On occasion, you may find it necessary to look at timing data in its original, unprocessed form. This requires the ability to read and make sense of a raw CSV file. This brief guide will explain the various parts of a raw file.
The image below shows a typical tag read as it appears in a raw CSV file when opened in Excel. The various values in this line of data will be used to explain what each section means.
TO - stands for 'Tag Observation'. This will typically be seen on every line in a raw file.
43 - this value is the sequence number of the observation from the first observation in the file.
3 - the tag number encoded on the tag
220 - the timer code encoded on the tag
2 - the event code encoded on the tag
1413615526.80 - the time the tag read was recorded in Unix Epoch time (see note 1 below)
10EC17 - the MAC address of the reader that recorded the tag read
4 - the port number the tag read was recorded on
-57 - the RSSI signal strength of the tag when it was read (see note 2 below)
80 - the sequence number by reader
P - the type of transaction (see 3 below)
56 - total number of times the tag was read in the current observation (5-second window)
- Unix Epoch Time is a system of tracking elapsed time in seconds that was instituted on January 1st, 1970. There are several Epoch Time converters available to use for free online. Epoch Time is used to record tag read times because this format uses fewer bits of data in the file, allowing for smaller data files.
- The strength of the tag read is measured as a negative number. -10 would be a fantastic RSSI strength, while -99 would be terrible. This value is used in A-Transactions. An average "good" read will be anywhere between -50 and -65 RSSI.
- There are several different types of transactions - or reads - that you might see. These are:
- P - a standard tag read
- I - and immediate tag read (only when a controller is in Immediate Mode)
- K - a keyed tag read from a USB keyboard or keypad. K transactions always show a zero in several of the fields, and their RSSI strength is always -99
- A - an auxiliary transaction as defined by the parameters set by the user
Viewing Data in SimpleClient
It is possible to view data in its raw form through SimpleClient. Simply open the data in SimpleClient and click the CSV/MRK button in the upper right corner of the screen.
From this screen, you can view each field in its own column, and the Epoch time is automatically converted to 24-hour format.
Clicking some of the headers will summarize the data contained in the column. For example, clicking the Timer Code or Event Code column headers will show the individual codes contained in the column.
Clicking the MRK tab will allow you to see all the system events and the time at which they occurred. System events include Powerup, Event and Point name changes, Markers, Gun Starts, Version reports, and much more. This information can be useful for troubleshooting certain problems, but it will rarely be used. The image below shows a typical example from a MiniTrack controller.