ChrisTropea
ChrisTropea Associate Editor
12/16/23 12:00 p.m.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/4dS-yoMk0nQ?si=929hS9UPkC9twKCv

The best data system is the one you are going to use every time you hit the track.

For us, the VBOX HD Lite has become our go-to device for capturing data on track for our track reviews and competition runs.

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Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
12/17/23 6:52 a.m.

So...many...wires.

Thanks, but for multiple cars, I'll keep my single-wire (power) dual-camera RoadKeeper for less than half the price.   And with an external USB battery attached, the RoadKeeper can be completely self-contained (like an AIM Solo).  For me, that's the Holy Grail.  Two-camera HD with data and no wires.  And foolproof start/stop.  No GoPro "click and pray" shenanigans.

For sure, there's a quality difference here...the RoadKeeper appears to be a cleverly re-purposed low-cost dash cam.  But for most "grassroots" folks, it does everything you need and does it well...for cheap money.

But hey, I like having another option on the market and I'm glad to see VBox producing a lower price point product than their past offerings.  Choices are good.  Garmin Catalyst is yet another, erring on the side of ease-of-use.

"The best data system is the one you'll use all the time"  Agree 100%.  Choose well.

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
12/17/23 9:39 a.m.

I would like to have a data collection for autocross that didn't require multiple wireless connections or cost four figures. 

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/17/23 12:38 p.m.
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) said:

I would like to have a data collection for autocross that didn't require multiple wireless connections or cost four figures. 

ApexPro. Only requires a single wireless connection between the unit and the iOS device.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/17/23 12:56 p.m.

I have some opinions on "the best data system", but I don't have a catchy one-line phrase for it. :)

The way I see it the hardware in the data system is actually one of the least important components.  The hardware is commodity, all of the major vendors ship hardware that's capable of capturing pretty much anything you're going to want to log and analyze.  The differences show up in the analysis software because writing good software is hard.  It's also the area where you as the user are going to spend most of your time.  If the software is slow, missing features, or a pain in the butt to use then that's going to significantly hurt your ability to accomplish the goal of going faster.

Unfortunately, the hardware you pick pretty much locks you into a particular software analysis program.  People are generally unwilling to pay for software, so the company has to build the cost of developing, maintaining, and supporting the software into the price of the hardware.  Having done that they generally aren't interested in letting you use their "free to download" software to analyze data that you captured using hardware from some other vendor, so all of the file formats are proprietary and non-interoperable.  You generally can't do things like load AIM data into vbox analysis software.

Race car data analysis is a deep topic, so IMHO it's important for the analysis software to strike a balance between being easy to learn/use and providing the depth and power necessary to accomplish complex tasks.  I've only tried three systems, but I found that the Garmin was too focused on being easy to use without enough depth for my goals, while the Race Technology system was very powerful but too arcane and difficult to get started with.  AIM strikes a pretty decent balance between the two, IME.  I haven't used vbox, so I can't comment on that.  This is where the proprietary file formats become super annoying -- I'd love to be able to load my AIM data into vbox's software to give it a try.

Another factor in why I use AIM is that it's what my friends use and that way we can trade data files with each other.  It's also a system that my coach is very familiar with (this is a comparatively minor advantage though, because a good coach should really be able to adapt to any data system).

I can appreciate the easy-to-move-between-cars feature that Andy mentions for his use case, but I only have one race car so to me it's more important to get things nailed down there.  I want to locate the various components in the ideal spot, rather than package them up into a single unit that's easy to move from one vehicle to another.  Battery power is an anti-feature to me, because now I have to remember to charge it whereas with hardwired power it works whenever the car does. 

I agree with the statements in the video that features like auto start and stop are very important.  The less I have to think about the tech the better -- I go to the track to race, not to play IT guy! :)

 

Bluebayou22
Bluebayou22 New Reader
12/17/23 1:58 p.m.

The customer support at Racelogic is fantastic.  The website is full of "how to" videos and if you email them you will have a response within a few business days.  Great products backed by great people.  

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/17/23 4:41 p.m.
Bluebayou22 said:

The customer support at Racelogic is fantastic.  The website is full of "how to" videos and if you email them you will have a response within a few business days.  Great products backed by great people.  

This was a real part of the equation for us as well. When our actual jobs depend on the stuff working and getting the data in a usable format, good customer support is huge. The VBox crew has been great to work with.

DaleCarter
DaleCarter GRM+ Memberand New Reader
12/17/23 6:48 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) :

Check out the ApexPro and the VBox Sport.

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
12/18/23 9:21 a.m.

Great comments by Codrus regarding the software.  100% agree.

I actually still use my AIM Solo 2 for the down-and-dirty lap analysis because its the software I know and love. But now I keep a window open on my laptop with the RoadKeeper output running so I can reference it.  

Just finished up this am pulling all the data from a tire test I did yesterday (#8 this year!!) and it was soooo helpful to have the video running so I could remember exactly what happened out there.  Old guy memory only takes you so far, but video brings it right back into the moment.

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