Monday, 12 May 2014

V1 Hardware
First XoomBox Delivery
XoomBox V2
Xtra Flat Shift
GPS Receiver
XoomBox Software
Updating Firmware
Future Developments


Xoombox Downloads

XoomCentre 23/3/09 Corrected the following bugs found by JR in the previous version.
  1. viewing Live Data from a XoomBox which has never had its date/time set causes an application failure and untidy exit!
  2. If a logfile has no wheel speed readings at all, then the import script removes the 'Distance Traveled' channel because it is empty.  This then causes an exception to be raised when the mouse is moved over a graph created from that logfile because the tooltip 'distance traveled' information cannot be found.
  3. The operation of the 'Save' button on the vehicle configuration editor was very unintuitive.  This has been revamped to a more conventional OK, Cancel, Apply arrangement.

Added the ability to import and export plugins so they can be swapped amongst users more easily. 27/04/09 Solved the issue regarding the location of vehicle configuration and JScript files, thus I can now update the software version no. with each release without these files getting lost.  The installer should also now handle uninstalling previous versions automatically.

Combined with firmware 1.13, there are 2 new vehicle configuration parameters

  1. The revlimiter function can be disabled completely instead of simply setting a large limit.
  2. For ecus (Emerald) which generate 2 injector pulses per 4 stroke cycle, you can select a different injector cut sequence.  This should give more consistent traction control behaviour across different ecus.

Added a button to the Plugins toolbar which allows adjustment of the plugin timeout.  Running complex scripts on large logfiles can cause the default timeout (30seconds) to be exceeded.  You can now increase this timeout, and the error message when it is exceeded is handle in a rather more graceful fashion (!) 13/05/09 In line with firmware 1.14, this version has corrected handling of east vs west longitudes.  If you're using firmware 1.14 with a GPS, then you need to use this version of XoomCentre or later.

Also corrects a rather strange problem with auto scaling of the right hand vertical axis on graphs.

Note that if you have had a previous version of XoomCentre on your machine, the installer doesn't replace your plugins file, so download the GPS processing plugin (also updated here) from the link below.  To update the plugin, go to the plugins pane, delete the existing 'GPS Processor' and then use the import button on the toolbar to load the new one. 20/08/09 Major extensions to graphing capability and to the object model visible to plugins.

For examples of the new graphing features, see the help file page 'XoomCentre Software\Tutorials\Reference Runs and Graph Strips'.

After installation, if you are replacing an existing XoomCentre installation, please perform the following steps.

  1. From the Tools menu, click Restore Toolbars.  The names and content of a no. of the docking toolbars have changed in this version of XoomCentre, and this is likely to cause problems with existing docking setups.   Selecting this menu item will restore a standard set of locations and dock options for the toolbars.
  2. On the Plugins toolbar, click the Restore command button to update your plugins with the latest.  This function will not delete or overwirte any existing plugins, but it may change their names if they clash with the standard set.  For example, if you have modified your 'Autoexec' plugin, it will be renamed to 'Autoexec_old' and the standard one reinstated as 'Autoexec'. 

    All the plugins have been modified to a degree (at least by the addition of a comment section at the top describing what the plugin does), so you may well have a lot of '_old' plugins after this procedure.  If you have never modified these, then you can safely delete all the '_old' items.

The documentation - online as well as that included in the installer - now has a section detailing the function of each plugin.  You'll find it in section 'XoomCentre Software\Data Processing and Plugins\Standard Plugins' 12/09/09 No changes to the code, but an unused library (GSSF.AX) has been removed from the installer.  On some machines, this library was causing an error during the installation process.  If your installation (of version completed without error, then there is no reason to download this version. 13/09/09 Corrects a bug with scrolling graphs.  When using extreme zoom levels, trying to scroll quickly to the right could cause the program to hang. 25/09/09 A very small change to the PlugIns, only of interest if you're processing large files

Added a couple of functions to the JSTrace and JSLogFile objects to allow blocks of data to be removed from a JSTrace with a single call and to do the same to all JSTraces in a JSLogFile.  The result is a simpler and dramatically quicker TrimStart plugin.

Remember after installation to use the Restore button on the PlugIns toolbar to update TrimStart to the new version

2.0.0 04/05/10 The first version of XoomCentre to support the V2 XoomBox.  The major change is the X10der page in the vehicle configuration which allows configuration of the various available X10der modules for the V2 XoomBox.

Logfiles created by the matching V2 firmware have a different structure to allow the X10der modules to contribute data to the data logs.  You must use this version of XoomCentre to import these logs.

2.0.2 30/06/10 Used with firmware 2.03, this adds a velocity feedback parameter to the launch control.  During launch, the injector cut mode is calculated on a mixture of engine speed and the rate of change of the engine speed.

Set the new parameter to 0 to give launch control behaviour as in previous versions.  If you find that the engine speed tends to hunt during launch, instead of holding steady, then increase the value of this parameter.  We find a value of 8 gives good results.

2.0.3 09/08/10 Some useful improvements I think.
  1. The vehicle configuration dialog had grown a bit big.  Too big in fact for most laptop displays to show correctly.  There's no change to the functionality, but I've rearranged some of the panels to reduce the amount of screen space occupied which makes it generally easier to use.
  2. With GPS and the gear shift control working, the no. of logged signals was getting quite large, and finding the signal you wanted on the 'LogFiles' window was becoming awkward.  To help with this, I've implemented groups of signals so that when you expand the treenode for a particular run in the LogFiles window you now see several groups, rather than the complete list of signals.  Expand each of the groups to find the original signals.  Each time you import a logfile, the signals are assembled into groups for you.  There's also a new plug-in 'Fix Groups' which will create all the groups for any existing project files you may wish to convert.
  3. Several of the plug-ins had parameters to select exactly how they performed, but to set these parameters it was necessary to open the plug-in source code in the editor and read the parameter descriptions in the code.  Whilst OK for us programmer types, it's not exactly ideal for most users.  I've now separated the parameters, so if you double click on a plug-in, you see a list of the parameters, their current values and a brief description of what each does.  (Use the 'Edit' button on the toolbar to edit the plug-in source).  The 'AutoExec' plug-in in particular has a lot of selectable options which benefit from this.
  4. To improve error reporting from plug-ins, the functions which plug-ins call to obtain objects by name (for example LogFile.GetTraceByName) now raise errors if the named object does not exist rather than returning 'null'.  The error message "LogFile does not contain a signal named 'Long Acc'" is much easier to understand and track down than "Object null or undefined"!

To make use of these changes, many of the plug-ins have been slightly modified.  Please make sure to click the 'Refresh' button on the Plug-ins toolbar after installing this update to switch to the new versions.  As usual, any plug_ins with names ending in '_old' may be deleted after this is done.

2.0.4 19/01/11 Various changes here
  1. Reads files from firmware 2.04 (5Hz internal GPS)
  2. Added animated diagrams to the 'Realtime data' display.  Additionally, if you have the 5Hz internal GPS receiver and an internet connection, then the 'Realtime data' display has a new tab that shows your current location using Google Maps.
  3. The 'Views' menu has a new entry - "Google Maps".  If you have an internet connection, then displaying this view and then dragging one of the logfiles from the current project onto the view will display the GPS track overlayed on a Google Maps view of the circuit.  If you have used a reference lap to define the location of the finish line and/or a lap beacon, then those will be displayed also.
  4. Firmware updates may be installed on your XoomBox direct from XoomCentre.  Select Upload Firmware... from the Tools menu to access this function.  This ends the dependency on the the 3rd party tool AVRPROG.EXE and the problems that code had with some USB com ports.  You still have to put the XoomBox into bootloader mode as before, but the rest is self contained - just open the firmware file and press the Program button..
2.1.0 13/08/12 Major change to the way plugins work.  Prior to this release, the JavaScript environment was interpreted, so the code was being syntax checked as it was running.  This environment is not supported on 64 bit versions of Windows, so we had to change!

From this version onwards, we will be using Microsofts JScript.NET compiled environment.  This does involve a few changes to existing plug ins - mainly for the better - and the pay back is considerably faster execution of plugins.  As previously, remember to click the Restore button on the plugin manager toolbar to install updated versions of all the standard plugins.

If you have written any of your own plug ins, they may have to be updated to take advantage of the new speed.  Take a look at any of our standard plug ins to see the changes.  The most obvious is that parameter and variables can now have types declared (optional, improves speed if you do it) and arrays are now accessed usng the more conventional arrayName[index] syntax.

For a full description of the JScript.Net syntax, see Microsoft's website.

The Live Data has been updated to allow direct selection of the serial ports available on your computer by populating the contents of the drop down list box when you click it.  Also, the port you select will be remembered the next time you run XoomCentre.

2.1.1 23/01/13 Added CSV file import
2.1.3 12/05/14 Additional vehicle configuration options to support firmware V2.08

XoomCentre Plugins

Title XoomCentre Version Date Comments
Trim End 2.1.1 08/02/13 If you have a reference run and end beacon defined in your project, this plugin will delete data more than a certain time after you pass the end beacon.  The amount of time left after the end beacon is a parameter - default value 3s

XoomCentre Projects

Location Date Firmware Comments
Boyndie 20/09/08 1.11 The Boyndie event was the first successful use of the GPS logging.  Both projects from this weekend have good data.

Cut patterns during launch restricted to cut 1 in 5 and cut 1 in 3.  Produced smoother rpm control than previously but required some throttle feathering to prevent excessive wheelspin for the first second or two.

Boyndie 21/09/08 1.11  
Kames Test 11/03/09 1.12 Added firmware version info to the live data output, you need the appropriate version of XoomCentre to see this.

Tripled the minimum acceptable time between wheel pulses to 12ms.  As a result, the wheel speed measurements are taken across 3 pulses instead of 2 at a much lower speed which resulted in a noticeable improvement in noise levels on the speed measurements.

Changed the injector cut patterns to 1 of 5, 2 of 5, 3 of 5, 4 of 5 looking for better control of torque generally.  During launch, 1 of 5, 2 of 5 and 3 of 5 are used which removes the need to feather the throttle.  Not entirely successful, the engine rpm still tends to hunt more than we would like, although better than previous versions.


Kames anticlockwise 11/04/09 1.13 The club event on the Saturday - before our gearbox nearly fell out
Kames (Machars) 24/05/09 1.14 The Machars sprint.  First use of Evermore GPS, and results not very good!  Bad day for satellites
Golspie 06/06/09 1.14  
Golspie 07/06/09 1.14  
Kames (EACC) 13/06/09 1.14 Anti-clockwise
Kames (EACC) 14/06/09 1.14 Clockwise, T1 runs both under 84s
Boyndie 04/07/09 1.14 PBs for both drivers
Boyndie 05/07/09 1.14  
Alford 11-12/07/09 1.14 PBs for both drivers.  Timed runs wet
Boyndie 19/09/09 1.14 First use of Elite sequential gearbox, still manual shifting - a learning process.  Quick when the driver gets it right, but too many fluffed shifts.
Boyndie 20/09/09 1.14 No GPS data - broke the connector!
All the 2009 projects     All the projects from 2009 - mostly Caterham gearbox (70 MBytes)
All the 2010 projects     All the projects from 2010, Elite gearbox with pneumatic shift (119 MBytes).  Later in the year use the Globalsat GPS with much better results than Evermore.
All the 2011 projects     For 2011, we added our own 5Hz GPS receiver (105 MBytes)
All the 2012 projects     Switch to 2.0L Duratec and changed class to modified, so running on slicks (88 MBytes)

XoomBox Firmware

Description Date Version Comments
Bootstrap Loader 29/3/09 1.0 First version of serial bootstrap loader (38400 baud)
Bootstrap 19200 09/08/2010 1.0 Very occasionally, the 38400baud bootstrap has been seen to fail with some PCs (particularly the verify operation).  This version is the same code, but with the baud rate reduced to 19200.  AvrProg works identically with both except of course that the code download will take twice as long.
Firmware 28/08/08 1.10 Used this at Golspie on the 13th and 14th of September '08. It has the first iteration of the GPS code and the first version of the launch control that attempts to reduce the engine rpm after launch but before the driven wheels have stopped spinning. There a 2 problems with this firmware.

The GPS firmware does not validate the checksum on incoming data. We found that this sometimes causes the GPS processing to get confused. All the important XoomBox functions are unaffected (launch control, traction control, shift lights) but the logfiles lose their timing and are effectively useless. The problem seems to be related to what the GPS is doing at the moment you turn the XoomBox on and happened about one time in 3.

The rpm reduction during launch worked almost as expected! There was a tendency for the engine revs to hunt which you can clearly hear in the videos we took at this event. The launches still worked ok, but it's not what was intended

Firmware 15/09/08 1.11 Used this at Boyndie for the last event of the season.

Added careful checking of the GPS checksum which appears to have corrected the logging problem we had at Golspie.

Changed the launch control to allow 1 in 5 and 1 in 3 cut modes during launch (previously also had 2 in 3). This solved the rpm hunting issue seen at Golspie, but at the cost of requiring more throttle feathering from the driver during the first second or so.
Firmware 11/03/09 1.12 For the test day at Kames '09

Added firmware version info to the live data output, you need the appropriate version of XoomCentre to see this.

Tripled the minimum acceptable time between wheel pulses to 12ms. As a result, the wheel speed measurements are taken across 3 pulses instead of 2 at a much lower speed which results in a noticeable improvement in noise levels on the speed measurements.

Changed the injector cut patterns to 1 of 5, 2 of 5, 3 of 5, 4 of 5. Intended to give us better control of wheelspeed during the launch.
Firmware 27/04/09 1.13 Used at the Kames weekend.  Because of the additional functions, be sure to use the corresponding release of XoomCentre

Corrected bug with using an analogue input to adjust the traction control.  With the previous version this setting was lost when power to the XoomBox was removed.

Added option to disable rev limiter function

Added option to alter the injector cut sequence to suit Emerald ecus which fire the injectors twice per 4 stroke cycle instead of once.  Emerald ecus will work ok with either sequence, but will give equivalent traction control behaviour to other ecus when this is used.  Without this setting, the emerald ecus cut twice as many cylinders as intended

Increased the no. of cylinders which are cut during launch and traction control.  This means that performance with Emerald systems remains the same as before and other systems now behave as intended.  Previous firmware versions on very powerful cars were cutting too few cylinders to control wheelspin adequately.

Firmware 13/05/09 1.14 Corrected problem with logging GPS data from some receivers (Evermore) which send an additional digit of precision in latitude and longitude.  Also corrected recording of westerly longitude values which in previous firmware was incorrectly stored as easterly.

To get correct interpretation of the GPS logs, be sure to use XoomCentre and the version of the GPS processing plugin dated 13/05/09

Firmware 04/05/10 2.00 First firmware version for the V2 XoomBox.  This adds support for the X10der modules and writes a slightly different datalog with provision for extra data channels provided by the X10ders.

You must use XoomCentre 2.0.0 or later to import logfiles from this firmware.

This firmware can run on either V1 or V2 XoomBoxes.

Firmware 29/06/10 2.03 Added a velocity feedback parameter to the launch control algorithm.  During launch control, the amount of power applied is based not just on engine rpm, but also on the rate at which rpm is changing.

Use XoomCentre 2.0.2 to set the new parameter.  You must also reload your parameters after installing this firmware

Firmware 19/01/11 2.04 Adds support for the 5Hz internal GPS receiver.  Differences in the way position is reported compared to standard NMEA receivers meant a small change to the logfile structure.  This means you have to use XoomCentre 2.0.4 or later to read files created by this firmware.
Firmware 12/05/14 2.08 Corrects bug in rev limiter, supports SDHC memory cards, improves async nature of shiftlight status displays, allows programming of maximum cut level used by launch and traction control functions


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This site was last updated 05/12/14