Controlling a large display manually

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Controlling a large display manually

Postby MasonDo » Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:24 pm

I am writing a program to manually control our 15" LED RaceAmerica display when not connected to our AC4 timer. It looks straightforward but I do seem to be having a problem with the display not responding and displaying times I send it. Is there anything I missed outside of the Chronomix code sent to the USB wireless transmitter?
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Re: Controlling a large display manually

Postby raceamerica » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:18 pm

Use the standard Chronomix format of hex80 followed by six ASCII digits in reverse order followed by hex0D followed by hex 0A. The hex0A is optional since the display does not need it to process the time to the LEDs. Ensure the comm format is 9600-n-8-1 or the display will not accept the data consistently

I assume the USB wireless unit processed the Windows drivers and created a PC COM port which is the COM port where your data is being sent. Were you driving the display hardwired or wireless direct from the AC4? or from a different wireless unit?
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Re: Controlling a large display manually

Postby MasonDo » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:36 pm

The wireless unit is different from the wireless connected to the AC4 and the currient unit is connected to the PC. There was a new COM port created when I plug it in so all looks good there. I am sending the correct string also and the green LED on the wireless unit flashes telling me data is getting to the wireless black box. Not sure what the baudrate setup is since I am reusing someone else’s code. Will the LED on the wireless flash if the baudrate is wrong?
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Re: Controlling a large display manually

Postby GaryTweet » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:45 pm

I know for cetain the wireless box will flash when any data comes through at just about any baudrate. I was using Hyperterminal which defaults to 2400 baud and when typing, the green LED flashes for each character typed but nothing ever happened with the display. Changed it to 9600 no parity 8 bits per character and one stop bit and poof, the display responded to the Chronomix string.

One note: there must be a timer in the display requiring the data send be completed within a short timeframe. When I would type it in, intermittent display response. When the string is send as a batch transmit of characters, the display worked every time.
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Re: Controlling a large display manually

Postby MasonDo » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:56 pm

Baudrate was the issue. Previous developer had it set at 19,200 for his project. Changed the baudrate, parity, bits and stop bits and now the display responds consistently.
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Re: Controlling a large display manually

Postby raceamerica » Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:31 am

GaryTweet wrote:One note: there must be a timer in the display requiring the data send be completed within a short timeframe.

All RaceAmerica LED Displays have a built-in safety net in the event the received data string gets truncated or garbles the last character (carriage return hex0D). The display will throw away bad data if it does not see the proper character string within a given amount of time to prevent locking up. Of course it is a double edge sword when sending data to the display typing manually. Too slow of data transfer and the display assumes a bad transmission and throws the partial string away before you can complete the typing.

With this data safety net, it is good practice to send the data to the display more than once with a small delay in between. This way if a wireless transmission is interfered with by RF noise, the next transmission will make it through and the display will process it and display the data.
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Re: Controlling a large display manually

Postby lazdee » Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:11 pm

If you are looking for a utility program to send times manually from a PC to the display, I can save you some time and add all the functionality of the LED Displays. You can download the free Display Utility from the RaceAmerica website located under SUPPORT and UTILITY SOFTWARE or click below at:

http://www.raceamerica.com/download/techsup/disputilb0.zip
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Re: Controlling a large display manually

Postby MasonDo » Thu Sep 27, 2018 2:12 pm

Thank you for the program link, it just saved me a lot of time developing and testing. The link and download has more functionality than I was looking for but saved me a lot of development time. Keep up the good work on these utilities, I will certainly benefit from this one.
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