The MiniTrack Controller is the second Controller mass-produced by ChronoTrack. It is encased in a rugged Pelican case and features support for up to 14 feet of timing line per controller, a membrane keypad interface, two-port Ethernet switch, four powered USB ports, hot-swappable external batteries, and AC power.
The MiniTrack Controller was designed as a 'Lite' controller solution that trims off all but the most basic components and functionality. This makes it a light and highly-mobile Controller that's ideal for situations such as remote split points using only FlashPoints. The MiniTrack weighs in at about 16 pounds with batteries.
As stated above, the MiniTrack is operated via a membrane keypad interface with a two-line digital display. The main screen of the display displays time of day, last tag read, total reads, and total unique reads. The software menus are navigated using the Menu, Enter, and Arrow keys. You can also quickly navigate between menu items by pressing the numbers that correspond to the desired menus and sub-menus.
For Example, pressing Menu > 3 > 2 > 1 would initiate a data copy of the current controller file to a connected USB drive.
Rather than having a dedicated computer for the interface software, the control software is stored directly on the MiniTrack's single Reader. However, just as with the Pro Series Controller, any collected race data will be stored for two weeks on the MiniTrack's internal data drive as well as the reader.
Every MiniTrack Controller has two different sources of power - AC Power and removable Ryobi Batteries, with seamless transfer between the power sources so that the controller does not power off until all power sources are exhausted. The Controller's power board manages connected power in a hierarchy to use the most to least dependable power source: Primary AC Power > Battery Power.
A MiniTrack may be powered on using the physical switch on the left side of the controller's blue platform near the lid.
Primary AC Power
Unlike the Pro Controller, the AC power brick is not mounted to the Controller, but is an external component. The power cable is connected to the MiniTrack via the AC port on the front right side of the Controller. The AC power connector screws onto the controller to prevent power from being pulled by accident.
Ryobi Battery Power
The MiniTrack was designed to use Ryobi brand power tool batteries. The internal power board in the Mini manages power so that batteries are hot-swappable, meaning that pulling the battery currently in use will cause the controller to instantly switch to the other battery without powering off the controller.
Ryobi batteries may be purchased at most hardware stores such as Lowes, Home Depot, or Menards.
The currently suggested battery model is the Ryobi P108
Readers and Antenna Ports
Inside every MiniTrack Controller is a Reader. The readers is the heart of the Controller. The reader pushes the RFID signal from any connected Gators or Flash Points to collect tag data and then store the tag data on Race Day. Collected tag data is stored on the Mini's internal USB Drive as well, and any collected data will be available for 2 weeks after collection.
The Reader has 4 Antenna ports. This means that one MiniTrack Controller can support up to 14 feet of timing line. When Antennas are connected to the Mini, the LED indicator above the port it is connected to will light.
It is not necessary to use every port on a Reader. If necessary, you could use only one Antenna.
For more on Antennas and Tags, click HERE.
MiniTrack Controllers typically only employ the short cable set, but some setup situations may require the use of a long cable set.
Short Cable sets are color coded with Red, Blue, Yellow, and Brown (shortest to longest). Long Cable sets are color coded with Orange, Purple, Green, and White (shortest to longest). These colors correspond to the colors on the control mesa, as pictured below.
Each MiniTrack Controller has four powered USB ports that can be used to power external devices such as mobile routers and to transfer timing data to a USB drive so that it can be processed on a Computer (for more on processing data, click HERE).
Most updates to the software or firmware for the Controller's various components will also be carried out via a USB flash drive.
The Controller only supports USB 1.0 drives up to 2GB. We highly recommend testing USB drives prior to race day to ensure that they work well with the Controller.
As noted in the Introduction, each MiniTrack Controller has a two-port Ethernet switch. The ports are located on the front of the controller next to the AC Power port. This allows multiple Minis to be networked together and share Time Syncs and Gun Starts. Unlike the Pro Controller, MiniTracks will pass data through their Ethernet switch, but they will not store incoming tag data from other networked Controllers.
You can also connect a MiniTrack Controller to a Windows or Linux computer and 'stream' the data from the Controller to the computer using a program called CCS Lite and then process it through SimpleClient. You can also sync the time on the Controller from your laptop in this manner as well.
Gun Start and Buzzer
On the left side of the controller platform toward the front is a physical Gun Start button that, when pressed, will create a Gun Start timestamp in the MiniTrack's current data session.
There is a physical knob that is used to control the volume of the beeper located between the battery ports. Turning it until the openings are no longer exposed will ensure that the beep volume is as low as possible.