Harry's Laptimer and Racelogic VBox Sport Help

Help on issues you run into with LapTimer; in case you have a question on how to use LapTimer, use the forum "Using LapTimer" instead
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ctf001
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Harry's Laptimer and Racelogic VBox Sport Help

Post by ctf001 »

I've had troubling time with Harry's Laptimer and the RaceLogic VBox Sport for years. When it works, it's absolutely awesome, but the problem is, and I'm now at my wits end, it's just completely unreliable. I cannot guarantee that when I turn everything on it will all get connected, operational, and receive. Further, I've found no combination/ordering of resetting the physical VBox unit, Harry's s/w, or both that reliably gets things working. Again, this is after years of trying. I've read most all of the posts on the topic and experienced essentially every problem posted. My most recent experiences over this past month may potentially shed light for the developers. I hope it does, because I *really* want the combination of Harry's and VBox to work.

In Nov I was at VIR. I could not get Harry's to ever function w/my VBox, not even once. Yet RaceLogic Laptimer did, though incredibly over the two days, RaceLogic failed to receive data from the device once or twice too. This was using my fully updated iPhone 7s that I've used off and on successfully but unreliably for years. Over those years, sometimes my setup would work, sometimes it would not, but never was it reliably trustworthy. I've experimented trying leaving everything powered up and never touching it once everything was working, all the way to powering/restarting everything every time. I cannot find a reliable method for ensuring it works.

After the Nov two day VIR event, I gave up on using my iPhone 7 as a dedicated "leave in the car" (no sim card) device for events and decided to do some trials around my house on my everyday commute/trips using my iPhone XS Max. The first couple days, I received data and Speedo race mode (mildly entertaining on the street and immediately shows me I'm getting GPS data) would function. In fact, it did today as well on my way to work. However, for the return trip and four more trips (a total of 5 of my experiments today), Harry's and VBox are not happy with each other.

My startup algorithm is getting as close to the same in all cases as possible because I've been trying to build a pilot's style checklist for firing up the GoPro and VBox to get to reliable, repeatable success. This is what I did for all of my trips today, including the 4 failed ones: Swipe close all apps on the phone. Power up VBox, Power up GoPro. Open GoPro App, phone to Hero7 network and start a preview to see camera connected to phone. Go to Home (leaving GoPro App in background), launch Harry's. Go to Analysis, Realtime, GPS to see connection/data from Harry's. Goto Race, Speedo. Click video to setup camera, wait for various beeps to all stop, including that last one that happens a few seconds after the burst. On Speedo page, click manual start button (turned manual mode on for recording stuff on the street.) Again, this has worked....

What happened on 4 trials today is @ the Analysis, Realtime, GPS step got stuck looking like:
Image
Analysis-Realtime-GPS screen capture

Although I had 3 solid lights on the VBox (power, GPS, BT connection), Harry's would never see data. The race status page says:
Image
VBox Status

In desperation, realizing that just this month my Nov VIR sessions were not successful, I tried another timer app from the iOS store (won't name it, but it's basically the $18 one). After solid connection and GPS fix lights, when Harry's is stuck in the condition above, I do nothing more than launch the other app, and it gives position and speed data. This worked all 5 out of 5 times today. I have this app configured to never use internal GPS, and have 100% verified that if my VBox is off when clicking start, it says no GPS and gives no data. As I've only tried this app about a total of 7 times, I have no idea how reliable this is over time, but so far it's worked everything I've tried. Note - it turns out that even my first, successful experiment today w/Harry's was only successful AFTER starting the other app. Harry's was stuck like I posted, I opened the other app, saw data, then went back to Harry's (didn't close the other app),
and that is how I got data for experiment #1. But, this DID NOT work on the 4 other trials today.

Please HELP - I have no idea what I could do to make this work and, honestly, I want the Harry's solution to work. I have a 3 day event coming up at Road Atlanta next week!
Thanks
Chris
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Re: Harry's Laptimer and Racelogic VBox Sport Help

Post by Harry »

Hello,

To start with, I'd recommend to troubleshoot one thing after the other. The GoPro / VBOX combo may introduce additional issues that should be addressed in a second step.

To understand which type of VBOX connection LapTimer is trying to establish (direct or using iOS's location service), please let me know whether you are using Petrolhead or GrandPrix. Both option can be tried: using the direct connection, LapTimer will communicate with the VBOX directly. This providing richer data. But a direct connection is exclusive. Once another app grabs access to the device, LapTimer will not be able to access it. As a result, you will see a GPS screen like the one posted. Using the iOS location service is different. The VBOX's Mfi capabilities will simply feed the data into iOS. iOS will provide location data to multiple apps through the standard location service. For LapTimer, this means you will see iPhone GNSS as active GPS sensor - but with an update rate of 10 Hz.

Selection of mode:
Petrolhead ‣ always iOS location service
GrandPrix ‣ uses direct integration by default
GrandPrix ‣ uses iOS location service in case you disable "Use Mfi Accessories" in LapTimer's Expert Settings

To check your connection, always use the GPS View. The best indicator you have the VBOX active is an update rate of 10 or 20 Hz. But please keep in mind, the VBOX sometimes requires up to a few minutes to get a stable lock. Once the lock is lost, the rate is falling to 0.

- Harry
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ctf001
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Re: Harry's Laptimer and Racelogic VBox Sport Help

Post by ctf001 »

Hi Harry.

Thank you for the super quick reply.

I'm using GrandPrix. It seems you didn't finish your last sentence. VBOX sometimes ... ?

When VBOX is working for me in Harry's, I always see update rates of 20Hz. But as indicated in this thread, I have not been unable to get it unstuck at all since my morning test yesterday. I've conducted numerous tests since.

Today I conducted two tests and attempted to document them exceedingly carefully. Photos of all results are here.

I actually forget if I powered the VBOX off along w/the phone reboot; however, even if I didn't - the VBOX was powered off all night before the first test.

I truly appreciate your help. Please let me know anything that I should do and document more specifically to be of use.
Chris
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Re: Harry's Laptimer and Racelogic VBox Sport Help

Post by Harry »

Yes, I completed the last sentence in my post. :-)
With a 20 Hz rate, you have one of the 1st gen devices, the new ones are 10 Hz.
As you use GrandPrix and see 20 Hz, this means LapTimer is using the direct integration currently.

In case you are interested in further investigate this, you can create a trace log by following instructions in viewtopic.php?f=39&t=1933. Please enable the exactly the following trace classes:

Sensors / GPS/GLONASS Sensors
Sensors / Accessories
Sensors / Sensor Connection

One more hint on power cycling etc.: usually it should not be necessary to power cycle the VBOX. Besides fiddling with several items at a time is inconvenient, power cycling will not only disconnect / reconnect the VBOX to LapTimer, but involve the complete iOS operating system Bluetooth stack. Instead, you can fully reload the sensor integration from LapTimer / Administration / Sensor List by pressing Refresh in the top right. This will disconnect the app from the accessories framework (freeing up resources that may be locked up) and load a fresh sensor integration. It is just like finishing / killing LapTimer and restarting it.

- Harry
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Re: Harry's Laptimer and Racelogic VBox Sport Help

Post by Harry »

P.S. When creating a trace log, please write down what you have done and were spotting while logging. Things like "Refreshed Sensor List", "0 Hz in GPS View", "changed to 20 Hz after 20s" etc. It is often hard to understand what happened from just the logs...
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Re: Harry's Laptimer and Racelogic VBox Sport Help

Post by ctf001 »

I want to thank you for the super detailed replies. I've got a real Schrödinger's cat situation going on. As soon as you started w/the details, everything has been working absolutely perfectly. I'm feeling like in trying to document it, maybe the timing has changed. I may have been starting Harry's before the VBox had solid satellite and or BT connection lights. Since you wrote to me, I've been extremely careful to wait until they are both solid before starting Harrys and so far for probably 6 or 7 times across two days, Analysis/Realtime/GPS always shows VBox sending data.

I'll save the debugging trace information in case it goes badly, but I even did one of these experiments w/the GoPro connected.

Thank you for the attention.
Chris
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Re: Harry's Laptimer and Racelogic VBox Sport Help

Post by Harry »

Good to hear! :-)
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Re: Harry's Laptimer and Racelogic VBox Sport Help

Post by Searya »

ctf001 wrote: Mon Nov 30, 2020 2:43 am I may have been starting Harry's before the VBox had solid satellite and or BT connection lights. Since you wrote to me, I've been extremely careful to wait until they are both solid before starting Harrys and so far for probably 6 or 7 times across two days,
I wanted to second this advice. I followed the same process of waiting until my dual xps160 showed solid gps lock and Bluetooth then started Harry’s and it would recognize the external gps instantly. Worked flawless for me with this approach for every session.
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