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Track Laptop For Data Logger

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Do you use a laptop at the track to read your data logger? I'm assuming it has to be a Windows one, since most DL software run on Windows only. Is a 10/11 inches clear enough to read the DL charts?

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I have a MacBook, but I run VMWare to run the track software. Mine's 15" but I can't imagine an 11" would be bad. Some people use a tablet (surface).

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11 inch should be okay. It's about size vs resolution vs your visual acuity.

For what it's worth, mine has a 12" 1366x768 screen. And yeah, it's Windows (7).

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I'm a Mac guy but went and bought a Toshiba Satellite at Best buy for $299. It's a 15 inch display and has a big drive in it. It's dedicated for my Datalogger and with my RCK2 software. For good measure I also have a full set of service manuals for the S1000RR on it.

 

On the small laptops. Before the Toshiba I had an e-machines netbook. The data was amazingly crammed on that display for me. It's size was great for portability but looking at the data afterwards is just painful. I would not go lower than a 15inch display again myself. Here's a photo of all the data crammed on the tiny display in my trailer.

 

IMG_0631.JPG

 

One other thing. Don't forget a wireless mouse. It's amazingly helpful and makes life easier and faster than dealing with a track pad.

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One other thing to consider. CPU and disk. The data files by themselves don't take up a lot of space but when you get a lot of them together they can start to add up fast. Many of the data logger packages are doing a lot of calculations processing the data as it comes in to do your visualizations and other stuff. The Netbook with it's Atom CPU could handle it but it was slow. The cheapie Toshiba with it's Celeron does it a lot better.

 

You might end up loading other stuff on the laptop as well. Google Earth for satellite images. Power commander software for loading maps. Race Calibration software. Service manuals and other stuff. You also end up using it for internet access in the hotel and for other tasks.

 

I went with the cheap one because I frequently leave it unattended in the paddock. The data is backed up so if it's not there one day I'm not happy but it's not that big a deal. Keep in mind for large public track days you might trust your fellow paddock mates 110% but often the gates are open to other people who have no association with the track day. Over the years I have heard stories of bikes, generators and other valuables being stolen. Even a cheap laptop is a high potential theft item. Beyond theft mine's seen it's share of pavement and has it's war wounds. People in a hurry to put helmets, gloves and wrangle tire warmers can accidentally send a laptop flying. A paddock is not a good place for an expensive computer you care a lot about. The good thing is decals and stickers hide war wounds pretty well. :)

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Thanks, all good tips (I was going for the smallest Asus Eee). About leaving the laptop unattended, a laptop lock can be enough to protect it, locked to the tools drawer or a portable table.

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Just a though. Nice helmets, gloves, tire warmers and stands rival the price of cheaper laptop computers. They don't walk away.

 

Personally I would not want to lock up my laptop as I feel this would send a crummy message to the people I'm sharing the paddock with. As well the probability of it being accidentally knocked over is much higher than theft anyway. Just go with a "disposable" laptop you would not be upset about losing and you will be just fine. The track is not really the perfect environment for them anyway. If someone accidentally smashes mine or it gets stolen it's not really a big loss. Quite honestly if someone backed a bike over mine and offered to pay for it I would graciously not accept their offer as I have already come to terms with the fact that's eventually going to happen to it one day. :)

 

I bought mine at best buy. When I told the sales person what I wanted "the cheapest possible 15 inch you have" they quickly pointed me in the right direction with a bit more explanation of it's intended use.

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I have to agree. The 15" is the least I would buy to visualize datalogging. In my opinion the bugger the better. I also have a 11" that I use sometimes but it is really not easy to manage and read the data. I also have a 16" which is way better. As for CPU you will not need a lot of power but also there the bigger the better.

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When I tried the small netbook I found that the only way I could really look at the data was to use remote desktop to connect to the machine and display it on a bigger machine. On the smaller display with a track pad it was a lot of work of scrolling and zooming trying to see what I was looking for.

 

Think of it like trying to use a flashlight on a pitch black track to try to navigate your way around a corner. It's possible but it's not the easiest or fastest way.

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