This guide will walk you through the basic function of a MiniTrack controller that you will likely use frequently on and before race day including:
- Event and Point Configuration
- Performing a Time Sync
- Creating a Gun Start or Marker
- Setting the Server IP and Connecting
- Copying Files to a USB Drive
Event and Point Configuration (optional)
Though not essential, configuring the Event and Point information on your controller can greatly speed up with process of Streaming data and is useful for organization of hardware and data.
If you don't set the Event and Point names, the MiniTrack will use its default values (or the value you last specified). The default Event name is the time and date the controller was last powered on, and the Point name will always be MINIXXXXX where the Xs are the serial number of the controller.
On MiniTracks running firmware version 4.X.X.X or higher, you can set the Event and Point names using Menu 1 > 3 > 1. Just use the keypad on the Controller to enter the desired Event and Point names.
As noted above, changing the event and point names on your Mini is not required. If you need to change the event and point names to help organize a large number of different Minis, you should use a .ini file to set the Event and Point name on your Mini.
Since Controllers collect tag reads based on Time of Day, it's vital to make sure your Controllers are synced to the correct time. Since setting the time on one controller will also sync the time on any networked controllers, it's best to network the Controllers together with LAN cables and then sync one of them. This will ensure that all controllers are on exactly the same time.
To perform a NTP Time Sync
- Connect the Mini to a router that has a stable internet connection.
- Go to Menu > 4 > 4 > 2 to set the UTC Time Zone using the up or down arrow keys. (If the controller was in the Central Standard Time Zone, the UTC time zone would be -6:00)
- Once you've set the Time Zone, press Enter, then confirm with Yes
- Now press 1 to access the Use menu. Use the down arrow to select Internet and press Enter, then Yes to confirm.
To Perform a Manual Time Sync
- Press Menu > 4 > 1
- Enter the date in YYYY/MM/DD format, then press Enter. Slashes will be automatically added.
- Enter the correct time in 24 hour format (military time).
- Press Enter and then Yes to confirm the sync.
- You should see the red LEDs above the display on the controller light for 30 seconds. This indicates a successful sync.
You may also sync a Controller from a computer or a ChronoSync device. For more information on these methods, click HERE.
Creating a Gun Start or Marker
Creating a Gun Start time stamp or a Marker is very easy. A Gun Start creates a time stamp within the file, but does not affect the file itself in any way. Creating a Marker, however, will segment the controller's current data file and create a new 'Session' of data. Any tag reads that were collected prior to the marker will be isolated from any tag reads that are collected after the marker. This is useful for scenarios such as Wave starts or when a controller is being used at multiple Points. Changing the Point name on a controller will automatically create a Marker.
To Create a Gun Start, simply press the Gun Start button on the right side of the MiniTrack toward the front. The Gun Start will be applied immediately upon depressing the button. The red LED lights along the top of the display will light and the time at which the button was pressed will be displayed for several seconds.
To Create a Marker, press Menu 1 > 2 > 1. The red LED lights along the top of the display will light and the time at which the marker was created will be displayed for several seconds.
Setting the Server Address and Connecting
In Controller networking terminology, a Server is any external source you would like the Controller to connect to, whether it's the ChronoTrack CCS Server or a PC. Before connecting to either of these sources, you must set the Server address to the appropriate IP to connect correctly. (Click HERE for a Server IP cheat sheet)
To set the Server IP:
- Press Menu > 2 > 1 > 2 and press Shift > Backspace to clear the field.
- Press the Shift key again to turn the shift function off, then enter the IP address, making sure to include the periods at the correct points.
- Press Enter and then press Yes to confirm the change.
- To connect to the device or server address you specified, press Menu > 2 > 1 > 1
After your race is over, we suggest that you extract the race data from the controller via USB, even if you were live-streaming the data from the controller via Cellular or other means. Having a copy for your records is a good data management practice.
To Remove Data from a Controller with a USB Drive:
- Insert a USB drive into one of the USB ports on the Controller.
- Wait for the controller to beep to acknowledge that it has successfully connected to the drive.
- Press Menu > 3 > 2 > 1 to copy the currently active file.
Press Menu > 3 > 2 > 2 to copy all files on the controller.
On race day, you will likely use the Copy Current option. If you have powered the controller off since collecting the race data, the file containing the race data will no longer be the current file, in which case you should copy all files.
Once you have the USB with the data plugged into your PC, you can double-click the MRK file for the race data to open it in SimpleClient or use This Method to open the data in Fusion.