10 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Savington View Post
G2X will do everything you want (on-board accelerometers, 10hz GPS, usable w/ gloves, removable, interface w/ OBDII/MS/AEM/etc, and displays predictive, GPS speed, RPM, etc.). The software has a steep learning curve, but once you get the hang of it they are great units. I love the IQ3 in Rover and I never have problems with it.

+1 to saving money on tires - I can go out for single-lap qualifying sessions and know whether I've hit my target lap for the session right away. That way I can do 1 hotlap instead of 7.
I don't like how you have to set the laps in the G2X, but that's the only bad part. When I load lap.sf files, they never work.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:35 AM   #12
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Default CMS Lap Timer

This looks interesting for track day outings. Simple, complete, and not too expensive. Buttons? Who needs buttons?

CMS Lap Timer: Data Acquisition + HD Video Recorder and Analysis for iPhone, iPod, iPad, iOS, and Mac
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtjballeng View Post
AiM Solo DL + AiM SmartyCam is a great option program once and parameters are overlayed on screen automatically so no time consuming post processing. I run smartycam + mychron3 display + evo4 + hydra ems. Mychron3 + evo4 is a pretty cheap logging package. I'm a little partial because we sell the AiM stuff. Like any advanced software it is quirky but once you learn it you can gain a lot.

Here is an example video. Was slow with some car and driver issues and didn't have many channels connected yet but still worth a look. I think I am closer to a 2:16 or so around VIR full now, I guess I should get around to posting that as a better example video.

YouTube
I was almost sold till found out smarty cam is only 720p 30fps. What is this, 2005? GoPro is about to have a ******* 4k camera...
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:48 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by cordycord View Post
This looks interesting for track day outings. Simple, complete, and not too expensive. Buttons? Who needs buttons?

CMS Lap Timer: Data Acquisition + HD Video Recorder and Analysis for iPhone, iPod, iPad, iOS, and Mac
It looks like someone bought MaxQ Data or they changed the name. Too bad it's on a toilet phone.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:20 PM   #15
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I fought with smartphone timers for years and Trackamster/harry's would work some laps and not others. i bought a normal Solo because i don't care about OBD data. All i can say is all you have to do on those things is turn them on and go, it works every time. I haven't figured out how to overlay the metrics it datalogs over my video though.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by soviet View Post
I was almost sold till found out smarty cam is only 720p 30fps. What is this, 2005? GoPro is about to have a ******* 4k camera...
Not much value in anything past 720/30 if you are posting on YT, IMO. Even with YT's compression, the files still look great. Even better on Vimeo where you can upload an uncompressed 720/30 MP4 off a gopro.

Bigger files than that get big in a hurry. We chose 720/30 because it allows us to record an entire 4hr enduro in HD on one 32GB card and battery bac on our Hero2's.

1080p/60fps looks awesome on my TV at home but I just about never view them that way nor does anyone else.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by soviet View Post
I was almost sold till found out smarty cam is only 720p 30fps. What is this, 2005? GoPro is about to have a ******* 4k camera...
Quote:
Originally Posted by emilio700 View Post
Not much value in anything past 720/30 if you are posting on YT, IMO. Even with YT's compression, the files still look great. Even better on Vimeo where you can upload an uncompressed 720/30 MP4 off a gopro.

Bigger files than that get big in a hurry. We chose 720/30 because it allows us to record an entire 4hr enduro in HD on one 32GB card and battery bac on our Hero2's.

1080p/60fps looks awesome on my TV at home but I just about never view them that way nor does anyone else.
So, yeah. The video is lower quality, which to Emilio's point isn't typically a big deal. I guess the question gets down to what you are using the video for? Is it for a professional commercial on 1080p or 4k viewing? Then yeah, this isn't the right tool.

On the other hand, if you are going to the track generating hours of video per track event to see your buddies on track and evaluate your performance this is a great tool. It overlays the logging parameters automatically so you aren't spending the time afterwards in post processing (yes, it is time consuming). The files are smaller such that you can take a 32gb card and run an endurance event on the same card.

Then there is file management. How big is your hard drive really and how long does it take to transfer from card to laptop to server when you get home? How many terabytes of storage do you have at home, because video fills it up crazy fast. All the nitty gritty of actually making good use of video takes time that this system helps with. Personally, I want my track time to be spent on the track where i can subsequently quickly pull up data, use it and move on. Time spent waiting on file transfers, post processing and file management sucks. I think this is a much better track tool than a GoPro for the above reasons but a SmartyCam costs significantly more and the video will not sparkle with shiny awesomeness (I thought we were making cars go fast here, not look pretty?).
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:09 PM   #18
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I am liking the Solo DL + smartycam option.

Question - does it create and overlay the on-screen track map on the fly from GPS data? Or have the videos showing that been post-processed to have that added?

Edit: I researched this; the Smartycam does it all automatically. But it's $1k, and I already have a GoPro ... I could get a second gopro and upgrade my system's innards for $1k.

Last edited by Mobius; 11-14-2012 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012, 12:17 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mobius View Post
I am liking the Solo DL + smartycam option.

Question - does it create and overlay the on-screen track map on the fly from GPS data? Or have the videos showing that been post-processed to have that added?

Edit: I researched this; the Smartycam does it all automatically. But it's $1k, and I already have a GoPro ... I could get a second gopro and upgrade my system's innards for $1k.
I put up a more recent video which has the trackmap and something like 12 seconds shaved off compared to the prior video:


My best times are still happening in the winter, anyone think heat management is an issue? Hint, I have a massive intercooler and massive TSE rad that all airflow is simply moving around. 2012 had my shop down from spring all the way into early 2013 due to a move but as a new shop goes up I hope to solve heat management and get some decent power over the summer months. Maybe a TSE BW setup instead of the tiny heat maker stock turbo I have.

As for the $1k price, yes it is expensive which makes a gopro attractive. It is the price of simplicity and automation. Keep in mind too that I don't have to do anything when I got out on track, it just works. No pressing buttons, monitoring function (it auto starts based on gps speed) or thinking about it. On my motorcycles, the audio is pretty great as I had the camera in front of the windscreen but this is less relevant on a Miata. You just go to your track day or race get your data quickly and video quickly and then research how to go faster.

After watching that video again, I have to own up to going through VIR's oak tree a bit sideways (among other places) because it was seriously cold.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:23 AM   #20
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This isn't the high end solution being discussed but an external 5hz bluetooth GPS on Harry's made a HUGE difference for me. You can also set the accelerometer in the iphone to different speed. I think mine was around 10 and I cranked it up to 60hz and got significantly different lateral g readings. I had been lucky got get over 1.1g on a few turns and with the 60hz change I was pulling 1.2 in nearly every corner and 1.4 to 1.5 in places. Or maybe I just got faster from one day to the next?
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