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  • Digital Panel Meter

    I remember a thread in the HRW Old Forum about a lap counter. It used Xin Guang Wei digital panel meters.
    Does anyone know where they can be found? I have looked, on and off, for a couple of years.
    Thanks

  • #2
    Check” digikey “ They have everything in the way of electronic components

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    • #3
      Dan,
      I can't afford their prices. Besides, I can't use 100+.
      I just have to keep looking.
      Thanks,

      Comment


      • #4
        Here is something that just appeared on another thread: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Digital-5-D...QAAOSwxX9dZQ~G

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        • #5
          I bought two of the counters that Rich referenced. I ran tests on them, and found they kept accurate counts when used with a dead strip.

          The magnetic sensor, however, isn't sensitive enough for slot cars. I haven't tried other inputs, but frankly, dead strips are the most bullet-proof inputs for slotcar lap counting. Use dead strips.

          You cannot turn the counter off, but that's not really a problem. It will run for years on one AA battery.

          I have found you should wire a capacitor across its input terminals, to make it less sensitive to 'bounce'. Dig out the tiniest capacitor in your parts box -- that will do the job just fine.

          There are stacks of similar counters and timers available on eBay for precious little money. If you're willing to invest time and effort you could set up for lap counting and lap timing on every lane for a reasonable amount of money.

          One of my counters now shares a dead strip with a lane on my TrikTrax lap counter. That way I can count laps and time them simultaneously, on that one lane. Which is good enough for my testing.

          Short version -- the counter Rich cited is a good, reliable unit.

          Ed Bianchi

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          • #6
            “One of my counters now shares a dead strip with a lane on my TrikTrax lap counter. That way I can count laps and time them simultaneously, on that one lane. Which is good enough for my testing.”

            Does this mean both the timer and TrikTrax are hooked up to the same dead strip?
            Does the timer retain the quickest lap until reset?

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            • #7
              Nice find RichD and nice tech support Ed.
              I like it when someone really solves a problem in a simple practical way
              Something I can pass on to people too

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              • #8
                Yes, the TrikTrax and the counter share the same dead strip. They do not interfere with each other. Although I have noticed that the capacitor I added can cause a fraction-of-a-second delay in the TrikTrax display updating. Not really an issue.

                The TrikTrax lap timer does not retain the quickest lap until reset. It has only one digital display per lane, which can be used for lap counting or lap timing, but not both at once. Compared to a modern computer-based setup it is extremely feature-poor. On the plus side, however, those few features it has are rock-solid.

                I find it disturbing and embarrassing how frequently computer-based race management systems cause issues on race day. This after -- what? -- 15 or 20 releases? Is timing and scoring that freaking complicated?

                Or maybe it is because all those race management systems are Windows/PC based. Someone should write one in Linux -- an industrial-grade operating system instead of a patchwork hackers play-toy!

                Ed Bianchi

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by HO RacePro View Post

                  I find it disturbing and embarrassing how frequently computer-based race management systems cause issues on race day. This after -- what? -- 15 or 20 releases? Is timing and scoring that freaking complicated?
                  Or maybe it is because all those race management systems are Windows/PC based. Someone should write one in Linux -- an industrial-grade operating system instead of a patchwork hackers play-toy!

                  Ed Bianchi
                  Ed - no, you're right, it isn't - and the PC based systems I use - using Trackmate board with Trackmate software, or Trackmate or UNO board with Race Coordinator software and LED in-lane sensors are very, VERY reliable.
                  I actually find it incredible that there are still tracks NOT using them in USA, whenever I read a thread like this.

                  It isn't so much that they use the dreaded Bill-Gates-ware, as that often people use PCs for timing BECAUSE they ARE old discards, and HAVE issues such as worn USB port connections, or haven't been updated in ages, or have disc read issues or are so slow, they trip over themselves while trying to run background routines. Often these old PCs have a heap of programs that auto start at startup from years of use and program installations, and people have never gone back into them to turn off that stuff.
                  I would suggest that in what you have experienced, it is those issues, or the people's lack of knowledge, or their deficient physical installations (bad wiring, misaligned sensors, or just the outdated PCs with issues 99% of the time.

                  I have built and sold maybe 100 - 150 timing systems for sale in 12 years, and I have only had to repair one - and that was a user error blowing up a light bridge with wrong polarity because he couldn't understand why he couldn't SEE the IR LEDs and thought I must have given him one wired backwards...... sigh (My installation instruction sheet could be followed by a 6 year old, but not by some slotters.)

                  Oh 2, and one guy said he had blown up 2 Trackmate boards when he ordered another from me - he had previously bought one from me, and one from Daniel direct after mine "blew up"
                  He INSISTED the boards were faulty, and that he had described the symptoms to Daniel and that Daniel agreed they must have got cooked somehow.
                  So I INSISTED he first send both faulty boards back to me - and needless to say when I swapped each out with my own, they worked 100%
                  I spent 5 days using them including a club night.
                  So I sent them back to him, and he said they didn't work . . . . . so then I quizzed one of his club members, the member told me that (despite the guy denying same to me) that he had a spaghetti of mains and signal wire (which was way too thin for a 10 metre run) all wound together under his track and bits chopped and taped together with insulation tape etc.
                  But could I convince him to dewire and clean up and rewire with a heavier SWG wire .........

                  In my own club I have seen issues which were a PC issue, or someone decided to turn off a power socket switch not realising it was powering the lights for Trackmate bridge, or they were in a situation with unstable mains power, and someone fired up a large appliance. None of those are the fault of the timing system. Just cases of I.F.

                  I had the first issue with my own system a couple of months back - just some muck in the slot part blocking a sensor. - 2nd routed track - 2 boards, one the older red board, the other the new blue board, 11 years, used regularly for club and for other events.

                  We have 6 Trackmate based systems in club and one Arduino Uno with RC software - which I built for one of our members. They are all reliable.

                  One thing I have seen, is that when tracks are based somewhere with dirty power - such as an outside shed, or industrial building where heavy compressors or water pumps kick in, or rural situations with AC power drops that cause really cheap, not very capable switchmode power supplies to flutter- you can get issues.
                  Last edited by LegOutOfBed; January 2, 2020, 03:22 PM.

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                  • #10
                    LegOutOfBed,

                    First, thank you for your informed and detailed response to my post. It is great to hear from somebody who has been on the front lines and knows his stuff!

                    And I can relate to the wiring cross-talk issues you describe. I have worked with industrial automation for decades, and learned early on that bad electronic hygiene causes untold havoc in that world. I could tell you about a multi-million dollar robotic filling system that was constantly glitching until I suggested the tech's check for floating grounds and ground loops...

                    I don't use a race management system, although I'm considering it. I have a venerable TrikTrax Mini-4 lap counter/timer that has been absolutely reliable and trouble-free. That's my standard for a properly designed system. Whoever engineered that TrikTrax knew how to make a system immune to electronic noise and chatter.

                    My despair over slotcar race management systems is based on experience. And the folks who owned/installed the systems I've seen fail are very, very astute. Folks who have impressed the hell out of me with their technical smarts.

                    I think it does come back to the patchwork nature of PC's. At best they are a kludge. The hardware and the software can be pressed into service for race management, as you have proven, but they were never designed for such service. Purpose-built hardware and software, with proper noise rejection and isolation would not be so marginally reliable.

                    Problem is, an industrial-grade purpose-built system would be very, very expensive. And talented folks can make an inexpensive kludge work, as you have also proven.

                    Not meaning any disrespect! Economics must be considered.

                    I have often been a kludgemeister, and proud of it. Sometimes you have to use what is available, not what would be ideal, or even good, and you earn points if you can make it reliable.

                    I remember a couple of IndyCar races were the timing and scoring coughed and quit. And I'm sure their setup was intended to be industrial grade. Nasty stuff happens. Even with the best equipment.

                    Ed Bianchi

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