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New product launch: PiLink for ECMLink owners

Posted by TSiAWD666, Mar 12, 2020

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  1. TSiAWD666

    TSiAWD666 Supporting Vendor

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    Attention ECMLink owners! Introducing PiLink.

    Group Buy until April 15, 2020
    Price will increase afterwards and you'll have to wait until I fulfill the Group Buy orders which may take a couple months.

    PiLink from John Freund Racing LLC (https://facebook.com/johnfreundracing) is an automated datalogger for ECMLink ECUs that you permanently install in your car. No more laptops, yay! It's based on a Raspberry Pi running the same ECMLink software you use on your laptop but it runs whenever your car is on and automatically captures logs for you.

    20200312_111042.jpg

    If you're wondering who I am, I'm a DSM owner of 22 years, an amateur Time Attack racer, and an IT Architect/Engineer. I built PiLink for myself because I was sick of dealing with unreliable laptops with loose USB cables that I had to manually start/stop to capture my ultra critical ECMLink logs. After almost two years of development in my race car I'm now making it available to everyone.

    Here's me driving the car that's been using PiLink (as well as the Digital Mirror System, an optional upgrade) for a couple years now:


    Why do you want this?
    • Never deal with a laptop again to capture logs. No more gently placing the laptop in your passenger seat, hoping the USB cable doesn't come loose, worrying the laptop is going to fly around and get damaged or hit you.
    • Always have your ECMLink data captured and available. How often are you going to just happen to be using a laptop connected to your ECU when a problem happens? Now you'll always have ECU logs for troubleshooting.
    • ECMLink has no plans to produce such a device in the near future, if ever.
    • It's faster than just putting ECMLink on Raspbian. I've done quite a bit of work optimizing the boot time to be very fast. Sure, if you're Linux savvy you can buy a Pi, install the Raspbian OS, and puzzle out the ECMLink install, but out the gate you're looking probably at a 45-60 second or more boot time to ECMLink. Assuming you figure that out you'd still have to figure out all the automation and error handling. If you can do all this, certainly built one yourself. This product's for everyone else. Don't forget to solve the power management problem of making sure datalogs save when you turn off your car.
    Here's a video of the startup showing it starting up and logging on my in-car screen:


    Key features:
    • Automated. Start your car and it captures logs. Stop your car and it saves logs. Easy!
    • Reliable datalogging. Disconnection detection and system error handling to automatically restart processes, reconnect, and restart the data capture. Handles graceful shutdown when you turn off your car by first saving files, powering down the OS, and THEN cutting power to PiLink. If you just stick a Raspberry Pi in your car expect SD card corruption eventually (bye bye logs).
    • LED indicator for when PiLink is logging. (Orange LED with lead wire and mounting grommet included).
    • Secure retention of the ECMLink USB cable. No more cable accidentally coming loose.
    • Use with any HDMI display. Let's you view, and even interact with (with USB mouse/keyboard or touchscreen), ECMLink.
    • Storage on USB, with failover to local micro SD card in case of USB drive failure.
    • Built in Real Time Clock for accurate timestamps for your logs. Clock auto updates when near your WiFi and the system emails you when the clock's battery needs replacement.
    • Automatic uploading to Google Drive when in WiFi range. When your car gets home before it turns off it will connect to your home network and upload any new logs to your Google Drive account, no need to pull an SD or USB drive. (requires configuration)
    • Customizable start-up music (outputs to 3.5mm stereo cable or HDMI) playing a configurable startup mp3 of your choosing. (requires configuration via USB drive)
    • Customizable splash screen. Defaults to a Mitsubishi logo wallpaper but can be set to any image of your choosing. (requires configuration via USB drive).
    • Aviation grade screw-on connector for 12V power, battery, ground, and LED wires. Also utilizes your existing ECMLink cable.
    • Attach a USB Keyboard to PiLink. Only really useful if you have a display, but with any USB keyboard (wireless or cable) you can control ECMLink directly. ECMLink however can be reconfigured over WiFi so this isn't necessary unless you want to interact in your car. This does mean you can tune using PiLink, though it may be difficult depending on the screen size and resolution you use with PiLink so choose accordingly!
    • Use this base system for other cool Pi-based systems in your car! It runs on Raspbian, a Linux based operating system, and is incredibly flexible for the tech savvy folks out there. Other ports on the Pi, like the audio output, or other USB ports, are covered (to avoid confusion) but the covers are easily removable with a hobby knife, with the exception of the Ethernet port which I didn't expect anyone to need (you'll need to come up with your own case if you want to use that, or speak with me and I can consider a customization).
    • Optional Digital Mirror System (DMS) upgrade. Provides a true 1920x1080 30fps water resistant camera that will show a rear view "mirror" on your attached HDMI display. Also includes Dashcam recording - records 5 minute increments of footage up to the limit of whatever size USB drive you use with the system. Example: 16GB USB drive can hold over 90 minutes of footage. Note this is just video footage, there is no audio. HDMI cable (for camera to PiLink) not included since I can't be sure what length you need. Optional GoPro style mounting and mount provided upon request at no cost (you must provide the intermediate links and screws). This system is geared more towards racers as the camera doesn't smoothly integrate without bumper cutting or removal of the rear license plate, and doesn't use a fish-eye lens (though I'm exploring offering that and can offer this to people if they must have a fish-eye after I do some camera tests).
    • Optional DMS for Side View Mirrors. Eliminates sideview mirrors, which can produce as much as 5% the total drag on a car, and replaces with high quality digital "mirrors". Geared towards racers. This really isn't an upgrade because it requires two complete DMS systems (one for each mirror) but since it goes with the DMS rear view upgrade I figured I'd list it. You provide the HDMI displays and cables.
    • Optional Action Camera upgrade. Forward facing action camera with remote microphone (so you can place it out of the wind) that is always recording. [email protected], quality similar to at least a Hero 3+ Black GoPro but without the hassle of batteries, pressing the power button, and remembering to hit record. Writes to a USB drive in 10 minute chunks. Includes optional roll bar mount if requested.
    • Optional USB extension for mounting a USB port to your dash for easy access.
    • Customizable case lettering upon request for the 3D printed case.
    • 1 year warranty against defects in workmanship and materials under normal use and conditions. Free software updates for life. John Freund Racing LLC agrees, at its option during the warranty period, to repair and defect in material or workmanship or to furnish a repaired or refurbished product of equal value in exchange without charge (except for a fee for shipping, handling, packing, return postage, and insurance which will be incurred by the customer). Such repair or replacement is subject to verification of the defect or malfunction and proof of purchase.

    Future Plans
    • Remote Tuning Capable. Awaiting testing, this feature allows you to connect your PiLink to your cellular hotspot and then allow a tuner to remotely connect from anywhere in the world to your car while you are driving. Works here at my desk, but have to make sure it works out in the real world.
    • Android Auto. Assuming I get it to work I'm planning to offer this as a free optional upgrade to ECMLink owners. This will let you connect your phone and display special Android Auto compatible apps on your screen like Google Maps. It's possible for you to connect your PiLink to your car's stereo for audio allowing a full multimedia package through your phone.
    • Crash avoidance system. Like the DMS this is geared for racers. I'm investigating radar based detection and alerting of higher speed cars coming from the rear to notify the driver. This additional awareness will help drivers avoid incidents with such vehicle. Bosch Motorsports sells such a system for over $4k.
    • Open to suggestions (though not before this group buy)

    Color Options:
    • Black (see above)
    • Galaxy Black (think a black with sparkles, see below, looks cooler in person) NOTE - currently out of this color, but if you want it select a backup color. If I get enough order I'll order more material to make these.
    • Translucent Blue (see above). NOTE - currently out of this color, but if you want it select a backup color. If I get enough order I'll order more material to make these.
    • Orange (see above)
    • if other colors are desired and at least four people request it, and the material/color combo exists, I can offer that as well. So when placing your orders please specify a color from the four I'm offering, as well as an optional desired color, and I'll see what I can do.
    20200316_170559.jpg

    Usage Agreement: By purchasing this device you agree to not distribute the included software.

    Pricing:
    PiLink
    - $300 (includes shipping to the continental US).
    DMS Upgrade - $100 (specify GoPro style mounting or flat back. For GoPro mounting you must provide the GoPro hand screws and links). You provide the HDMI display and cables. I'll include the 16GB USB drive with this upgrade so you won't need to purchase a separate one.
    DMS Side View upgrade - $500. This adds two additional DMS standalone systems (you provide the HDMI cables) to be used as side view mirror replacements. Sold at a discount from buying these separately from PiLink (usually $300 each).
    Action Camera upgrade - $130. This adds the camera hardware, microphone, and USB sound card (for the mic), you provide the HDMI cable (so you get the length right). I'll include the 16GB USB drive with this upgrade so you don't need to purchase one. Roll cage mount provided upon request, but specify your cage's bar diameter. Note that this upgrade is in beta, and if for some reason we find it has issues (I haven't seen any in my local testing) I'll gladly allow a return for a full refund with shipping at my expense.
    USB Extension (3 ft) (see below for picture) - $10
    16GB USB drive (holds thousands of ECMLink logs, but you're welcome to use your own) - $10
    HDMI screen recommendations upon request. I may offer a 7" display of my own but I'm waiting on it from China and I will still have to design a case for it. Otherwise I have some other ones I can recommend.

    Group Buy details:
    • Order acceptance in this group buy ends April 15, 2020 (though you'll be able to order afterwards, just the price will go up and you'll have to wait until I complete this batch).
    • Payment must be up front and in full via Paypal to [email protected]. Please include in your payment comment:
      • Upgrades you've chosen (and paid for)
      • Case Color (standard from the list above, and if desired the preferred color in case I get enough requests for it)
      • PiLink case lettering customization.
      • What ECMlink version and type of car (e.g. V3 on 2G, V2 on 1g, etc.)
      • Where you saw this ad and your username there.
    • Refunds allowed until the end of the group buy. At the close of the group buy refunds will no longer be allowed and parts ordering and production.
    • Some components come from overseas so parts delivery can take a couple weeks. I'm also building each one by hand. Typical total turnaround time is usually a month, though there may be delays in producing units depending on how many people place orders. I will ship out units on a first come first serve basis (with tracking info provided). I will guarantee delivery withing two months (giving myself a big window to cover shipping delays from Corona Virus) and will issue any requested refunds after that point if I'm unable to make delivery.
    • The cases are 3D printed. They'll all basically look as pictured above but there may be minor flaws. 3D printing is not perfect and I'm trimming and cleaning up the prints by hand. I'll do my best to deliver quality but please be realistic in your expectations as these won't match an injection molded piece. If I have any sort of major flaws I'll reprint of course.
    • Contact me via PM here or at [email protected] with any questions!

    Additional Pictures:
    PiLink side pictures
    20200312_105836.jpg 20200312_111016.jpg

    DMS Camera (1080p 30fp, water resistant, GoPro mounting optional)

    20200307_191622.jpg 20200303_232526.jpg
    (note the camera lens cover here has a protective plastic that you remove, that's why it looks odd and like the plexiglass sealant isn't evenly distributed but it really is)

    USB Extension (can be mounted in dash panel, also includes bracket for optional undermount.)
    20200307_210213.jpg

    Action Camera optional roll cage mount (1.5" diameter pictured):
    20200331_123100.jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020

    Road Race Build 16K  16  371

    1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    377 whp · 416 lb/ft · 2G DSM
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  2. turbosax2

    turbosax2 Moderator

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    I had PiLink in my car last season and it was really a big help in a few different ways.

    First, I drive in HPDE's (road course racing) and you can't have any loose items in the car. So in the past, I either didn't have a laptop logging during my sessions or I had to strap the laptop down while still accommodating a passenger - it was just a huge hassle. But now, I just pull out the thumb drive between sessions if I want and use my laptop to review the logs making it easy to check the tune. At the end of the weekend, the files are waiting on my Google Drive for further analysis.

    Second, I've had some times on the street where something weird happened and I had no way to troubleshoot since I didn't have the laptop plugged in. Now I can pull up the data since it's always logging. And I don't even have to worry about the laptop battery dying!

    Third, I use RaceCapture for my main dash but it doesn't display everything that ECMLink can. So it's helpful to be able to see something on the fly. I certainly wouldn't use ECMLink for a main dash since it's not meant for that, but it's handy to have at times. Here's a video showing my dash:



    For anyone who races or tunes their own car and cares about the data more than just "once in a while", PiLink is really a no-brainer investment for the price.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2020

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  3. rabenne

    rabenne Proven Member

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    Still on the Pi 3b+?
     

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  4. talontd92tsi

    talontd92tsi Proven Member

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    This is cool.

    I am also working on a similar solution utilizing the 7" Pi Foundation touch screen, with a 3d printed bezel that will snap directly in place of the radio in a 1g. It will require either a radio relocation or delete though. I am planning on relocating the radio to the glove box. I haven't spent the time to get the script to auto start a log/capture yet though, but I am still developing the bezel.

    I like the idea of the Logging LED. not sure how exactly you triggered that, but neat stuff.
     

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  5. rabenne

    rabenne Proven Member

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  6. walfamovil

    walfamovil Supporting Member

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    Very cool product.
    That will help so much with glitches on the track.
    :applause:
     

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  7. b00stedtalon2

    b00stedtalon2 Proven Member

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    Nicely done!
     

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  8. iugrad92turbo

    iugrad92turbo Supporting Member

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    Really nice features.
     

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  9. TSiAWD666

    TSiAWD666 Supporting Vendor

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    Yes, for a number of reasons:
    - It's the hardware I've been running for almost two years now, and so am certain it's reliable in this use case. I can't say that about the 4 B yet, and my many years in IT has taught me you can't trust a hardware "upgrade" to not come with issues unless you actually test them first over time.
    - I did recently create a build that runs on a Pi 4 B to see how it performed. The biggest performance metric for using ECMLink on a pi is boot time, because once it's running it barely uses any resources. The end result was a boot time that actually was slightly longer than what I have for the 3 B+ (only a few seconds, but seconds seem like an eternity when you're waiting for a system to boot). Very surprising. I haven't given up on it but at the moment I have it fairly streamlined without doing really funky kernel tweaks. So no performance benefit gained by switching to the 4 B, and possibly a performance detriment.
    - I already have the case designs for the 3 B+. I'll have to go through a number of iterations to redesign them for the 4 B, and I just haven't done it.
    - 3 B+ should be in production through at least January 2022, so no worry about supply.

    So I already have the contingency covered with by 4 B compatible build if the 3 B+ disappear, and will probably switch over to it eventually. Just not right now for this launch. Customers aren't losing anything by using the 3 B+ vs the 4 B.
     

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  10. TSiAWD666

    TSiAWD666 Supporting Vendor

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    Very cool man, always great to hear about out of the box thinking. I'm exploring developing/offering a 7" touchscreen 1920x1080 option I'm thinking might be in the $150 range but I'm waiting on a test unit to play with. I'm a stickler for resolution. The 7" Pi Foundation screen is 800x480 and just wasn't high enough for me to consider integrating here.
     

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  11. Ludachris

    Ludachris Founder & Zookeeper

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    Well done, John. Very cool solution.
     

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  12. ThunderChild

    ThunderChild Supporting VIP

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    Awesome product John, I think I want one!

    As far as "install" is concerned, is it essentially plug and play, or is there some setup aside from mounting the unit and plugging it in?
     

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  13. TSiAWD666

    TSiAWD666 Supporting Vendor

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    Great question. I made it as simple as I could. Out of the box the system will come ready to wire into ACC/Battery/Ground and include the optional status LED (optional in that you don't have to hook it up if you don't want). With those connected and your ECMLink data cable plugged into the USB port the system will work immediately. USB drive storage is recommended for ease of access to data, but the system will save locally in the absence of a USB and sync it to a USB drive once present.

    The only setup you might need/want to do is if you need to set up custom inputs like an Omni 4-BAR MAP sensor, or and Innovate LC-2 Wideband, as well as changing what sensors are logged and/or displayed. For setting that up you can:
    1) Take a whole monitor, keyboard, and mouse out to your car and plug them in to adjust things. Not so fun.
    2) Use a small HDMI screen with a small USB wireless keyboard/mouse combo. I sometimes do this.
    3) Set up Pilink to connect to your home WiFi simply by adding a text file to the USB drive and inserting it into the system. You can then you can simply use a remote terminal app called VNC to get a remote desktop connection and configure things from your desk. This is how I usually do it.

    TL;DR - it's mostly plug and play.
     

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  14. JPenny

    JPenny Proven Member

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    Heck yeah! Very cool man I have been pondering this idea for a while and just starting to get into pi and adruino. I am interested and will get in further contact with you.
    Thank you for your time, Jason Penny
     

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  15. TSiAWD666

    TSiAWD666 Supporting Vendor

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    NEW FEATURE! Remote Control!

    So a few people asked for the ability to remote tune with this. I had never thought of that, but after some investigation I believe it's possible. I already have it working here at my desk but I don't personally own a hotspot and my car's at a shop for a while being worked on, but I'm fairly confident this will work. Setup and installation of this feature is pretty easy so don't worry if I don't confirm this works before launch, we can add it later. First person that orders a PiLink, has a cell hotspot, and helps me test this I'll give them $100.
     

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  16. ThunderChild

    ThunderChild Supporting VIP

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    Thanks for the info John!
    Just sent you my order, lmk if you need any other info from me!
    Also to clarify, does one include PP fees in their payment to you, or does the $300 cover PP fees as well, for reference, I included (tried my best at math) the fees with my payment.
    Thanks again, excited to try it out!
     

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  17. TSiAWD666

    TSiAWD666 Supporting Vendor

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    Thanks for your order!

    I decided to keep it simple and the price is just the price. I'm certainly grateful if someone does include extra to cover the PP fees but I'm certainly not asking for or expecting that. That's very kind of you to ask. Paypal's cut is not insignificant! If you'd like a refund of the fees just msg me, I'll certainly take care of it (and really don't feel awkward in asking for it).
     

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  18. TSiAWD666

    TSiAWD666 Supporting Vendor

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    Thanks to those that placed their orders!

    For those on the fence, future orders after this group buy likely won't ship until June or later due to how long it takes to order some of the parts. Also the price will increase.
     

    Road Race Build 16K  16  371

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  19. ec17pse

    ec17pse Freelancer

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    Is the DMS able to use a front camera also or be able to flip the rotation to not look mirrored? I know alot of guys use a gopro or similer up front so a dual camera and housing would be cool.

    Also does it come with memory built in for the footage and is it removeable?

    Cheers john, looks like a good bit of kit
     

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  20. TSiAWD666

    TSiAWD666 Supporting Vendor

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    The DMS could be used as a front-facing camera. I never thought anyone would ask for that because I didn't include sound recording (it's non-trivial to add), but I could easily make a small code tweak to make the video not flipped. So yes, it could be used as a front-facing dashcam without audio.

    The DMS upgrade in order to record footage requires a USB drive, and that is removable. I just changed the group buy details so that the DMS upgrade for PiLink will include the USB drive since it makes sense I think. I would recommend the USB extension so you can mount the USB port somewhere nice rather than having to go to the PiLink (or DMS standalone) every time you want to look at footage.
     

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  21. ec17pse

    ec17pse Freelancer

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    Is it possible to add 2 cameras or is that tricky to do?

    Most teams i see run 2 or 3 action cams and those who can afford it like racelogik use many cameras but its a costly thing. So a dual camera would be asesome and cost effective but dont know if your unit could handle 2 or be made for 2? Its something i would like to consider if its possible then its always mounted in the car and dont have to worry about removal etc
     

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  22. TSiAWD666

    TSiAWD666 Supporting Vendor

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    Herndon, Virginia
    PiLink supports one camera. Additional cameras require additional standalone DMS units. You can buy two at $500 total as part of this group buy, or they are $300 each (I guess I can drop the price to $250 for the group buy for one). The one camera limitation is simply due to the interface. Theoretically for an interior only solution (since I wouldn't have to worry about weatherproofing) I could possibly use off-the shelf desktop web-cams via USB but I have not tested multiple cameras and from my research the Pi can't handle more than one if recording at a high resolution and framerate (it can if you drop the res and framerate but then the video looks like poop). I know for sure the USB camera data stream can't be very high data rate (and thus lower quality) because the USB implementation on the Pi is slow. This is why I came up with my camera solution using the dedicated CSI-2 interface on the Pi which is much higher bandwidth.

    I totally understand wanting to never mess with cameras. That's how the recording feature came about, a racing team asked me if I could add the recording so they would have footage for incidents during races from all angles. I'll see about testing the DMS with an additional microphone input for use as an all-the-time interior camera (this will require I add an external sound card so there would be a price increase). Maybe I'll get it up and running for my next race.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2020

    Road Race Build 16K  16  371

    1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    377 whp · 416 lb/ft · 2G DSM
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  23. TSiAWD666

    TSiAWD666 Supporting Vendor

    2,596
    798
    Joined Aug 15, 2003
    Herndon, Virginia
    Btw... theoretically... video from PiLink or DMS could be live streamed to the web. I haven't done it, but I'm like 99% certain I could do it. I don't personally need that, I mean who is really going to care if they're watching me live on the race track, but someone out there in DSM land might like that feature.
     

    Road Race Build 16K  16  371

    1999 Mitsubishi Eclipse GSX
    377 whp · 416 lb/ft · 2G DSM
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  24. ec17pse

    ec17pse Freelancer

    4,887
    2,109
    Joined Nov 1, 2008
    London, UK, Europe
    The live bit im not fussed about. I was more thinking just front and back and no sound would be ok. Or i just add an internal mic like you got. Was an idea i had as i go an osmo action incase i needed a camera for upfront but was interested if yoirs could support 2 or not but no biggie and i dont wanna make you work on things if its more hasstle. Im already happy with what you offering and i shall be in touch at the end of the month as i will be getting my link in soon so this will work well as a whole piece of kit together
     

    Road Race Build 11K  12  60

    1997 Mitsubishi Eclipse GST
    175 whp · 180.1 lb/ft · 2G DSM
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  25. tragdor

    tragdor Proven Member

    305
    12
    Joined Feb 1, 2008
    Austin, Texas
    This is a really cool and creative offering. As someone who plays around with Pis, I love the implementation of this. I'm definitely purchasing if I do build my car for track/rally setup (as opposed to selling). Wishing you the best of luck on sales!
     

    728  0

    1993 Eagle Talon TSi
    manual · 1G DSM
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    TSiAWD666 likes this.

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