Have just completed my Chronocone hardware interface, based on a "Zero Delay Arcade USB Encoder to Joystick"(search ebay), and now have a twin lane race timer for less than $100.
Chronocone offers laptop based twin lane timing, that dumps results straight into a spreadsheet, so race organisers can throw away the pencils! Chronocone can do everthing that the latest trackate can, such as start tones, and common start timing for head to head, calculate cone penalties, early start penalties, and DQ's based on cones or early starts.
Props to Pat Chewning (ISSA) for developing it in the first place, and for sending the source code to me so that I can make it run on our hardware.
The interface is a basic usb game-pad.
You need to solder fly leads into a usb game pad, so that each tape switch triggers a different button on the game pad.
The modern usb game-pads are really hard to solder to, so I used the 4 switches on the front of the game pad, instead of the switches on top, because they are on their own remote circuit boards and were easy to access.
If you want to use those switches, you will need re-compiled version.
try using the versions I compiled here.
Load Pat's original, then load the recompiled versions.
If you can get a vintage game pad it will probably be better, and easier to solder fly-leads to.
If you want to use any other game-pad buttons you will need to get Pat Chewning to re-program Chronchone to pick up the different buttons.
I had an on going problem with reliability, with the game-pad sending false trips to the program.
It could be the modern game-pads, or line capacitance, or how I cabled the tape switches.
Pat's original system used opto-isolators.
I never really resolved it, but I am sure it was in the game pad.
Pat had compiled pretty good manuals for the software, and there was overall wiring diagrams.
see the pdf attached.
First off, thanks a ton for your response! Some of the things in that exe file were very helpful. I have had limited contact with Pat, and he was very helpful with getting things started. However with making another USB pad, I'm basically on my own. He told me similar info that you did. That the USB connector is comprised of the "guts" of a game controller. I actually do have a USB "box" that I am using and bought from a friend several years back. (Picture attached). And it works great. It is race ready. Tape switches, wiring.. it's all good to go. But I would love to have a second one as a backup. Hosting a race in a few months and it would relieve a lot of worry to have a backup in case mine was damaged, however slim that chance might be..
I'm not so good with schematics, having no background or exp in doing stuff like this... Trying to make sure I understand this... SO, as far as the game controller... I have to connect two phone cables inside the game controller? (one for start and one for stop I'm assuming). And just have those white cables lead to ports for connections to tape switches/ big real of cable? Also how did you get those two white cables to stick out of the controller like that? I was looking at buying a cheap $10 logitech gamepad controller. Would that be what I want? Am I missing anything else as far as pieces or what I need to do? Thanks
For cabling the tape switches read the Manual :ChronoconeUserManualV4_0.doc
Make your cabling to the tape switches the same as everyone else cables up a trackmate, then you can use either system with your cables.
For the "T-adapter"
I used modular rj12 double adapters, reconfigured to split the pairs for each white cable, into left and right lanes.
( you have to open them up, and re align the cables)
You can do the same by making Y cables to split each pair going to each tape switch.
you could make Left lane tape switches using Pins3&4
and right lane tape switches using Pins 2&5
There should be someone in your network who can help you put it all together.
2 phone cables = 8 individual wires.
Cable one = 1 pair for left start, 1 pair for right start
Cable two = 1 pair for left stop, 1 pair for right stop
Okay, that makes a bit of sense to me at least haha, thanks! And yeah even the color pairs I used for my timer strips didn't match up to the color pairs from the manual
I hope to find someone to help me or might just mess around with it until I figure it out. You would think I would have found someone by now, having been at most of the major US races over the last few years but, no luck. The few that I know who could probably do this, say they are too busy.. Anyway.. What controller would you recommend? What is considered old? Thanks again.
Controller.....older the better.
Open it up, look for wide copper strips on the circuit board, just like the one you have.
Go to a computer swap meet, and ask a nerd,
or anyone with an obvious Coke addiction (the full sugar soft drink kind of coke) and body built for computer games.
As to getting people to help.....what a sad state of affairs!
It is amazing that so many of those that can't (won't) help will be the 1st to bitch when the timing system is not perfect!
Put word out that the next race won't happen if you can't get help with fixing your system.
Yeah, it's a shame. There are plenty of guys in the scene who are extremely helpful and contribute a lot to the scene, however I am having trouble finding one that is also really good at doing something like this.. ;)
And there are literally like 5 slalom skaters in my state of North Carolina so no local help. Oh well!
Well don't be too scared to have a go yourself.
That how we figure stuff out down this end of the planet!
Haha yeah. I'm going to buy an old cheap gamepad and take a shot at it. With some trial and error (and looking at the one I already have as an example), I think I can figure it out.
So, I found a game controller. As far the game controller is concerned, what else do I need for it? Just two phone jacks? I plan to put in a housing like the one i already have
Yes, just copy the setup you already have.
any chance this will run on a mac? I think we in CDDH only really have macs and if so we might purchase one from you soon