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Cheap home made Track IR?

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Senad Subasic, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. Saw someone mention it today, and realized it would be awesome to have while cruising in Test Drive Unlimited 2.

    How much would a plain home made thing set me back? Nothing special, just left-right and up-down.
    I'm guessing I'd need a webcam or something, some LEDs, and some software to tie it all together, if it exists.

    Anyone have any tips, or howto's, or websites to recommend?

  2. Cool, didn't think it would work just like that.

    using it with TDU2, so I guess that's the way to go, cheers. Picking up a webcam tomorrow, LOL.
  3. Dave Stephenson

    Dave Stephenson
    Technical Administrator Staff

    The one Ive tried was called FreeTrack. http://www.free-track.net/english/

    Really good to set up. can be run from most reasonable cameras and a few LED's attacht to a cap or headset. You can improve it also by using the insides of an old floppy disk as a filter to reduce background noise in the picture it receives. There are lots of great instructions on their site as will as some measurements to use as a template when making your LED clip.

    The also have a tool for calculated all your resistor/led requirements if yor not versed in ohms and volts ;)
  4. Works, but... Slow computer + light behind me. The face gets lost, and CPU usage goes over 50% while trying to get it back.
    Will try the LED solution.
  5. Roland

    Premium Member

    I have a Freetrack too. Built myself exactly this one with IR leds: http://forum.free-track.net/index.php?showtopic=1856,
    Really works excellent with my €12 Logitech webcam modded with old floppy disc.

    The NoIR version is easiest to set up indeed, but this one works more reliable for me. Steady 30 fps head scanning which is very smooth in Race07, GTR2; don't have TU2 yet.
    No performance difference between well-lit or darkened rooms. Software + webcam consume a steady 3..4% CPU from my trusted Phenom X3.

    Only downside: I have to race with a baseballcap on my head all the time. There is also a version for headset mounting, haven't built that one yet.
  6. I'll be doing that too, the CPU usage with face tracking is very high.
  7. I use the Freetrack LED version. I found thin gauge wire, and ran it through regular irrigation tubing, using the irrigation tubing elbows to make the bends. The LED's slid loosely into the ends of the tubing, so I used shrink wrap to secure them. If you can find one of those blue, fine-adjustable resistors in the range you need, it makes it easier to turn the led intensity low enough to where it wont run the battery down: thus allowing you to use a smaller, single battery and have it last a very long time. I think I paid less than $25 US to make my cap.

    Cameras are hit and miss. I use an old trackir camera and a software hack with excellent results, although I read that the Wii remote also gives high fps as well, without having to tear it apart to remove the ir filter.

    IMO the Freetrack software is FAR better than the trackir software altogether.
  8. Tried it with my booklight LED now. Way, waaaay more smoother, and less CPU intensive than face tracking.

    Off to buy some supplies now I guess. Wasn't able to find IR LEDs on the website of a shop near here, will ask there. If not, orange/red ones will have to do.

    Cheers all
  9. Dave Stephenson

    Dave Stephenson
    Technical Administrator Staff

    When I did it I used standard superbright LED's. I have some IR ones kicking around that I bought to make a new headset clip but have yet to find the time and patience to sort it out :) Hope it goes well for you, let us know how you get on :)
  10. Roland

    Premium Member

    Should you end up using regular round-headed ( = narrow beam) LEDs (either red or IR), please read this excellent tutorial with pictures how to convert them into flat-faced wide-beam LEDs:


    This will dramatically improve tracking when turning your head if you can not get a hold on those flat OSRAM IR leds.

    Good luck with your build! Keep us posted on your progress.
  11. I can whole heartedly recomend Free Track, it's very precise, easy to set up and use and as a bonus you can also use with a Wii controller instead of a web cam! I did this and you get around 100FPS against a webcams 30-ish fps, way smoother transitioning/sweep. :)
  12. Caught by rain yesterday, soaked, going back today :D

    Anyone have any experience with powering it through the USB port? A lot more practical than a battery pack, but not sure how serious the consequences might be.
  13. Roland

    Premium Member

    Just make sure to include the PTC fuse in your build, otherwise you risk blowing out your mainboard's USB port. And carefully calculate your resistor values..

    No 1st-hand experience with USB here, mine is powered by 2 rechargable AA batteries, velcro-ed to my cap, as I preferred that to yet another cable from my head to my PC. If you plan on making the headset-version, USB would be the clever way to go I suppose (unless you have a wireless headset :D:D)

    The battery weight is really not an issue, you don't feel anything when wearing the cap. And I make sure to always have a pair of charged batteries within reach :cool: