Using a Mk1 DL1 at the moment in my car. It has a 'normal' dashboard with gauges, lights and switches as you'd expect. Have been thinking of adding a Dash3 to the steering wheel to give laptime indications and other info. Have also been thinking about 2009, and we are considering changing cars to a newer Dallara. This will almost certainly come with a PI System 2 dash/logger, but I don't like the features or the software that PI use (even if it is "F1 standard"). So I've been considering what to change it to...
PI do an Omega dash and logger, but the same issues apply. I like and want GPS facilities, memory cards etc. AIM do one, but it looks a bit pants. Digidash looks like a baby's toy. There are others and they are all rubbish (in my opinion).
This brings me back neatly to Race Technology, and to my suggestion (eventually). If I wanted to use a Dash2 and log the data that means a DL1 as well. This isn't really a huge problem, but it does mean more boxes in the car, with wires everywhere. but the major problem with a DL1 in a single seater is...
...you have to take the car to bits to get at the memory card!
On our current car we hacked a little access panel into the sidepod which I can get to easily. but being in the sidepod (even though the front is blanked off on our car) means it gets wet in the rain. the DL1 isn't waterproof, and the memory card slot is VERY exposed. Mounting the DL1 under my knees isn't really an option as we already have fire-extinguishers, camera systems (Chasecam), Fire Extinguisher control units etc, and there is no room for the unit, and the amount of wires required in there would be even more of a problem... Waterproofing the DL1 is difficult because you have to get to the memory card. If I can find a CF card with a USB wire built in I'd get it and be able to plug my laptop in directly...
Finally, the suggestion...
You should make a DL1/Dash2 COMBINED!!!!! One box, very much like the RacePak IQ3 (which sounds great, but has TERRIBLE software [I just spent most of today trying it out with sample data], and very expensive Vnet sensors - $170 for a water temp sensor!!!!!!!!!!!), with all the wires going into it, a memory card slot on the front, buttons on the front (I don't really understand why people make dashboards that require buttons then leave them for the end user to find a place for them and wire them in)...
This would be GREAT, and would sell, I expect, like hotcakes. Analysis (and the config software) is as far as I can tell from trying other makes, far and away the best software I've come across.
The unit should have the best bits of competitors products
- 3-axis accelerometers (two needed, vertical is just a nice gimmick and not that useful for circuit racing )
- Buttons ON THE DASH ITSELF (with proviso for wheel mounted buttons etc too)
- Shift Lights
- Dash2 style configuration which seems great and I don't even have one!
- Double colour backlighting - RED for warning, as on the PI Omega dash
- Easily accessible (and slightly weather proofed) memory card slot
- Easily accessible programming port. Ideally USB as it's rare to find serial ports on laptops these days, so we all end up using USB-Serial converters anyway)
- At least 8 inputs + 4 Frequency (as per DL1)
- Better wiring connectors than the DL1 - none of this crappy push-in or tiyn grub screw malarky. Use a proper plug with crimp terminals that is secure and weather proof.
- Make sure that pull-up resistors aren't required EVER. These are silly, irritating, and prone to failure. The same applies to RT sensor wiring, where the small resistor is soldered in by hand, and is prone to breaking with vibrations. We 'fix' it by filling up the shroud with silicon bathroom sealer to hold it steady, but it does smack of carelessness. The RT sensors and wiring have given us more problems than the rest of the car combined.
- Gear configurable shift lights (as recently suggested on this forum, and as I think will be in the Dash3 if the beta software was anything to go by)
If I think of any more things I'll add them
P.S. If you like the idea, get making it, because I'll want one by the end of the year (release it at the Autosport show and I'll buy one there and then (assuming the price is reasonable - Â£900 would be a competitive starting point right now). Go on, you know you want to... you already have most of the electronics sorted out in the shape of the Dash2 and DL1. It's really just a case of squeezing them into one (slim) box, adding some buttons and better connectors, and designing a box.
I even thought of a name - "Dash4Log"
To other people - would you buy an "in-one" dashlogger system as I have described from Race Technology?
Edit: I suggested the Dash3 in August last year, and it took about 10 months to bring to market (assuming it is released in May). I'm suggesting this in May, so you've got about 8 months before the Autosport show