Why GPS based data logging is not bad at all?

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There are a lot of rumors and myths concerning GPS based data logging systems and most people reject it as a useful data source. Some drivers question the lap timing accuracy and reliability. Others claim that the racing line drawings and positioning precision is useless in karting. Actually the most common cause for problems is that they are “holding it wrong” or just using the wrong piece of equipment!

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If you are already asking yourself “What do those RaceCloud guys mean by holding it wrong?” we are about to reveal the mystery.

Global Positioning Systems use radio signals to locate your position by sending information from satellites in the sky to your receiver. Obviously as a result the position precision depends on the signal quality, the number of satellites in range, the class of your receiver and hardware architecture. Well, you cannot easily improve the hardware you’ve got but you can influence the other factors.

Unfortunately the strength of the signal you get from the satellites cannot be easily improved either. In fact by the time it reaches your receiver it is extremely weak. However that is not a problem as long as it is clear of other noise and distortion, which actually causes most of the problems. In karting, for example – simply using a spark plug and spark plug boot without an integrated resistance dramatically increases the noise levels and as a result reduces the signal’s quality.

The key to having good reception is the GPS antenna itself. Since positioning relies solely on measuring signal reception time it requires unobstructed view to the signal’s source (direct line of sight from the receiver to the satellite). In other words – the antenna needs a clear view to the sky at all times. Any objects that cover its horizon will reduce the number of satellites in view, the signal quality and strength, and so will generate lower accuracy of the calculated position. Also nearby objects cause signals to “bounce” and degrade receiver performance even further by fooling the electronics into thinking they’ve got your location just right but in fact it is few meters away.

This is what we call the “holding it wrong” factor – finding the right location and mounting the GPS antenna. You are already asking “What could go wrong with this one?”, aren’t you? Well, fair number of things. Have you ever asked yourself why the RaceCloud BUNDLE’s Go-Kart MOTION is dedicated for mounting on the nose and should be there? Simply to be always on top and have the better part of 360* view from the top plane of the module to the sky. This guarantees the best possible visibility to the constellation of satellites in the sky. Remember what we mentioned in the previous paragraph – this is how you improve the GPS signal quality. For example if you place the GPS antenna upside-down, mount any additional equipment obstructing it (camera etc.) or locate it under a metal or other solid objects (like the steering wheel, foiled bodywork or chassis and frame elements) the device will have limited reception or will receive reflected signals – all leading to incorrect location being reported. Furthermore – mounting the antenna on a detail which is moving (steering wheel for example) constantly changes the visible part of the sky and satellites in view. All that put together – you can have 10-13-15 satellites when you are in the pit and still have very poor signal quality on the track or vice versa. In fact on number of occasions we have seen that having 6-7 satellites with very good signal quality gives far better performance than 12 with average strength. Taking a look at the figure bellow you will find a few incorrect locations and mounting of the GPS antenna (in red) and the right way to do it (in green).

GPS Mounting OK

GPS Mounting NOT OK

The signal received by the GPS contains a very precise time stamp generated by atomic clocks on board the satellites. RaceCloud uses that information to calculate your lap timing to achieve milliseconds precision. If any of the listed above factors have been neglected, you will end up not only with incorrect racing line, but inaccurate lap and sector timing too. It may even miss counting some laps completely, if the interference is so great that the receiver thinks you haven’t crossed the start/finish or split line.

And here comes the good part! If you are holding the right tool in your hands and you are holding it as your manufacturer advised, you will get an awesome positioning accuracy (expect horizontal accuracy of 90 down to 20 centimeters) and lap timing precision within just a few thousands (0.00x) or 1-2 hundredths (0.0x) of a second. Well, this is what you can expect from a RaceCloud… we cannot guarantee that for other data loggers.

Telemetry and the 2016 CIK-FIA regulations?

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As the first Live Telemetry system on the karting data logging market we have faced a lot of questions concerning the RaceCloud’s compliance with the CIK-FIA regulations. Taking everything into consideration we have created the Go-Kart BUNDLE’s architecture as a modular concept, allowing us to comply with every rule. The 2016 CIK-FIA technical regulations states that all telemetry (Article 2.26.2) and radio communications (Article 2.26.4) between a moving kart and the outside entity are strictly forbidden during the official timing and racing sessions. This is why RaceCloud is equipped with a removable communication module – the CONNECT.

Connect Removed

Unplugging and removing it from the RaceCloud system makes it unable to accomplish any kind of communication or data transmission and thus makes the data logging device compliant with all the CIK-FIA technical regulations.

IMG_20160427_173616A corresponding alert will be displayed on the Go-Kart DISPLAY and a supplementary text explaining it is available in the “System Info” menu.

IMG_20160427_173640This allows drivers using RaceCloud to participate in official timing practices and races under the CIK-FIA observation because it is easily noticeable that the module is phisically removed, in contrast to the devices with an integrated communication features.

The data in this case is stored into the system’s memory and is available for upload as soon as the connection is restored. It’s up to you to decide when to plug-in the CONNECT module back again and allow this to happen. Depending on the number of sessions recorded offline and the cellular network’s bandwidth the time for upload may vary between a few seconds and a few minutes until the data is available for analysis in the RaceCloud iPad application. All sessions not yet uploaded will be present in the device’s “Analysis” menu marked with an exclamation mark [!].

A new breed of driving academy was born!

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As the first (and sometimes the only) step of entering the world of motorsports, karting is able to develop racing drivers like nothing else on the planet! Starting at a very early age and training their “super powers” until they reach the motoring enigma is a sacred dream of every child and man.

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Taste the smell of racing fuel, hear a screaming racing engine, feel the exhilaration of going beyond the limit. Those emotions and exaltation are shattering the mind and body into every racing second and are irresistibly addictive!

996754_1678489555697703_6351852988203526070_nEach and every member of the RaceCloud team is carrying this emotional commitment that have pushed us to create something special for all the little boys and girls that want to enter this fascinating world and grow step by step as a better human being, as a player, as a faster driver, as a winner! Every one of us have desired to be able to benefit from today’s technologies, to have someone to share their experience and tips for becoming better and better, an opportunity to develop and grow our abilities in a fair competition, and, last but not least, to enjoy racing at its finest. This is why we have created a new breed of karting academy so that we can combine all those into one and offer meaningful and exciting future for our kids!

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Having the winter break knocking on the door we didn’t even thought about having a rest. After the active racing season 2015 was over and during the snowy winter months it was the perfect time for theoretical education and basic driving preparation of the contenders. Contenders? Well, it’s about time to clarify a bit about the “2016 Bulgarian Young Drivers Karting Academy”. Of course there was a challenge all the time. Everyone was welcome to register and participate in the first stage of the training. In addition to the teaching, learning and driving rental karts under the roof of the biggest indoor karting track in Bulgaria, this was also the time for the first selection of drivers that will continue into the second stage.

12605294_1684169178463074_4453096175899984528_oThe choice was extremely difficult! 80 contenders between 6 and 10 years old, every one of them carrying the petrol-head spark in his eyes and seriously determined to grow further. 5 hours a day, 3 days a week during 4 intense months every one of those kids was stunning! Some of them had the gene inside them and just needed some guidance. Some were completely new in driving and racing. We even did have some participants with some wrong habits already. They have developed so quickly, so effectively… we were devastated that we’ll not be able to give everyone a chance in the next stage. Yes, unfortunately only 30 kids of those 80 continued with the next round where the things got serious.

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Every group got his winners, we did get our coach notes on every one of them and together with timing and  progress we determined the lucky 30 that goes forward. Every one receives an official racing driver license and the right to compete in all the local and international racing events. What’s next – we had to get them out of the indoor track, take them into the real racing circuits and let them know the homologated karting machines. The 14 that get into shape the fastest, show the best development, skills and knowledge will be the winners of the pre-stages of the Academy. What will be their prize?! A unique opportunity – joining the professional world of racing with equipment, karting and all the technical and coaching support granted for free by the Bulgarian Karting Federation and RaceCloud.

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Stay tuned for the next blog post introducing you the second stage of the project!

GET RaceCloud NOW with a FREE Subscription!

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Start the 2016 season from pole position with RaceCloud!

Combining state-of-the-art technologies with modern communications and innovative vision, RaceCloud is bringing to you the essence for improving driver and kart performance! To enhance your advantage even further we will compliment every new RaceCloud purchased until 31-th of May 2016 with a free one year Academy subscription to make sure you are provided with everything you need to become the fastest on the grid!

Don’t miss your chance! Check if your country is included in the list bellow and contact your local distributor to take your RaceCloud now with a free Academy subscription.

The promotion is available until 31.05.2016 in the following countries:
South Africa – RaceCloud SA – sales@racecloud.co.za; +27 214 246 969
NetherlandsMasuni B.V. – info@racecloud.nl; +31 6 4619 1814
PolandKartshop.pl – info@kart-shop.pl; +48 697 607 094
Russia, Israel – IMM – igorm67@yahoo.com; +972 50 98 000 98
RomaniaRoad Runner – info@karting.ro; +40 722 741642
BelgiumFabric8/F8 Racing – info@racecloud.be; +32 470 41 90 20
Germany & AustriaM-TecKart - info@mteckart.de; +49 2241 171 717