Digital Lap Counter
May 24, 2002 at 11:15 pm #9010
Is anyone using the Tomy digital lap counter; do you like it, how does it work? Thanks for any info.
May 24, 2002 at 11:36 pm #14103
May 24, 2002 at 11:36 pm #14105
I don’t own one but from what I’ve read of other people talking about theirs it can’t differentiate between cars, I’m guessing it uses an infra-red beam between the main unit and a reflector to just sense when anything goes between them.
I’ve been thinking about making a lap counter using my old Psion Organiser II as it’s fully programmable and I just recently found some code to be able to read the top slot connector, but you’d have to have separate lanes for the cars to go through to increase their lap count because it’s impossible to differentiate between the cars.
I gather they use transponders of some sort for 1/10 RC car races? we could do with some miniture ones.
May 24, 2002 at 11:40 pm #14106
hey, i use the counter. it does not keep cars individual laps if racing at the same time. basically it counts whenever something passes the finish line. so it is good for 1 lap races w/ mulitple peoples, or 1 user for many laps, or as a starting sounder. beep, beep, beep, beep, BEEEP!!! to widen the range if your track lanes are wide, put a real mirror instead of the crappy foil sticker.
there is also another maker for a counter/timer. it was for the digi-q. was it beesoft? i forget, but it had a bee in it’s logo and they were the ones who made the game bomberman etc…..
May 25, 2002 at 5:56 am #14145
thanks for the good info, think i will wait for the microtransponder…
May 25, 2002 at 6:22 am #14148
hey mojoheli, who makes the micro transponder? what brand? b
May 25, 2002 at 6:48 am #14150
sorry bdrift, i was just wishin; maybe one of the electrical engineers in the group can invent one for us, no such animal available as far as i know
May 27, 2002 at 8:01 am #14193
I have just had a whacky idea (I’m sorry, it happens, just look at my joystick port project :smiley2:)
Tagging the cars with radio transmitters is out of the question, too big, too expensive, so how about infra-red transmitters?
My thought goes along this line: mod mad has created a Knight Rider light using a programmable chip, what if you were to program that chip to control a single, infra-red LED andhave it flash in a set sequence (so it acts just like a tv remote control).
With several of these mini infra-red remote controls each programmed to output a unique sequence on a non-stop loop, you would then be able to identify each individual car by having the LED pointing upwards, out of a hole inthe roof or a window (you might be able to get away with using 3mm LEDs as you only need to transmit a signal about a foot or so).
On the lap counter side you’d need an infra-red receiver connected to your PC (I got one cheap off eBay, a Packard Bell thing that, with free software, allows me to almost totaly control the PC with almost any remote) mounted about a foot above the start line and pointing down.
Is the idea nuts or viable? Me, I can see someone like Tomy producing the infra-red tags en masse…
May 27, 2002 at 10:47 am #14194
Here’s what you need – a miniature version of the devices used for theft prevention at many stores
i believe they work by having a passive resonant circuit (an inductor and capacitor?) that is excited by an rf signal from the system.
You see these sometimes as stickers, and if you peel the back off, you can actually see the coil.
If you applied one of these to each car, and they were tuned to different frequencies, it’d be able to identify which car passed. The stickers would be light and aerodynamic (and movable from 1 car to another)
just an idea for how one might plausibly do such a thing
Edit: actually here’s a link on antitheft devices, scroll down to “swept rf” for a description and pictures of what i’m describing. as i figured, you should be able to have different tunings on the tags which are uniquely identifiable.
May 27, 2002 at 12:43 pm #14198
What a KILLER first post. I love the idea and it would be great to see it in action. Only issue might be cost of using a current commercial technology. :smiley6:
I wonder how hard it would be to make a cheap knock-off?
Hello, OEMs….anyone listening? :smiley2:
May 27, 2002 at 5:28 pm #14202
I agree with Derek.
Just read an article in scientific american or technology review (dont remember which) about them coil sticker things. Walmart was the first to use it to track its inventory. They said CEO’s wouldnt adopt itfor other commercial purposes untilthe technologydropped to .05 cents a sticker. They state that it currently cost .07 cents per sticker. But I would assume that priceis with a super duper Walmart sized volume discount wholesale price, so I imagine it would’nt be cheap to use that technology on bitchargs, which took 1 year to move a million units.
May 28, 2002 at 3:30 am #14215
Haha thanks, I don’t think it’d be that complicated if someone made it themselves, it’s well enough developed that you could probably find some chips that are specifically designed for this kind of stuff and might be relatively cheap. Often the circuits given in the application notes are enough to get you 90% of the way there. If it didn’t already have a couple dozen random projects in the queue that I’d like to do, I’d look at it more closely. Just thought I’d throw the idea out.
ifi were going to try to do this myself, i’d try to get samples from a company – when most people buy them by the millions, getting them to send you a couple dozen as a “sample” might not be that hard 🙂
but if i were a company that was to make these things and sell them, then I’d order a few thousand of em or something, I bet you could buy a small enough volume that it wouldn’t be too much for a small company.
May 28, 2002 at 5:36 am #14216
That site has some fascinating info on it, unfortunately in the section where it talks about cost no real figures are mentioned, howeverit does say”Considering that store personnel will have more time for assisting shoppers (instead of watching for potential thieves), a reliable EAS system can pay for itself in 1 1/2 to 2 years.” :smiley6:
The single most biggest cost will be the hardware to read the tags, and I don’t think they make cut-down versions small enough to fit on a table. We could be talking thousands of dollars, for that amount you could pay someone to watch the cars race round and press a button for each car as they pass the start line :smiley15:
Infra-red anyone ?
May 28, 2002 at 7:12 am #14218
i think that infrared is an interesting idea as well, but i wasn’t talking about buying a commercial system, but building a micro homebrew system
since it needs to cover a much smaller area than a typical scanner you can likely get away with significantly lower power, and since the cars pass through in a specific orientation, you can probably use only one antenna instead of multiple as some use
the big advantage of ir to me would be that it would be more obvious to implement, and the disadvantage would be that you have to worry about line of sight, as well as the fact that it probably cant be as light as one of the anti theft deals. probably a bit more permanent too
so i think if it’s possible to hack up a slimmed down version of one of those things, it’d be worth it, but if not ir might be the way to go. certainly ir seems like itd be easier to build
here’s a chip for 6 bucks that could probably be paired with a cheap microcontroller to do the job http://www.secureorderprocess.com/ti/product_detail.asp?product_id=101
May 28, 2002 at 8:10 am #14219
“We could be talking thousands of dollars, for that amount you couldpaysomeone to watch the cars race round and press a button for each car as they pass the start line ”
You could hire me to count laps for your bitcharg races!!! Wouldnt that be a cool job! Hehe. Peace.
May 28, 2002 at 8:29 am #14220
Don’t get me wrong, the idea of using those RF tags is great, the cost and time for the R&D is something I don’t want to think about particularly.
The technology to scan several different tags at once does exist, when I was searching earlier I stumbled across a south African site devoted to transponders, there’s a section on there about using custom, cheap transponders on supermarket items so that way you’d only have to ‘drive’ your trolley through a sensing area and it would automatically scan all the items in your basket and bring up a total in a couple of seconds, and it’s something they have achieved some years ago it seems. The site is http://rapidttp.com/transponder/
Also I did some searches on http://groups.google.com to see about cheap lap counting devices for radio controlled cars and a few years ago someone has tried infra-red and magnetic devices, but came to the conclusion that radio transponders are still the best solution. The thread is a very interesting read, see http://tinyurl.com/80l(tinyurl.com is a great redirection site to shorten long urls).
If someone were to go ahead and create RF tags for use with Bit Char-G’s, the biggest hurdle after actually making the system would be the licensing because each country has different licences to do with radio frequencies, you wouldn’t want a government department breathing down your neck, which is why infra-red could be a viable option, cheap and no worries about licensing (which is why the Digi Q can besold round the world whilst the Bit Char-Gis legally limited to two frequencies in the US and UK).
May 28, 2002 at 11:28 am #14234
You could try adding a barcode to the side of the car and reading that with the IR beam
I think in slotcar racing, they manually tell the computer when there is a change in running order, so the computer knows which car is going to break the beam next
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.