Jump to content


Photo

DIY Serial Cable for the ProChorno?


  • Please log in to reply
37 replies to this topic

#1 blind bat

blind bat

    Calls Shots

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 860 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Warner, NH

Posted 07 May 2009 - 07:17 PM

Has anyone tried to make a serial cable for the Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital?

I was going to buy the software/cable for the ProChrono but the reviews on MidWay were awful. Their software won't let you save the chrono info! The PcRemote software is available for free on CE's web site so I whipped open a serial analyzer program and started looking at what the software was trying to send to the ProChrono when I pressed various buttons in the application. Their application looks like it wouldn't take much to recreate in QT with a save feature and Windows/Linux/Mac support. I haven't done any QT programming in a couple of years so it seemed like a fun project for dusting off the cobwebs.

I tried hooking up a three wire mini audio plug up to a Max232 chip but so far I haven't been able to successfully communicate with the ProChrono but my electronics skills are severely lacking. Chances are I didn't even get the Max232 hooked up right...

#2 Greg Bell

Greg Bell

    Beyond it All

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,021 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Nolensville, TN

Posted 08 May 2009 - 04:39 AM

Not exactly what you are asking but I just use the print function to send the data to a pdf

Attached Files



#3 satx40

satx40

    Finally read the FAQs

  • Classified
  • PipPip
  • 65 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Antonio, Texas

Posted 08 May 2009 - 04:32 PM

If the data coming from the chrono is serial data (EIA232) you should be able to connect it directly to the PC serial port. This site should show how to wire up a serial cable. Most devices only require 3 wires, TX data, DTR, ground. The Transmit wire from the chrono would go to the receive pin of the serial port. Normally you would only need TX from the chrono going to pin 2, DTR goin to pin 4 and ground going to pin 5. That's assuming a 9 pin serial connector on the PC.

http://www.camiresea...ml#anchor242192

If the data coming from the chrono is TTL levels you will need the MAX232. This link will get you the datasheet for the MAX232. It should help.

http://datasheets.ma...X220-MAX249.pdf

HTH

Art

#4 ChuckS

ChuckS

    Back From the Dead

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 5,476 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:SoCal

Posted 08 May 2009 - 05:07 PM

I downloaded the software and the documentation seems to indicate it wants the USB dongle. I ignored that and hooked up an old RS-232 breakout box that I had and set the software to COM1 and the thing set RTS and DTR true and is sending some data at about a 1 second interval. So, the levels do seem to be RS-232. I am going to rig a cable to hook up my chrono next. I will report back.

Later,
Chuck

Eschew Obfuscation

 


#5 blind bat

blind bat

    Calls Shots

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 860 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Warner, NH

Posted 14 May 2009 - 08:47 PM

Whooo hooo! I did it! I am so smrt, I mean smart.

I was on the right track with the MAX232 chip but I hosed something up on my first attempt. I kept getting random garbage when I looped the TTL TX and RX lines together and typed quickly into "Hyper Terminal". Typing slowly worked fine. I decided to take my poor electronics skills out of the equation by ordering samples of the MAX233 chip since it doesn't require external capacitors. I love free samples. Springfield, I'm looking at you. :)

I currently have the Max233 powered by a 9v battery running through a LM7805 regulator. Everything else is wired up like the diagram shown on the top of page 21 of the datasheet. The only trick is the transmit line coming from the chrono. I had to pull it to ground with a 10k ohm resistor.

Next, I need to figure out how to power the MAX233 chip using only the serial port. I'll work on that this weekend. Right now, I need to do some dry fire practice and get to bed. Below are a couple of picture of my hack job. Don't mind the mess.

Attached Files


Edited by blind bat, 14 May 2009 - 08:50 PM.


#6 satx40

satx40

    Finally read the FAQs

  • Classified
  • PipPip
  • 65 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Antonio, Texas

Posted 15 May 2009 - 04:06 PM

Glad to see you got it working.

I'm thinking of converting a little Citizen list printer to operate off battery so that I can hook it up to my CED chrono.
Just need time----just need time----------
One of these days I'll actually look at the printer!!! Ha!
:blush:

Art

#7 blind bat

blind bat

    Calls Shots

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 860 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Warner, NH

Posted 16 May 2009 - 09:40 PM

I figure I'll keep this thread going with the info I learn about the ProChrono interface as I try putting together my program. Maybe someone ca use it in the future. After some tonight's hacking session it looks like these are the commands the pcRemote Software uses to communicate with ProChrono:

Get shot(?): :000000037D
Get Stats: :000000027E
Get Velocities: :000001017E
String Change: :000000057B
Redisplay: :0000000878
Review: :000000047C
Delete Shot: :000000067A
Delete String: :0000000779

I was able to get these commands to work by copying and pasting them into 'hyper terminal'. Typing them in didn't seem to work. I also found out that if I gave the ProChrono enough bogus input (ex. hitting enter a bunch of times) it would spew a string with the string and shot number.

I haven't been able to decipher the output of the Get Shot/Stats/Velocities commands yet. Unfortunately, the only Windows computer I have in the house is an old IBM Thinkpad T20 with a serious hardware problem. It locks up all the time and sometimes refuses to reboot after it's been power cycled. I really can't wait to get the ProChrono working with my MacBook Pro. I might head down to the MIT Flea Market tomorrow morning to see if I can pick up another old Thinkpad so that I'm not forced to reboot every couple of minutes.

Edit - I just noticed something interesting. Here are the commands in numerical order:
Get Stats: :000000027E
Get shot: :000000037D
Review: :000000047C
Strg Chg: :000000057B
Del Shot: :000000067A
Del String: :0000000779
Redisp: :0000000878
Get Vel: :000001017E

They seem to be in the form <CMD NUM>7<CMD NUM> where the first number increments and the last number decrements. I'll have to do some math to see if the Get Velocities command fits in this pattern. I'm too tired tonight. I also wonder what the hypothetical first command (:000000017F) does. Hopefully, it's not the self destruct sequence.

Edited by blind bat, 17 May 2009 - 09:10 AM.


#8 blacken

blacken

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 03 February 2010 - 01:59 AM

I know this is a very late response to a dead thread. But, in case somebody else happens upon this thread...
I wonder if something based on FT232RQ would work (USB to TTL Serial conversion chip).
Products:
http://www.ftdichip..../DS_TTL232R.pdf
http://www.ecrater.c...php?pid=1750401

#9 Hibn

Hibn

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:48 PM

Hi everyone. I'm adding another post to this very old thread. This is the reason I joined, lol!

I just recently purchase the ProChrono chronograph, and did hours of research trying to determine if I needed to buy their USB dongle and cable. This forum post was by far the most informative.

I went ahead and ordered the digital USB kit. I took apart the USB dongle, and it indeed has an FTDI chip: FT232RL. Other than that, it's just a USB Type A plug, and a female 3.5mm stereo jack. There are some small ESD (electrostatic discharge) chips on the PCB, but other than that it just looks like several surface mount resistors and capacitors.

The post before this links to a possible adapter that might work. From my own research on FTDI's website, this was the closest module I could find that they sell (and link directly to).
I can't add links, so we'll see how this goes:
site1: www . ftdichip . com/Products/Modules/USBRSxxx.htm
USB-COM232-PLUS1
site2: apple.clickandbuild . com/cnb/shop/ftdichip?productID=99&op=catalogue-product_info-null&prodCategoryID=89

With that module, one would only have to make an adapter to go from the 3.5mm stereo plug to the Rx/Tx/Gnd pins on the DB9 connector.

I haven't verified, but it was mentioned in an earlier post on this same thread, that the signal levels coming from the ProChrono are serial level. Meaning, if your computer has a serial port, or if you have a USB to serial cable (any brand), then it seems you could build your own cable easily. Skip the USB dongle, buy a 25' 3.5mm stereo cable from monoprice (or the online discount cable site of your choice), and get a DB9 connector kit. Some wire cutters/strippers, some solder, and maybe a little electrical tape, and you'd have a cable.

The ProChrono software is a free download from their website, so making your own cable for under $50 shouldn't be too hard. Cheers!

#10 digadv

digadv

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 11 February 2012 - 03:10 PM

Yet another entry into what has become an archive.

The attached diagram worked for me. The key was the USB/serial interface. They are not all alike so if you are having issues, I would suggest the MikroElectonika USB UART (MIKROE-483). Mouser sells these for $10.95.

Good luck.

Attached Files



#11 highvoltage

highvoltage

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:02 PM

If I was using a existing serial port on laptop or an external third party usb to serial interface would I have to place a 10k resistor between the TX and ground?
I am getting an err on the ProChrono with pins 2,3 and 5 being used straight to TX,RX and ground. This is on 2 different laptops, one with a built in serial port and one and external USB to Serial adapter.

#12 Meat3rz

Meat3rz

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 14 May 2012 - 03:46 PM

If I was using a existing serial port on laptop or an external third party usb to serial interface would I have to place a 10k resistor between the TX and ground?
I am getting an err on the ProChrono with pins 2,3 and 5 being used straight to TX,RX and ground. This is on 2 different laptops, one with a built in serial port and one and external USB to Serial adapter.



Try a 10kohm resister between the TX and GND.

#13 Steve RA

Steve RA

    Back From the Dead

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 4,631 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Richardson, Texas

Posted 28 May 2012 - 10:56 AM

Buy an Oehler !!! :rolleyes:

NRA Life Member - USPSA A-5037 - Ex CRO - Speed-E-Standards Classifier
Steve Alexander


#14 digadv

digadv

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 16 June 2012 - 06:47 PM


If I was using a existing serial port on laptop or an external third party usb to serial interface would I have to place a 10k resistor between the TX and ground?
I am getting an err on the ProChrono with pins 2,3 and 5 being used straight to TX,RX and ground. This is on 2 different laptops, one with a built in serial port and one and external USB to Serial adapter.



Try a 10kohm resister between the TX and GND.


The issue is that the interface is NOT RS-232 level (+/- 12V) so a normal serial port will not work. It's 0-5v and if you use the interface card I referenced above, you will be able to establish communications with the OEM software and a USB interface.

I have successfully built and programmed a PIC microcontroller to act as a remote control unit - similar to the OEM version. I can tell you that it would have been much cheaper to just purchase the OEM unit, but the project was a good learning experience.

Good luck.

#15 qaflight

qaflight

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 10 August 2012 - 11:14 PM

Yet another entry into what has become an archive.

The attached diagram worked for me. The key was the USB/serial interface. They are not all alike so if you are having issues, I would suggest the MikroElectonika USB UART (MIKROE-483). Mouser sells these for $10.95.

Good luck.


Confirmed - the Mikroe-483 works. Remove the jumper :)

THANKS digadv!!


Mouser did not charge for shipping (USPS)

Edited by qaflight, 11 August 2012 - 07:29 AM.


#16 BenOz

BenOz

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 11 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 13 August 2012 - 04:52 PM

Hi Guys, firstly I'd just like to say a great forum and secondly im curious to try and bluetooth the Prochrono to my Android phone upon which i'll write custom software for, this means no wires and i can create a remote via software on the phone. In theory this should give me about a 10m range, limited by the phones bluethooth. Am i correct in saying that the Prochrono is a TTL output? If so i can convert it to RS232 via a chip, then in theory connect it to a bluetooth dongle? Any idea's, suggestions please let me know, Thanks?

#17 nexgen91

nexgen91

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 1 posts

Posted 08 October 2012 - 06:56 PM

Another confirmation that the circuit bigadv posted using the MikroElectonika USB UART (MIKROE-483) works as advertised. After buying the interface (15.94 mouser charged me shipping), a 25ft 3.5mm audio cable (5.49 on mono price), stereo jacks (3.19 +tax), perf board (3.76 +tax), and enclosure (3.99 +tax) (had resistor, usb cable, and tools on hand) it cost me about $34, so I saved around $20 not to bad of a savings, and a fun little project as well. By the way, I was thinking the interface was Female USB Type A, BUT it is actually Female USB Mini B. I did not remove the jumper (forgot) so I was running it at 5v, will try it without at a later date.

Ok I gave in and went ahead and tried it with the jumper removed and it works, not sure if removing the jumper is a critical step or not, as far as I can tell it wont matter, but dont take my word for it, as Im not an expert on this thing.

Edited by nexgen91, 08 October 2012 - 07:18 PM.


#18 w0fms

w0fms

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 13 posts

Posted 27 January 2013 - 02:22 PM

Sorry to revive a potentially dead thread but I just bought a ProChrono Digital (on it's way from MidwayUSA) and being an Electrical Engineer (by title Software Engineer) and having a literal stocked toy chest of stuff like that FTDI chip adapter I wonder if any of you have the following info (so there is less reverse engineering):

Baud Rate that the ProChrono/Software uses.
Any info on the returned data protocol.
Confirmation that the unit is 5V and not 3.3V (although driving 5V TTL with 3.3V TTL it usually does not matter).

One of the "toys" in my collection is a TTL (3.3V/5V) serial Bluetooth module (e-bay item from China). I could use that right off the bat as the interface on the laptop with a Lithium coin cell powering it... but I'd need to know the baud rate as it has to be "flashed" into the firmware of the device first.

What would be a cool project is to reverse engineer the protocol and write software for Android. Don't know if I'll have the free time to do it, but it's tempting.

I simply can not leave stuff like this alone. :)

Thanks.

Fred

#19 elchupacabra

elchupacabra

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 4 posts

Posted 28 January 2013 - 09:42 AM

Fred,

I would love to be kept abreast of your progress. For your information, the USB kit for this chronograph uses the FT232RL. I've been wanting to make this thing Bluetooth as well. If you get it to work, by all means, please post details as Competition Electronics don't really seem to be in any hurry to do this. AND, if you do create an Android app version of this software, I would be very interested in that as well because my phone's battery would last longer than my laptop's at the range.

It's great to see so much interest in this! :D

Regards,
James

Edited by elchupacabra, 28 January 2013 - 09:43 AM.


#20 w0fms

w0fms

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 13 posts

Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:24 PM

I will see what I can do. I should probably order off one of those Mouser adapters to start at a working point. It will be next week before I get the unit. Apparently MidwayUSA isn't quite shipping at their normal lightning fast pace in the last few weeks (I wonder why? ;) Thanks "O"...!

But I did find the Bluetooth modules in the junkque pile! They are about $10 on e-bay. JY-MCU HC-06. They did work on my Windows laptop talking to an Arduino but never did try it with my phone. I have some tablets too now in case my phone has serial blocked as some do to stop tethering.

In any case it is not a one night project.

As for the sending to the unit protocol, the commands listed in this thread are correct but how I think the checksum works is: add the hex numbers (in ASCII format), truncate to 8-bits and subtract from 0x80... So the command maybe 0000003 and the checksum is 7D... But until I get the unit and see it the other way I can not be 100% sure.

It would sure be nice if this protocol was documented somewhere... So getting the windows stuff working first will have to happen...

I'll keep you all updated...

Fred


#21 w0fms

w0fms

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 13 posts

Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:01 PM

OK.. sorta of posting to myself here... but whatever. I dug up a 4 port FTDI 4232H module and figured out by looping two of the ports back on themselves the baud rate is 1200, no parity, 1 stop, 8 bits. The thing that is nice about this 4 port module is that I'll use one port to talk with the unit when I get it and then use two of the other three to monitor comms from the application. I'll figure it out and post the protocol. Seems simple enough. This module is 5V tolerant but is 3.3V only.. we will see if it talks... if it does the port over to the Bluetooth module will be trivial and basically no extra parts. The only additional thought I had is still putting the module in a box with 10-25' of cord to get the Bluetooth radio closer to the tablet/shooter.. 25' away should still work but it's getting to the end of the range of Bluetooth.

#22 BASTi.GWAPo

BASTi.GWAPo

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 18 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:47 PM

Hi guys!!

This is kind of out of topic, but I figured, might as well give it shot to post it here. Since, judging the responses in this thread, you are all techie people. So here it goes. I was able to make my own USB hardware interface from my Shooting Chrony to my laptop, but instead of coding a front-end interface, i was thinking of just using Excel. Does anyone here knows how Excel can read data from Serial port (COM)? Or if there's a similar thread here that discuss about reading data from Serial port using Excel, i would really appreciate if you can direct me to it.

Thank you in advance and for your response.

Sincerely,
BASTi

#23 Walleye

Walleye

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 11 posts

Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:33 AM

Yet another entry into what has become an archive.

The attached diagram worked for me. The key was the USB/serial interface. They are not all alike so if you are having issues, I would suggest the MikroElectonika USB UART (MIKROE-483). Mouser sells these for $10.95.

Good luck.


Does the MIKROE-483 plug directly into the "standard" USB port on a computer, or is an extension or adapter needed between it and the computer? I already have a 3.5mm 25' audio extension cable on-hand so if I only need the MIKROE-483 to make this thing work then I'm ordering it ASAP. Thanks!

#24 340Weatherby

340Weatherby

    Looks for Range

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 14 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Norway

Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:08 AM

Sems like FTDI has a complete solution.
USB/RS232 to 3.5mm Audio Jack.
Link: http://apple.clickan...-TTL Audio Jack

DigiKey: http://www.digikey.c...TTL-232R-3V3-AJ


The TTL-232R-3V3-AJ ("audio jack") is a USB to Serial (TTL level) converter cable which allows for a simple way to connect TTL serial interface units to USB. This version of FTDI's USB to TTL serial adapter cable uses a 3.5mm audio jack on the serial interface and has it's I/O pins configured to operate at 3.3V levels.

The TTL-232R-3V3-AJ uses a FT232RQ unit which is housed inside the USB 'A' connector, and is terminated at the end of a 1.8 m (70") cable with a 3.5 mm audio jack which provides access to transmit (Tx), receive (Rx), and GND signals.

The TTL-232R-3V3-AJ is fully RoHS compliant and is supplied loose - packed in an anti-static bag. It is FCC and CE approved.
single cable Price : £16.00 Availability : In stock


Edited by 340Weatherby, 08 March 2013 - 01:23 AM.


#25 MGMorden

MGMorden

    Sees Target

  • Classifieds
  • PipPipPip
  • 235 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Charleston, SC

Posted 21 March 2013 - 07:55 PM

Hi guys!!

This is kind of out of topic, but I figured, might as well give it shot to post it here. Since, judging the responses in this thread, you are all techie people. So here it goes. I was able to make my own USB hardware interface from my Shooting Chrony to my laptop, but instead of coding a front-end interface, i was thinking of just using Excel. Does anyone here knows how Excel can read data from Serial port (COM)? Or if there's a similar thread here that discuss about reading data from Serial port using Excel, i would really appreciate if you can direct me to it.

Thank you in advance and for your response.

Sincerely,
BASTi


Excel isn't going to be able to read it (at least not without digging in and doing some low-level VBScript coding that would be more complex than writing a custom front-end). If there's any particular reason you want the data in Excel you'd do better to setup whatever you code to output a .CSV file that you could open there.

Also - be aware that the codes referenced in this thread are for the CE ProChrono Digital. The Shooting Chrony interface is different, though it actually seems to be much better documented:

http://www.noplabs.c...y/protocol.html




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users