JForce
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:27 pm

Can I accomplish this with a Pi?

Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:05 pm

Hi all,
Whilst I work in IT, I am a beginner when it comes to coding, and I haven't done anything with a Pi. I do however have a "thing" I'd like to build, and am wondering if the Pi can do what I'm looking for.

I have an amateur motor-racing team, and we run in a production series with a lot of restrictions on what we can do to the cars. This leads us to do a lot of "fun", "pretend race team' things, like DIY radio sets and cool suits and other such frippery.

One thing I would like to build is a series of connected timers/clocks, so that we can have a display inside each car that counts down the race (they're timed races generally).

The idea would be a screen in each car, as well as one in the pits, and a way to set a time and then start/stop them, all remotely. Obviously wifi is out as a) the tracks don't all have this and b)range, so I am assuming the signals would have to go via the cell network.

The use case would be the pit crew setting timers for things like countdown to race starts, formation laps etc, then resetting for race start, all remotely - perhaps from a mobile app. That part aside, would the Pi be an appropriate platform for the display/receiving parts within the car? I am not sure if there's a cellular module for the Pi, but am open to suggestions.

Just wondering what the thoughts of the experts here are on whether this is something I should/could be able to tackle, or whether I'm over-reaching.

Cheers,
J

jim2007
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2017 1:46 am
Location: Switzerland
Contact: Website

Re: Can I accomplish this with a Pi?

Mon Mar 06, 2017 1:55 am

Sure you could do it. But I'm not sure you'd be happy with the outcome!

The RPi is great for multi tasking, but not so great at concentrating one doing just one thing - it gets distracted with other tasks, so you might have the odd timing issues. You might be better looking at a micro controller for this. Say one of the Arduino family.

For communication you could look at radio frequency, but be careful you don't run fowl of the law on it.

peterlite
Posts: 720
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2016 4:00 am

Re: Can I accomplish this with a Pi?

Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:24 am

A cell phone has 4G plus GPS plus a display. A mobile app could do all of that without a Raspberry pi. If you want to include a Pi, you could Bluetooth it to the phone or use Wifi or Ant+. You could then hook in digital sensors through the Pi. You can get accurate position and time from GPS. There are GPS add-ons for the Pi. A Pi could use 4G through a USB dongle. There are lots of options for timing to something like a 100th of a second.

You will have problems counting revs in a 20,000 rpm formula 1 engine. The Pi has no analogue input. When you reach the stage of fully instrumenting your vehicle, you will probably have several pi Zeros and Arduinos feeding into a Pi 3 connected to the 4G dongle. There are posts on connecting various inputs in various ways.

JForce
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2017 11:27 pm

Re: Can I accomplish this with a Pi?

Mon Mar 06, 2017 3:33 am

Thanks guys - you're right that a phone may be a better/cheaper way to go, and can do other things. Similarly, and as mentioned, I have lots of interesting thoughts about tracking other racing related things - stuff like tyre temperatures etc.

Unfortunately my car came out before the OBDII standard, otherwise there's a lot I could do with plugging in an adapter and get access to real-time engine information.

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HawaiianPi
Posts: 4275
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2013 4:53 am
Location: Aloha, Oregon USA

Re: Can I accomplish this with a Pi?

Mon Mar 06, 2017 4:25 am

JForce wrote:Thanks guys - you're right that a phone may be a better/cheaper way to go, and can do other things. Similarly, and as mentioned, I have lots of interesting thoughts about tracking other racing related things - stuff like tyre temperatures etc.

Unfortunately my car came out before the OBDII standard, otherwise there's a lot I could do with plugging in an adapter and get access to real-time engine information.
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