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Speed Skating Forum Most of the discussions in this forum will be about inline speed skating but discussions about ice speed skating and quad roller speed skating are also welcome.

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Old November 10th, 2015, 10:34 PM   #1
chuckboucher
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Default Digital LED lap counters or counter software

Does anyone have a resource for large digital LED lap counters or possibly Mac/PC software that does full screen lap counting?

Googling isn't bringing up much, except Alibaba crap or really expensive (+ $500) solutions.

The region I skate in uses a flip card counter that's pretty small. I'm used a 2-sided LED counter with 10" numbers.
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Old November 10th, 2015, 10:48 PM   #2
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Like these: https://www.gillathletics.com/produc...nd-electronics (about 1/2 way down)

That's just from a quick google search for "Lap Counter Display"

Software wise I saw a lot for RC Car lap timing. Which, assuming it was human based rather than tag based, would probably be what you're looking for. Once you get in to tag based you start having specific hardware involved. Now, I'm assuming by software you mean something you can simply project or run a large physical screen to just show laps/time?

I was kind of interested in this as well, I'll ask our coach what we use.
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Old November 10th, 2015, 11:01 PM   #3
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Amazon.com has those for $275, but they use a 12v battery (whatever that means). Doesn't say if it's rechargeable or not.

But that is what I'm thinking. I think we'd prefer red LEDs though. Makes it easier to see.
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Old November 10th, 2015, 11:08 PM   #4
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EZT company in Germany makes electronic LED lap boards with storage & recall of laps/stats ability, but pricing may be a deal-breaker: $500-$800+. Looks a bit like a lite bright, but far more sophisticated. I would think a downloadable app to use with tablet/computer screen would already be out there for this stuff. Com'n geeks, get to it!!!!

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Old November 10th, 2015, 11:13 PM   #5
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Amazon.com has those for $275, but they use a 12v battery (whatever that means). Doesn't say if it's rechargeable or not.

But that is what I'm thinking. I think we'd prefer red LEDs though. Makes it easier to see.
@$70 for the battery, I hope it's rechargable... I assume it's just a sealed lead acid battery, similar to what's used in security alarm systems and kid's Power Wheels cars.

I'll try to remember to ask our coach at practice tonight. He's done our Regionals for the past few years and runs the Vegas meet. He does both the physical displays and software that they project. It really wouldn't surprise me if it was RC car software he's using.
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Old November 11th, 2015, 08:55 AM   #6
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Com'n geeks, get to it!!!!
I'm pretty much required to respond to that.

If you want a really geeky solution that is cheaper than a dedicated display find a phone (or tablet) app. I don't have a specific one to recommend, but I've seen them. Put a number of laps in, then every time you tap it counts down. You could probably even get one with a timer built in. Total cost for the app should be less than $10. I'm going to assume someone in your region already has a smartphone or tablet. If not the Amazon Fire for $50 should be sufficient.

Now for the geeky part. Get a Google Chromecast ($30) or Amazon Fire TV stick ($40) and a TV. They allow you to connect your phone via bluetooth and use something called screen mirroring. This puts whatever is on your phone's screen onto the TV. You can make the TV as big as you want, but a $100 budget wouldn't be outrageous.

Total cost is < $150 ($200 if you need a new tablet). Nothing is special purpose, so you can go home and use all the pieces in your daily life (except maybe a <$10 app).

As an added bonus between races you could see what the lap counter is doing on their phone and make fun of them after the meet. Or maybe someone could film the race and post it to YouTube, then you could use the screen to show replays during breaks.

EDIT: I thought of a way to monetize this. Each meet can have lap counter sponsors (say, two $15 co-sponsors or one $25 sole sponsor). The sponsors provide an image file which is stored in the photo gallery of the phone. Between races the lap counter switches to those images. Be very careful about what other images are in the gallery, as the screen is visible while making the switch. If you have a group of sponsors the system could pay for itself over time.
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Old November 11th, 2015, 12:43 PM   #7
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Now for the geeky part. Get a Google Chromecast ($30) or Amazon Fire TV stick ($40) and a TV. They allow you to connect your phone via bluetooth and use something called screen mirroring. This puts whatever is on your phone's screen onto the TV. You can make the TV as big as you want, but a $100 budget wouldn't be outrageous.

Total cost is < $150 ($200 if you need a new tablet). Nothing is special purpose, so you can go home and use all the pieces in your daily life (except maybe a <$10 app).

As an added bonus between races you could see what the lap counter is doing on their phone and make fun of them after the meet. Or maybe someone could film the race and post it to YouTube, then you could use the screen to show replays during breaks.

EDIT: I thought of a way to monetize this. Each meet can have lap counter sponsors (say, two $15 co-sponsors or one $25 sole sponsor). The sponsors provide an image file which is stored in the photo gallery of the phone. Between races the lap counter switches to those images. Be very careful about what other images are in the gallery, as the screen is visible while making the switch. If you have a group of sponsors the system could pay for itself over time.
I like this idea. I already have 2 AFTV sticks. But I also have an Apple TV2 and an Apple TV 3 that I replaced with the Amazon sticks that are just lying around. It a little more hardware than I was thinking of lugging around, but I suppose it's no more than if I had a lap counter.
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Old November 11th, 2015, 01:31 PM   #8
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But I also have an Apple TV2 and an Apple TV 3 that I replaced with the Amazon sticks that are just lying around.
Unless it's a second generation Apple TV 3 you will need wifi in order for AirPlay (screen mirroring) to work. The second generation version 3 (which should really just be version 4) can be used without wifi. So if you don't have that version talk to the rink ahead of time or bring a wireless router of your own. I'm not sure if you need just wifi or internet connected wifi.

If you have a Macbook then Airplay may very well work better than straight screen mirroring of your phone. It would certainly be easier to pull up video replays and pause them, change to slow motion, etc. You can also set up the TV as a second screen to your device so that you can do whatever you want on the first screen and no one will see it, then just drag the relevant bits over to the public facing screen.

If you do go the phone/tablet route make sure to have a charging cord handy.
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Old November 11th, 2015, 02:39 PM   #9
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Unless it's a second generation Apple TV 3 you will need wifi in order for AirPlay (screen mirroring) to work. The second generation version 3 (which should really just be version 4) can be used without wifi. So if you don't have that version talk to the rink ahead of time or bring a wireless router of your own. I'm not sure if you need just wifi or internet connected wifi.
Turns out that my ATV3 is the right generation, according to http://physedagogy.com/2014/09/25/no...-without-wifi/

Here is my EMC number:
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Old November 11th, 2015, 02:57 PM   #10
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Turns out that my ATV3 is the right generation
Excellent. So now you just need a phone app (I'm assuming iPhone?) and a cheap TV.

You might even be able to set up a second phone with a photo finish app (a short discussion including Android alternatives). That app is meant to track people in different lanes, so you will probably have to fiddle with it to get it to work well, but my guess is that you could use it to essentially take a bunch of very quick pictures and scroll back a forth in time to find what you need.
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Old November 11th, 2015, 04:32 PM   #11
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Excellent. So now you just need a phone app (I'm assuming iPhone?) and a cheap TV.
Easier said than done.

I have downloaded half a dozen tally counters and none does a good landscape counting with a single set of numbers.

This is frustrating.

The only one that does landscape and has the number in the center of the screen has the number so small, that it's only 3" tall on my 55" wide screen TV.
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Old November 11th, 2015, 11:08 PM   #12
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Crap, I totally forgot to ask last night. Let's see if I remember tonight.
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Old November 12th, 2015, 01:14 AM   #13
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Great ideas need excellent marketing to be successful...

"between races you could see what the lap counter is doing on their phone and make fun of them after the meet"

Okay, I am sold!!! B 'cuz we all know this is how we ultimately use that data.
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Old November 12th, 2015, 06:48 AM   #14
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Crap, I totally forgot to ask last night. Let's see if I remember tonight.
Nope, forgot again. Now you can see why it took me so long to send those wheels out.
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Old November 12th, 2015, 08:46 AM   #15
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...double post...
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Old November 12th, 2015, 08:47 AM   #16
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I have downloaded half a dozen tally counters and none does a good landscape counting with a single set of numbers.

This is frustrating.
That's odd. It seems like such a simple and common usage. It would take an experienced app programmer about 15 minutes. In fact, from what I have seen of app programming tutorials I rather suspect that someone with no programming experience could write it in under 4 hours.

All you need for the most basic functional version:
-Lock the app in landscape mode.
-Put a big number in the center of the screen.
-Make a button that increases the number. If it gets too big (say, >99) change it to 0.
-Make a different button that decreases the number. If it drops below 0 change it to 99.

If you don't want to learn simple coding, do you know any high school juniors or seniors who are soon going to have to write college application essays about that time they "learned something new" or "solved a problem"? This would make a great project for them, and they could add more personalized features after the first version is complete. If you have a (non-Amazon) Android device I could probably throw something together, but not until the end of next week.
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Old November 12th, 2015, 12:45 PM   #17
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That's odd. It seems like such a simple and common usage. It would take an experienced app programmer about 15 minutes. In fact, from what I have seen of app programming tutorials I rather suspect that someone with no programming experience could write it in under 4 hours.

All you need for the most basic functional version:
-Lock the app in landscape mode.
-Put a big number in the center of the screen.
-Make a button that increases the number. If it gets too big (say, >99) change it to 0.
-Make a different button that decreases the number. If it drops below 0 change it to 99.

If you don't want to learn simple coding, do you know any high school juniors or seniors who are soon going to have to write college application essays about that time they "learned something new" or "solved a problem"? This would make a great project for them, and they could add more personalized features after the first version is complete. If you have a (non-Amazon) Android device I could probably throw something together, but not until the end of next week.
You would think, right? I did find one, but it only does red background and white numbers. Not sure if it would be able to be seen by someone flying by.

I'll keep looking.
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Old January 7th, 2016, 03:35 PM   #18
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Default SUPER BASIC - for laptops

I've spent years playing with timers and counters using excel to track times and laps and all kinds of stuff, simply because no one is smart enough to think that someone would count backwards/down instead of counting up. It's super annoying. Someone please make an app!!!! But if you aren't worried about tracking the time of the race or logging a finish time or marking numbers of finishers, and you're dead broke lol...

THE MOST BASIC thing would be to use a laptop, open it so that the screen is facing the skaters coming around pylon 4, and just use Microsoft Word. Just type in the numbers from 1-50 and make the font HUGE. You can put your cursor in the font size and type in any font size you want, you aren't limited by the font size 72. I used a font size of 400 and just made the file landscape and then used 'full screen view'. Then all you have to do is hit "page up" or "page down" on the laptop to change the number. Super simple. I already have a file of numbers for lap counting because I've used it before. (I'm almost never on here, so email me if you want it. portageskates@gmail.com)

If you wanna get a little more complicated, this little download isn't too bad. You can probably make it work too. It allows you to count down instead of up.
http://www.online-stopwatch.com/download-stopwatch/

Hope that helps!
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