(This section of the help file will automatically be displayed the first time you start the LapMaster program.)
The LapMaster program
must be installed on a Windows based computer (Win-XP,
Actual it is not just a cable, but an USB device is hidden inside the cable. Therefore you need to install an appropriate driver for the cable.
The operating system might have a driver that appears to support a generic version of such cables, but it is our experience that they can be less stable that the supplied driver.
So look at the LapMaster CD. Here you should find a driver named “PL2303_Prolific_DriverInstaller_v1.5.0.exe”. Please install this for the USB cable delivered with the LapMaster system. You should install the driver before you try to connect the cable.
Note on Upgrade:
If you are doing an upgrade, you should always
remove the previous version first. You do this using the standard “Control
panel” and “Remove program”.
This will retain your custom settings and data, so that they can be reused with the upgraded program.
To reinstall completely from scratch, without retaining any of your settings, history files, race results or any other customizing you might have done, then also delete the “C:\LapMaster” directory before reinstalling.
To install the software, simply click on the “LapMasterSetup3.xx” program on the LapMaster install CD, or download the latest version from www.LapMaster.dk
A shortcut to the LapMaster program is automatically placed on the “Desktop” and in the “All Programs” list.
The next step is to connect your hardware (see below), and then customize your settings for LapMaster so that it will suit your needs the best.
During the customization process, LapMaster creates a “c:\LapMaster\LapMaster.ini” file that contains all your individual settings.
LapMaster also maintains its list of lap records in “C:\LapMaster\LapMasterRecords.ini”. You can edit or delete this file if you want to correct track records after the fact.
All of your racing history is logged to “C:\LapMaster\History” You might want to clear or archive the history maybe once a year.
If you use the “Publish to WEB” facilities to automatically publish race results, then a copy is also maintained on your harddisk in “C:\LapMaster\Results”. You might want to prune that over time as well. To totally reset the result index on the internet, delete the file “C:\LapMaster\Results\LapMasterResultLink”, and the next time you upload a result, it will start on a fresh new index list.
Before you use the LapMaster program for the first time, you must set it up to match you race track. This is done in two parts, first the program setup and then the track setup.
1. Start the program, I.E. by double clicking on the LapMaster shortcut. When it loads, you will start in the Main display
2. First select the Race Setup button to enter the race setup menu.
3. Then select the Program Setup button to enter the program setup.
the COM port that you have connected the LapTimer-II
device to or simple press “Search” to let the program find the COM port.
The “Search” assumes that you have a connected a LapMaster device, and that it is powered on. Otherwise it will not be able to find it.
If you already know on which COM port you connected the LapMaster unit, you can set it manually.
If you manually select “(None)” you will be able to run LapMaster in simulation mode without the hardware.
(Note: Connecting the USB cable to a different USB port on your computer is most likely going to assign a new COM port the device.)
5. Next you should select the language you want. Press the “Change” button, open the directory appropriate directory, and then select the “Dictionary” file.
6. If you change either the COM port or the Language, the program will issue a message that it will restart. Just press ok and reload the program again.
After a program restart you will again find yourself in the main display.
1. You must again enter the Race Setup
2. Select the Track Setup button to enter the track setup.
out the information about you track, the length, the colour and rotation scheme
Use the “Help” if you need guidance on any of the track setup information.
You are now ready to use the program. See section “Running a race” on how to use the program.
The LapMaster program
uses the service of the LapMaster hardware. This
comes in a 4-lane and an 8-lane version.
Inside the unit is 1 or 2 computer boards (4- or 8–lanes) and also a small radio receiver for the wireless remote control unit.
The LapMaster hardware has a RS-232 (Serial) port. This can connect directly to a computer that has a serial port. However this has become rare. Modern computers use the much more versatile USB ports. To connect to an USB port, you need to use a Serial-to-USB converter.
One has been supplied with the hardware. Note that you should read in the driver for the converter before you use it. (See under Software).
A dead-strip is a small section of track (~20
cm) with the electric power rails isolated from the rest of the track. This
part of the track carries no power and the cars can only “roll” over it, thus
the term dead-strip. You should make the isolation between the power rails long
enough that the guide braid cannot make contact on both the power rails and the
dead-strip at the same time.
The dead-strip is connected using the kind of
multi-wire cables also used as computer LAN cables. Each has 4 pair of wires.
Each pair consists of a solid colour and a white with a stripe in the same
colour as the solid. The pair has been clearly marked as to what lane, and also
the solid colour cable must go to the right side of the track. (As seen from
above in driving direction. This is also known as the plus side of the power).
It is very important that the polarity is correct. The dead-strip is powered to
make sure we can count even if the car stops on the counter. However when the
car crosses at speed, it act like a generator and actual supplies voltage to
the dead-strip. When connected correctly this voltage adds to the bias voltage,
make it easier to count. If the dead-strip wires are reversed it will
counteract, making it harder to count.
P.S: This assumes that you use the international standard of “plus-to-the-right” for the track wiring. If that is not the case, the dead-strip wires must also be reversed.
The LapMaster delivery include 2 or 4 Lan-cable
connector blocks. This allows you to extend the length of the wires from the LapMaster box to your dead-strip very easy with standard
computer Lan-cables. These cables are cheap, easy to
get hold of and comes in virtual any length.
The dead-strip will not function if your track is wired for reverse driving unless you reverse the dead-strip wires as well. The simpler solution is to reverse the wires of the car. Then you can run in reverse direction with no problem.
Note: If you use a voltmeter to measure the bias voltage on the dead-strip, you should find between 3-6 Volts with plus to the left. Maybe this will seem strange to you, but think on a 2 battery flashlight. To add voltage you need to have plus on one battery touch minus of the other. If you reverse one battery, the flashlight will not work.
To use infra-red sensors with LapMaster, you need an external detector/amplifier.
For a description on the IR-sensor system, see IR sensor for LapMaster.pdf
Powering the LapMaster unit:
The LapMaster unit need a 12 Volt (minimum 400 mA) power supply for the computer boards and build-in relays.
Connecting your 12 Volt to your track power supply is not recommended, as you will be inviting a lot of electrical noise into the computer system. A separate power supply is the better alternative. The 400 mA is a minimum requirement. You can use power supplies with higher ratings, but they are not better though usual more expensive. The performance will be exactly the same.
You also need a 3 to 6 Volt, nominal 5 Volt (minimum 50 mA) power supply to drive the dead-strip.
You attach the power supplies at the designated screw terminals. Make sure you get the polarity correct.
LapMaster comes with 8 or 4 output power relays. You can wire LapMaster to control everything from just the #1 relay, or you can use 1 relay per lane (Default).
1 relay per lane is preferred, as it allows LapMaster to control each lane individually. E.g. if no driver is assigned to a lane, then there will be no power on the lane either.
If you decide to go with a single relay only, you need to configure this in the Track Setup
The relays has a maximum rating of 15 Amp. This is usual not enough for a commercial grade racetrack. In that case you must provide external high power relays.
Existing tracks have these already, otherwise it is recommended to use automobile 75 Amp/12 volt relays similar to these:
At any rate it is definitely recommended to use fuses. 10 Amp for most, or even 20 to 40 if you race the most power hungry cars like Opens or Eurosport.
Power like this is no joking matter. Use fuses or risk fire or damage to track/wiring/LapMaster/Controllers or your power supply.
When a short-circuit happens (and it they will, e.g. someone hooking the controller up wrong), then something has to give. It better be a 25 cent fuse than your 500 USD controller or LapMaster or worse.
This wiring diagram might help you hook up all the wires correctly.
Note that the middle screw terminal is the common wire.
When the relay is unpowered it is connected to the right screw terminal, and when the relay is powered it is connected to the left.
You would normally use the left and the middle screw terminal.
However if you want your system so that it has power when the computer and LapMaster is off, then use middle and right terminal.
You will then need to go into Track Setup and set the “Reverse relay connection” for the system to function.
P.S: Do not use excessive force when tightening the screw terminals. Excessive force has been known to break the screw terminals connection to the printed circuit board.