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Alternative software available for PC unit.

196171 Views 1211 Replies 106 Participants Last post by  VCR
I wasn't very happy with the X-Lap software that came with the PC unit. So I've written my own RMS software (Windows) for Carrera digital, using the protocol information so generously provided by SFI member brumbaer at his website.

My software includes some things I thought were lacking in X-Lap:

You can automagically rotate cars or drivers in a session. If you have 10 drivers and 5 controllers (as we did here the night of the first test), the software will rotate through the ten drivers, giving each a chance to race all 5 cars associated with the 5 controllers. Likewise, if 2 drivers want to each drive 3 cars in a session (as my wife and I just did this afternoon), the software will track the results.

There is support for sounds. Lap, best lap, and leader lap. Two laps to go and or final lap (lap counted race), 30 seconds to go (in a timed race). Announcement of leader (or not). Announcement of checkered flag in lap counted race (or not).

There is a practice mode as well as a race mode. Just click the practice button and drive. For race modes, the heats must be started from the Black Box after the software has been setup with driver and/or car information.

The race screen always fills the desktop. It reports laps, best lap, last lap, position and time-to-leader (or laps behind leader).

You can count/not count ghost and pace cars. You can require them to finish the race, or not. When you're rotating cars, you have the option to rotate the ghost and pace cars, or leave them the same for the entire session.

The software has been used on exactly two machines at this point- both mine. If anyone is interested in trying it out, send me a PM and I'll put together an install package (with some instructions- currently ther is no in-program help) and make it available. It is and will remain free....
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QUOTE (ryk4racing @ 8 Feb 2009, 14:58) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>What version of Windows will it run on? I was ... dissapointed when X-Lap didn't work on 98 as advertised.

The only machine I have around here running Windows 98 has no USB I can't tell you if it will work or not.

My software assumes the user has installed X-Lap previously, and it uses the Serial-to-USB driver software that X-Lap installs. It should work if you install the FTDI drivers seperately, without installing X-Lap, but I have not tested it.

But at present I have no reason to beleive it will work on Win98 if X-Lap does not.

I'm curious, however, if anyone running Win98 has downloaded the last drivers validated for Win98 from FTDI's website? I haven't cheked to see what drivers are supplied with X-Lap, but I know the newest drivers from FTDI are not intended to work with Win98.

I plan to be putting together a dirt cheap ($0.00) machine (I have everything but an extra ATX case) to use on my track, and I'll install Win98 on it first and see what gives.
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For anyone interested, you can now download the latest intallation package from this location. If you were sent a link in a PM earlier in the week, and you didn't download the package (there were at least four of you who did not)- that link will no longer work. You'll have to fetch it from the above location.

If you did download the package and install it, you may want to grab the newest program file from the same website. It fixes some record-keeping issues, addresses the bugs I have isolated, and adds a few minor features. You may have gotten a version where the Browse for sound files buttons don't actually browse. Now they do. The latest program file also addresses an issue raised by Forum member Bannon05 re: editing driver information. It also prevents you from starting a second instance of the application. That can lead to interesting results if both programs query the lap counter

Enjoy, and any feedback much appreciated!
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QUOTE (gohara @ 14 Feb 2009, 18:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Nice software, Bruce.

Regarding the sounds, will it always announce :"Driver 1 driving car 1", stc. or do you have plans to personalize the sound according to the actual car number and/or driver name?

Also, for the other sounds, do you have stock sounds for lap crossings or do we just insert our own.

(I don't have it hooked up to the lap counter yet, but it looks great at first inspection)

Thanks for your efforts,

You can add driver name sound files right now. When you enter/edit driver information you can add a sound file. I plan on adding a sound description file for cars as well in the next release (not the version going up tonight/tomorrow, but in a few days). That one would only play at the race start. Unlike driver names which can be played during the race if you choose to. On short tracks, you may want to turn off some of the in-race sounds.

I like the pre-race announcements quite a bit. At my analog club, someone always has to announce who's in what lane for the next race. If you have sound files assigned to each driver in the database (doesn't take very long using sound recorder in Windows), the software lets you know. That's why I'm going to include a car description file as well. Some of the people who race here in my basement have no clue what the difference is between an Audi R10 and a Porsche Spyder. But they'll know the 'yellow #6 Porsche' from the 'silver #8 Audi'. It'll make race night run smoother.

There are stock sounds for lap, best lap, and leader lap. You can use them or add your own. There are one or two extra lap sounds included.

In a PM you asked about pace car laps. You can count laps for the pace car and for ghost cars if you want to, or you can ignore them. If you do count them, it's your option whether they have to finish the race or not.

I plan on packaging another release tonight or tomorrow. This one includes the ability to count multiple ghost cars. It is not flawless, becasue the lap counter itself won't retain information about more than one ghost crossing. So if two ghost cars cross without the software querying the lap counter in between, the first crossing is lost. In practice this means that two ghosts crossing within ~.05 seconds of each other will count as one car. Not perfect, but it does make it easier to race solo against several ghosts. And you can always add the lap in by pressing the '7' key on the keyboard. Not very easy to do that if you're racing solo- but if you have enough people for a race marshall, it's doable.

If you haven't hooked it up yet- make sure you get the latest version. And check back tomorrow- there should be another version up, and the comm package is more stable and reliable than in any past releases.
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Also happy to report that while I was away today racing with my analog club- a package arrived in the US Mail that had originated with the Royal Mail.

RichG's cable arrived, and it works just great with my software. So you don't have to buy the PC unit and X-lap. You can get a cable from Rich, download my software (admittedly I'm biased, but I think it's more flexible and I know it has more features than X-Lap) and race.

In the next week I plan on having that Win98 machine put together. I'm going to try RichG's cable, with the last validated-for-Win98 drivers from FTDI's website, and my software. Maybe we'll have a solution for those of you hoping to use an old machine for this job....

Version 0.725 is now available. If you're using it, I really recommend you get the latest executable.

The program is changing (hopefully, improving) with each update, and the core communications engine is now very solid.
I just received a PM requesting an emailed copy, so I thought I'd better post another reply with a link to the software. The last post with a link is buried somewhere in the middle of the thread. If you want to try it out, get it (or the latest .exe if you've already installed it) here.
Just discovered that the changes made in the last week had fouled the accounting system on timed heat sessions with more than (1) race.

It has been fixed in the version that I just posted. If you are using the program, and have a version prior to (you can check this on the main page- go to Settings page and click on About 132RMS button) please download the latest executable from here.

The new version also supports the use of a sound description file for cars. This means when the next race is announced (if you've turned on that sound option, and created all the appropriate sound files), the program will announce the driver's name, the controller ID, and give the car description. It will make my life much easier when family and friends come for race night. We always rotate drivers- meaning everyone gets a chance to drive each of the cars. Now the software will tell them all which controller they're using, and what car they're driving in the next heat.

RichG also tells me that he's tested the software with his cable and the driver's from FTDIs website on a WinME machine, and it works. So there's a good chance that it will work on Win98, as well. I'll be checking that later this week when I get time to put together a Win98 machine.
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QUOTE (TireSpin @ 16 Feb 2009, 10:14) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Bruce,

Great software I think you have done a fantastic job with it thus far. I have a question and I don't know if you want me to post it here or PM you so I will post it here first off. (Please let me know for future reference).

When I try to add a new driver I get a error message that states (List Index out of bounds (0) ). The only way I can then exit the program is to shut it down through task manager. Am I doing something incorrectly?


You can ask here. I'd prefer to have questions here now, rather than by PM. I guess the first post in this thread leads in the PM direction...maybe I'll start a new one.

I assume you mean you're adding a driver on the database screen? You shouldn't see a list index error message. If you do, it isn't because you've done something wrong- it means I have. You've found a bug.

I haven't used the car/driver add and remove screen for a couple of weeks. It's possible I broke something while adding the ability to assign a car sound description file. I'll take a look tonight.

The program isn't much good if you can't add drivers. Unless everybody you know who runs is named Bruce, Emmitt, Katie, Frank, or Greg
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QUOTE (TireSpin @ 16 Feb 2009, 10:14) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Bruce,

Great software I think you have done a fantastic job with it thus far. I have a question and I don't know if you want me to post it here or PM you so I will post it here first off. (Please let me know for future reference).

When I try to add a new driver I get a error message that states (List Index out of bounds (0) ). The only way I can then exit the program is to shut it down through task manager. Am I doing something incorrectly?


As I suspected- it was something I broke. I had changed the method of editing existing drivers, such that you could change any of the information entered. That worked great, but it broke the new driver additions. It's fixed now. Get the latest version from the website and you should be able to race with someone other than drver1, driver2, etc....

One of the problems with adding features at a rapid pace- you break things you think are solid. I don't plan on releasing any other versions for a couple of weeks- except for bug fixes such as this one.
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QUOTE (vmax888 @ 18 Feb 2009, 07:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Hi Bruce,

I just found this thread. To make shure I do everything correct.........I have downloaded your rms.exe, this I have to install first. Then I have to install or copy the setup.exe.....Correct ????? Where I have to copy ????

You only need the setup file. If you had already installed the program, you could update to the newest version by downloading just the rms.exe file. If you haven't installed the program yet, then all you need is the install package- the setup.exe file. The setup/install package will contain the newest version of the rms.exe file, along with sound files, configuration info, sample drivers and cars, etc.
QUOTE (Crazy-Chris @ 18 Feb 2009, 12:14) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>@Bruce, is it possible to add the current version release number at your website ?

Good idea, Chris- yes, I will do that this evening. For right now I can tell you the last one posted is

However, due to an error in my version control system, it is possible to have a version 727 that contains the add driver bug described earlier in the thread, or have a version 727 in which the bug is fixed. I wound up with two different builds with the same version number. I've taken care of that problem and it shouldn't happen again.
I just had a request by PM to sort the driver's on the race screen in running order, rather than by controller ID.

I like it the way it is, since you can see where you stand with just a glance at the screen. You know what your controller ID is, so you know where to look on the screen for your info. I don't always know where I am in the running order, so it may be harder to find my info if the drivers are sorted in running order.

But I can see why some may want the drivers sorted in running order, so I'll include it as an option. Your choice- running order or controller ID. I may be able to work it into next weeks maintenance release.

One nice aspect of digital racing with fuel stops and software- those 5-10 seconds give you time to see where everybody stands!
I beleive I have the option to display the drivers on the in-race screen in running order rather than ID order nailed down. It will need to be tested this weekend.

I also plan on getting the Win98 test done this weekend.

I already have some minor improvements to the formatting of race results, and the race announcement is cleaner and more informative. Those have been tested, but I'm waiting until I have the running order option tested and working before I post an update.
QUOTE (indianfire @ 20 Feb 2009, 03:50) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>hi bruce,

one more two questions:

1) what makes the difference in the settings "number of ghost car running" , when in take 1 gost or 5.- what means this to the race? whats the difference?

2) when i have a timed race, for example 5 minutes, the result shows 19 laps in 5:21 minutes...? where comes the 21 secondes? the race ended by exact 5 minutes.



1) If you have more than one ghost car running, laps get counted every time the ghost crosses. So the 'ghost driver' can finish very quickly if he's running 3 or 4 cars. If you tell the software you're running 3 ghosts, it won't count a lap for the ghost until 3 cars have crossed. You can attempt to address this issue using the minimum lap time, but I like this solution better.

I got the idea from brumbaer- he uses it in his Mac software. And we all need to thank him for making the protocol available, or I wouldn't have been able to write the software.

2) The results can differ, but I'm not sure how they could read more than the length of the race? The time reported at the end of a heat is the time that has passed when the car last completed a lap. That will often be less than the total length of the heat. For timed races, the session totals will display a time exactly equal to the length of the race(s), but the heat times can differ.

Carrera's digital solution doesn't really lend itself well to timed races, because the track power control is completely decoupled from the timing hardware. That is, the lap counter can't tell the Black Box when a 5 minute race is over, and the Black Box can't tell the lap counter that the power has been cut (track calls).

My next major release is going to partially address this issue- at least for me. I have a relay board hanging off the parallel port of my race track computer, and the power to the rails runs through the relay board. It will be used to cut track power. At the end of a race, and using track calls during a race (the timer will stop during the track call).
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I had some time this afternoon, so after a couple hours of testing, version is up here.

As described earlier, this gives you the option of displaying racers in running order or ID order on the race screen. I can see good arguments for both, so it's your option. I've also included the controller ID after the drivers name, so if you do choose running order, you can still tell which driver is assigned to which ID. It can come in handy if you need to adjust lap counts.

There have also been some improvements to the announcement of the next race. If the driver has a sound file attached, you're also told what controller she's using. If there is no sound file attached to the drivers name, then the controller ID is omitted, since it is the same as the driver number.

The results display is a little cleaner- if you keep more than one session in a single result file, there's now a seperator between them. I've made some slight changes in the display of the in race information designed to ensure that it remains legible on lots of different screen resolution and font pitch combinations.

With this out of the way, I should be able to test the Win98 possibilities this weekend....

Happy racing!!!
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QUOTE (indianfire @ 21 Feb 2009, 19:45) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>hello bruce,
please tell me about the sense of the ID on the race screen? for what is this information good? can i choose not to show this ID ?

It's there so you can tell what controller ID a driver is using. When you choose to display the results in running order, you can't tell what controller number someone has. That knowledge is useful if you need to add or subtract a lap from someone. Did you know you can add a lap by pressing the number key of the controller ID- or subtract a lap by pressing shift and the number? Not needed in digital so much as in analog- there aren't really any 'riders' in digital- but it can be useful. Say you wanted to impose a penalty for a lane change crash- easily done. Anyway, at present you can't turn that ID info off, but I'll put the option in next weeks release.

You seem to be one of only two people other than me using the software. So most of your suggestions and requests are being honored.

Also in next weeks release- right now when you exit a timed practice session, an error message displays, and if sounds are on you're told that the race is over. That's fixed in next weeks release. I also saw where someone complained to you on freeslotter that he couldn't change the background colors on the race screen. That also will be in next weeks release.

One more thing which I haven't added but plan to before next weekend: the ability to end a race early without canceling. In other words, if a driver drops out, you can end the race but still count the results. Right now the only way to end a race early is the escape key, and that cancels the heat. I'd like to be able to end the race early but not have to run the heat over.
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QUOTE (indianfire @ 22 Feb 2009, 06:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>by the way, you gave the option to offer new wishes....: i would like to have an option to end a tracked race by finishing the first driver reaching the tracks.- but i know, you dont like this option.- but for example, when you have only 2 drivers, than its boring for the second drivers an finish the tracks, by knowing, the winner has finished an must wait till he drives his rounds to the end.

many greetings from germany


I've been thinking about this, and I've come up with a solution that is pretty much the same as a real world lap-counted race.

It doesn't end when the winner crosses the finish line- but once the checkered flag is out, drivers only get to finish their current lap.

That will be an option in next weeks release. It's already coded, but I have to test it.

If you like the present method (the same as Carrera's), you can use it. But I think most people will choose to end the race this way. It is rather dull if someone happens to be two or three laps down when the winner crosses the finish line...

As to opening a thread on Freeslotter- I don't speak German. I read FreeSlotter through a Babelfish translation. It's very entertaining, since German and English don't machine-translate all that well.
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QUOTE (indianfire @ 22 Feb 2009, 11:49) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>to me often the translate machine helps not realy,- only one or two words, that i have forgotten,- but to translate complete senteces its not really good

your offer to finish the lap after checkered flag is perfect!-so all my dreams will come true

one thing to the race screen: i think, that the first screen from the version before was a little bit better to see during the race,- it was clearer to look for a short second,- now
there ist the ID, and too there is at each name the (number).- for my understanding now thr informormation is too much. - but please, this is only my personal view, no critics to your hard work!

so i will not use x-lap any more,- can i complete deinstall it, or needs D132 RMS some installed files from x-lap?
-the ony thing x-lap is good or better in comparison with D132RMS are the opportunities for analysm and the creation from clearly tables after one long race evening...


I believe you can uninstall x-lap. The only thing my software uses from x-lap (unless you are using the car images included with x-lap), are the hardware driver files for the PC unit. I don't think they will be removed if you remove x-lap. I'll have to try it later on my test machine and let you know.
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This is exactly the error I was describing a few posts ago. It happens at the end of a timed practice session. It's fixed in the next release.

I haven't seen this at the end of a timed race. You say it doesn't happen all the time, only sometimes. It would be great if you can isolate what is different when it does happen.

For example- maybe always with just one driver, or maybe always with more than one driver.
Maybe only when rotating drivers, maybe only when not rotating drivers.
Maybe always the second heat of a session, maybe always the first, etc.

If you can give me a better idea how to reproduce it, then I can fix it.

Something is going wrong in the creation of the results- but if I can't find the error, I can't fix it.
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