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January 30, 2006

Magic, black magic and then putting seats in your car...


We're at the point where we may be changing everything AGAIN. There are two problems with my setup as it is now.

  1. My lap belts won't tighten fully.
  2. The angle of the shoulder harnesses to the bar is too steep

Lap belts

The problem here is that as I tighten the lap belt, I run out of belt to pull through the latch. So, the belt isn't tight around my pelvis. I have some workarounds I could use, for example, remove the stock receptable on the tunnel side and bolt the belt directly to the stock belt anchor point. This would give me two inches and would allow me to tighten the belt fully I think but I'd lose my stock belt when using the 6pt belt.

Harness belts

My shoulder belts are wrapped around my DasSport roll bar. they go through the seat holes and then over my shoulders down to the lock. The problem is the belt angle between the top of my shoulders and the bar. It's too steep, it's not supposed to be more than about ten degrees. The steeper it is then the more compression on your spine instead of hold me in the seat, they would hold and compress me which isn't a good thing.


So, I'm buggered again. I need a different roll bar. This looks VERY difficult to get right given that belt angle depends on how tall you are. Seats and roll bars do not come in different sizes. Different seat brands and even seat types have the holes in different positions. Recaro Profi SPG holes are higher than Recaro Pole Position holes. It looks like a roll the dice game to find a combination of parts that work for you. What works for person A may not work for you because you're a different height.

January 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

January 19, 2006

Sony P200 Digital camera

I bought a Sony P200 with a 2gb pro memory card and am very pleased with it as an in car camera. I posted what I know on an article at Trackpedia. As I discover more then I'll keep updating the wiki page.

January 19, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 17, 2006

In car video with a digital camera

I've starting a section on Trackpedia aimed at describing various solutions to videoing your track days. You can find it here.

January 17, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 12, 2006

GPS Logger arrives

My G2Extreme came today. It's pretty small, maybe 4 x 3 x 1. The unit itself needs to be firmly attached and needs to really be pointing absolutely straight for the accelerometers to read 0 when you're in a straight line. For now, I used some bunge cords to strap it to my center console door.

The GPS antenna is very sensitive, it picked up 6 satellites inside my house on the kitchen counter top. I got 9 on the roof of the car. The antenna is supposed to be mounted on the highest part of the car, the center of the roof usually. I have a sunroof and opened it slight so I could put the antenna in the center of the sun roof. It's magnetic. No idea whether it scratches yet. This position worked well tonight but I'll probably make a bracket that I can attach to the harness bar and bolt everything to that.

I reckon the antenna will work fine inside the car but worst case, it goes back on the sun roof.


The dash is actually a distraction. You can't drive and keep glancing at it, you'll kill someone. I disconnected it. So, I just have the unit itself and the antenna in the car.

The unit itself is pretty clever. It finds GPS satellites very quickly. It syncs up for me well under 10 seconds. It records automatically when the car starts moving and stops 30 seconds after the car stops moving. The 128MB memory basically can log 30 hours of data but I reckon at an event, I'll just forget about it and drive the car. When I get back to the hotel, I'll look at the days data.

It knows your speed from the 4hz GPS unit. I discovered my speedo is 4.8mph too high. Indicated 65 at 60.2mph.

The unit can be wired to the RPM somehow, theres a wire for it and if you do that then it can figure out the gear you're in by comparing the RPMs to the speed. You can tell it the gearing so that it can figure this out using the RPMs.

It has real 100Hz accelerometers in it for long and lat acceleration.

So basically, you put it in the car and forget about it. No buttons etc. I went and drove a couple of legal laps around IBMs car park today and then drove home. The map is pretty cool and it uses the lat G to automatically draw corners. It nearly gets it right and it's easy to fix it.

The software with it is ok, I'd say, a lot of useful features are missing. For example, you can't export a GIF/JPG of the map or a zoomed portion of the map. I'm probably write something to solve that problem or maybe racepak will fix it for me.

Thats about as far as I've gotten with it. Ease of use wise, this looks real nice. I don't think I'll bother with the dash display. It would violate my drivers ed insurance anyway if the car was timed at the event. I can check how I did at the hotel where it's legal. Some schools are already using this approach to use this device for education without breaking the insurance rules. I'll be leaving the dash at home.

We should be able to use it for some cool graphics for Trackpedia though. Just need to get to the tracks again.

January 12, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 10, 2006

IOPort Video mount arrived

Looks nice, feels well engineered. It's a heavy duty peace of kit. I'll install it in the car tonight and go for a drive to see what it's like.

January 10, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 09, 2006

Drivers education insurance

My insurance company finally started advertising.


January 9, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 07, 2006

New web site for drivers education, Trackpedia.com/wiki

My buddies and I are launching a new web site, Trackpedia.com. It's the one and ONLY community based encyclopedia for race tracks and performance driving events on the internet today. This website is designed to allow for easy sharing of information about how to drive a race track, the best way to travel to them, competitively race on them, after hours enterainment at and around the them, local lodging after a long day at the track and much more.

Trackpedia also has a full forum facility for discussing what ever you are in the mood for. Want to give you buddy heck from that last big day, or want to share what you believe is the fastest line around turn 3 at VIR, or maybe you just know the best place to get a cold beverage after a great day at the track our forum will keep you in touch with your fellow enthusiast.

This is the main entry point for the wiki. This wiki is dedicated to advancing drivers education and race driver performance through knowledge sharing along with detailed track maps and comprehensive turn by turn guides. A wiki is very different than a normal static website. A wiki is a community edititable online encyclopedia that the community (yes YOU once you register) is free to update and extend all content to progress towards the best possible descriptions and most accurate information. For example Do you know a track that isn't in our list? Why don't you add it? You can. Just register and then add a link to your track underneath the appropriate link. Do you have knowledge of a turn better than the current turn by turn analysis has, by all means let your voice be heard and make the racing community visiting this website more informed and help them shave the extra 1/10 a second of their lap time.

January 7, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 05, 2006

Buying a data logger

Pulled the trigger today on a G2Xtreme data logger. 900 bucks from group9motorsports. I should have it next Wed so I can start posting information on it. Basically, it's an expandable logger that has G sensors and RPM sensor and a 4Hz GPS receiver builtin. It can be expanded (at a cost how-ever) to fully instrument the car but this is good enough for me for a while.

January 5, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 04, 2006

Adding video to the drivers education

Next year, I want to video all my DE days. I'm planning on using my mini DV camcorder to do it. So, I need a camera mount for the car. My DasSport weekender rollbar is the obvious place to put it.

The PCA rules say that a video mount needs to be metal on metal and have a backup strap. So, sucker based mounts won't fly, or rather will fly if something happened.

I contacted MacKenzie Horn at CDOC, the DasSport distributors and he recommended an IO port camera mount. It's 3 axis adjustable and has dampening. My camcorder has an image stabilizer also so hopefully I'll get a clear image. I've ordered that part and will comment on it when it arrives next week.

January 4, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

January 03, 2006

Suspension options

The next upgrade for me will likely be a suspension mod. I saw some very nice comments regarding the X74 suspension kit but alas, it only fits 2002 onward cars. So thats out. It then comes down to the rest of world sports suspension (ROW030) which is about 1100 bucks or Bilstein PSS9 + GT3/TRG sway bars. The ROW030 kit includes a whole suspension system including sway bars and is still all Porsche which helps when the time comes to sell the car. It's also not too low and it's not adjustable which is probadly fine for me.

The PSS9 plus GT3 sway bars and drop links so the sway bars will fit my car would be around 1800 for PSS9 + 1100 for sway bars and drop links.

Both would cost between 700 and 1100 to have installed with an alignment.

So, going Porsche is 2k, going PSS9 would be 4k more or less installed. A friend of mine got the ROW installed and likes it. He'd like the car maybe a little lower but that said, much lower and you're grinding every driveway and speed bump.

So right now, I'm leaning towards ROW030 probadly.

January 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)