The latest software version should be loaded before proceding. Make sure you have entered the Password that was supplied (this can be done anytime before installing the driver).

There will be three things to look for while testing the system.

  1. Before the program is started, first make sure the Tower, track Sensors and Gate switch are plugged into the Interface Box and that the Gate Mechanism (or switch) is Closed. Then plug the mini USB cable from the computer to the Interface Box. The Overhead LED's should light. The Status LED's may or may not light for now. Make sure that the light beams are shinning directly over the photocell counterparts and are NOT blocked. If any of the overhead LED's are not lit, you will have to determine why before continuing. The computer should recognize that the interface board was connected. Now install the microcontrollers Driver as described in the Grand Prix Tracker software program under 'help> Contents - "How to Install the Interface Board Driver"'.
  1. Bring the Interface Board online by running the Grand Prix Tracker program and selecting 'Test Sensors and Hardware' from the opening menu. When asked, enter your Com Port and click Enter. If successful the Status bar should turn Green and the Lane Indicator lights on the Tower should start flashing. If unsuccessful try entering it again. If still unsuccessful, unplug the USB cable and plug it in again and enter your Com Port again. If you are still not online then more than likely your "Driver" is not installed correctly or you are entering the wrong Comm Port Number. If the driver is installed correctly, the microcontrollers status light should have a steady 'green light' and the 'amber light' should be flashing at a rate of 'two shorts - one long' (viewed by looking through the interface box cover). If not, more than likely the driver is not correctly loaded. Also note that using a different physical USB port on your computer changes the comm number.

    Once the interface board is online and making sure that none of the Photocells are blocked, all lanes should show GREEN. If not, verify that the LED's above are shinning directly on the Sensors below or you will have to retrace your wiring and assembly. Using a solid object, break the light beam and the lane color should become RED. Do this for ALL lanes. Also click on the 'Lane Indicator' buttons and the corresponding Lane Indicator LED should light. Now try activating the Start switch. The status color should change from Green to flashing Green (allow the timers to 'time-out' before exiting the routine). The Red status light will light when the timing is finished. If all is working properly you are ready for the next step. If not you will have to re-check all your wiring. Remember to check for fused (melted insulation) wires from the result of the heat gun.

  1. Re-start the program or exit this routine and select 'Open Sample File'. Then select 'ASSIGN> Create Race Schedule' from the top menu bar. From this new window shows all your Race and Scoring Parameters. Select 'Round Robin' (and number of heats), your number of lanes and select 'All Classes'. Also make sure to select Interface Mode and hit 'Okay'. You should see the Flowchart display then the program's main menu populate with names, the Lane Indicator LED's should light and the Green Status LED should light solid. Your Race is now ready to begin by pressing the Roller Switch lever. The programs Timers should start counting and the Green Status LED should start flashing. Block the individual lanes with a solid object and the Timer should stop for that lane (before the timer ends - default is 9 seconds). Once all lanes have been tripped, the Red Status LED will turn ON and the programs 'Organization Name' will turn RED and flash indicating that the race is over. Pushing F12 resets the Timers for the next heat. Note: the animated times shown are simulated only and will not be accurate. The accurate times are displayed from the microcontroller chip when the sensor beam is broken for that track!

    If you see all of the above, congratulations, you have successfully built and installed your Grand Prix Tracker project! If not, you will need to retrace your steps and I am confident you will find your problem(s).