fulhack.org/iscoringtower

[FAQ] [Technical Stuff] [Screenshots and Pictures] [Downloads] [License]

General information (FAQ)

What is iScoringTower?
It's a tower of 5 dot matrix displays (32x8) used to show information about who's running at which position in iRacing.

Aside from that, it can also show the current time with time, day of week, date, week nr and year when it is not connected to iRacing. It can show time without being connected to a computer at all and the time will automatically be set by the PC driver as soon as you plug the HW into a USB port on your computer. It's actually kind of nice.

Why is iScoringTower?
This is just one of those things that exist for no other reason than "because I can".

Can I set the driver to start automatically when iRacing starts?
No, but iAppStarter can help you with that!

How do you get hold of the iRacing Telemetry needed?
I'm using Nick Thissens great little SDKWrapper

I have a question/comment!
Feel free to e-mail me about it (olof@fulhack.org) I might just get back to you :-)


Technical stuff

The following is the list of materials needed:

And the following is a list of semi-optional stuff I used to complete my particular build with mount and all:

  • Wood to build the mount of (you need it to be about 20 cm wide to fit the displays on it)
  • 1x NAUSB-W (Nice-looking USB connector/gender changer that you can panel mount)
  • A Windows PC to run the PC driver on

Arduino FT232RL XBee USB to Serial Adapter V1.2

It doesn't really have to be this exact board, but it's the one I used. All you really need is a FT232RL chip (which is mounted on this board) and some way to access the signals CBUS0-CBUS3, RTS and TX.

On this board, RTS and TX are already available on the pin headers, but I had to modify the board a bit to get the CBUS0-CBUS3 signals routed to pin headers. The board was modified in the following way:

  • The lines to the pins D4, D5, D6 and D7 have been cut
  • A pin header mounted to the D0-D7 lines
  • D4 have been connected to CBUS0
  • D5 have been connected to CBUS1
  • D6 have been connected to CBUS2
  • D7 have been connected to CBUS3
  • You also have to reprogram the FT232RL EEPROM to enable CBUS bit bang mode for CBUS0-CBUS3. That can be done using FTProg.

The PC driver controls the FT232RL and uses it to send data to the ATmega8L:s in the display boards. The communication protocol used is a "one-way UART with chip select". The signals RTS and CBUS0-CBUS3 are used as chip-select signals with one signal for each display board.

JY-MCU 3208

This is the display unit. It comes complete with 4 large 8x8 dot matrix displays, a HT1632C dot matrix driver chip and an ATmega8L microcontroller that you can program yourself if you know how to.

For reference, the default firmware loaded in the ATmega8 uses the displays as a clock (with some characters in chinese!). That's not very interesting for us though since we'll be using our own firmware anyway.

I did no HW modifications at all to this board and the signals are used as follows:

  • IDC header TX line used as chip select input
  • IDC header RX line used as RX line
Please note that there is no voltage regulation at all on this board so if you reverse the polarity of the power source or use bad (as in too high) voltages, you WILL fry something!

Windows PC

This just needs to be a standard Windows PC. You connect the FT232RL to the PC via USB and the iScoringTower PC driver should find it automatically. The PC needs to have the following stuff installed:

  • The FTDI D2XX drivers for the FT232RL
  • .NET 4.0
  • And of course the iScoringTower driver itself

Screenshots (PC driver) and Pictures (HW)

There's just the one screenshot:

iScoringTower Screenshot

There are some more HW pictures though:

I know there are no pics of it actually showing it being used as a scoring tower for iRacing, so you'll just have to trust it can do that too :-).

Downloads

Sources are available for the firmware only. No sources are available for the PC companion program.

Sources:
iScoringTower_FW_20130615.zip


License

iScoringTower is released under the MIT License.


/Olof Holmgren [olof@fulhack.org]

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