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lsarccc
2007.10.14, 04:53 PM
Announcing a new Mini-Z club in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire - UK.

http://www.lsarccc.com/images/ext/43Track01.JPG

At the moment the plan is to race on Wednesday evenings, but the track is laid on Wednesday morning and stays out until Sunday evening so we could run on a different day Wednesday - Sunday or even run multiple sessions.

I'm just starting the club up and looking for other guys to race with! :)

More info:
LSARCCC Website (http://LSARCCC.com)

Jonny
2007.10.15, 06:01 AM
Hello and Welcome from another UK Mini Z Race Club! Sure good to see!

Are you running any kind of lap timing system?

Jonny

lsarccc
2007.10.15, 06:49 AM
Are you running any kind of lap timing system?


Cheers Jonny!
Well my friend and I are developing a timing system based around pointing a video camera at the track (a tad more involved than just that - but you get the point!). My friend uses a Sony HAL camera with a bit of software that can detect movement and grab images of passing 1/10th touring cars, with the right lighting you can stop a speeding car dead and get a great image to process with a bit of software, he is using colour barcodes at the moment - there are so many colours and combinations that everyone in a club can have a personal barcode.

I am just using a USB web cam for the 1/28th cars, so far my software can spot car shapes and decide what colour they are. At the moment I have a few iWaver cars and as you probably know they have pretty much solid colour shells. So telling a Yellow, Red car and blue cars apart is pretty trivial, if the cars cross through at the same time you just process from the bottom of the image upwards. To go further and be able to distinguish cars depending on the colour of a piece of tape stuck to the bonnet I may need to shell out the 160 for the Sony cam.

I also looked at RFID tags but the camera stuff looked more interesting and I hadn't heard anyone else doing it for RC cars, it's a standard approach for robot football, they stick a camera above the pitch and each robot has a colour code on the top.

In one sense the approach is very simple but in practice a few hurdles to overcome. Whilst we get the camera thing perfected, we'll be manual counting with software.

mk2kompressor
2007.10.15, 06:55 AM
i just signed up for the site but gave .com instead of .co.uk on the end of my email :o
could you sort it?

the lap counting system sounds interesting,would it pick out numbered/lettered white stickers?

lsarccc
2007.10.15, 07:12 AM
i just signed up for the site but gave .com instead of .co.uk on the end of my email :o
could you sort it?

the lap counting system sounds interesting,would it pick out numbered/lettered white stickers?

Hi - yes I changed your email addy and also approved you - don't take too much notice of all of the stuff on the site - it's all work in progress! :o

Well I think the Police have a system that automatically recognises car reg plates from a motorway overpass with the cars razzing past at 70+ so with the top end equipment I bet that pulling a character from a standard sticker (like a BRCA number) on a model car would be doable. My idea is that with just software + a cheapish camera and a very simple lighting rig you can get good enough timing. And I want to write the code myself - so optical character recognition is quite a bit out of my league!

Jonny
2007.10.15, 07:22 AM
That's certainly an interesting and unique approach to timing for sure! Wish you luck with getting your club underway. Our system is from the states and uses RFID technology, however you cannot use off the shelf tags as they are coded in some way. Good software and voice support and it has been good to us in the 2 years we've used it. Kyosho have apparently bought the rights to this system to be released through their brand but no news as yet.

Keep us updated on how things go.

Jonny

lsarccc
2007.10.15, 08:25 AM
The RFID approach seems the way forward to me, I read about Kyosho buying the rights in but I haven't read anything about what they have done with it so far. The cheapness of the tags and the ability to store data on the tag is really appealing. If a big company manufactures it hopefully the price will come down a chunk. For the current price of an AMB personal transponder in my touring car I can buy TWO Firelap RTR cars and have change - that's just crazy! I think timing needs to somehow start coming down in price not go up and up like the AMB stuff.

Once I have a few successful meetings under my belt using the cam stuff I'll probably open up a separate thread in the timing forum - early days yet but it looks very possible.

Jonny
2007.11.12, 07:05 AM
Hi Arthur,

I just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to come down to Stafford Racers and see how the Mini Z's run. It was good to meet someone else starting a club and I know how tough it is to get into and keep costs down. I'm glad we got to speak about the basics, although I'd have liked to talk more also. With all the time we have, it's still an organisational nightmare a lot of the time!

I'll pass your info on to Tom, to sort your signup problem out as promised.

Speak soon,

Jonny