News and Articles

27 Jul 2018
by petreldata
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New High-Quality Tablet Mounts and Power Adapters

For a long time, we have been recommending tablet mounts available from other companies, but we never found one that was good enough to carry ourselves – until now!

We’re excited to offer an adjustable aluminum tablet mount from Arkon Mounts. This mount is adjustable enough to fit 7″ to 10″ tablets, and it comes with a 4-hole AMPS foot for rigid mounting directly to your vehicle, or to another AMPS series arm that you supply.

To top it off, you can even lock your tablet in the mount so it won’t “walk away” while you are out working the course.

We’ve also sourced a pair of commercial-grade, fleet-use USB Power Adapters that fulfill all of our own needs:

A 12v socket charger for your production-based car that can charge 4 devices simultaneously with a combined current draw of up to 10 Amps @ 5 Volts.

A hard-wired power adapter with a unique ignition sensor that allows a current draw of up to to 2.4 Amps @ 5 Volts.

Like all of you, we’re pretty picky about what we use in our own race cars – so when we carry a product, you know it’s the right stuff!

08 Jun 2018
by petreldata
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Pre-Order The New RaceCapture/Track Mk2 – Featuring External GPS and Bluetooth Radio

The New RaceCapture/Track Mk2 Data Logger is launching, with special pre-sale pricing available until June 27, 2018!

Autosport Labs innovated data logging for grassroots racers when they launched the original plug-and-play RaceCapture/Track, and now they’ve made it even better by adding a Bluetooth radio as well as a new, high-gain external GPS antenna.

If you have a CAN Bus enabled car, like the FRS/BRZ/GT86, then this is THE data logger to have! Depending on the vehicle, you can read Throttle, Steering, Brake, and RPM channels. The new Bluetooth radio also allows SoloStorm to connect to the RaceCapture/Track, while still controlling your favorite Wi-Fi camera.

The new high-gain GPS antenna is brought over from the RaceCapture/Pro Mk3 data logger, and offers superior performance and mounting options compared to the original internal antenna in the original RaceCapture/Track.

We are accepting pre-orders until June 27, 2018 at a saving of $50 on both the CAN and Legacy OBD II configurations. You can also receive the same savings on the SoloStorm RaceCapture/Track package.

10 Jan 2018
by petreldata
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SoloStorm Porsche Wi-Fi Integration

We’ve been working on connecting SoloStorm to the Wi-Fi module found on newer Porsche GT cars with the SportChrono package.

If you can use the Porsche Track Precision app with your vehicle, then you should be able to use SoloStorm as well.

SoloStorm can retrieve engine RPM, accelerator pedal position, brake pedal pressure, steering angle, and virtual wheelbase (calculated by the rear wheel steering module). You still want to use an external GPS receiver, since the vehicle GPS receiver is not suitable for motorsports needs.

This may also work with Audi and Volkswagen vehicles that contain the same Wi-Fi gateway.

Check it out:

 

01 Oct 2017
by petreldata
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SoloStorm Video Overlay Engine 2.0

We’re adding a number of new features to the SoloStorm video overlay engine to make it easier to compare video from multiple cameras and separate laps.

With the focus on multiple video sources, we have built new layouts for side-by-side, top-and-bottom, flexible picture-in-picture, and ghost (semi-transparent) overlays.

There are flexible clipping and stretching options for each layout, as well as the ability to sync the videos by distance instead of current lap time. This allows you to better understand the differences between driver inputs, vehicle position, and response.

We have also made the overlay settings smarter by saving your selections and allowing you to reuse them when creating additional videos.

Building upon recent changes to improve the overlay visuals, we have had to revisit how information is displayed in order to allow data from 2 different laps to be rendered simultaneously for easy comparison.

Visual design was definitely the most challenging part of this project. Since we received excellent feedback when testing the last change to the overlay design, we are looking for more of the same before putting this into the Beta release stream.

If you want to try out the new overlay engine, shoot a quick email to support and we will send you the link to the latest ‘canary’ download.

In the meantime, check out these screen caps of some different overlay layouts.

Side by Side

Side by Side Comparison by Distance

 

Top and Bottom

Top and Bottom Comparison by Distance

 

Flexible Picture in Picture

Flexible Picture in Picture Comparison by Distance

29 Aug 2017
by petreldata
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Updates to SoloStorm Video Overlay

We have always believed that using a ‘clean’ layout is key to communicating information when viewing video with overlaid data. Nothing cluttered and flashy – just the minimum that you need. Think more airplane, and less video game.

Since we added support for steering and brake sensors, we needed to revisit how vehicle data is visually represented when overlaid on top of video. Doing this while keeping true to a minimalist aesthetic is a challenge.

We have decided to go with a mostly analog gauge solution for RPM, throttle, brakes and steering information. We feel that it communicates information effectively while still delivering a compact layout that does not distract from the video itself.

Check out this video for a look at how it is shaping up:

There will also be some more improvements on the way for video overlays, offering multiple layouts as well as more ways to display 2 videos together.

04 Apr 2017
by petreldata
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RacePi – Using a Raspberry Pi with SoloStorm

RacePi Hardware ComponentsWe were recently approached by Donour Sizemore from the New Jersey region about adding support to SoloStorm for an open-source data logger that he is building around a Raspberry Pi ‘hobbyist’ computer.

Donour has put together a cost-effective yet powerful data logger that can be built for about $100, and is working on interfacing it with his Ford Focus RS in order to pull some of the custom CAN channels that the ECU supports – such as steering wheel angle and brake pressure. While you can do much of this with off-the-shelf solutions such as the RaceCapture line of data loggers, some people are just hackers at heart and love to build their own solution – and we like to support them.

While Donour was making progress on the hardware, he was looking for an analysis solution that would work well for him – so he contacted Mike @ Petrel Data Systems.

After looking at the challenge, we decided that the easiest solution was to implement a real-time stream from the RacePi to SoloStorm via Bluetooth that used the Race Technology telemetry protocol. Their protocol is efficient, well documented, and is already supported by SoloStorm. We also have code that is used to encode a telemetry stream that we shared with Donour to help him in his development.

Donour is working with us to add some additional channels to the messaging protocol, in order to support things like gyro rates and wheel speeds – and he hopes to perform some real-time math to calculate slip angles and other factors that contribute to tuning a tire and chassis combination.

The RacePi source code is freely available on Github and you can contact Donour through there as well.

You can learn more about the Raspberry Pi 3.

05 Dec 2016
by mmarich
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Support for Polaroid Cube+ WiFi Camera Coming in SoloStorm v8

Polaroid Cube+ WiFi CameraIn addition to adding support for the new RaceCapture via WiFi, we ‘ve added support for the Polaroid Cube+ WiFi camera to SoloStorm v8. We will also be announcing a new SoloStorm RaceCapture turn-key package once integration testing is complete and the update is released.

Unfortunately, using a WiFi connection to connect to any device means that any other WiFi enabled devices can not be used by SoloStorm at the same time, for example the use of multiple WiFi cameras – but it does add more ways you can learn to be a faster driver, and we like that.

The Polaroid Cube+ camera appears to be a good bargain for the money – video is of decent quality, the unit seems durable, and it responds well to remote commands. There are, however, 2 disadvantages when using a Cube+:

  1. Only full-resolution video is recorded. This means that it takes a long time to download video in between runs for review, which is probably something that you will want to disable.
  2. The audio stream in Cube+ videos is encoded in a format that is not supported natively by Android devices. When you play the video file with the native Android player (which is used when viewing a real-time overlay), there is no sound. Fortunately, you can install the free VLC video player from the Google Play Store, which supports the audio codec and will play sound. This can not be used to review video with a real-time overlay. Also, the video overlay and sync options are not available.

Still, if you have a Cube+ camera and want to capture video for later review, or you are on a tight budget, then this could be a solution. Leaving the camera connected to USB power is highly recommended.

Given that GoPro cameras offer a low resolution preview file which can be quickly downloaded and reviewed, we still recommend it as the camera to have for the serious competitor.

27 Oct 2016
by mmarich
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Using SoloStorm with iRacing

We all know that iRacing is the most popular racing simulator, and many people who use it also drive real cars on the same tracks as in the sim. Wouldn’t it be nice to share data and compare laps between them?

We were also looking for ways to better test new SoloStorm features, and thought that integrating with iRacing would be a huge productivity boost.

After some intense work, here’s what we wound up with

solostorm-iracing-nurburgring

Overall, the results are very good. Lap timing is extremely close (less than 0.1s error on the Nurburgring, and we can still improve that significantly), and car position is consistent. This is kind of a big deal since iRacing does not stream GPS position in real time so as not to facilitate cheating. Therefore, we need a map of the course, the location of the start/finish, and a bunch of math to calculate where the car is on track.

This works with tracks downloaded form Podium, however in some cases (like the Nurburgring Tourist Driving configuration with bridge to gantry times), an iRacing telemetry file had to be imported to provide the necessary information. Yes, we have automated that process, and need to figure out how to share those additional tracks.

There is still a lot of work to be completed, along with work on basic Time Attack features, but this functionality should be available in the next release for anyone that wants to try it.

To make this work, you will need to configure a new Bluetooth COM port on your iRacing PC, and then download and run a program (from us) that streams iRacing telemetry to the COM port.

If this proves to be a popular feature, we will also be looking at ways to auto-detect tracks, and streamline configuration in general.

© 2017 - Petrel Data Systems - Solo Race Technology