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SPEEDBOX20 / UsingTheSoftware

Using the supplied software with the SPEEDBOX20

Installing the Supplied Software

The software CD that is supplied with the SPEEDBOX20 contains the latest build of Race Technology’s software suite. This, in turn, contains powerful tools that can be used to view and analyse the data from the SPEEDBOX20, and a utility that can be used to reflash the SPEEDBOX20 with the latest firmware. To install the software, please ensure that any earlier versions of the Race Technology software are uninstalled (“Start->Settings->Control Panel->Add or Remove Programs”) to use the Windows uninstaller, or better to use the Race Technology uninstaller found at Start->Programs->Race Technology v7->Other->Uninstall. Insert the Race Technology CD and run the installer program. Now, verify that the software is installed. It should be under “Start->Programs->Race Technology v7”.

Full instructions for downloading data to the analysis software and reflashing the SPEEDBOX20 are given later in this manual. Instructions for using the analysis software itself are outside of the scope of this manual. A full and comprehensive help file is installed with the software. You can find this under “Start->Programs->Race Technology v7->Documentation”.

Viewing the output of the SPEEDBOX20 with the “Lite Monitor” software

The monitor software allows the output from the SPEEDBOX20 to be viewed in real time on a PC. It also allows it to be streamed to disk for loading into the analysis software. Before using the monitor software, the SPEEDBOX20 must be connected to the PC using a null modem type serial cable. This should be connected between the RS232 output on the SPEEDBOX20 wiring loom and a serial port on the PC (or USB to serial adapter if the PC does not have a serial port). Start the Lite Monitor software. This will typically be found in Start->Programs->Race Technology V7->Lite Monitor. Use the box in the top left of the window to select the correct serial port. Always ensure that the baud rate is set at 115200, since this is the baud rate used by the SPEEDBOX20. Press the button labelled "Connect '' to display the serial data output by the SPEEDBOX20 on the monitor. In order to record the data being displayed, press the button labelled "Stream to disk" and enter a file name when prompted. Stop recording by pressing "Stop streaming" . The .run file saved can be opened in the analysis software by double clicking on it. In addition to the Lite Monitor, there is also a more powerful, fully configurable monitor program included in the software suite. Use of the full monitor program is outside the scope of this manual, but - as with the analysis software - full instructions can be found either in the help software installed from the Race Technology CD or on the Race Technology website.

Configuring the SPEEDBOX20 from the PC

In order to configure the SPEEDBOX20, first ensure that the RS232 output on the wiring loom is connected to a serial port on the PC using a null modem cable. Start the configuration software, which will be found under “Start->Programs->Race Technology v7->Configuration->SPEEDBOX20 20Hz”. Before connecting to the SPEEDBOX20, ensure that the correct serial port has been selected in the box in the top left corner of the configuration window. Now press the “connect” button. The software will read the details of the logger and its current configuration settings, as shown in Figure 11 below.

Figure 11: The SPEEDBOX20 configuration utility

The fields that can be modified are in black, whereas fields that are read only are greyed out. Modify any parameters that you wish to change, then press the “Send Config” button. This will send the new configuration to the SPEEDBOX20. The program will indicate success by displaying a dialogue box, in which case the new configuration will have been written into the non-volatile memory of the SPEEDBOX20, and will be remembered even if the power is disconnected. This can be verified by restarting the configuration software and reading the configuration again. The user configurable parameters that can be changed with the SPEEDBOX20 configuration software are described in the following sections.

Analog/Digital Options Tab

This tab allows the analogue and pulse outputs to be configured, as shown in Figure 12. A detailed description of the various parameters is given below:

Figure 12: The Analog/Digital configuration tab

Analogue Scaling

The “Analogue scaling” field allows you to alter both the FSD (Full Scale Deflection) of analogue speed and the acceleration scale. The FSD may be set between 10 and 500m/s. The acceleration scale may be set between 0.1 and 10V per g of acceleration. 2.5v is always equal to 0g.

Select Speed Source

The “Select speed source” field allows you to select whether the combined speed is output using either data from the GPS receiver or combined GPS and accelerometer data. For most applications, it is recommended that you use the combined data. In some circumstances, - such as on a boat in rough seas - confounding pitch motion may be present. In this case, it may be preferable to turn off the data from the accelerometers.

Distance Pulse Output

The pulse output may be turned off if it is not required. This will eliminate any crosstalk between the pulse and the analogue outputs. This may be desirable if the analogue outputs are being recorded, but pulse output is not required.

The number of pulses per meter should be set according to the required application. A higher number of pulses will provide better resolution at low speeds. In order to reach higher speeds however, a lower number of pulses should be set. The default setting for this feature is 100 pulses per meter.

The pulse type may be set to either fixed width or 50% duty cycle. In both cases, speed is proportional to the period of the pulse.

For the fixed width case, the pulse high time may be set between 10 and 1,000ěs.

At the bottom of the field, there is an indication of the speed at which the readings will clamp at the chosen pulse configuration. This figure will instantly update as you alter the settings to the distance pulse output.

Zero speed clamp

There is also the option to add in a zero speed clamp value. This is the measured speed value below which the vehicle is assumed to be stationary, and all the outputs (including pulse, analogue, serial and CAN) are output as zero. Setting the zero speed clamp to zero (the default) will turn it off.

CAN Options Tab

The CAN configuration tab, shown in Figure 13, displays the CAN address and configuration information for your unit. Nine addresses will be displayed for a standard SPEEDBOX20, and twelve for a SPEEDBOX-RTK. These may be changed, but the admissibility of addresses depends upon the type of addressing mode that has been selected.

The addressing mode can be set to either 11 bit or 29 bit addressing, using the address type box at the bottom of the tab. Next to this is the CAN baud rate box. 500 kbit is set as the default.

Note: The SPEEDBOX20 must be power cycled before any alterations made to the CAN configuration take effect.

Figure 13: The CAN configuration tab

RTK Options Tab

The RTK options configuration tab is shown in Figure 14. In this example, the unit was a standard SPEEDBOX20, so the fields are greyed out and not editable. Conversely, all of these fields would have been editable if a SPEEDBOX-RTK had been used.

Apart from the baseline, which must be set equal to the distance between the two antennas, all of the other fields represent an engineering compromise between differing goals - such as the speed to achieve lock and the likelihood of false lock. As such, there are no “correct” values for these entries. The default values have been found to give a good compromise during extensive testing; any change to the values should be undertaken with care, and with careful monitoring as to whether the results benefit the user or not.

Figure 14: The RTK configuration tab

The baseline (the distance between the antennas) is set at a default of 800mm. This is the distance between the antenna centres on the optional magnetic strip mount. If the optional magnetic strip mount is not used, this distance must be the same as the distance between the two antennas. Failure to set this correctly will prevent an RTK lock from being achieved.

The base line tolerance is the maximum margin of error that is allowed in the positioning of the antennas and in the obtained solution. An excessively wide tolerance is more likely to allow an incorrect RTK solution. A narrow tolerance decreases the likelihood of getting a correct RTK solution. This is particularly true if the antennas are not perfectly positioned. We recommend using the default baseline tolerance setting of 50mm. Any reduction below 40mm should be carefully investigated before use in important testing.

The Maximum Pitch should be set to the maximum level of pitch that the vehicle is expected to undergo. The smaller this level is, the quicker it will be to find an RTK lock. However, if the selected level is then exceeded, an RTK lock is likely to be either unobtainable or incorrect.

The maximum slip relative to heading indicates the maximum allowable disparity between the direction in which the vehicle (the unit) is pointing and the direction that it is heading. Again, a larger maximum slip angle will mean that it will take longer for the unit to get a lock. However, if this angle is exceeded, it is likely that no proper lock will be obtained.

Note: This is the maximum body slip that is assumed only when getting an initial lock. Once an RTK lock has been established, there is no limit on the level of body slip that will be tracked.

The final option allows the initial acquisition of an RTK lock at rest to be aided by the difference between the standard GPS solutions of the two antennas. Under some conditions, this option might help to get an RTK lock when the unit is stationary. However, due to the limitations and inaccuracies of a standard GPS solution this option is normally only helpful for long baselines (2m+).

Trouble-shooting connection problems


Check that the SPEEDBOX20 is switched on and working, and that the red power LED has lit.

Serial Connection

Check that a working null modem cable is being used to connect the PC to the SPEEDBOX20. Verify this by using the cable in a known working serial link.

Note: Many modern PCs do not properly implement the full RS232 specification in order to cut costs. In the event that all of the above issues have been checked and problems persist, try using either an alternative PC, or an alternative serial port. USB to RS232 adaptors have often been found to give a more reliable link, and are available direct from Race Technology if required.

Re-flashing the SPEEDBOX20

The SPEEDBOX20 firmware can be re-flashed to take advantage of any software changes or new features that are introduced. Race Technology actively implements a programme of continuous product improvement. Therefore, new firmware upgrades may be introduced from time to time, either to fix bugs or to introduce new features. These will be available for download and installation from the Race Technology website. Re-flashing is done through a serial connection to a PC. Full details of how to perform the re-flashing process are provided in the Race Technology online help system.

Page last modified on January 25, 2010, at 01:41 PM