T-link 3 RF signal degrading

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T-link 3 RF signal degrading

Postby grunkles » Fri Jun 21, 2019 7:36 am

I keep getting a warning that the signal from bith transmitters (T-link 3) are degrading every few minutes. I've tried swapping the battery and using a higher gain antenna but it keeps happening. Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot this?
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Re: T-link 3 RF signal degrading

Postby raceamerica » Sat Jun 22, 2019 12:19 pm

grunkles wrote:I keep getting a warning that the signal from bith transmitters (T-link 3) are degrading every few minutes. I've tried swapping the battery and using a higher gain antenna but it keeps happening. Any suggestions on how to troubleshoot this?

What do you mean by a warning? Is this the PC software showing a warning of some kind? How do you know the transmitters are degrading? Please describe the warning in detail so we can analyze. Also, please describe your equipment setup - how high antennas off the ground - distance between T-Link 3 and timer/PC. T-Link 3 is designed for consistent RF output.
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Re: T-link 3 RF signal degrading

Postby grunkles » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:38 pm

Oh, right. I keep forgetting that the equipment is separate from the software. It's AXware TS. There is a status window for the wireless communications that pops up when there is an issue (duplicate start signals, finish tripped without a matching start, low radio signal, etc.) The signal strength was dropping from 100% to less than 30% every few minutes from the B/finish transmitter. The finish lights also occasionally will trip constantly (but the transmitter light doesn't turn red).

The antennas were about 200' apart, the Z station at table height, the B station about a foot off the ground.
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Re: T-link 3 RF signal degrading

Postby raceamerica » Sat Jun 22, 2019 3:44 pm

The continuous finish trips would not be an RF issue. In order for the software to receive a trip, the RF signal must be present. If there is no RF signal, the trip would not get transmitted. A continuous trip sounds like a cable or emitter sensor alignment.

The AXware software window popping up sounds like a loose antenna connection. Does this occur with the start line also or just the finish line? If it occurs only at the finish, I would raise the antenna since 1 foot high is a bit low for 200 feet especially if the pavement have a high content of metallic or rebar is present.
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Re: T-link 3 RF signal degrading

Postby grunkles » Tue Jun 25, 2019 3:07 am

If it's a beam alignment issue, would the status light on the T-link transmitter be solid red? It looked like it was pulsing orange (both LEDs) every second or so and would turn solid red if I blocked the sensor with my hand. The receiver also rattles if shaken gently. It was just upgraded to the latest internals so I wouldn't expect any issues with it.

I did see the start signal degrade once or twice as well but it was also showing "interference cleared" in the status window. I'll see if I can get some insight into that error from AXware.

Changing from T-link 3 to 2 didn't help. Changing antennas didn't help. I was able to resolve it by going back to an ancient receiver unit (plastic case) and swapping the location of the emitter and receiver/transmitter.

It's possible that the surface had something to do with it--it was a concrete skid pad at a test facility, so there was probably lots of rebar. We haven't had an event there before and probably won't have a chance to try it again until next year. If I was being more diligent I would have only changed one of those variables at a time but in the heat of battle sometimes you have to just get it working again.

Thanks for the feedback!
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Re: T-link 3 RF signal degrading

Postby raceamerica » Tue Jun 25, 2019 8:30 am

If the alignment is off by a lot, the LED would be solid red. If it is an intermittent alignment issue, the momentary solid red would get lost in the red/green LED blinking. You can turn the IDZ unit off so the red/green flashing stops, this way you can monitor if the LED goes red due to intermittent alignment which would give a trip every approx. 3 seconds form the T-Link.

grunkles wrote:Changing from T-link 3 to 2 didn't help. Changing antennas didn't help. I was able to resolve it by going back to an ancient receiver unit (plastic case) and swapping the location of the emitter and receiver/transmitter.

It does sound like an emitter/sensor error. I would suggest swapping the emitter/sensor pair from finish to start and see if the issue follows the pair. If so, swap either the emitter or sensor between start and finish and see where the problem goes. If it moves to the finish, the unit just moved to the finish is the issue,
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