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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There is a thread running currently in a much-loved American forum on the subject of split rail dead strips,together with a little uncertainty about whether any protection against overloading the parallel port is required.

One of the posts mentions that split rails have been used successfully on a number of UK club tracks.

Could anyone with experience of this system comment on its usability, how to connect it to the parallel port plug, and whether or not circuit overload protection is really necessary.

Oh, and how long does the dead strip have to be?

No point in re-inventing the wheel if we don't have to.


David.
 

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Split tape lap counters have been successfully used on UK clubs for many years.
There is no dead section. The car picks up power normally from a tape half the normal width, the other half of the split tape is the contact for the lap counter.
The shortest length that will work depends on the circuit connected to the strips and the siting of the strips themselves.
I'm told they work OK at less than 1/4 inch in length, but most I've seen are around 4 -8 inches in length. The greater length gives a bit more insurance that cars with bad pick ups and out of round front wheels will contact somewhere along the strip.
So many club tracks now use copper braid instead of copper tape, all the braided club tracks I've seen use either dead sections or optical detectors.
A dead section is a non problem in normal use providing it is sited in a sensible place.

All the club tracks I've seen use some circuitry to interface the split tapes or dead strips or optical detectors with the computer. The race control system provider will tell you how to interface with the computer. Most of the ones I've seen use either custom interface cards plugged into the computer or some sort of serial connection (USB connections are increasingly common). Either way, any decent race control systems will count laps flawlessly. I haven't had any experience of a good race control system that connects via a parallel port. ( Unfortunately I have experienced a very poor race control system that connects via a parallel port, but I won't go into that.)
Usability is mainly about the software, which system is best depends a lot on what sort of race schemes you want to use it for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks 300SLR for answering some of my question.

I'm hoping to use Laptimer 2000.

I'm going to be using it for home tracks , and it's strictly for fun , not terribly serious racing.

Now I need somebody from one of these club tracks that use split rail to tell me how they connected it to the computer - parallel port or otherwise.

Although I'm only going to be using an old and forgotten laptop, I don't want to boil its insides by making connections that a computer-person would know to be wrong.
 

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I'd recommend choosing your race control system first, then following the maker's recommendations on interfaces and what sort of detection to use (split tape or dead strip or optical detectors or whatever). Choosing the detector first then trying to interface it with a system that's not designed for it is a recipe for problems unless the user has enough electronics knowledge to design their own interface.

I don't know of any clubs using Laptimer 2000.

It's usually best to follow the maker's recommendations and if in doubt ask the maker or experienced system users.
I had a quick look at the Laptimer 2000 web site http://www.gregorybraun.com/LapTimer.html/index.html There is a Laptimer 2000 e mail address on the site, perhaps the best thing you could do is e mail them. Unfortunately most of the site wasn't working properly when I looked, maybe just a temporary glitch, or the site has moved elsewhere??? guess you could contact their e mail address and ask. At the time I tried, the software downloads and interface details weren't working,.

From the parts of the site that were working, Laptimer 2000 appears to be designed for optical detectors, and advertise interface cable kits which include the optical detectors. As far as I could tell it isn't suitable for split tape or dead strip. Something else to ask Laptimer 2000 by e mail

P.S, might be worth you starting a Laptimer 2000 thread and seeing what advice existing users can offer
 

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This would be the link to use: http://www.hoslotcarracing.com/
The site is a part time thing, so Greg Braun does not always have time to respond to e-mails. He does sell the IR sensors and the focus of the site is on HO racing. Lap Timer 2000 is a basic program that only counts and times laps, it does not do race managment. If you get things working with Lap Timer 2000 your hardware should work with other freeware/shareware programs.
 
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