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Some of you may be aware that we have been looking at using the RC programme instead of Trackmate for timing. This has been on the back-burner since Andy W had issue getting it to run on his laptops, now resolved. Thanks to FLBT racing every week he has the means to test it works as it should with the TM hardware.

I have been looking into the setting up side of things. Working with the author I was able to create files to generate the unique heat rotation EAHORC uses. So, at some point this year we should, all things being equal, try it. This in no way impacts on Al's project, which we are very interested in, especially at HONK where so much more can be done.

Running RC in demo mode today with the laptop I normally use for the results sheets in excel on race days, I was able to set up the second monitor to take advantage of the fact the prog uses multiple windows. This means that the leaderboard, which updates every time a car crosses the line, can be 'sent' to the other screen rather than it display the same as the laptop. The leaderboard shows the whole field.

I want to go further and 'send' the start sequence window to a third monitor, to be placed in front of the drivers. This means the start lights would face the drivers, the current race would face the race controller and the leaderboard could face into the room.

Two issues. The laptop and the monitor both have one conventional monitor socket, the monitor has a DVI socket but the laptop does not. How do we hook up a second monitor?

Also, are there small monitors for the start lights out there that do not break the bank?
 

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Hi Deane this thread caught my eye since I'm hoping we'll use RC tonight (just off to buy a serial to USB converter).

Guessing a USB to VGA device would give you as many monitors as you need (never tried these so maybe someone else has)

Secondhand for an old monitor would be your best bet otherwise new seems to be from 60 quid upwards i.e. http://www.dabs.com/products/philips-e-lin...tm_content=TB00
or http://www.dabs.com/products/aoc-18-5--wid...64SR.html?src=3

From the rounds I've done, you use a dead start same as FLBT? In which case is there any point to a dedicated start monitor, I'm assuming no one looks at the lights and just keeps their finger on the trigger!!!

Kevin
 

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Sounds like you need a VGA Monitor Video Splitter + some cables.
Splitters to drive up to 2, up to 4 or up to 8 monitors are common. They need to be plugged into the mains.
A cable is needed to connect each monitor to the splitter + one to connect the computer to the splitter.

Quite a few computer shops will stock what you want (although some charge silly prices), or you could try places like http://www.kenable.co.uk or Amazon.
 

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Kevin - We are planning to have live starts again some day. When I mentioned this at Norwich I did notice 2LBT spluttering


Before we went the PC timing route all HO starts were live. The problem was that the units we used gave a penaltly of a whole lap, which was too severe. With RC we can set the penalty to a quarter (or any other fraction) of a lap. Further down the line if we set up the HONK track with one relay per lane we can hold any car that jumps for a set number of seconds.

Apart from a 7'' monitor for the lights looking flash then, under those conditions it would be handy. The current monitor is too large and always a pig to place so the drivers can see it without the track being blocked.

Good luck with RC tonight, be sure to have the leaderboard window open when racing, seeing the names move up as the heats progress is very cool.

Just a note: There would be no jump start penalty for re-starts, they would be 'dead' as now.
 

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QUOTE (300SLR @ 28 Feb 2012, 13:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Sounds like you need a VGA Monitor Video Splitter + some cables.
Splitters to drive up to 2, up to 4 or up to 8 monitors are common. They need to be plugged into the mains.
A cable is needed to connect each monitor to the splitter + one to connect the computer to the splitter.

Quite a few computer shops will stock what you want (although some charge silly prices), or you could try places like http://www.kenable.co.uk or Amazon.

I think the VGA splitter will only give you the same output on multiple monitors. Something like this should give you multiple monitor support http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B002FJQXXC/ref=...ASIN=B002FJQXXC
Think you can have upto 4 of them, obviously if it's a desktop PC you could just put another graphics card in it.

Live starts sound good, and loosing a lap is a decent punishment for either cheating or having fat fingers if you ask me. We'd struggle at FLBT because our sensor is at the end of the lap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
But by going into the display menu in Control Panel (I'm using XP), you can check a box in settings so that the monitor becomes an extension of the screen, right?

This is how I am able to have one window of RC (in this case the leaderboard) on the monitor only.
 

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QUOTE (montoya1 @ 28 Feb 2012, 19:15) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>But by going into the display menu in Control Panel (I'm using XP), you can check a box in settings so that the monitor becomes an extension of the screen, right?

This is how I am able to have one window of RC (in this case the leaderboard) on the monitor only.
Sorry I must have mis-understood. Yes you can have an extended desktop, your built-in monitor can display one thing and your external monitor something else. I thought you wanted multiple external monitors showing different screens on each i.e. one showing race position and one showing start lights, this would require additional hardware and not a VGA splitter.
 

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I think the multiple monitors all showing different things is the optimum but extending your desktop to 3 or 4 screens and doing that way is the cheap way to do it. I have double screens at work which is useful with the amount of spreadsheets I work with.
 

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Have now had a closer look at the product slings linked too. It does seem to create an extended desktop 'opportunity' from a USB socket, as it is basically an externeal video card.

My concern is that there is a menu for setting up the extended desktop on the CD. Will it conflict with or overide the one in Control Panel/Display/Settings.

At £40 it is a bit pricey to get one and then find out it does not do what we want, which is (just to clarify) have three screens all showing different things from a laptop with one VGA output. One of the three is the lappie itself of course.

Looking at this another way, do any laptops come with two VGA outputs or one VGA and one DVI? Both of those would probably would work for what I need, I suspect. One way I do know will work is to buy two of the USB-VGA devices and connect one monitor to each, but now we are talking £80.
 

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Is there no client/server setup to run the other screens on a different computer? That would be a much better option for anything other than the realtime track timing part. Updating a remote leaderboard would be easily doable over wireless. If Robin or Andy could type fast enough we could do it at WHO


And Gareth, only two screens at work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Andrew - the first part of that went over my head


I suspect the age of the laptops I have will be a problem. The XP one I use for trackmate will display to a second screen, but there is no extended desktop option as the graphics card is probably not up to it.

The other XP laptop, which I use for excel, the practice timer, and not much else, will extend to at least one screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I contacted the company in sling's link.

They said that it is possible to use their device and configure it so that the settings menu in control panel/display WILL 'see' three screens.

Finding a small screen for the startlights cheaply remains an issue.
 

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QUOTE (montoya1 @ 7 Mar 2012, 13:56) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Andrew - the first part of that went over my head


Instead of running multiple screens from one laptop you just push the relevent data to a second laptop which does its own thing. The hardware requirements for this setup would be a lot less than multiple displays and timing all on one laptop. The 2nd laptop would just need to update a leaderboard when new data arrived - not a very demanding task at all.

At WHO there's 2nd laptop which pulls the data from race control and pretties it up to display heats/results info.
 

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Sounds an option, other than the fact the second eahorc laptop currently acts as the spreadsheet generating machine. The scores are important as we use the current software (Trackmate) on a one-race-at-a-time basis and transfer the data to the relevant racer on the spreadsheet by typing it in.

With RC the potential is there to run the whole meeting, via databases, but the second laptop will then be tied up running Trackmate as a back-up.

It's probably no big deal if we don't do anything. With what I have to hand now I can 'flick' the leaderboard onto it's own screen, and that on it's own will be a cool addition to what we do. This will update automatically every time a car crosses the line, and even take into account the dropped scores.

The RC author will probably add support for sector timing this year, so by adding additional sensors (not dead strips, for obvious reasons), the leaderboard could update three or more times per lap. This screen shows the whole field, so that would be awesome&#153;.

If there is the means to add a third screen with just the start lights on, facing the drivers, that would be a nice bonus. The small screen idea came about because it is hard to place larger ones without creating a viewing issue of some kind, but smaller screen that 'do' VGA tend to be expensive.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
QUOTE (diesel @ 7 Mar 2012, 14:19) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Would a hardware solution with real start lights be cheaper than finding a small screen?

Indeed, and Andy did it before I recall. No idea how.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Might be worth looking at then.

The small screen would be much more swish of course, but this sounds almost as cool. I take it that it could be pretty small?

Would you be willing/able to make the hardware?
 

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QUOTE (montoya1 @ 7 Mar 2012, 14:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Might be worth looking at then.

The small screen would be much more swish of course, but this sounds almost as cool. I take it that it could be pretty small?

Would you be willing/able to make the hardware?

You must have me mistaken for someone competent in electronics. I'm just punting ideas so that those more able can run with it.
 
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