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arch2b
2006.02.18, 10:30 PM
i know this has been discussed in a couple threads (with other subject titles) so i thought i would start a thread of it's own to follow.

today we were very unhappy with core. while previously it has worked beautifully, today of all days to missed laps throughout the entire day. in one race, one driver had 13 laps missed.

i tried the following;
reinstallation of that verion
reinstallation of many versions
repositioning the loop
placing a buffer between the loop and the floor
changing computers all together
replacing transponders

none of this made a real difference. toward the end of the day it was not missing as many as in the begining but was still frustrating.

up until today it has never preformed so badly. i have had days were it missed maybe 2 laps in an entire day of racing but thats about it.

todays trouble will make correcting our hfay times a pain in the ass as well as draw some ire undoubtably. it will also make effect out dc points standings as well. of all days to crap out, today was a very unfortunate day to do so. i have another gtg next weekend and i will be going over the pc and software repeatedly as i desperately do not want this to happen again, especially during a very important points series for both hfay and our club series

arch2b
2006.02.18, 10:34 PM
this being said, can those that have had similar probelms please post details so that i may have some hint as to where to look and what to try to avoid an embarassing failure?

core, can you please provide some feedback as t potential causes for missed laps?

item of note; most if not all the transponders when tested had 100% strength but about 70% response. could this be a contributing factor? what can i do to resolve this if so? nothing was changed between the last gtg and this gtg other than me moving the loop to change the track layout. the loop is embedded in the tiles so the positon per sae remained the same.

briankstan
2006.02.18, 10:39 PM
Arch2b, I was just wondering is you have the ferite rings on the power cord and the usb cord? I know that I have them on both (not rings but the clip around the cord) and I haven't had any issues at all with miss laps. I'm not sure if this would make a difference or not. it's just a thought. I bought my ferite things at radio shack.

arch2b
2006.02.18, 10:49 PM
i honestly have never heard of those.

this is the only information i was able to find
One of the easiest ways to cure RF interference is using these popular ferrite rings. Simply wind a few turns of any hi-fi lead, TV aerial coax or mains lead around the ring to prevent interfering radio signals travelling into the equipment.
can you post pictures of yours?

CoreAnalog
2006.02.19, 12:20 AM
The first thing to check is the Tx's. Running certain reversed crystals will cause interference. Here's how to properly track down the cause of interference:

1) Turn off all Tx's.

2) Place a car with a transponder in the middle of the loop. You can even sit it on a roll of masking tape to get higher distance from the loop (more pessimistic).

3) Go to the setup menu and press the "test" button. Your car should read 100%. If it doesn't check the loop configuration... Is it 10"-12" inches straight across? Is the loop on a thin piece of wood or mat? If not, correct it...

4) If the track is setup in the garage, make sure you do NOT share the AC outlet with the 12V garden light transformers. Those things radiate nasty noise down the AC line which degrades the sensitivity of the Core system.

5) One by one, turn on each Tx and make sure the car reading is still 100%. It will drop alot when an offending channel is transmitting.

Missed laps are due to improper setup or radio interference. It has always boiled down to one or both of those problems... Before a race, have all the Tx's on and place one car on the loop to make sure that you read 100% signal strength. If you don't have 100%, there's a higher chance of missed laps as that percentage goes down.

--Core

briankstan
2006.02.19, 12:59 AM
i honestly have never heard of those.

this is the only information i was able to find

can you post pictures of yours?

I'll get some pics taken and posted tomarrow. I also have my loop taped to a thin piece of cardboard (the type that comes in Plotter paper ) and just set it under the starting line.

byebye
2006.02.19, 02:52 AM
Is the min lap time set to high?

-Byebye

arch2b
2006.02.19, 08:55 AM
no, the min. lap time is 3.5 seconds. the average was 5-6 seconds.

the setup was virtually the same as last weekend and it worked fine then and horrible now. :confused:

arch2b
2006.02.19, 08:56 AM
I'll get some pics taken and posted tomarrow. I also have my loop taped to a thin piece of cardboard (the type that comes in Plotter paper ) and just set it under the starting line.
great idea, i'll be sure to bring home a few sheets of that this week.

Draconious
2006.02.19, 09:34 AM
in what way did u move the loop? what metal objects are now closer to it that were not before?

arch2b
2006.02.19, 10:20 AM
i simply moved the tiles with the loop across the floor about 2 feet. it is no closer to any metal than it was before

briankstan
2006.02.19, 01:14 PM
great idea, i'll be sure to bring home a few sheets of that this week.

I know that you cut a groove in the track, but the sheet could be taped to the bottom of the tiles, it would help protect the look and keep everything off the ground.

Draconious
2006.02.19, 07:18 PM
A yes, but some metal you cannot see... like pipes underground ;)

arch2b
2006.02.19, 07:27 PM
the utilities come in from the other side of the house so i know none of those pipes are under the slab where i have the track.

Spoon
2006.02.19, 10:46 PM
Lots of good debugging thoughts but we couldn't pin the problem down to a single car, chassis, driver, loop position or anything. At first I thought it could be my car or transponder but the race where we dropped the most laps (11+/driver) I wasn't even racing.

I have seen those ferrite rings on miscellaneous electronics stuff. There's one on the interface cable between my PC and digital camera. There's also one on the USB cable for my external HD. If you look at computer peripherals, you are bound to see one. It's just a relatively heavy cylindar that kind of clamps arounfd the cable...maybe 1" long. 1/2" in diameter.

arch2b
2006.02.19, 10:54 PM
spoon, would you reccomend i try that? if so do you have a source for them?

Spoon
2006.02.19, 10:59 PM
spoon, would you reccomend i try that? if so do you have a source for them?

I don't really know. I always thought they were a little bit of black magic. There are so many useless cables at work, I may be able to salvage a couple. Let me see what I can dig up. If I don't find anything by Tuesday, I'll let you know so you might still have a chance to get some before the next GTG.

briankstan
2006.02.20, 12:11 AM
I got my ferite rings at Radio Shack, They had them in stock.

soyverde
2006.02.20, 12:52 AM
I should have a few ferrite cores around the house (I know where one is, and I believe I have a couple more), though I think they're all a bit larger than typical USB cable size. Per Brian's suggestion, Radio Shack might have some that would fit better. It's not black magic (they certainly are functional in filtering electromagnetic interference), and though they will not be a cure for whatever might be causing this (they won't address the source of the problem), it can't hurt to try them (as long as you don't put them on the core antenna loop :D).

Dusty Weasle
2006.02.20, 06:21 AM
Weíve only had the Core system fail twice. Between those incidents Iíve noted a few things.

1. Placement (within design limits) has Little Effect

Iíve had the loop near metal frames, metal fireplace hoods, garage doors, and (probably) over rebar in the concrete. The tag could be laying on the RCP or elevated above an F1 rear spoiler. Made no difference, the signal was solid. When it works, it works great. High, low, inside, outside, it was strong and reliable.

Then when the signal went bad, none of that mattered. The tag sitting between the loop wires still didnít read. The signal fluctuated wildly or would go out entirely.

2. The Hardware Theory

The first time it happened the signal was out for much of the day, but one car seemed to count laps correctly.

The second time it happened we were scanning in different tags for our other cars. This time the new tags wouldnít scan, but the tags we raced earlier in the day did scan and read just fine. I rebooted but to no avail.

I wonder if there is a hardware bug. Perhaps if the Core box is unplugged to fully power down it might reset something?

3. The Reversed Crystal Theory

The second time we lost the signal I think one of our drivers had to change a crystal for his F1 just before it happened. He left shortly after that and almost immediately the signal came back for all the tags, so that outage only lasted about 10min.

4. The Cell Phone Theory

Could cell or radio phones cause interference? CB or HAM radios?

Iím not running the recent release software and I donít use a ferrite ring. The system is powered by a Dell laptop running on a wall outlet. Next time I'll try Core's crystal check suggested here.

But to be sure, what exactly is a 'reversed crystal'?

soyverde
2006.02.20, 11:29 AM
Arch: It might be interesting to see the results of you running an HFAY time trial (or whatever) in core with only you there (i.e. no extra cell phones, AM transmitters, etc. in the vicinity). If core is not hiccupping with these other variables cut out it might help narrow things down a bit.

madf1man
2006.02.20, 12:09 PM
I will be using the core for the second time this weekend.Since the first time I used it I have made some changes. First I cut a groove in the track and the loop is now just below the racing surface. Once I put it in the groove there was some extra room so I backed it up with weedeater string and then duct tape to hold it in. Red duct tape for those intrested! That hopefully will give it a barrier plus its laying on a rubber mat for more insulation. Table saw was perfect for cutting the groove and dremal with router bit for any radius parts

arch2b
2006.02.26, 12:13 PM
intersting backing material. i was just thinking of what to use for that as well. i might give it a try. right now i just have it covered with duct tape (black)

nothing i did managed to get rid of the missed laps on the 2 computers i have been using for the past year or so. i had to make the switch to my new dell inspiron to solve the problem. the trouble is, now i don't know if it's only a matter of time before it happens with this computer as well. it had been running well before on the other pc's.

now that i know it works on my laptop, i will be testing the dc theme made by dusty weasle and see how all those sound file effect the reponse time etc. they seemed to really slow things down before on the other pc's.

arch2b
2006.03.27, 08:16 PM
i found something interesting this last weekend......

i plugged in core and started racing. we immediatley noticed it was missing laps again big time, on the laptop that worked perfectly last time.

i disabled wifi and tried again and this time no missed laps.

i have no idea why or what could have caused the intereference if any but it could not have been a coincidence that it stopped just after turning off wifi on the laptop.

briankstan
2006.03.27, 08:48 PM
i found something interesting this last weekend......

i plugged in core and started racing. we immediatley noticed it was missing laps again big time, on the laptop that worked perfectly last time.

i disabled wifi and tried again and this time no missed laps.

i have no idea why or what could have caused the intereference if any but it could not have been a coincidence that it stopped just after turning off wifi on the laptop.


I have noticed this to on my laptop. I always disable everything that doen't need to be running.

imxlr8ed
2006.03.28, 10:22 AM
I have noticed this to on my laptop. I always disable everything that doen't need to be running.

Same here... I shut off everything !

machine
2006.03.28, 11:46 AM
Yup turn everything off, my computer isn't hooked up to the net during any races so i even turn off my antivirus software.

rharris
2007.01.30, 01:50 AM
I know this thread is old, but I just ran into the missed lap issue. It could not have come at a worse time.

I've been hyping up the guys in the club that this HFAY season, we are going to come out swinging. Core acted up so bad that we couldn't even hold the event.

Every single heat, we had two or more cars dropping laps. And we only run 4 at a time.

My PC is off line, but I've never seen the "/Setup/Test" button. It will be the first thing I look for when I get home this weekend and can plug in the loop.

We had over 20 guys show up. Our biggest turn out in a long time. They all went home disappointed.

So... I need to become the expert at tracking this down.

My loop is sitting on a 2'x4' 1/8th MDF board. MDF is a good insulator. I tape the loop to the board to be exactly 12' across. The Loop is a rectangle, where the only variation is at the hardware end.

I always disable the wi-fi and keep the drivers on the other side of the loop to avoid RF. The only thing I can think of is reversed crystals. (where the tx crystal is in the car and the car is in the tx). I didn't know to check for it at the time. But if it happens again, that will be the first thing I check.

I've seen allot of speculation about this issue. The notes from the core team make sense.

Has anyone been able to reliably track down this issue?

rharris
2007.02.06, 01:11 PM
I tracked my issue down, and I am 99% sure of the cause.

To really know you've fixed something you have to be able to reproduce the error. Then when you fix it, if you remove the fix, the error should come back.

In my case it was a bad USB cable. I'd had it for a year, and it must have finally given out. I would have never guessed a bad cable by looking at the symptom. Some drivers would occasionally miss laps. Other drivers would count consistently. It seemed clear that the issue was with individual cars. But it had nothing to do with the cars, it was the cable.

Swapping the new USB with the old USB cable produces consistent results.

Once again, our Core system is working flawlessly.

briankstan
2007.02.06, 03:34 PM
Rod,

that is good to know. thanks for posting an update to this. it's just something else to look for if we ever have a problem.

CDR racing
2007.02.26, 07:24 PM
i know this has been discussed in a couple threads (with other subject titles) so i thought i would start a thread of it's own to follow.

today we were very unhappy with core. while previously it has worked beautifully, today of all days to missed laps throughout the entire day. in one race, one driver had 13 laps missed.

i tried the following;
reinstallation of that verion
reinstallation of many versions
repositioning the loop
placing a buffer between the loop and the floor
changing computers all together
replacing transponders

none of this made a real difference. toward the end of the day it was not missing as many as in the begining but was still frustrating.

up until today it has never preformed so badly. i have had days were it missed maybe 2 laps in an entire day of racing but thats about it.

todays trouble will make correcting our hfay times a pain in the ass as well as draw some ire undoubtably. it will also make effect out dc points standings as well. of all days to crap out, today was a very unfortunate day to do so. i have another gtg next weekend and i will be going over the pc and software repeatedly as i desperately do not want this to happen again, especially during a very important points series for both hfay and our club series

My track had been having very bad problems with missing of late. I told him to try my laptop and see if it is newer and more powerful and might help the system, and in doing this he also used a new usb wire for my laptop, and i had issues with my computer, but he still tried the new usb wire on his computer and this week the system was 100% perfect, so try a new usb wire. Also, if you can fix the problems, go to the stats screeen after the race, and click on the the inidvidual drivers, if you see any unusually long laps that mite be a miss, click on that lap on the top left box and click split on the top tool bar, but this can be a problem if someone has problems or comes off for a lap, so always ask drivers if they had trouble if you see misses for them.