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Lap times on a track side display: How to

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Hi,

A few years ago I built a system for displaying lap times at the MX track. I wanted something riders could glance at each lap and see their last lap time. Its been working pretty well, a few guys have crashed trying to beat their lap time. Its also working well in the sense that it stays up and running for months. I thought I would share it in case some real tech savvy rider wants to build their own.

I wrote up description here. www.westshoremx.com/laptimer

-Wes

 

 

LaptimerFront.jpg

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Nice ... I haven't really analyzed the design but could you get rid of the Windows PC and the Arduino micro controller by using a Rasberry Pi?  Or is the problem that the RFID reader is using proprietary drivers that are only available for Windoze?

Doc

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You could replace the PC and the Arduino but you would need to re-write code targeting the Rasberry Pi.

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I was just curious as I tend to lean towards Linux and open source since there are no licenses to pay for.  But that's a very cool little project.  I'm actually a software developer who works in retail.  I did a little bit with RFID when it was in it's infancy and based in my experiences I'd never have thought a design based on RFID would work.  It looks like the read distances have improved significantly which is really cool.

What' the range on the reader?  How many tags can it read simultaneously?  If every rider in a moto had a tag and crossed the line at the same time would every read be captured with an accurate timestamp?

I used to race road bicycle and they always used a commercial timing system.  There was a wire laid out at the start finish line that was covered by a piece of rubber to protect it.  Every rider wore a transponder on his leg.  It was very accurate.  The cool thing is within minutes of a race finishing they'd not only post up the results but also a lap by lap break down of everyone's position, split time, etc.

I'm guessing the transponders and receiver weren't built by the company that manufactured this timing system, but rather were off the shelf electronic components that were most likely used in industrial automation.  I wonder if for industrial automation applications if they are moving to RFID or are still using transponders.  It would be interesting to search through Jameco or Digi-key and see what's available.

 

Doc

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I believe the range of the reader is 20 feet. It can read lots of tags at the same time but am not sure of the actual number. I am not sure it could distinguish who crossed the line first if there where of 3 riders close to each other. It does give a number for read strength that you can use compare relative distance from the antenna. I think you can use that to determine speed, I have never played with that feature. Of course in this system everything is relative to the antenna which is not the same as a finish line.

Alien provided a .Net SDK and Java SDK, I went with .Net. 

Sparkfun have reasonably priced UHF RFID reader. There is a nice demo here too. https://www.sparkfun.com/products/14066

 

 

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