Getting started with the UniBox

A picture of the front of the UniBox

The UniBox, with an internal six-axis gyro, nine connectors for extra sensors, plus a place for an RPM wire.

The UniBox enables the use of a variety of sensors, including many that can’t be used with the UniGo alone. However, so many options can often be confusing. To help, we’ve written a short guide on using the UniBox configuration options. Before we begin, however, it is important that users update their devices to the latest firmware, which can be found on the download page.

Getting to know the UniBox

The UniBox consists of nine ports: Temp A, Temp B, Flex A, Flex B, Flex C, Flex D, a Speed and Receiver port, and two expansion ports. The ports take a variety of sensors available from Unipro and Unipro USA. The ports can also be connected to splitters to double the amount of sensors connected to each. In addition to that, the UniBox contains a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyroscope, and a place to attach an RPM wire.

The two expansion ports are identical, and are used to either connect the power or connect to another device. You can connect your UniBox to the UniGo with either expansion port. If you own multiple UniBoxes, they can be chained together using the other expansion port. The two temperature ports are also identical to each other, and can be configured to numerous kinds of temperature sensors. Flex ports A through C can connect to any of these sensors:

  • Brake/throttle pedal sensor
  • Brake pressure sensor
  • Steering wheel sensor
  • IR Box, with connectors to multiple infrared sensors
  • Lambda sensor
  • Power valve sensor

Flex D is similar to Flex A, B, and C except that it cannot connect to IR boxes or Lambda sensors. Instead, it connects to a MyLaps X2 Link device, or to a CAN bus.

Default Configuration

The UniBox arrives pre-configured, and is ready to be used with your UniGo when it arrives. The default configuration for the UniBox is twelve sensors, set as following:

  • RPM input x2 (ready for a two-stroke engine), at 30Hz frequency
  • 3 accelerometer sensors, at 30Hz frequency
  • 3 gyroscope sensors, at 30 Hz frequency
  • Receiver
  • Temperature 1 on Temp A, at 10Hz frequency
  • Temperature 2 on Temp B, at 30Hz frequency
  • Brake Position on Flex A, at 10Hz frequency, set to above the pedal
  • Throttle Position on Flex C, at 10Hz frequency, set to above the pedal

When the UniBox is connected to the UniGo, the UniGo will expect data to be received according to the configuration. For example, if the UniBox is configured to receive RPM data, the UniGo will disable its own RPM sensor on the back of the display. Be sure to follow your configuration! On the other hand, nothing bad happens if you configure a sensor that is not plugged in.

If the default configuration is not how you would prefer to connect your sensors, the next step is to customize your configuration.

Custom Configuration

Changing the UniBox configuration is easy. You can configure the device with either a USB cable or a UniKey. If using a USB cable, connect your UniGo to your computer as you would when importing data. Within the Off Camber Data program, select the UniGo/UniBox Configuration menu. From there, select the UniBox tab. Here you can add either a standard configuration to work with every UniBox the UniGo is connected to, or specify a UniBox serial number. Then click the “12 sensors configured” button to open the configuration window. Here is an example of the window, set to the default configuration:

UniBox Default Configuration

In this window, select the input port you’d like to configure, choose a sensor type (or optionally, add a splitter) and select a sampling rate. After you’ve set the configuration as you’d like, make sure to click OK and close out of the window to save the configuration. If you are using a USB cable, you’re all set! Connect your UniBox and your sensors to match your configuration, and connect it to your UniGo. If you are using the UniGo USB Key, you will need to transfer the settings to your UniGo by connecting it and selecting Restore Global Settings in the USB menu.

To check your configuration on the UniGo, the Info menu on the UniGo has a selection for external boxes. Select this option to view your current configuration, as well as see live data for each connected sensor.

Export laps to Google Earth

Did you know you can export your laps from OCD to Google Earth? It is really easy:

A series of menus lets you export to Google Earth.

Right-click on the run header, select “Export Run”, and then “for Google Earth”. Once you click, it will show you a menu like this:

Select channels to export to Google Earth

It doesn’t matter very much which channels you select for export, since Google Earth doesn’t show them very well anyways.

When you click “Export”, OCD will ask you for a filename. Save the exported file somewhere, and then double-click it to see your traces in Google Earth. This is what it should look like:

A screenshot of what Google Earth looks like with data exported from OCD

On the left, you can select and deselect individual laps, to make the display a little less cluttered.

If you only ever want to look at a few laps, not all of them, you can also export data from OCD one lap at a time, by right-clicking on the lap instead of the run header.

If this was helpful to you (or if you find an error), please let us know by leaving a comment, or sending us an email at feedback@offcamberdata.com.

How to fix a missed split

Has this ever happened to you? You go out for a session, put in some good laps, and when you come in and try to compare your two best laps, the graphs are totally misaligned and the data is meaningless:

Misaligned graphs due to a missed split

Why does this happen? You can probably guess by looking at the lap times on the left: Lap 4 is unusually long. This happens when the magnet sensor does not detect the magnet loop in the track. We can see more detail in split time analysis:

Missed Splits in Split Time Analysis

Split 3 in lap four is extra long, because the sensor missed the start/finish line, and started thinking that the first split is the start/finish line. That’s why all the graphs are misaligned.

The context menu for a split

This menu appears when you right-click on a split in split time view.

Fortunately, we have an easy way to fix it: Right-click on the split that’s too long, and choose “Missed Split” from the menu. When you use this function, OCD will do its best to determine how long that split should have been. It usually gets pretty close, but it is still an estimation. To make sure we don’t show estimated data as real data, the lap that this happened on is still hidden. If you trust the estimation, you can un-hide (“show”) the lap in the same right-click menu.

Now, the graphs are aligned:

The graphs are now aligned

It’s important to note that all the lap times after the missed split have changed. That’s because before, it was measuring laps from split 1 to split 1, when it should have measured it from start/finish to start/finish. Fortunately for Moa, this means that her fastest lap was actually a 49.075 instead of 49.202. Congratulations to Moa!

If this was helpful to you (or if you find an error), please let us know by leaving a comment, or sending us an email at feedback@offcamberdata.com.

GPS Timing with the UniGo

So you arrive at a new track and they don’t have magnet strips. Maybe they have only one, but you want several splits per lap. Or you don’t want to worry about installing the magnet sensor. Either way, you want to use GPS for timing, and you have never been at this track before. What do you do?

The first time that you add a new track on your Unigo, you will need to have your laptop and Unigo with you at the track. The following steps will show you how to configure the hardware, record the initial track data, export the track data to OCD to set the start/finish line and reimport the data to your Unigo to be ready for use.

Step 1: Make sure the hardware is set up

Setting up the UniGo for GPS is pretty easy. First, make sure you have the latest firmware installed. You can see the current version in the Info menu on the UniGo. You need at least version 1.02.000 for GPS. If you’re missing the latest version, you can get an download the firmware update from our downloads page.

Then, plug the GPS antenna into the back of the device, and mount it in a place that has a clear line of sight to the sky. Zip ties are very helpful for this. The GPS antenna has an adhesive backing, so if you have a large enough flat surface, you can just set the antenna down on it, and it will stick.

The UniGo's info menu

The Info menu, showing nine fixed satellites.

Next, we’ll make sure everything is working so far. Turn on the UniGo, and give it some time to find the GPS satellites. Two minutes should be enough, depending on weather conditions. You can watch the current GPS status on the UniGo by going to the Info menu, and scrolling down to “Satellites Fixed” and “GPS Status”. To find the Info menu, go to the Main Menu button, and select the “i” Info button.

Ideally, you want to have at least six satellites fixed, and GPS Status should say “DGPS + 3D”. If you want to look at something while you’re waiting, you can click on the GPS Status menu entry, and you’ll see a detailed breakdown of how the UniGo finds the satellites.

 

Step 2: Drive the track

This step is always a favorite among drivers. On the UniGo, go to Settings/Track, and set “Receiver” to “GPS”. It should look like this:

The Track menu on the UniGo

The Track menu on the UniGo

If you have an RPM wire installed, you can just start driving now. If not, you have to tell the UniGo to start recording before you start driving. To do that, go to the main menu (press the menu button at the top-right), and go into run mode (UniGo Runmode Icon). In run mode, press the menu button, and select “Start recording”.

While you’re driving, the UniGo will not show lap times or split times, because it is still learning the track. It needs at least three clean laps to properly learn a track, but more is always better. When you’re done, come back in the pits, and stop recording. If you have an RPM wire, the UniGo will stop recording automatically 30 seconds after the engine stops. If you don’t have an RPM wire, you can make it stop by pressing the menu button, and selecting either “Go to analyze menu” or “Stop recording”.

Step 3: Set up the track in OCD

OCD's Import Window

In the import window, specify a track name.

To set up the track, start by importing your session into OCD. When you’re importing, make sure to give it a track name. We will need that track name later. Specify a driver, kart, and tags as usual. At this point, you might notice that the entire session is in one lap. That is because we have not created split points yet.

To configure the split points, finish importing, and click Tracks at the top of the OCD window. In the list of tracks, select your track name. In my example, this is “Parking Lot”. Your screen should look something like this:

OCD's Track Management Window

On the right, you can see various settings for this track. You can adjust many things there, but right now we are trying to set GPS split points. Set the “Receiver Type” to “GPS”, and then click the Edit button next to “Split Points” at the bottom. This will bring you to a new screen where you can configure the split points. For this tutorial, I just did some laps around a parking lot, so I see a very boring track map:

OCD's Set Splits DialogOn the left, the window shows the list of split points you have defined. At the moment, no split points are defined, so instead it shows you a message asking you to define the start/finish line. As you mouse over the speed graph, you can see the cursor move over the track map. Click on the speed graph where the start/finish line is to set it. The map and the speed graph will recalculate. On the left, it shows the lap length. You can define several more split points by clicking on the graph. Split points of any kind, GPS or not, work best when they are right before big braking zones, at the end of long straights. That is why we show the speed graph below the map. When you’re done, your window should look like this:

OCD's Set Splits Dialog with Splits

Hit “OK” to dismiss the window. Off Camber Data will ask you whether you want to recalculate the split times for the run you imported. When it does so, confirm by clicking “Recalculate”. This will apply the split points you selected to the imported run. You can now see your lap times and split times!

Step 4: Uploading the split configuration to the UniGo

You can see the times in OCD, but you want to see them while driving. To do that, you have to upload the configuration for the splits to the UniGo. The easiest way to do that is in the Track Management window, where you are right now. When the UniGo is plugged in, there is a button at the bottom of the window saying “Apply and copy to device”. Click it, and OCD will copy the configuration for all tracks to the UniGo.

Track Management again, with the option to upload track settings highlighted

By the way, this also works when you have a UniKey. Off Camber Data will copy the information to the key. It transfers from the key to the UniGo when you plug in the key and select “Restore Local Setup” from the menu.

At this point, you are good to go for more sessions!

Questions and Answers

1. What if it’s not my first day at this track?

The Load Track menu on the UniGo

The Load Track menu on the UniGo. Select your track here to use split points you have configured before.

You have already done this for the track you are at, and you want to use the split configuration you have created before? No problem! On the UniGo, go to Settings (The Settings icon from the UniGo), Track (The Track icon from the UniGo), and select “Load Track” to load your settings.

When you load a track this way, and then you choose “GPS” for the Start/Finish Receiver, it will show you the number of splits loaded. This way, you can be sure your configured splits are there.

2. While driving, the UniGo missed some splits. Now my timing is messed up in OCD. How can I fix it?

When the UniGo fails to detect that you went past a split point, it will keep counting time until you get to that split point again. In OCD, you will see one lap that is twice as long as it should be (or longer, if the UniGo missed more than one split point). There is a very easy way to fix this: Right-click on the run in lap selection, and hit click “Edit Run”. A window appears where you can edit various properties of the run. One of the things you can do there is “Recalculate split timing”. Click that button, and all times will be recalculated. In most cases, it will now find the split point, and your laps will show correctly.

The dialog box where you can recalculate split timing

If this didn’t work for you, you can use the other way to correct missed splits: In the split time view, find the split that’s too long, right-click it, and choose “Missed Split”. It will cut the split in two, and recalculate all times after it.

If you find you have a lot of missed splits on a track, you may want to re-set the split points from step 3 above.

3. OCD doesn’t let me add another split in the “Set Splits” dialog. Why not?

There are two restrictions on adding new splits in the “Set Splits” dialog. One is that splits have to be a certain distance apart. When they are too close to each other, the UniGo has trouble telling them apart when you drive past them, so OCD doesn’t let you set them that way.

The other restriction is a little more complicated to explain: As you know, sometimes the UniGo can fail to detect that you crossed a split point. OCD can fail to detect a split point as well. When this happens in the “Set Splits” dialog, OCD will let you know that it missed a split by telling you in the list on the left. It is impossible to define a new split point next to a split point that was missed. The mouse cursor in the speed graph changes to indicate that you can’t click there. To fix this, try going to a different lap with the “left” and “right” buttons on the side of the track map.

The Set Splits Dialog with one missed split

In this screenshot, OCD missed the second split point. You can see this most easily in the list on the left side. It is impossible to set a new split point next to the missed split point.


As always, let us know if you have any further questions. You can email us at feedback@offcamberdata.com, or simply leave a comment below!

How to put your own logo into the UniGo

Did you know that you can put your own logo onto the UniGo and have it show during startup? All you have to do is create a 135×160 pixel bmp file with a color depth of 16 (or four bits). Save this file on the UniGo at /Pictures/startup.bmp, and it will show up when the UniGo boots up.

Microsoft Paint will create a file like that when you save it as a 16 color bitmap:UniGo Startup LogoThe image has to be exactly 135 pixels wide and 160 pixels tall, or you will either see garbage or nothing at all when the UniGo starts. Don’t worry though, no image will mess with the normal functioning of the rest of the device.

Happy customizing!

 

The histogram function

After the graph, the histogram is one of the most important ways to gain insights into your data. In this quick overview, I’ll show you how to use the histogram to help optimize your engine and/or gearing using the histogram.

To look at the data, I open the sample data that comes with every version of Off Camber Data. In particular, I open Matt’s run from 2014-02-13, at 12:02. When I open up the histogram, and I set the channel to RPM, it looks like this:
RPM Histogram
This shows me, for example, that on lap 7, Matt spent 5 seconds at 8000 RPM. That’s about 17% of the lap.

This is important for me to know if I’m trying to optimize the engine. I may want to choose jets based on this information, change the length of the exhaust, or modify another setting to optimize the power output at 8000 RPM. Used another way, if you know in which RPM band the engine produces the most power, you can change your gearing to try to be in that band as much as possible. This is especially true for shifter karts, but it helps even for non-shifters. Setting your final gear to get top speed at the end of the longest straight is not always the best way to set up the kart!

There is an important button at the top, this one:
On Power Button
This is the On Power button. When it’s clicked, we only consider the time while the kart is accelerating. For a channel like RPM, this makes a lot of sense. Under braking, a lot is going on with RPM, especially if you have a shifter kart, but you don’t really care about optimizing engine power at that moment. You want to optimize engine power while accelerating, and that’s what this button is for.

If you want to see the data over many laps, you can select all of them:
Histogram with many laps

This colorful view stacks all the laps on top of each other. The total size of the stacks becomes an average over all laps. You can do this with one lap, all laps, or just a few of the best laps if you don’t want to rely just on one.

I think that’s enough information for one post. As always, let us know if these are useful! You can either leave a comment below, or email us at feedback@offcamberdata.com. Cheers!

Data Logging Tutorial: Finding Inconsistencies

Mounting a UniGo to a kart's steering wheelLately, we’ve been getting some questions about how to actually take advantage of data logging and analysis, and so I thought I’d write a short guide on how to get started.

90% of data analysis comes down to comparison. An experienced driver can, for example, compare two different lines through a turn by driving that turn one way for three laps, and then another way for three laps, and then comparing the data to see which one works better. However, the basis for this process is being consistent. The driver has to be able to do the same thing three times in a row, on purpose, to build up that comparison.

In this tutorial, we’ll work on finding that consistency. All you need is a lap timer with a speed sensor, and working lap times. Split times are nice, but not necessary. As for the software, the steps will work with any analysis software, but naturally all the examples will use Off Camber Data.

First, we’ll have to get some data. Put in a good session with some nice, clean laps. Try to minimize distractions like changing conditions, technical problems, going off the track, or (hardest of all), traffic. Try to drive at 9/10th, relax, step away from the ragged edge. You’re not trying to break the lap record just yet. You want to get some good data.

Context menu for laps

Show and hide laps by right-clicking on them and selecting the right item from the menu.

In case you can’t go out to the track right this second, we’ve made some data available for download for you to experiment on, so you can follow along as we go. Simply download the file and import it into OCD. The file contains real data from an event in Kristianstad in Sweden.

After importing the data, either from your lap timer or from our example run, the first thing we do is make sure only the laps we care about are enabled. By default, Off Camber Data will “hide” the out lap, the in lap, and laps that are too slow, but it is not very aggressive about it. The sample run happens to be from a race, so it has three laps at the beginning that are not real times (an out lap, a formation lap, and the first two laps with a slow start and a lot of traffic). Also, at the end there are two slow laps. To disable them, right-click on the laps and select “Hide Lap” from the menu. You can also select all of them at once and click “Hide Laps”. Hidden laps are still there, can still be graphed, and can easily be un-hidden (shown) again, but they don’t participate in calculations for the theoretical best lap or the rolling best lap, and they are never auto-selected.

Now, let’s take a quick look at the split times view. If you don’t have split times on your track, you can skip this step.

Split times table for the example run

The split times table for Matt’s run.

The most important row is the “Range” row. It shows us the gap between the best and the worst we did in any particular sector. It shows us where we were the least consistent, and where we have the most to gain. In this case, we see that the range of times in sector one is 3/10ths, in sector two almost 8/10ths, and in sector three it’s about 2/10ths. Those are big ranges! If you remember some particular reason why you were extra slow in one of those laps, you can go through them here and hide those laps as well. In this case, we disable lap 4 and lap 8, because something happened in the second sector in those laps. Without those laps, the ranges are slightly more reasonable, with the first sector having the largest amount of inconsistencies.

If, at this point, you find that your times are very consistent, and the ranges are very small (under 2/10ths or so), you took my advice above a little too seriously. Go out again and driver a bit faster! Brake later, try to carrying more speed through the corners. The goal is to have a really good lap, a good sector, maybe just a good sequence of turns, and then use the data to find out exactly why that lap, sector, or turn was so good.

If your times are all over the place, and you can’t see any consistency at all in the times, go out again and drive a bit slower.

Let’s switch back to the graph now and select all laps that aren’t hidden. Configure the graph so that the only selected channel is “Speed”, and the the X axis shows distance (that’s what the Time/Distance Mode Switch button is for). The graph should look something like this:

Speed graph for all laps in the example run

Speed graph for all laps in the example run

You can see that a lot of the time, the speeds are very consistent from lap to lap, but in some places, they vary a lot. There is a bit of inconsistency after the 900m mark, some more at 450m, but the graph is the messiest in turn 1 and 2, between 50m and 300m. This is where we’ll try to figure out some improvement!

Since the example file has split times, we can look at the split times to find which lap is likely to have the best turns 1 and 2 in it. In this case, that’s lap 12. If you don’t have split times, the best overall lap is still a good first guess.

However, there is no guarantee that the fastest way through these turns happened in the fastest lap. Let’s look at the laps pairwise, to see which one is truly fastest in the area we’re interested in. To do this, first select the lap you suspect was best, and then select one other lap in addition to it. In Off Camber Data, you do this by holding Ctrl, and clicking on the other lap. When two laps are selected, it will show you the Time Lost graph (also called the Delta Graph).

Delta graph for example laps 12 and 15

The delta graph for laps 12 and 15. After around 300m, the green lap is 0.071s behind the red lap.

This graph always compares the slower of the two laps with the faster of the two laps. When this graph goes up, it means the slower lap lost time. When it goes down, it means the slower lap gained time compared to the faster lap. In our example, the graph goes down between 50m and 300m when we compare lap 12 and lap 15, so lap 15 was actually faster than lap 12 here. However, the difference is pretty small.

Now that you know which way through the messy part is the fastest, you can start comparing to the slower laps, and see what kinds of errors you made. In our example, let’s compare laps 11 and 12.

Comparison of two styles of corner entry into turn 1

You can export the graph looking like this by right-clicking on it and selecting “Export as PNG”

This graph is very interesting! It looks like Matt was actually a little faster into turn 1 at first. However, turn 1 is a long, fast right-hander, and he might have lost his nerve a bit and got on the brakes too early. Immediately, the delta graph jumps up, and he loses over 1/10th of a second.

Do this kind of comparison between the fastest lap (in the section you’re interested in) and more of the slower laps. You will probably see a pattern, a repeated mistake. The two most common differences are braking too early (like in our example), and braking too much, i.e., not carrying enough speed through the apex of the turn (in our example at 450m).

Now that you know what goes wrong, go out again and drive. When you get to the part of the track you were looking at earlier, try to remember what you saw on the data. Matt will remember that he was braking too early into turn 1, and try to go just a little bit longer before taking his foot off the loud pedal. If you have a good memory, you can try to work on several parts of the track at once.

Remember, the main goal is to be able to drive the same lap time again and again. You have to be consistent before you can be fast. You might find that one time you got a sequence of turns just right, and you just can’t figure out how to do that again, despite all the data in the world. In that case, try to settle on a slightly slower variant, understand what you did to drive that way, and learn to drive it that way every time. Then, when it’s time to do experiments, you already know where to start 🙂 .

This is our first tutorial. Please let us know your questions and suggestions, so we can improve not only the software, but also the material here on the website. You can either leave a comment below, or email us at feedback@offcamberdata.com. Cheers!

A young driver taking a turn

What is slip?

When configured for karting, the Off Camber Data software will show “Slip” as one of the channels that can be graphed. In this article, I will briefly explain what the slip graph is and how to use it.

Slip compares the speed of the wheels with the real speed of the kart. When the speed of the wheels is higher than the speed of the kart, that means there is too much throttle, and the tires are spinning. When the speed of the wheels is lower than the speed of the kart, that means the driver pushing the brakes, maybe a little too hard. When slip goes to zero, it means that the tires are locked.

A lot of the time, slip will be mostly constant. When braking, it will dip down. When accelerating, it will tend upwards. This is especially true in the rain, when the driver can get a lot more wheel spin than in the dry.

Slip Graph Illustration

This graph shows RPM, Slip, and Speed together.

Consider the graph above. The interesting part is the right half, after the main straight. Once the driver hits the brakes, RPM jumps down, but speed takes a while to catch up. As a result, the slip graph dips down. You’ll notice that at first, it dips down sharply, but then goes back up a little, staying below its normal level for a while longer. That shape is the hallmark of skillful brake application. Of course, the true way to judge brake application is to use a graph for longitudinal acceleration, which is not shown here.

After the braking maneuver, you see two large spikes. This happens when the kart jumps over the curbs. The rear wheels are getting unloaded, or even leave the ground altogether, while the driver keeps his foot firmly planted on the gas pedal. The wheels start spinning, and you can see that as two sharp spikes in the data.

In the current version of Off Camber Data, this channel only makes sense for karts, and only if the sensors are configured correctly. In particular, to measure the real speed of the kart, it uses the speed sensor on the front wheels. To estimate the speed of the tires, it uses the RPM sensor on the engine. This method only works if the speed sensor is on the front wheels, not on the rear wheels. Also, both brakes and engine have to act only on the rear wheels. Finally, it does not work on shifter karts.

With time, we will overcome these limitations. Please leave a comment or email us if it is important to you that we fix this sooner rather than later. We are always available at feedback@offcamberdata.com.