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Pitside Console – A Wifilapper Database / Analysis Tool
Table of Contents
1 Getting Started with Pitside Console 2
1.1 Installation / Removal 2
1.2 Opening / Creating a database with Pitside Console 3
1.3 Selecting a Race Session 4
1.4 Changing Race Sessions 5
1.5 Displaying Lap Data 5
1.6 Choosing a Reference Lap 6
1.7 Choosing the X-axis 7
1.8 Choosing the Y-Axis data channels 8
1.9 Panning / Zooming 9
1.10 Setting Comments 9
1.11 Display Views – Map vs. Data Plot 10
2 Advanced Options 11
2.1 Manipulating the SETTINGS.TXT file 11
2.2 The Options Menu 12
2.2.1 Km/h, Mph, m/s: 12
2.2.2 Sort laplist by Time, Sort laplist by Laptime: 12
2.2.3 Show All-Time Bests: 13
2.2.4 Show Driver Bests: 13
2.2.5 Show Reference Lap: 13
2.2.6 Draw Lines Between Data Points: 13
2.2.7 Use Dark Background for Plots: 13
2.2.8 Plotting Options….: 13
2.3 Plotting Data as Graphs vs. Values Only 13
2.4 Setting Alarm Limits for Values Only Data Channels 15
2.5 Sending Messages to the Wifilapper Phone 16
2.6 Traction Circle 17
2.7 Using the Time X-Axis display to show long-term trends 18
2.8 Wifi Dots 19
2.9 Future Enhancements (Print / Copy) 20
3 Wifilapper Database Management 20
3.1 Renaming Race Sessions 20
3.2 Merging Race Sessions 21
3.3 Exporting Data to .CSV format 21
4 Contributors / Acknowledgements 21
1 Getting Started with Pitside Console
1.1 Installation / Removal
Pitside console currently consists of a single EXE file with a collection of helper files. They are all contained in a compressed ZIP file located here.
To install Pitside Console simply unzip the contents of this file into a preferred directory on your IA32/64 computer. You should also be able to run this in virtual machines with Linux or OSx operating systems.
Once the files are unzipped it is recommended that you right click on the PitsideConsole.exe file and choose to Create a Shortcut. Once this Shortcut is made you can copy/move it where you would like on your computer.
To remove Pitside Console simply delete the folder where you unzipped the files to. No changes were made to the registry, so this will completely remove Pitside from your machine.
1.2 Opening / Creating a database with Pitside Console
To run Pitside Console simply double click on either the executable file PitsideConsole.exe or the Shortcut you created for it.
A splash screen will show up with some information about the Wifilapper project and how you can contribute to it. Click anywhere on this image and a window will pop up asking you to select a Wifilapper database. You have two options here:
1) Open an existing Wifilapper database: Browse to the folder where you saved an existing .wflp database and double click on that file. That will open the database up and display the next screen.
2) Create a new Wifilapper database: Browse to where you would like to save a new .wflp database and enter in the desired name into the dialog. That database will be created and you will be taken directly to the main Pitside program.
1.3 Selecting a Race Session
If you have opened up an existing database the Race Sessions screen will be displayed. If the database has no races saved, the dialog list will be blank. Simply click on the CANCEL button and you will be taken to the main Pitside program. If you save data during your session those races will be displayed the next time you load this database.
If you already have saved some race sessions in this database, those will be displayed. Click on the one that you want to view and hit the OK button. If you just want to set up Pitside to collect a new Race Session, you can click CANCEL and a blank main Pitside program will display. You can also pick an existing Race Session and load it, and as new race data is being received Pitside will collect that as a new Race Session and alert you.
1.4 Changing Race Sessions
To change to a different Race Session, click on the DATA menu option and select SWITCH RACE SESSIONS. The same dialog for choosing your Race Session will show up. Follow the above procedure and load the desired Race.
1.5 Displaying Lap Data
Once either an existing Race Session is picked or some laps from a live Race Session have been recorded, some data should be show up in the main window of Pitside. Pitside functions very much like a UNIX program, where window sections update only when the mouse is hovering over them. Move your mouse over the main display area and one or more graphs will show up.
Likely the first lap of data is going to look quite unusual, as this is the “out lap” from the pits onto the racing surface. If more than 1 lap has been recorded (and shows up in the “Lap List” area at the lower left of the Pitside window), you can click on other laps to see their data.
Once you have multiple laps showing up in the Lap List you can select a single lap or you can use Shift-Click, Ctrl-Click and Mouse dragging to select multiple laps. Each lap will be color coded in the graph displayed.
1.6 Choosing a Reference Lap
Pitside translates speed/positional/acceleration data collected over time and converts these data into the desired graphical display (eg: Velocity vs. Distance). To do this transformation effectively Pitside requires the user to identify a typical Reference Lap, which other laps will be compared against. To set or change the Reference Lap, highlight in the Lap List a single lap that is typical for this Race Session. Once this lap is chosen, click the “Use as Reference Lap” button.
Frequently the user will want to use the Reference Lap to compare exit speeds, brake points and such against either the fastest lap or that driver’s fastest lap. This can be achieved by highlighting the desired fast lap and then clicking on the “Use as Reference Lap” button. All other laps will not be compared against this Reference Lap.
1.7 Choosing the X-axis
By default Pitside chooses the Distance channel as the default when you open up the application. You can choose any other data channel to be used for the x-axis, simply by clicking on the desired channel in the X-Axis list box.
Only a SINGLE CHANNEL can be chosen for the X-Axis at any one time. Of the default channels available with Wifilapper the following will be most useful for X-Axis displays:
1) Distance: This will find the closest points by distance across all laps displayed. This is the most common X-Axis display channel.
2) Time: This is useful for displaying long-term trends in mostly constant data such as engine monitors. It is also used for the Laptime Summary display.
3) Lap Time: You can compare car locations for different laps at the same moment during a lap.
1.8 Choosing the Y-Axis data channels
Pitside default for display on the Y-Axis is Velocity. You can use this graph to compare top speeds, exit speeds and other driver aids. This is a powerful tool when the proper Reference Lap is chosen. For each highlighted lap the details are shown as text in the graph.
Multiple Y-Axis channels can be chosen, unlike for the X-axis. Use Shift-Click, Ctrl-Click or drag the mouse over the desired channels to display. Below are listed some of the most useful default channels for Y-Axis display:
1) Velocity: The default and most useful.
2) Time-Slip: This will show how much ahead or behind the current lap is compared to the Reference Lap at the closest distance from where the mouse arrow is. This is the most useful tool to determine where time is gained or lost when comparing laps and drivers.
3) Laptime Summary: This is used to display a graph of multiple laps, showing their lap times. This can be used to determine how consistent a driver is or if they are improving lap over lap.
4) X/Y Acceleration: While vibration from the phone can make this less useful, it can still be a driver aid.
5) Custom Channels: If you have an OBD2 scanner or IOIO board connected to your phone and are recording engine management data, there will be additional data channels showing up. You can view these as simple graphs, or they can be displayed in more compact Value Only fashion. This is discussed further in the Advanced Options section.
1.9 Panning / Zooming
The graphs can be moved around as well as zoomed in or out, if the user desires. Click on the graph display area to make it the active display, and then you can pan by holding down the Left Mouse button and moving your mouse. The Zoom wheel can be used to zoom in or out for a particular area.
You can reset panning/zooming by clicking the Right Mouse button.
1.10 Setting Comments Comments can be added to existing or newly acquired laps. Use the Comment dialog to enter in the information you want (Driver name is common). Once some text is entered into the Comment dialog, highlight one or more laps in the Lap List and click on the “Set Comment” button. The comment will appear in the Lap List for all selected laps.
Once there is text in the Comment dialog, all subsequent laps received will have that comment added to them. Thus, if you wanted to mark the first race session as “Bob”, enter in Bob into the Comment dialog and all received laps will have “Bob” added to them. Don’t forget to change the name when the next driver gets in the car.
1.11 Display Views – Map vs. Data Plot
There are 2 radio button options at the top of the main Pitside screen, one for “Map” and the other for “Data Plot”. These toggle what is shown on the Main Display and the Subdisplay.
The “Map” button moves the track map to the main display area. You can pan/zoom this track map in order to view a specific corner or track area and see how drivers entered/exited it.
The “Data Plot” button displays all of the data graphs for the selected laps. You can pan/zoom these graphs in the same manner.
2 Advanced Options
2.1 Manipulating the SETTINGS.TXT file
Several Pitside settings are set to their default values inside of the “Settings.txt” file. This file is located in the same folder as the PitsideConsole.exe application. If you want to have a different start up behavior for Pitside than what is currently the default, you can change it by using a text editor (Notepad or Wordpad will work just fine) and making your changes to the file.
Here are the settings that are changeable in order:
1) -whether to run the http server (0 = don't. 1 = do) Pitside communicates to the Web UI using this server. This must be enabled to view content using the Web UI.
2) -HTTP server port (port 80 makes for easiest use. Big port numbers like 63938 are less likely to be blocked)
3) -Velocity Units (0 = KMH, 1 = MPH, 2 = M/S)
4) -Draw graph points or lines (0 = points, 1 = lines)
5) -Graph plot color scheme (0 = grey background, 1 = black background)
2.2 The Options Menu
The default options set up in the Settings.txt can be overridden by changing items in the Options menu. There are additional display option choices here as well.
2.2.1 Km/h, Mph, m/s:
Toggle between these 3 options to set your speed units. Only one option can be chosen at a time.
2.2.2 Sort laplist by Time, Sort laplist by Laptime:
Toggling between these options will sort the Lap List in either Chronological Order or by Laptime (lowest first). Sorting by Laptime can help determine the fastest lap to set for the Reference Lap.
2.2.3 Show All-Time Bests:
Checking this option will add the Best Lap to all graphs displayed. This can be used as a driver aid in addition to the Reference Lap. One problem currently with using this option is that the responsiveness of Pitside becomes significantly affected with large databases. For long endurance races it is recommended to keep this option unchecked.
2.2.4 Show Driver Bests:
This will show the Best Lap for each driver, assuming that there are different Comments added to Lap List. This can help determine who is the better driver on the team, but may lead to fights . One problem currently with using this option is that the responsiveness of Pitside becomes significantly affected with large databases. For long endurance races it is recommended to keep this option unchecked.
2.2.5 Show Reference Lap:
This option toggles displaying the Reference Lap on all graphs. There are some displays (Traction Circle, Laptime Summary, Acceleration) where showing the Reference Lap only adds confusion, so this option was added.
2.2.6 Draw Lines Between Data Points:
This toggles between data points for each graph and a connected line for each dataset. This is useful if you want to see all of the data points that were collected.
2.2.7 Use Dark Background for Plots:
Toggles between a light grey & a black background for data graphs. Use whichever option that shows the data best for you.
2.2.8 Plotting Options….:
Detailed out in Section 2.3 “Plotting Data as Graphs vs. Value Only”
2.3 Plotting Data as Graphs vs. Values Only
The Plotting Options menu allows the user to choose how to display the various data channels available for a given Race. Choose OPTIONS / PLOTTING OPTIONS… and the following window will appear:
All unique Data Channels that are available for the loaded Race Session will be displayed. Base and derived Data Channels (Distance, Velocity, Time, Laptime, Laptime Summary, Time-Slip) are not displayed. The user can then choose which data channels that, if chosen, will display as Graphs or as Values Only by clicking the appropriate radio button.
The Values Only display is where key statistics from up to 5 Data Channels can be displayed. Typically the Values Only display area is used to show the key statistics for Data Channels that are tracking key parameters that do not change significantly over time. Engine management (Alt, Oil Pressure, Coolant Temp, Oil Temp, Fuel Level) are typical parameters chosen.
Note that the Data Channels need to be selected in the Y-Axis list in order to be displayed, just like for graphical displays.
2.4 Setting Alarm Limits for Values Only Data Channels
Once Data Values Only channels are selected the user has the option of setting Alarm Limits for each. This is done by entering appropriate limits (high, low or both) into the Low Limit and High Limit columns of the Plot Options… dialog.
If the Minimum or Maximum value for one or more Data Channels exceeds the Low/High Limit chosen by the user, a warning notification box will appear on the Pitside screen. Follow the instructions for how to remove the warning dialog box and take the appropriate actions.
2.5 Sending Messages to the Wifilapper Phone
It is possible to send brief messages from Pitside to the Wifilapper application in the car. Several conditions need to be met to ensure success. Firstly, the phone needs to be able to connect to the Wifi network while on the track. Secondly, the Wifilapper application needs to be running on the phone and collecting lap data.
A more preferred method of sending messages to the phone, providing that the phone has Text message capability, is to send a Text message to its number, using the prefix string set in the phone. This method allows for a confirmation message to be sent back from Wifilapper to the phone in the pits. No confirmation is possible when sending messages directly through Pitside.
If it is still desired to send a message via Pitside, click on the “Send Message” button, and the following dialog box will appear.
Type in your desired message on the top “Message” line. The “Time to Display” field allows you to choose how long IN MINUTES the message should appear on the phone screen inside the car. The default setting is for 1 minute. “Send Attempt Time” is a setting telling Pitside how long to try to send the message, again in minutes, to the phone.
Make sure that the car is already connected to the Wifi network before hitting the OK button to actually send the message. If the phone is not connected when the message is sent then it is unlikely that the phone will successfully receive the message. You can tell when the car has successfully connected to the network when Pitside displays the “Phone IP: xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx” underneath the Comments input area.
It is recommended that the user test the messaging feature out before a race in order to familiarize themselves with it.
2.6 Traction Circle
The Traction Circle graph is a specialized graph to display within Pitside Console, which requires certain display settings in Pitside to work. Following is the procedure the user needs to follow in order to successfully display the traction circle for a lap, assuming that Pitside is displaying a default Distance/Velocity data plot:
1) Uncheck “Draw lines between data points” inside of the Options menu.
2) Uncheck “Show Reference Lap” inside of the Options menu.
3) Choose the “Y-Accel” data channel in the Y-Axis select box. You should see the Y-Accel data displayed in the graph.
4) Choose the “Y-Accel” data channel in the X-Axis select box. A line of data should show up as a graph.
5) Choose the “X-Accel” data channel in the Y-Axis select box. The graph screen may be blank, or show an inverse traction circle.
6) Choose the “X-Accel” data channel in the X-Axis select box. A line of data should show up as a graph.
7) Choose the “Y-Accel” data channel in the Y-Axis select box. The Traction Circle graph should now successfully be displayed.
You may need to switch the X-Axis back to Distance and repeat steps 3-7 whenever you choose to display a different lap.
2.7 Using the Time X-Axis display to show long-term trends The Time X-Axis is a special data channel to show trends that may be occurring over timeframes longer than a single lap. This is useful to view data such as Laptime Summary and Engine Management data such as Temp, Oil Pressure, Alt, etc. You must select more than one lap from the Lap List for the graph to be displayed.
2.8 Wifi Dots Wifi Dots is a display used to show where on the track the Wifi signal strength is strong enough that the phone is connected to the network. You can tell where on the track the car is successfully connecting to the Wifi network by displaying Wifi Dots X vs. Wifi Dots Y as a data graph.
2.9 Future Enhancements (Print / Copy) There are a couple of menu items in Pitside that are still awaiting development time in order to become active. Currently these are the ability to Print and to Copy. These will possibly be included in future Pitside Console releases, but right now choosing these items will not cause any problems, but also will not do anything.
3 Wifilapper Database Management
The “Data” menu option inside of Pitside contains several operations to help you manage Race Sessions and .wflp databases.
3.1 Switching Race Sessions This choice is used to switch to a different race session than the one currently active. The same window displaying all available Race Sessions will come up; pick your desired Race Session and it will become the active dataset for analysis.
If you wish to choose a different .wflp database to analyze, choose the “Open .wflp DB” option. Browse and pick your desired database and Race Session for analysis.
3.2 Editing/Renaming Race Sessions
Race Session names are initially set from within the Wifilapper application on your Android phone. Frequently however multiple race sessions will be recorded and saved using the same Race Name, making identification from within Pitside difficult.
You can change the name of one or more Race Sessions from within Pitside, by using the Data / “Edit/Merge Race Sessions” menu choice. All Race Sessions contained within the current .wflp database will be displayed. Choose one or more of the Race Sessions that you wish to change the name of (Shift-click or Ctrl-Click will work here), and click on the “Rename” button. Enter in your new name and confirm. Use the “Switch Race Sessions” choice to view or load the Race Sessions list with your changed names.
3.3 Merging Race Sessions
You can merge one or more Race Sessions into a single Race Session from within Pitside, by using the Data / “Edit/Merge Race Sessions” menu choice. All Race Sessions contained within the current .wflp database will be displayed. Choose one or more of the Race Sessions that you wish to merge into a single session (Shift-click or Ctrl-Click will work here), and click on the “Merge” button. A warning confirmation box will show up, giving you some guidelines on when merging sessions makes sense and when not to. If you choose to confirm the merge Pitside automatically loads the merged session and makes it active.
3.4 Exporting Data to .CSV format
Race Session data can be exported from Wifilapper into a comma separated variable (.CSV) format, which can be used by other analysis and display applications. Pitside does support the DASHWARE application in terms of the data output format. This allows the user to overlay the track map and other things like gauges onto video streams collected for a given race.
To export your data, first select the lap(s) that you wish to export to a .CSV file. Next choose Data / “Export Selected Laps to .CSV Format”. Choose the name of your output file (.CSV will be appended automatically) and click Pitside will work for a time, depending on how many laps were selected. Once complete the file is available for other programs to utilize.
4 Contributors / Acknowledgements
Several people have been instrumental in making the Wifilapper and Pitside applications what they currently are. First and foremost would be Art Hare, who created this whole thing from nothing, and then decided to put it up as an Open Source project. Next would be Jason Willis who helped with the SQL database code and created the Web UI underpinnings. Keith Jones also helped to improve the Pitside Console application coding.
Finally, there are many in the Wifilapper community who have provided suggestions for improvements and found various bugs in the code. These include Enduroracer, Cgorton, as well as several others that I cannot name at this moment.