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View Full Version : New nextgen I-Lap lap counter.


wcrotty
2007.09.20, 03:56 PM
Product review for I-Lap lap counter.

I just got in the new next generation I-Lap lap counting system in.

The new counter has some great features that drew me into buying the product.

Here are some pics before we start.

I-lap lap counter box (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9787&cat=500&page=1)
I-lap lap counter pieces (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9789&cat=500&page=1)
I-lap counter transponders (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9786&cat=500&page=1)
I-lap sensors (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9785&cat=500&page=1)
I-lap wires (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9784&cat=500&page=1)
I-lap transponder size vs quarter (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9788&cat=500&page=1)
I-lap decoder (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9790&cat=500&page=1)



- It piggy backs on the AMDrc protocol so it can use any software that supports the AMDrc counter. This is important for many reasons. Software that has been on the market has been tested and debugged for years and includes many features not included in the software of others (core/giroz) I use Alycat and love that software. ( it will run the race for you, call out everything you want......and also has a practice mode that calls laptimes for drivers. ) Alycat also has a forum that you can talk to the owner and voice fixes and features. But really the product has everything you would want and more.

Alycat - Has synthesized voice announcements, points series, html output, database and more! (http://www.alycat.com/index.html)
Laps Free - A great full-feature free program worth checking out. (http://www.rctiming.com/)
JLap Race Manager (http://www.jlapracemanager.com/JL_Home.htm)
BBK Timing software (http://www.bbksoftware.com/)
SlyFox (http://www.genisys.net.au/quantum/)
and autoscore


- it utilizes the personal transponder features just like the AMDrc. So you can have one transponder for all your cars or one per car. Then you can use transponders as club transponders for people that don't want to buy them. ( I got 2 sets of 6 transponders for the club ones) You can race as many cars at once as you want.

- The transponders have a broad voltage range and shut off at 1.8 volts but should be at least 2.5v (no worries for modified cars running out of battery and not counting). And even if the the batteries lose connection by a huge crash the transponders have a quick boot up time so you will not have a chance to miss a lap. Also have protection diodes and voltage regulators on board so if for some reason it's hooked up backwards the board will not fry. Also if you hook it up to a 2 cell LiPo it will work fine. Each transponder is wrapped in a thick shrink wrap for protection.

- The connector that the transponder uses fits right into a (hitec) receiver for power. So the transponders can be used with 10th 12th 18th and mini-zs (with an adapter) We race 18th scale too and the transponders will work with the xrays and mini-z with no problem. We will be running 10th some times so it will work with them too. The transponder size is about 7/8 x 5/8" which is a little larger in length then the Giroz because of the transponder number on the circuit board.

- The timing bridge can expand up to 24 feet. (not that we need that)

- It plugs into a usb port but the cable between the sensors and decoder is a cat-5 cable and has been tested to work 150+ feet from the computer. (Theoretically it should be capable of 2000+ feet, no more computer must be right next to the track.) Short cat-5 cables between the sensors.

- support for the hardware is great. The owner puts his phone number all over the product information sheets so you can CALL him.

Introductory pricing.
Decoder $140 (Includes USB cable and 50' Cat5 cable)
Bridge Sensor $40 each. (Each covers up to 14.5" and includes a short Cat5 cable)
Transponders $38 each.

So for a 6 transponder system it would be $488. 1 decoder, 3 sensors, 6 transponders. Then run the free laps free software.
(retail for the giroz is 299 + 45.88x6 (transponders) = 574.28)

Setting up the counter was very easy. I removed the sensors and attached them to my bridge i built (i need to take pics of the bridge) that is 16 inches high. connected the short cat 3 cables between the sensors then connected the longer cat 5 cable between the last sensor and the decoder.

Before i plugged the decoder into the computer i grabbed the ZIP file for the drivers. extracted them to a folder. Then i plugged in the decoder to the USB port. Pointed the installation to the extracted folder and everything installed. Then i checked the device manager in windows to see what port it was using. ( it was using port 15 so i changed it in the advanced settings down to a lower one. port 4)

That completed the hardware installation.

For the transponder i added a female connector leads to the positive and negative terminals of my mini-z. Added a little velcro to the chassis and plugged in the transponder. The transponder has a cool blue LED that blinks when it's on. For Xrays just plug into the receiver and then vlecro down and you are done.


Female servo leads (just remove the yellow wire) (http://www.servocity.com/html/female_servo_leads.html)

Now for Alycat. I just changed the preferences to the AMBrc setting and set the com to 4 and everything was done. I added the numbers of the transponders to the club transponders for 1-6. It was very simple to set up and get running. I turned on the transponder test mode and checked out my transponders to see if they counted, then went to practice mode to do some laps and alycat called out ever lap time.

So far i have run a few test races and in 2 weeks the race track will be in full gear running the system.

www.rclapcounter.com is the website but it's not updated with the new system just yet.

Just send Craig an email at cs@rclapcounter.com and tell him Bill sent ya. :)

imxlr8ed
2007.09.20, 04:00 PM
Good write-up... highly informative!

Just curious... what track do you race at?

wcrotty
2007.09.20, 04:05 PM
thanks

My dad and i used to run our own hobby shop. He sold his building and we had to shut it down.

Now we race in rochester NH at MnMhobbies

http://www.myspace.com/mnmhobbies

Tom Thumb Hobby
2007.09.24, 04:04 PM
thanks

My dad and i used to run our own hobby shop. He sold his building and we had to shut it down.

Now we race in rochester NH at MnMhobbies

http://www.myspace.com/mnmhobbies

Thanks for the review. I have been looking to replace my CORE system. Question......do you think the transponders would fit in a Micro-T? Thanks.

wcrotty
2007.09.24, 04:30 PM
I will give it a try when i get a chance. My transponders are up at the shop and i can't make it until Saturday.

stuZ
2007.10.07, 05:46 PM
can the sensors read the transponder through mini-z windows?
I looked at the site, and noticed that in the photos of the mini-z setup, the cars had no windows.

wcrotty
2007.10.07, 05:58 PM
Yes then can go through the window. In fact it can even go through water based lexan paint. The new ready to run xray has a full painted body even the windows. The transponder is put under the body and it still worked perfect.

Craig from I-lap said this would work but this was the first time i tried it and it worked. He did say it will not go through stickers though.

I-Lap
2007.10.07, 07:18 PM
I am not sure which photo you saw, those may have been X-Mods. The windows on those are solid molded with the same colored plastic as the rest of the body and painted over with black. The translucent Mini-Z windows work fine.
Our official position has always been it should be under a clear part of the shell, but we have so far verified perfect operation through Losi and Associated RTR's as well as Carisma M14's. Where I race, a bunch of guys have shells painted with water based paints and those are fine too. This is with 10th scale outdoors in direct sunlight as well.
Be careful not to put it under a sticker. Some cars are painted one color with stickers for the windows, on those we put it under the roof or hood.

Craig

DeOz
2007.10.09, 08:07 AM
That would be nice. No more “accidentally” ripped core transponders. :)

arch2b
2007.10.09, 09:12 AM
sounds very robust. hard to argue with that kind of performance.

briankstan
2007.10.09, 10:32 AM
That would be nice. No more “accidentally” ripped core transponders. :)

We have been running core since it come out, know ones has ever ripped any of them.

I'm curious how this happens? I've had the same one in my car for 2+ years

briankstan
2007.10.09, 10:43 AM
does the sytem rely on line of site? it won't transmit through a sticker?

wcrotty
2007.10.09, 11:58 AM
Yes the system is line of site like the giro system. It uses IR technology. You can see the transponder in the window of my AWD in this pic.

http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9933&cat=500&page=1

wcrotty
2007.10.09, 12:08 PM
Here are the transponders in both my Mr-02 and AWD

In the AWD i have the transponder without the supercap on the top. This gives a lower profile to the transponder.

In the Mr02 i have the transponder with the supercap on the top. This is a little higher profile but gives the transponder a short power backup. (about 20+ seconds)



AWD top view with low profile transponder (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9936&cat=500&page=1)

AWD side shot of the LP transponder (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9937&cat=500&page=1)

Mr02 top view with supercap (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9934&cat=500&page=1)

Mr02 side view with supercap (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9935&cat=500&page=1)

The transponders can be requested without the supercap for easier installation in the mini-z. That is how i will have all my transponders.

I-Lap
2007.10.09, 12:13 PM
Hi Brian,

I'll clarify what I wrote above.
The IR signal is very strong and will transmit through Mini-Z windows and many of the larger RTR vehicles with factory painted bodies. It will go through those paints, but they use thick, silver colored stickers covering the entire window areas. The stickers are thick enough to block the signal, that is why we put the transponders under the hood or roof area where it only has to go through paint.

Craig

briankstan
2007.10.09, 12:13 PM
Here are the transponders in both my Mr-02 and AWD

In the AWD i have the transponder without the supercap on the top. This gives a lower profile to the transponder.

In the Mr02 i have the transponder with the supercap on the top. This is a little higher profile but gives the transponder a short power backup. (about 20+ seconds)



AWD top view with low profile transponder (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9936&cat=500&page=1)

AWD side shot of the LP transponder (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9937&cat=500&page=1)

Mr02 top view with supercap (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9934&cat=500&page=1)

Mr02 side view with supercap (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9935&cat=500&page=1)

The transponders can be requested without the supercap for easier installation in the mini-z. That is how i will have all my transponders.


thanks for the picture and the info.

arch2b
2007.10.09, 12:21 PM
what purpose or service does the supper cap provide? why would we want it i guess if it only increases the profile?

I-Lap
2007.10.09, 12:53 PM
The super cap fills in brown-outs in the power supply to the transponder. It will actually power it for 10-15 seconds after it is unplugged. It is not necessary for a Mini-Z, it is there more for 10th scale electrics where the power supply is much less stable. We are actually finding it may not be needed at all, even in the bigger cars because the transponders reset instantly if they loose power. It may even get eliminated in a future revision once we fully investigate it.

arch2b
2007.10.09, 01:17 PM
my apologies if this has been covered before but has anyone tested installation on a mini-z f1? i'm dying to see a zero impact install on an f1. just tired of spoiling the f1 appearance/feeling with odd ball transponder installations.

core atleast had the tiny tags that fit under the nose wing which was awsome if you had a unit that read them, which mine doesn't.

I-Lap
2007.10.09, 01:28 PM
There is a how-to on the atomic site that covers installing a Giro transponder in an F1 under the driver. It involves some dremel work, but does not change the appearance of the car at all. Those transponders are 16mm square.

I can supply a trimmed down version of the I-Lap transponder that will fit those dimensions. You basically loose the reverse polarity protection diode, the voltage regulator, and the open space where the 7 digit ID is printed. I don't think anyone runs an F1 on other than 4 AAA's, so it all works out OK

It will eventually be part of the product line-up if demand warrants, but I don't mind whipping them up by hand if anyone needs them. They would cost the same as one of our regular transponders.

arch2b
2007.10.09, 01:51 PM
now that is what i call product support :)
if i ever come across an extra 3-500 i'll be hitting you up for a system varrying transponder configurations.

fyi, the new nanoracer cars are to have xmods like plug and play. have you thought about talking with them to offer tranponders that would be a direct plug in for thier cars? i assume it's a simple as using their adapters/plug types. fangel is our iwaver representative whom you can reach via email thru our fourm. this could be an option for xmods as well.

wcrotty
2007.10.09, 02:47 PM
We had our first race Saturday with the system. Everything worked great. No lap misses at all. No glitching at the counter. And no software crashes or hangups in the middle of a race.

We were using Alycat for the software counting.

In the morning i set the software up in practice mode. This allows people with personal transponders to do laps on the track and the software will call out your name and the laptime for that lap. Also you can print out your laptimes from practice mode.

I hope to do an extensive write up on alycat with video to show the features and how easy it is to use.

Here are pics of the lap timing bridge. I need to clean up the wires to make it look a little better.

Bridge 1 (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9939&cat=500&page=1)
Bridge 2 (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9938&cat=500&page=1)
Bridge 3 (http://mini-zracer.com/mini-zgallery/showphoto.php?photo=9940&cat=500&page=1)

arch2b
2007.10.09, 03:12 PM
do you find bridges distracting vs. loops under the track? the giro-z bridge, which has it's own problems) was rather thick and clunky. the feet did not even fit between rcp rails easily.

wcrotty
2007.10.09, 04:42 PM
Hi Arch,

I didn't find the bridge distracting at all. I built it out of 1x2 oak from HomeDepot. I'm sure you can use something smaller too. Like 1x1 oak or even some 1 inch pvc pipe. I used oak because it was strong.

The loop under the track was annoying because it put a bump in the track. So we grooved the tracks underside to put it in but still left a little bump. Also the computer had to be right next to the track. because the usb cable limitations. so you had to run that cable sometimes under the track.

I-Lap
2007.10.09, 06:07 PM
Most folks use PVC. 1" is plenty stiff for that small span. The whole bridge can be cut and built in less than 5 minutes and cost under 10 bucks.

The bridge is not distracting at all. Some even find it comforting, like a familiar blanket :)

rharris
2007.10.09, 07:24 PM
We have been running core since it come out, know ones has ever ripped any of them.

I'm curious how this happens? I've had the same one in my car for 2+ years

Ohhhh I've ripped them. It happens when you cut the center out of them to make room for the antena. Then you get to frisky pulling it out of the car.

:eek: :( :mad:

We got smarter and cut small holes in them for the antena and haven't ripped one since.

rharris
2007.10.09, 07:30 PM
do you find bridges distracting vs. loops under the track? the giro-z bridge, which has it's own problems) was rather thick and clunky. the feet did not even fit between rcp rails easily.

I've used both too. I'd rather have a bridge over the track then a loop under the track. I just seems like you can't get ride of the hop that the loop creates.

Also, with the core system, the loop causes interfearance with some freqs. You don't notice when you pass by at speed, but at the start, if the first car is on the starting line it will sometimes run away from the loop.

Just make your bridge out of 1/2" material and you will hardly notice it. For my Giro, I used aluminum. Next time, I think I'll make it from wood.

arch2b
2007.10.09, 07:47 PM
does metal create problems for a tower? i was thinking black 1/2" metal tubing would be least distracting and just as stable.

rharris
2007.10.10, 01:21 AM
I used that silver 1/2" square stuff that you get at Home Depot. It's not distracting visually, but some guys swear it causes interference with their radios.

I don't think it does. But to be on the safe side, next time I'll use wood.

I-Lap
2007.10.10, 01:48 AM
I've used steel wall stud in the past without any problems, but a few years back I had a guy who said it caused interference that went away when he switched to wood.

Personally, I'd go with the 1" PVC and spray it if you want it black.

arch2b
2007.10.10, 08:02 AM
yep, that sounds like the best option i-lap, thanks. wood is too bulky for me anyway although much easier to work with.

briankstan
2007.10.10, 09:25 AM
Ohhhh I've ripped them. It happens when you cut the center out of them to make room for the antena. Then you get to frisky pulling it out of the car.

:eek: :( :mad:

We got smarter and cut small holes in them for the antena and haven't ripped one since.


I've never had to cut a hole in any of my transponders :)

wcrotty
2007.10.10, 10:07 AM
Hey arch,

Can we move this thread to the lap counting area?

thanks

arch2b
2007.10.10, 10:21 AM
Hey arch,

Can we move this thread to the lap counting area?

thanks
consider it done :)