No announcement yet.

Data Aquisition for Your Car!

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Data Aquisition for Your Car!

    Have you ever driven your car and felt you performed better as a driver?

    Did you drive faster that last lap, and do you know why it was faster?

    Are you trying to replicate the success of a fast lap, but not quite sure how to do that?

    This is where data acquisition comes into play.
    If you think something was faster on a lap, but the time came out the same, and you have no data for it, then your thoughts on it aren't going to mean too much. Data logs the facts of the performance, and gives you something to look at objectively to build on.

    If you've ever wondered what those goofy looking boxes were sticking off of cars, or why everyone breaks out laptops, tablets, and cellphones on lunch break, and zones out, then you've probably come across somebody who uses data acquistion. The boxes are typically the external GPS, and the computers are to analyse that data. These setups can log time delta, speed, longitudinal/lateral grip, and many other forms of telemetry.

    Why the external GPS? Well, (for example) phones GPS are typcially 1Hz. This would mean that the phone GPS only communicates with the satillites once per second. External GPS setups can be found with greater Hz. My Racelogic Vbox Sport is 10Hz, and this would mean it communicates ten times per second. This has a great bearing on the accuracy of the GPS. If you've ever tried logging data just using a cell phone GPS, you'll often see some pretty strange things. These external GPS mitigate most of that, and give more concise data to your devices. You can get carried away spending a lot of money on this software and GPS setup, but there are more budget friendly options available that can still benefit drivers greatly.


    At a minimum, TrackAddict is a free App on the store for most devices, and gives you an ability to connect to external GPS and log data. I've personally used this app when I was starting out. It was not my favorite. But, sometimes you get what you pay for in this world. You can make this setup work.

    My favorite is Circuit Tools which is a free software that you can download, and open VBO files in. (VBOX) The software is simple to use. Unfortunately, I do not possess a laptop to take this software with me on the go, nor do I feel the urge to acquire one. That truck can get pretty loaded once all the sets of tires are in it!

    RaceChrono I've found to be my favorite software to use on mobile devices. It offers ease of use, and you can make custom tracks, as well as select ones already stored in the public data. This software even has an ability to retroactively select a track in the event you forget to set your start/finish, and you need to drive. No problem! Just hit "START" and it will log the data. I can even view my data on the fly, and display time delta during track time. The downside, is this App was $19 at the time I purchased it. When compared to the cost of tires, and the GPS, I think this is a fairly low cost, but some folks don't want to spend money on an app unless they know they will love it, and that is understandable.

    At a maximum, Solo Storm! Solo Storm is great software used by many AutoCross guys specifically. It even allows users to upload data to be shared with fellow competitors who have Solo Storm in a simple manner. Data can always be shared, but I think this software makes this an easy process. Unfortunately, I'm not very well versed on Solo Storm, as I've not used it personally. I cannot list all the pros and cons of the software. It has many users, and hopefully one of you will chime in to elighten people!

    I think all of these programs can aid you in logging data. Some may give you a bit of ease to analyse data over others. Price points are also worth considering, I'm sure. But, you're not railroaded into one software, and you can find what fits best for your needs.

    External GPS:

    I've been using a Racelogic VBOX Sport for quite some time, and the only time the device let me down, is when the mount failed, and it hit the road and busted into several pieces. These units are supposed to be fairly durable and waterproof, but, mine fell off at 20 mph and exploded into pieces. I think this was just some bad luck. However, it cost over $200 to have the unit repaired when Racelogic said the damage was "only cosmetic". I'd hate to see what they'd charge for actual damage!
    The battery is supposed to last for 6 hrs and is 10Hz as aforementioned.
    Link for Racelogic VBOX Sport:
    At the time of this post, this is a $400 unit.

    Recently, I recieved a Racebox Mini, and I think it is going to take over the job of being my external GPS. It is 25Hz, and has a 20+ hr battery life. The device turns on and off with your devices bluetooth. Gone are the days of getting out of the vehicle to turn on your GPS. The size is slightly smaller than a VBOX, but not enough so for it to matter IMO. It is a simple unit, somehow more simple than the VBOX. Here is the best part. This unit retails for $209 at the time of this post. I preordered mine for $130, but those days are over (for now atleast).
    Link for Racebox Mini:

    These aren't the only devices, but these are ones I have experience with, and serve as examples to quality devices for data acquisition. Either of these devices will do just fine for the job. You could argue that the Racebox is better being 25Hz or having better battery life. I think both of them get the job done quite well. One is half the price, and that's attractive for myself.

    You aren't going to magically acquire data and be able to understand everything about it. It takes time, and there is a bit of a learning curve. You can ask people to review your data with you, and they'll likely show you the ropes. If you play around with whichever software you choose long enough, you'll likely learn how analyse the data in no time. Eventually, you'll be able to see that that lap was -0.25 Time Delta because you took the wider entry, and were able to keep some speed up for the following dig. You'll see that the turn you overcooked cost you the entire -0.75 second advantage you had amassed that lap, but also see why that lap was -0.75 Time Delta so maybe you can do all those good things again, but not overcook that one turn.

    Charles Krampert has a pretty good Blog regarding the VBOX Sport and RaceChrono.

    Ed Fisher also has many blog entries regarding data he has collected, and even his thoughts on modern data acquistion, and what that means to developing driving.
    Link to his blog:

    I'm sure there is more available information out there, as I am no expert in this topic, but, I know I have benefitted greatly from data acquisition, and think that anybody who is serious about driving should give it a try!
    Attached Files
    Nick Lindsay
    16 Camaro SS FS3 (Sold)
    06 Corvette Z06 XAS12
    22 Hyundai Veloster N (Sometimes)
    (Your car here?)

    If at first you don't succeed, you probably put it in the ditch.

  • #2
    nickrd10bk Thanks for the great intro. I’ve talked to a lot of you guys about the apps and software and hardware that you use during autocross, but that’s always during the event. Afterwards, I don’t remember any of the apps or hardware we talked about. I’ll definitely start with Track Addict this weekend.
    Joshua Toxey
    Veloster N #51



    Debug Information