We are also constantly looking for new venues. We only have 1 at the moment and we might lose access to it in a year or two as there are some new developments being tentatively planned.
I found this list of resources, which looks helpful. I haven't contacted SCCA yet to view the actual files, so I don't really know.
Go to this page: https://www.scca.com/downloads
and look for this: "Site Acquisition Tools List"
Here is a direct link to the PDF:
Does anyone know of a way to simultaneously run 2 pieces of software that access the same COM port?
For multiple reasons, we'd like to use AxTime while we use another program, called Tlink Utility. The Tlink Utility is a program made by Race America for monitoring and troubleshooting their hardware. Currently we cannot do this because if you have one or the other running, when you open the second software it cannot connect to the COM port because it's already in use. Therefore the second program fails to load. Does anyone know of a way around this?
Reason we'd like both open at the same time: We've been doing some troubleshooting lately and the Utility software is great for that. It displays live signal strength and battery status of each individual Tlink. Even when we aren't troubleshooting, we use this program every morning when we first setup our hardware to ensure everything is working correctly. We have AxTime open for registration, then have to shut it down completely, open the Utility, test the hardware, then close it and restart AxTime (including opening all our browser tabs again and set them up across multiple monitors). I know it sounds like not a big problem, but takes some time to do all this and the Registration guy and Timing guy have to be coordinated. It's also not easy for a novice to figure out if we have someone new helping out. It would be SO much easier and better if we could just run them in parallel.
Does anyone know of a way to do this? Having both software programs listening on the same COM port? AFAIK the utility doesn't talk, it just listens.
Just a quick update. We've been running without a generator for a couple months now. It's fantastic!
The 100 W solar panel charges our battery between events. Most of the time we have at least a week or two between events. For doubleheader weekends, we might run the generator on Saturday night or Sunday morning for an hour or so, just to give the batteries some quick bulk charge, but so far we haven't needed to. It's been great! The only time the battery is stressed is during startup of the printer, and during printing, but it's temporary and doesn't really kill anything, just puts a heavy load for a short time. It may wear the battery out quicker though, but I'm not too worried.
I've read that some other guys had issues with their printers drawing 1000-1500 W which is ridiculous! I thought ours 500 W was excessive! Anyway, other than printers, it's pretty doable to go all electric and not have to worry about generators anymore.
We had some major issues at our last event and now we'd like to troubleshoot our system - hardware and software together - to see if we can narrow down the issue(s).
A log file of some kind would be amazing. Seems silly to make this an official "feature" request, but on the other hand, the cmd window is already running and capturing everything anyway, so couldn't there be an easy way to just dump all that data to a file somehow?
Instead of asking Chris to do this for us, can anyone think of a clever way to capture the data? We're thinking about installing a serial data sniffer that we could run in the background to monitor & capture all the data coming from our timing hardware (it all comes through a serial port). If anyone has another suggestion please let me know!
We use Tlinks like you do. Ours have a switch at the front, so during worker changeover, course walks, etc. we simply turn off the switch. Do you not have this on your Tlinks?
Looks like this one?
Regarding forcing a finish:
When a run is completed, but the finish fails to trip, or when car breaks down on course, we have 2 options.
- Radio for a marshal near the finish to run through the finish lights (assuming there are no other cars on course), or do it in software.
- We have a button in AxTime that might be custom for our club ... not sure. We have a T-link button on the Time Keeper screen. Click on that first, then click "Reset Start" which will basically ignore the previous start trip as if it never occurred. Now the queue will be messed up by 1 spot, so you just click on the offending driver, enter a manual time of 999 and DNF and hit save.
I run the Chrono view in that at all times for this very reason - you can very quickly check what cars are running (if any) and what the timing equipment is doing or not doing.
I put the chrono screen (in a small thin chrome window) on both timing laptops. That screen is golden when you have multiple cars on course ... it shows what car is the queue to go next, what cars are on course and their times, and the time of the last car to trip the finish.
I do agree though it would be a nice option to have some audio cues in axtime when start/stops.
Yeah we use the Chrono screen to monitor live timing as well. Without it we would be lost. I'd say it's a necessary screen if you are trying to keep track of multiple cars on course.
However, it's not ideal for when things go south. There's no way to directly see starts and stops, just an indirect way, which is dependent on having cars queued properly, etc. We found a problem recently (a bug I think) where the Chrono screen doesn't act like you would expect, so then there's really no way to T-shoot using Chrono.
Anyway, it's just a suggestion. It would be nice to have.
One more suggestion. We had some issues with hardware at the last event and it wasn't easy to troubleshoot the whole system while running AxTime. I overheard our former director suggest that "that was one thing AxWare was better at" ... He was referring to the fact that AxWare had audible indicators for start and finish trips, and you could see the timers starting regardless of whether there was a valid car staged. This was really helpful during troubleshooting, as you can see if you're getting a bunch of false start trips and false finish trips, or both, and you don't have to manually input a bunch of cars to see their times, only to have to go back and delete them later.
So I guess I'm asking for either audible start/stop indicators (with a different sound for start vs stop) or some other visual way to see start/stop trips from hardware directly, without needing to interpret the starts and stops.
Side note: this would also make it much simpler to test the system prior to the start of an event. Right now we shut down Axtime and use a Tlink utility program (because they share the same COM port). If we had this feature, we would not need to do that. We could probably use Axtime to test the hardware without having to worry about registration, staging a valid car, etc.