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Old 06-01-2012, 11:44 AM   #16
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Is that a BetaBrite BigDot? RC Scoring Pro should work with any single line sign (with Alpha protocol support) that has at least 14 characters. It was written with the 213-C in mind, but I bet a BigDot would work too.

My big sign (4200C) has a special chipset in it because it was custom built by Adaptive for Avaya phone systems to display call stats in call centers. I didn't know this when I bought it, I figured it was a normal 4200C. The serial connection on it seems to be locked out, and I figured I was out of luck. But, it has a network interface on it, so I connected my laptop to that port directly, fired up tcpdump and started sniffing the traffic. The NIC on the sign was trying to ARP, and revealed its IP address. I set my computer to an IP on the same network, connected to its only open port (tcp/3001) and dumped commands to it just like I would the signs over serial. Lo and behold, it worked! So my 8 line signs talk over 9600 baud serial, which is why they're a little slow to refresh, and the 4200C talks over a private network via a second NIC on the scoring machine.
You dug into it deeper then I did... again nice work!!!
Its an alpha 4120 (about half the width of the 4200), also have 2 4200's, another thats about twice as high as the 4200... and a big dot.

The 4120 has a custom chip in it... funny thing is, its the only one that will display the full sreen with the race software... the others just show small charcters in the center of the screen...

All mine have the network interface on them... but it doesn't work on one of the 4200's... have to program it with a remote... (pain in the ars)

I'm using older puters that have serial ports, and the signs all came with the adapter... I just use phone cable to connect them.
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:52 AM   #17
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You dug into it deeper then I did... again nice work!!!
Its an alpha 4120 (about half the width of the 4200), also have 2 4200's, another thats about twice as high as the 4200... and a big dot.

The 4120 has a custom chip in it... funny thing is, its the only one that will display the full sreen with the race software... the others just show small charcters in the center of the screen...

All mine have the network interface on them... but it doesn't work on one of the 4200's... have to program it with a remote... (pain in the ars)

I'm using older puters that have serial ports, and the signs all came with the adapter... I just use phone cable to connect them.
The 4x series can be a 1/2/3 line sign depending on the size of the font. You can also do double wide/tall fonts like I did with the clock. RC Scoring Pro sends a lot of defaults that would almost definitely make the 4x signs display in the middle in the default font. That output would need to be changed to take full advantage of the sign's width/height options. That's sort of beyond the scope of what RCSP was intended to do. It's what started me down the road of writing my own software to drive the signs.

I let Doug know about this project a while back. I'll send him a link to this thread, if he sees people are doing interesting things with other signs, maybe he'd expand that functionality within RCSP.
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Old 06-01-2012, 01:01 PM   #18
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Hi syndr0me,

I've been planning on doing something "similar", and see if my local track would like it.
However, I'm having problems with figuring out where to get the racing data. I've been looking at AMBs timing-boxes and the protocol there, but if it's possible to get it from RCSP, that would make it a lot easier (and hopefully cheaper).

How did you test your system while developing it? Did you have a copy of RCSP? Is there an "evaluation" version of it that one could use for developing?

My current plans are to have a server getting the racing-data "somehow", processing it, and presenting its data in a few different ways to either web-browsers, or custom-written applications.
Presenting it to webbrowsers is appealing, as it would allow everyone have their own timing-board (if they have a laptop or smartphone), regardless of where on the track they are.
I'd love it for just giving me instant lap-times during practice.
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Old 06-01-2012, 02:09 PM   #19
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Hi syndr0me,

I've been planning on doing something "similar", and see if my local track would like it.
However, I'm having problems with figuring out where to get the racing data. I've been looking at AMBs timing-boxes and the protocol there, but if it's possible to get it from RCSP, that would make it a lot easier (and hopefully cheaper).

How did you test your system while developing it? Did you have a copy of RCSP? Is there an "evaluation" version of it that one could use for developing?

My current plans are to have a server getting the racing-data "somehow", processing it, and presenting its data in a few different ways to either web-browsers, or custom-written applications.
Presenting it to webbrowsers is appealing, as it would allow everyone have their own timing-board (if they have a laptop or smartphone), regardless of where on the track they are.
I'd love it for just giving me instant lap-times during practice.
I built the track a new scoring machine at the same time, so I put a copy of RC Scoring Pro on there, and we use it now as our only scoring machine. I don't know about a trial, we've got a registered version.

RC Scoring Pro writes out a few XML files under the root directory of RCSP, one of which is called driverData.xml. This file has all the information you would need to create something like, say, LiveRC. It's the source of their data, and what I use to drive my signs during a race. You could probably leverage that for your local display. If LED signs aren't your thing, how about a cheap LCD TV that acts as a second monitor? I think there's probably stuff out there designed to make using TV's as an overhead display easy.

RC Scoring Pro has support, it seems, for a program called Lapper. It gives you a client/server setup allowing you to see race data from the Lapper client if you're on the same network and the scoring machine, and it has the Lapper server enabled. I talked to Doug a while back about getting access to the client, but I'm not sure if he ever finished it.

Honestly, if your track is on LiveRC, and you've got a laptop with internet access, it's easy enough to keep track of scoring that way. Or even use the mobile version on your smart phone (mobile.liverc.com). That's what I do.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:13 PM   #20
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I built the track a new scoring machine at the same time, so I put a copy of RC Scoring Pro on there, and we use it now as our only scoring machine. I don't know about a trial, we've got a registered version.
Seems like I'll haveto go plead my case to RCSP to see if I can get a trial version.

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RC Scoring Pro writes out a few XML files under the root directory of RCSP, one of which is called driverData.xml. This file has all the information you would need to create something like, say, LiveRC. It's the source of their data, and what I use to drive my signs during a race. You could probably leverage that for your local display.
Yep, that's the kind of data I'm after. Once I have that, I can process and derive the data with what I need in addition.
I'm not thinking about a single local display though. I'm thinking that everyone thats at the track can get their own personalized display through their webbrowser or application. When I'm practicing, all I see are my laptimes for example.
During large events, Team Tamiya can have their personalized display showing only their drivers, etc, etc.

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If LED signs aren't your thing, how about a cheap LCD TV that acts as a second monitor? I think there's probably stuff out there designed to make using TV's as an overhead display easy.
Connecting a TV to a computer is easy stuff. Most TVs these days have VGA and/or HDMI in. HDMI == DVI (with $5 adapter), so not an issue.

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Honestly, if your track is on LiveRC, and you've got a laptop with internet access, it's easy enough to keep track of scoring that way. Or even use the mobile version on your smart phone (mobile.liverc.com). That's what I do.
LiveRC is awesome, but there's no way to customize the display for the type of information you want, and their page is a bit "cluttered" to say the least.
I'm aiming for a very clean information-display only. An at-a-glance 10ft UI, more or less.

Thing is, I develop software professionally, so this isn't really a technical challenge for me. It's more of an interesting investigation of how one can present race-data in various ways, as well as how to do wide-scale customizable information distribution.

I just need some input data to generate my output data.
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Old 06-01-2012, 04:24 PM   #21
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Nice work!

This is the one we have at our track, which was built in 2009 and replaced the older one that had those mechanical moving segment numbers. This is mostly designed in-house.

It's connected to the race directors office. Not sure how it gets it's data, the old one used a serial link.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:33 PM   #22
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Syndrome- my local track owner really wants this. i'd like to see what python app -- maybe we can change it to use TVs... or other LED boards. i see github calling you...
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:11 PM   #23
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Syndrome- my local track owner really wants this. i'd like to see what python app -- maybe we can change it to use TVs... or other LED boards. i see github calling you...
Local curb painter likes it too...
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:37 PM   #24
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Local curb painter likes it too...
We might need to get a collection together..
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:42 PM   #25
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There's definitely an opportunity to display this as HTML on an LCD TV. I can't find it right now, but I swear there's some library out there that's designed specifically to make using TV's as overhead displays (think McDonalds' menus) easy.

For that purpose, I'd use PHP rather than Python. Its XML parsing is way easier (using SimpleXML) and its designed to output HTML.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:55 PM   #26
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There's definitely an opportunity to display this as HTML on an LCD TV. I can't find it right now, but I swear there's some library out there that's designed specifically to make using TV's as overhead displays (think McDonalds' menus) easy.

For that purpose, I'd use PHP rather than Python. Its XML parsing is way easier (using SimpleXML) and its designed to output HTML.
just get that code out there... we'll find a way to change the output. i rather not re-invent the wheel (or fire... whichever you like)
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Old 06-02-2012, 02:46 AM   #27
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There's definitely an opportunity to display this as HTML on an LCD TV. I can't find it right now, but I swear there's some library out there that's designed specifically to make using TV's as overhead displays (think McDonalds' menus) easy.

For that purpose, I'd use PHP rather than Python. Its XML parsing is way easier (using SimpleXML) and its designed to output HTML.
To put the info out onto a TV just hook up to the TV your computer output and switch the display setting in your computer to Dual screen.

We do it at every meeting.

We also use BBK race software which allows us to set up a local wireless network so anyone with a laptop or i-phone/andriod/i pad can see the actual race timing including lap times, best lap, etc using a free app bbk netscreen
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Old 06-02-2012, 04:27 AM   #28
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This is waht BBk trnsmit's over wireless networks;



It look a bit like the real F1 live timing.

This is normally used 'as well as' the LED scoreboards when race meetings are on.
THis allows you to follow live data from the pits etc while thwe scoreboards give info as you're coming off the rostrum.
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:50 AM   #29
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Yeah, displaying information to a TV that's connected like a monitor isn't difficult. You can buy cheap video cards with HDMI out or use an adapter.

What I was getting at is that there's toolkits available for programming output specifically for that kind of display so that it looks nice. Presumably it comes with pretty transitions, AJAX updates and other web 2.0 kerfluffle. Just throwing a copy of the timing screen on there works, I guess, but it doesn't really take full advantage of the display.

Doing something like what you guys are suggesting would be pretty easy. You could install a lightweight web server on the timing/scoring machine and have it output live race information. Anybody on the local network could connect and watch. No need for a fancy client/server setup. But...

Wifi sucks at RC tracks. It has to fight with our 2.4ghz radios, and almost gets stomped out entirely when there's a race going on. You can try 5ghz wifi (we do), but almost nobody has a computer with a 5ghz radio unless they're running a Mac.

If I were gonna go that route, I'd approach it two ways. I would put LCD monitors in key areas of the track and display a custom screen with race information on it. I'd also push the results to something outside the local network, kind of like LiveRC does, and format it for mobile screens. Almost everybody has a smart phone with a data plan, and that will work a lot better than trying to use wifi at the track.
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:55 AM   #30
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Yeah, displaying information to a TV that's connected like a monitor isn't difficult. You can buy cheap video cards with HDMI out or use an adapter.

What I was getting at is that there's toolkits available for programming output specifically for that kind of display so that it looks nice. Presumably it comes with pretty transitions, AJAX updates and other web 2.0 kerfluffle. Just throwing a copy of the timing screen on there works, I guess, but it doesn't really take full advantage of the display.

Doing something like what you guys are suggesting would be pretty easy. You could install a lightweight web server on the timing/scoring machine and have it output live race information. Anybody on the local network could connect and watch. No need for a fancy client/server setup. But...

Wifi sucks at RC tracks. It has to fight with our 2.4ghz radios, and almost gets stomped out entirely when there's a race going on. You can try 5ghz wifi (we do), but almost nobody has a computer with a 5ghz radio unless they're running a Mac.

If I were gonna go that route, I'd approach it two ways. I would put LCD monitors in key areas of the track and display a custom screen with race information on it. I'd also push the results to something outside the local network, kind of like LiveRC does, and format it for mobile screens. Almost everybody has a smart phone with a data plan, and that will work a lot better than trying to use wifi at the track.
I think what I'm gonna be saying is no more talking of how to....how much? Can it be run through a network to have the screens inside while there is racing outside to follow along in the pits?
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