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Timers/data acquisition - Harry's vs AiM Solo/etc

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OK, so I've been driving for about three years now, and using Harry's for most of that time. So far, my use has been limited to reviewing lap times after a session (as opposed to watching it while I'm out on track) and using the data dumps to make run videos with overlays. It's worked decently for this, but I've run into some issues over time:

 

  • Accelerometer calibration can be problematic, and on more than one occasion I've come home with garbage data (only really a problem for the videos though)
  • Update rate is not great for GPS (1Hz using internal phone GPS)
  • No success whatsoever with integrating ODBII data - I've tried a couple different adapters and done lots of troubleshooting, but the data rate is always horrible to the point of being unusable

 

I'd specifically like to improve overall data rate and specifically start getting good OBDII data - I really want to be able to see throttle inputs and such, both to make nice-looking videos and to analyze for personal improvement.

 

The most obvious option, I think, is to get something like an AiM Solo DL. I'm not especially familiar with all the options, but I gather that the Solo is the budget option at $700. That's expensive enough to not be an impulse purchase, and to be honest I'd want to either try one myself or at least get lots of other people's experiences before pulling the trigger.

 

Another option would be to keep using HLT but with some better peripherals. I see a couple options for a standalone GPS receiver that will get 10Hz, which would be a marked improvement. The big question would be whether I could resolve the OBDII data rate issue; I'm not sure exactly where the problem is, if it's the adapters I used, or what the car natively sends, or it's an HLT thing, etc. So I'm slightly hesitant to go buy yet another adapter in the hopes that it'll be the magic bullet.

 

An interesting tidbit on the data point is this: I have the JB4 piggyback tune on my car, with a bluetooth module. I can pair my phone to the JB4 to change settings, read/clear codes, and...read realtime data. From this, I know that it's possible to get high-rate data on throttle position and so forth, because it works great in that app. The major difference there, of course, is that I'm getting data from the CAN bus instead of through the OBDII port. I lack the technical knowledge to know if there's any practical or expected difference between those two.

 

Overall, I'm leaning towards a Solo - maybe keeping an eye out for a used one now that the Solo2 is out - because I feel like there are far less questions with that option. Plus it seems a lot simpler - one box to set up for the weekend vs. phone + GPS + maybe wired OBDII adapter...but HLT + addons would certainly come in cheaper.

 

Thoughts?

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I started using an Aim Solo2 in the Spring, my Garmin Virb camera has a bluetooth OBDII reader so I didn't feel the need to go with the DL version. The LED lights are great for immediately feedback and figuring out advantageous lines.

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Depending on where you're headed and what your goals are, it might be worth it to factor in what's widely used by most. IMO, being able to grab a file and overlay it with your own on the fly is one of the best tools in a driver's arsenal.

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I went through the same thought process earlier this year.  I switched from HLT + GoPro + 10hz external GPS puck + OBDII data dongle to AIM Solo DL + SmartyCam HD.  The DL is hardwired into the CAN bus and a switched power line.  Now, I get in the car, start the motor and go.  You probably know all this but after a session you can pop the SD card from the SmartyCam and look at video with embedded data graphics with no post processing required.  Plus, the data analytics from the Solo DL are great for identifying areas of improvement.  

 

Now, I don't have to worry about charging several batteries, then making sure everything is powered up and ready to go before a session.  My current setup is not as cheap as the HLT combo, but it provides more useful information, is a lot more reliable and less stressful and lets me concentrate on the upcoming session and not diddling with a bunch of gadgets.

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I started out with an Android App, Race Chrono with a 10hz Bluetooth GPS http://racing.qstarz.com/Products/BT-Q818XT.html, The app was $10, the GPS $70. It will do video and data, but at the time no CAN or ODB-II, it may now.

It would overlay the track path w/ accel/brake over a satellite image. This is good to compare brake points to on track curbing or marks.

It was hard to use on the phone screen. A larger tablet and it would be OK.

 

I have a Solo, specifically so I could use a PC for data analysis. It's 10hz also. But no Smarty Cam, so I use Race Render to overlay data on video. The data analysis is good, but doesn't overlay the brake points over the track image.

 

A Solo II DL with a Smarty Cam would be ideal, but pricey. Do check to make sure the Solo II supports your cars ODB-II or CAN Bus and it's fast enough to be useful. On pre-2006 Miatas the update rate on the ODB-II port is too slow to be useful.

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Also what $1800?

 

And well worth it.

 

Two months ago, I had a private coach for 4 days.  After each session, we popped out SC card from smarty cam - reviewed video w/data overlay - broke down improvement areas - went out and did it again.  We did that for something 16 sessions over 4 days.  He drove my car for 3 or 4 sessions as well and we reviewed his data.  He was able to help me break record at LRP (first time at track), current record at WGI, and new record at VIR.  And I am from Louisiana and Texas.

 

There's no way you can do that without AIM and SmartyCam (or Vbox) at the track between sessions.

 

I (like others on this forum) have spent 10's of thousands of dollars on tires and go fast mods over the years, but the single best investment anyone serious about getting better should make is coaching and data.  I'll say it again - AIM SOLO DL w/smartycam is the best combo if you want to either do at track analysis or don't want to waste a bunch of time mucking with syncing data.

 

Here's a link to my youtube channel - I can 100% say that the bulk of my driving improvement in the last 12 months is from video and data analysis.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFM6_olhMT21j97ybqjbV5A?view_as=subscriber

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And well worth it.

 

Two months ago, I had a private coach for 4 days.  After each session, we popped out SC card from smarty cam - reviewed video w/data overlay - broke down improvement areas - went out and did it again.  We did that for something 16 sessions over 4 days.  He drove my car for 3 or 4 sessions as well and we reviewed his data.  He was able to help me break record at LRP (first time at track), current record at WGI, and new record at VIR.  And I am from Louisiana and Texas.

 

There's no way you can do that without AIM and SmartyCam (or Vbox) at the track between sessions.

 

I (like others on this forum) have spent 10's of thousands of dollars on tires and go fast mods over the years, but the single best investment anyone serious about getting better should make is coaching and data.  I'll say it again - AIM SOLO DL w/smartycam is the best combo if you want to either do at track analysis or don't want to waste a bunch of time mucking with syncing data.

 

Here's a link to my youtube channel - I can 100% say that the bulk of my driving improvement in the last 12 months is from video and data analysis.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFM6_olhMT21j97ybqjbV5A?view_as=subscriber

 

You win the internets today sir. 

 

14841805.jpg

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Aim SOLO DL2 w/ SmartyCam /thread

 

+1 for this.

 

Totally worth it, No more: forgetting to charge camera, forgetting to turn camera on at start of your run, wasting hours trying to overlay / sync / render videos with data. Once you have it set up, it is pretty much effortless. As others have pointed out, you can just get in the car and drive.

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Does anyone know where you can find data on ECU compatibility with the Solo 2? I poked around their website and can't seem to find it.

 

I will say, the video quality I've seen come out of SmartyCam's is pretty seriously sub par for the price of the camera. I know from an analysis standpoint and ease of use standpoint, its probably worth it and I'm sure its expensive to R&D and manufacture niche hardware, but damn it would be an easier sell if it was at least close to the quality of other the mainstream sports cameras.

 

edit: Nevermind, I found it: http://www.aim-sportline.com/en/documentation-stock-ecu-connections.htm

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Does anyone know where you can find data on ECU compatibility with the Solo 2? I poked around their website and can't seem to find it.

 

I will say, the video quality I've seen come out of SmartyCam's is pretty seriously sub par for the price of the camera. I know from an analysis standpoint and ease of use standpoint, its probably worth it and I'm sure its expensive to R&D and manufacture niche hardware, but damn it would be an easier sell if it was at least close to the quality of other the mainstream sports cameras.

I keep hearing it’s sub standard but I can’t tell the difference between it and go pro personally. I have both go pro stuff and smartycam on my channel and they are the same to me.

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Depending on where you're headed and what your goals are, it might be worth it to factor in what's widely used by most. IMO, being able to grab a file and overlay it with your own on the fly is one of the best tools in a driver's arsenal.

 

Yeah, this past weekend's yellow-group classroom got me started geeking out on data. Saturday we were looking at a scatter plot of G readings from the guy's data logger, as a visual representation of the "friction circle," and it was a super cool visualization. It was especially cool that he had two data sets overlaid - one was him driving his car, the other was a friend, and you could see interesting bits like how his friend (apparently a heavier guy) was pulling more lateral Gs in one direction and less in the other, but most notably, how much more time his friend spent at the edges of the "circle" than he did - which pointed to why his friend put down faster laps.

 

It's not a corner-by-corner analysis/comparison, but still the kind of stuff I can get really interested in.

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There are a couple of books I would recommend for data analysis. I would start with Making Sense of Squiggly Lines. It's short (~140 pages) and to the point and is a good start. Next is Analysis Techniques for Racecar Data Acquisition. It's longer (~500 pages), much more technical (math ain't my jam), and it costs $110 (!) — but I skipped over some of the math and still found it very informative.

 

 51pSZjTOk7L.jpg 51NOm+GB4wL._AC_US436_FMwebp_QL65_.jpg

 

 

A few websites I've found useful are:

Another YouTube channel I've found useful for general driving (he does have one video on data) is Driver 61

 

If anyone has books, sites, etc. they've found useful for data analysis, I'd love to hear about them.

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I think folks have said this already, but it really depends on what you want to accomplish.  If you are just putting a data overlay on video to have youtube vids, it doesn't really matter how complicated it is.  If you want to improve your driving, you need the ability to interpret the data and a coach can be instrumental here.  Most devices have predictive lap timing, so you can use that as a tool as well.

 

I have over a decade of data and video and it really only help(s)/(ed) when you were reviewing close in time to driving.  I used to bring a laptop to the track, but now, I primarily review at the house overnight.  

 

With all that said, here's my $0.02 (for virtually everyone).  You're already spending big money on tires, track time, safety gear, data analysis, etc. etc.  Do yourself a favor and hire a professional coach.  Not just someone that "drives fast and also coaches" - but someone that coaches for a living, or has a reputation for coaching pros.  You can even split a 2-day coaching session with 2 or 3 guys that will help defray the cost.  Foss, Hart, Scott are a couple names that pop up and will travel to you.  You could also make a trip somewhere to get the same result.  Way back in the day, I used to hire a coach once a year.  I've had a pile of hot shoes "showing me the way" so to speak.  I never left thinking I didn't get my money's worth.  And it is a much better learning environment than a DE.  

 

Here's proof of how good coaching can make you [note, the picture is old, and "we" have many more victories].

 

5b991aa30a898_td_pl_1.jpg

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Yeah, this past weekend's yellow-group classroom got me started geeking out on data. Saturday we were looking at a scatter plot of G readings from the guy's data logger, as a visual representation of the "friction circle," and it was a super cool visualization. It was especially cool that he had two data sets overlaid - one was him driving his car, the other was a friend, and you could see interesting bits like how his friend (apparently a heavier guy) was pulling more lateral Gs in one direction and less in the other, but most notably, how much more time his friend spent at the edges of the "circle" than he did - which pointed to why his friend put down faster laps.

 

It's not a corner-by-corner analysis/comparison, but still the kind of stuff I can get really interested in.

 

 

Data is easy to geek out on!!!   

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