Another Dash suggestion (more work for you guys!)

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Another Dash suggestion (more work for you guys!)

Postby tristancliffe » Sun May 04, 2008 5:49 pm

I'm sure you've already thought of this, but perhaps my suggestion will add weight to the idea. Perhaps not.

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... 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 :))
  • GPS
  • 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 - £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 ;)
Monoposto 2000 - Reynard 883 Toyota

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Re: Another Dash suggestion (more work for you guys!)

Postby jlucas » Mon May 05, 2008 11:03 pm

tristancliffe wrote:Edit: I suggested the Dash3 in August last year, and it took about 10 months to bring to market

Not to burst your bubble but I wrote the proposal spec for it in Sept of 2006!

I like your all in one logger idea though.... :)
Jeremy Lucas
Fast Tech Limited - a Race Technology Dealer

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Postby tristancliffe » Wed May 07, 2008 3:59 pm

Pffff! Doesn't matter anyway.

The point is another dash would be relatively simple (nothing that hasn't been done before, just packaged in a single box), and would sell quite well I think.

I'm not datalogging expert, and I don't think Analysis has every feature that could be useful, or is totally bug free, but I prefer the way of working with Analysis. The other datalogging programs I've tried all seem to be based on an early 1980s functionality that has been expanded over time. Nothing is easy in them.

And RT seem as helpful as any, and update their software and hardware quite frequently too, which is nice.
Monoposto 2000 - Reynard 883 Toyota


Postby Support » Thu May 08, 2008 8:05 am

I have heard of worse ideas :-)

Obviously we do try to keep pushing things forward, so it will come as no great suprise when I say that we will be starting work on mods to the DASH2 in the not too distant future. This is still a long way off though.
The DASH3 and VIDEO4 projects have basically come along on the back of two other projects, which is why they have happened so relatively quickly.

With the current setup you have, the VIDEO4 might be an option for you. This would mean that you only have one CF card which holds all of your data and video, you no longer need to get to the DL1 to get at the card and all your footage will be very accurately synchronised without you having to do anything. If you are going to continue wanting to use video footage then a combined Dashboard / logger still isn't going to solve your problem.

The current processor we use in the DASH2 and DL1 isn't capable of performing both functions at the same time, but as things move forwards I am sure there will come a point when this will be possible We see video integration as being very big in the future (when you see the quality of the output from the VIDEO4 you will see why we are so keen). As such, since a recorder will be required to store the video data, it might make more sense from a product point of view to put more sensor inputs on the dashboard so that you have access to the data, but to keep the storage remote so that the data is stored along with the video footage. You still have a two box solution, but this is better than the current three box with the DL1 as well.

There are good markets for people who want only a data logger or only a dashboard. We do offer some package deals on people who want both, and for many installations the very small outline of the DASH2 combined with the ability to hide the DL1 away is pretty useful.

I am looking at the wiring on our sensors to see what can be improved, I agree with you that it isn't perfect!!

Thanks for your input, we are always listening to suggestions and welcome the feedback.



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Postby tristancliffe » Thu May 08, 2008 8:34 am

Actually, it's not the video integration that was the problem. It's actually fine at the moment, because (no offence) I think the Trackvision software produces a better final video, albeit with a bit more work for me.
The Video4 (correct me if I'm wrong) is another box I'd need to hide somewhere, and space is already at a premium, so it's unlikely I'll go down that route.

Edit: Re-reading your posts suggests that I'm not entirely aware of the video quality of the Video4. I will have a better look at it right away!

At the moment I'm in the market for a Dash2 and DL1 package (and therefore sell our DL1 with the current car, which saves having to remove a lot of stuff from the car), but liked the idea of Racepaks 'all-in-one' dash, with RT's software and PI's warning system.

Another option would be a remote CF card lead. Something that plugs in (and seals against water) the DL1, and effectively extends the CF slot to a location I can get to more easily, which would be ideal for most single seaters. I don't know if bits exist that would allow me to make my own - I'm no electrical expert - but perhaps it something RT could offer.

So ignoring video integration (surprisingly few club racers I've met use onboard cameras) I still think a single unit dash-logger would sell well, but I appreciate a little more the difficulties of combining the electronics of two units into one, i.e. the processor issue you referred to as an example.

Out of interest, what sort of 'mods' are you planning with the Dash2?
Last edited by tristancliffe on Thu May 08, 2008 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby faraday » Thu May 08, 2008 8:36 am

Sales details on Vid4...
Looks like a versatile unit

Delivery :?:
Price :?:

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