Topic: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

So I came out to watch the Sears Pointless race to get first hand view of lemons racing.

When I was building scale model r/c car racing electronics,  I designed a transponder system which had a feature called
the "leader light": when you passed the finish line and it recorded the lap times, it would respond back indicating if you were the
current race leader.  Then your car could flash a 'leader light', so everyone can see you were the race leader, for both fans watching
the race and other drivers who might want to get out of your way.     I'm thinking this would be useful for full scale road racing,
as I had no idea who was leading while watching the race.   

In r/c racing there was no such thing a yellow flags, everyone just raced full time and if crashes happened, the corner workers just
tried to stay out of the way as they picked up and righted the crashed cars.   Clearly full-sized racing with human drivers is very different.
So it seems to me the Yellow Flag status can just as easily be transmitted wireless to the cars, and as well as hand-waved flags,
and yellow light inside the car can be turned on electronically.     

A quick google seems this technology is used in other kinds of race series.   The technology today is not expensive at all,
my r/c radios/transponders where like $50 back them, and today wifi radios are $2, so I think this kind of feature can be added for less than
the cost of a tank of gas.

With no experience yet behind the wheel,  the idea might not be useful and/or overkill, so some feedback is appreciated.  smile

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

The wireless yellow warning light is interesting but note that road courses tend to be 2-5 miles long and yellows tend to only affect a corner or two at a time.  You'd need to have provisions for the lights to be in effect for only certain segments.  Also, individual controllers for individual flag stations.  I would imagine that increases the complexity immensely.

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita" 
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)
1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless)
1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites) (Sold -> Houston.  Gone and forgotten)

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

nimblemotorsports wrote:

I'm thinking this would be useful for full scale road racing,
as I had no idea who was leading while watching the race.

Then you need to get the Race Monitor app for your smartphone.   It will tell you the
current position of every car, their fastest lap time, their last lap time, number of laps,
and so forth.

"I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it!"
IOE winner in the Super Snipe -- Buttonwillow 2012
IOE winner in Super Snipe v2.0 -- Buttonwillow 2016
"Every Super Snipe in LeMons has won an IOE!"

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

nimblemotorsports wrote:

...so everyone can see you were the race leader, for both fans watching the race and other drivers who might want to get out of your way.

I agree it might be of interest to the spectators but I'd be opposed to anything that might chip away at the understanding that it's the responsibility of the passing car to execute a clean pass. I can see a "Get out of my way, I'm the leader!" signal leading to some unrealistic, likely hazardous, expectations even if it was emphasized repeatedly that paying attention and responding to the signal was voluntary.

Besides, it strikes me as unreasonable to give the lead car any special treatment. If a car can maintain its lead under unbiased conditions, so be it. If it can't, then it can't.

1982 MG Metro 1300: IOE 2015 Pacific Northworst GP, Longest Distance 2010 Cd'L Box Wine Country Classic
1980 KV Mini 1: Worst of Show and Fright Pig Supremo 2009 Concours d'LeMons
1978 H Special: Second-Round Elimination 2010 LeMons Pinewood Derby at Sears Pointless
1967 SAAB 96: IOE 2012 Pacific Northworst GP

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

Most lemons drivers barely notice a car near them, let alone a light on top of a car.

You are only entitled to the space you occupy.

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

We've got three green decals on each side of our car, temporary stand-ins for ALMS position lights, 'cause the Tinyvette is an ALMS Corvette wannabe (Opel GT).  I'd love it if there was such a system. Of course I'd need to install about forty lights before any of them came on.

Mike

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

yea....and before you know it, every car will have a continuously ON "I am the leader" , get out of my way, light....

Nice suggestions, but it seems this Lemons thing is just not geared toward making it interesting for spectators (see recent thread discussion)

Yellow flag notifications would be nice...but as noted above, each car would need a system for a particular track and the specific corners, and you would need to have the corner workers turn ON/OFF the transmitter lights at their stations...hmm...not sure how this would work....

Thanks for the suggestions and input!

MarioKart Driving School: 1987 Honda Prelude Opus #28  (still can't win anything...)

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

A simple finish line system is not effective for yellow lights, but there are ways to have only each approaching yellow flag be signaled to the car.   One of the professional systems I read about had a gps integrated to the car receiver,  then a global yellow flag status
can be broadcast with what areas are in yellow, and the car figures out when to turn on the yellow light.  Alternatively, each flag waving station can transmit a local signal.  Antennas can focus signals to specific areas.   A GPS on board would have other uses too, so I'd lean in that direction, no track hardware to setup.

As far as cheaters with fake leader lights, don't see anyone doing that at all, it would be obvious and you would be an outcast immediately.
Whether someone allow a pass, they do so already from what I watched at the race.   There were pretty much zero spectators, so that isn't a factor....it is really the safety aspect of the caution status signal, since I did read on the forum how an accident can be caused by lack of seeing the yellow flag for a car who then tries to pass when nobody expects it.  And in fact, with the gps system, you would know if someone has passed under yellow..

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

nimblemotorsports wrote:

As far as cheaters with fake leader lights, don't see anyone doing that at all, it would be obvious and you would be an outcast immediately.

Not really in LeMons. The first few people who do it will be lauded as geniuses, followed by 78% of the cars on track having them making them useless, then eventually a tradition.

What's really needed is an addressable BLACK FLAG system.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL) https://www.facebook.com/groups/MBTLracing/
88 Thunderbird "What's the word? Thunderbird!", "What's the Price? Thirty Twice!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

Like it would blink a light in the cockpit, and when you ignore it for more than 3 laps it blasts your windshield with old used diesel motor oil.

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL) https://www.facebook.com/groups/MBTLracing/
88 Thunderbird "What's the word? Thunderbird!", "What's the Price? Thirty Twice!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

Guildenstern wrote:

What's really needed is an addressable BLACK FLAG system.

Not a problem.  3 Green lights for top 3 leaders, Yellow for Caution, Red for black flagged.   

Honestly, I think waving flags is 1950's technology, but if it works good enough, then it works good enough.

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

nimblemotorsports wrote:

Honestly, I think waving flags is 1950's technology,

Have you SEEN some of the LeMons cars out there?

Mistake By The Lake Racing (MBTL) https://www.facebook.com/groups/MBTLracing/
88 Thunderbird "What's the word? Thunderbird!", "What's the Price? Thirty Twice!"
A&D: 2014 Sebrings at Sebring (NSF), 2014 NJMP2 Jurassic Park (SpeedyCop), 2012 Summit Point J30 (PiNuts)

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

Guildenstern wrote:

Like it would blink a light in the cockpit, and when you ignore it for more than 3 laps it blasts your windshield with old used diesel motor oil.

That sounds just like my one and only stint in the ToyoHog, except without the blinking light. Oh, and I don't think I quite made three laps. The sudden oil on the windshield did bring the car to a stop, although the sudden removal of oil from the engine may have played a role as well.

1982 MG Metro 1300: IOE 2015 Pacific Northworst GP, Longest Distance 2010 Cd'L Box Wine Country Classic
1980 KV Mini 1: Worst of Show and Fright Pig Supremo 2009 Concours d'LeMons
1978 H Special: Second-Round Elimination 2010 LeMons Pinewood Derby at Sears Pointless
1967 SAAB 96: IOE 2012 Pacific Northworst GP

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

The leader light thing seems useless to me and it wouldn't make any difference in the way I drive.  If they are faster, they will pass me.

Technical solutions exist for a lot of things.  I'm wondering who you propose paying for and maintaining all this technology?

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita" 
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)
1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless)
1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites) (Sold -> Houston.  Gone and forgotten)

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

I'm with others on the leader light thing.  Besides, LeMons, and probably others, prohibit lights on top of a car, as they could be confused with a safety vehicle.

The yellow dash warning light, on the other hand, is worth discussion imo.  Figure out a way to make it work within a certain proximity to a corner station, and have it stay on for a specific portion of the track.  Get sanctioning bodies and track managers to buy into it.  I'd buy one.  I'd love to have something on my dash to warn me of an upcoming caution.

bs

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

Guildenstern wrote:

Like it would blink a light in the cockpit, and when you ignore it for more than 3 laps it blasts your windshield with old used diesel motor oil.

Just to be clear, you _are_ referring to a temperature warning light, right?

In other news, promoting an in-car signal system to a group of people who have clearly demonstrated both a willingness to do almost anything to save a buck and an inability to pull their heads out of their collective asses seems a bit windmill-tilty.

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

There are systems out there, and they've been courting me to buy into their systems for LeMons.  The all break down for many reasons.

     Cost  -  From, well that's a lot to whoa that's freakin expensive
   
     Reliability -  If the yellow light doesn't come on and you fly into a pile of wrecked cars???   
   
     Corner Specific Yellow flags  - no current system can handle this as it would have to interface with the humans/systems at each track

      Many of our tracks have problems with line of sight radio transmissions and have crappy cell service.

      Our racers cannot properly install a transponder even with our full color, large print, simple instructions..   If improperly installed a track light system could cause serious danger.

       There are others, I'm actually pro in-car light system.  Someone has to show me one that works reliably  at all of our tracks and is affordable.   

        I have no interest in a "who's leading" light. I just don't care about that and would not require any car to have one, seems silly. 


    -John

Gosh, my business card says 'Tech Tyrant'

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

How about using our turn signals to issue point-bys? wink

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

nimblemotorsports wrote:
Guildenstern wrote:

What's really needed is an addressable BLACK FLAG system.

Not a problem.  3 Green lights for top 3 leaders, Yellow for Caution, Red for black flagged.   

Honestly, I think waving flags is 1950's technology, but if it works good enough, then it works good enough.

"Honestly, I think waving flags is 1950's technology"

What exactly do you mean by that....??

https://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47a7da22b3127cceee931b16846b00000030O02AbtWTNk2cMwe3nw4/cC/f%3D0/ls%3D00300862325720170404021715570.JPG/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/

MarioKart Driving School: 1987 Honda Prelude Opus #28  (still can't win anything...)

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

Guildenstern wrote:
nimblemotorsports wrote:

As far as cheaters with fake leader lights, don't see anyone doing that at all, it would be obvious and you would be an outcast immediately.

Not really in LeMons. The first few people who do it will be lauded as geniuses, followed by 78% of the cars on track having them making them useless, then eventually a tradition.

What's really needed is an addressable BLACK FLAG system.

I like that suggestion....
Seems like a "low hanging fruit" to knock off.
Just have a light go off in the car when you are black flagged, and that way, you can ignore the Black Flag number board...

I find that the black flag board on the track can be difficult to see, especially in NJ...and some new drivers don't know where to look...and some newbies come in when it was not their car being flagged..

And it would be easy for the judges to call a car in....
Even if it not for a penalty, but for a dragging, sparking exhaust pipe that is about to become a projectile...

MarioKart Driving School: 1987 Honda Prelude Opus #28  (still can't win anything...)

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

Lemons racers might be cheap, but my experience is with r/c racers...who bitch about $20 for a new set of tires!

The hardware is not expensive, the cost is all the time it takes for the development. I spent almost a year perfecting the r/c system.
Oddly AMB still seems to have a solid monopoly after all these years. 

What is the price point that makes it viable?   

Evil Genius wrote:

There are systems out there, and they've been courting me to buy into their systems for LeMons.  The all break down for many reasons.

     Cost  -  From, well that's a lot to whoa that's freakin expensive
   
     Reliability -  If the yellow light doesn't come on and you fly into a pile of wrecked cars???   
   
     Corner Specific Yellow flags  - no current system can handle this as it would have to interface with the humans/systems at each track

      Many of our tracks have problems with line of sight radio transmissions and have crappy cell service.

      Our racers cannot properly install a transponder even with our full color, large print, simple instructions..   If improperly installed a track light system could cause serious danger.

       There are others, I'm actually pro in-car light system.  Someone has to show me one that works reliably  at all of our tracks and is affordable.   

        I have no interest in a "who's leading" light. I just don't care about that and would not require any car to have one, seems silly. 


    -John

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

I really don't understand what is so hard about the current black flag system. You are supposed to look at every flag station every time you go by them. If you aren't there is a good chance you are missing yellow flags and other information. So why is it so hard to look at the station that flys the black flags. Even if we put a light in your car, you still need to look at all flag stations. If you're complaining about missing black flags it just means you're not doing a good enough job paying attention while on track.

14 Time Loser FutilityMotorsport
2008 Saab 9-5Aero Wagon
Retired - 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby 2011-2015 "Lifetime Award for Lack of Achievement" IOE, 3X I got screwed, Organizer's Choice

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

It would need to be a black light.

But seriously, the dude who is blasting past every car on track under full-course yellow isn't going to see a light on the dash regardless of what it is doing.  Particularly when the light is put in a suboptimal location because the temp and oil pressure lights are more important to whoever built the car.  Not to mention the lap timer and hula girl. 

And then there's the issue of the light that is totally visible to the 5'3" driver but is occluded by the steering wheel for the 6'2" freak who gets in next.

It took my taller drivers like five races to tell me that they actually couldn't see the tachometer and had been making up RPM numbers whenever I asked.  John.

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

nimblemotorsports wrote:

What is the price point that makes it viable?

I would click on the Evil Genius name to discover his email and continue this discussion directly with him since he's a decision maker and we're not.

1990 RX7 "Mazdarita" 
1994 Jaguar XJ12 (Winner C-Class 2013 Sears Pointless)
1964 Sunbeam Imp (IOE 2013 Sears Pointless)
1980 Rover SD1 (I Got Screwed 2014 Return of Lemonites) (Sold -> Houston.  Gone and forgotten)

25 (edited by RobL 2017-04-04 01:44 PM)

Re: Electronic Flags and Leader Lights

Honestly, I think waving flags is 1950's technology, but if it works good enough, then it works good enough.

Semaphore is so much older than 1950...  It's been around for 200+ years.  Know, why?  It works. 

It's not even that it works good enough, my life literally depends on the corner workers communicating information to me - so it has to work every time, and in every situation.  Flags don't break and are quickly repairable even if they do.  Some electronic gizmo that depends on radio signals and power being available at the far ends of a racetrack (when we need to bring generators for paddock) that needs to be installed in my car which has questionable wiring to begin with, really just has too many points of failure.

--Rob Leone Schumacher Taxi Service
We won the IOE at Southern Discomfort.
We got screwed at The Real Hoopties of New Jersey  and we took cars down with us.
We got the curse at Capitol Offense but they wouldn't let us destroy the car.