Scoring Machine Price Point

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by jjefferies, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    Ok, for my birthday I got a raspberry Pi. For geeks, Sooo cute and only USD $35.:
    Raspberry Pi 3B+ Specs and Benchmarks
    • SoC: Broadcom BCM2837B0 quad-core A53 (ARMv8) 64-bit @ 1.4GHz.
    • GPU: Broadcom Videocore-IV.
    • RAM: 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM.
    • Networking: Gigabit Ethernet (via USB channel), 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi.
    • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.2, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
    • Storage: Micro-SD.
    • GPIO: 40-pin GPIO header, populated.
    And I've been looking at possible projects (other than just another desktop/laptop internet browser). And naturally my thoughts turned to low cost scoring machines. But what do you think a reasonable price point for a home/club made scoring machine should be? The Raspberry Pi board above is USD $35. and while it can drive small led's, a decent light source would take more power than the board is capable of handling. I also picked up some very nice 5V relay modules capable of handling 10amps at 250V AC or 10 amps at 30V DC.that were $3.00/apiece. And then the board itself can output to a HDMI or DVI device such as a monitor.
    So if you were looking at powering just led lights and no fancy display I believe on the order of $50. might be possible. If you scored a used monitor (flat screen, led, lcd) from someone's discard that's another option. Any thoughts on what price might make such a project interesting enough to get folks willing to get interested. Software would be what I would be interested. Probably in "C" and open source of course.
     
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  2. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    If you're going to invest your time, how about picking a more useful and interesting fencing project than yet another scoring machine?

    Think about our area where there are hundreds of boxes already in place - who really needs a scoring box around here? Or if they're going to upgrade their box(es), why wouldn't they just go with VSM?
     
  3. CursesFoiledAgain

    CursesFoiledAgain Rookie

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    First of all, happy birthday! And this sounds like a cool idea, wish I had the tech know-how to just wake up one day and build a score box!
    Not sure how easy it would be to make money from it, as there are quite a few scoring machines around already... Though sometimes it's not about the ability to make money, but rather the time spent practicing a skill and making something new. That being said, if you can get a couple of local clubs interested, so much the better!
    No idea what an expected price-point would be I'm afraid... maybe have a look online and see what similar products are priced at?
     
  4. jeff price

    jeff price Rookie

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    Pi's dont make for good scoring machines, because they rely on linux and after so many non stateful shutdowns the os can get corrupted and you have to rebuild the machine. There isnt an analog to digital converter on them either.
    I have built a few scoring boxes using arduinos, and the cost is about 30 bucks total with most of the cost coming from the enclosure.

    Look at retropi for a really fun project.
     
  5. Quinn

    Quinn Made the Cut

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    Hi. I'm currently making an arduino based scorebox. I was wondering what kind of static protection, if any, you use on the inputs. I feel like the long cables could induce enough of a charge to fry the chip.
     
  6. jkormann

    jkormann Podium

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    If I had the time, I'd work out how to use a Pi to make a realistic fencing / training dummy.
    Not sure how fast the actuators are, but it would be interesting to see it attempt parries based on blade-attacks, or sense a guard's distance or position (glare would be my first guess) and make an appropriate action.
     
  7. jeff price

    jeff price Rookie

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    I dont use any static protection on the inputs.
     
  8. Grey Sabreur

    Grey Sabreur Made the Cut

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    Adapt your idea to wireless training (paired units?).
     
  9. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    Hey Mike, You're probably right about the over abundance of scoring machines, based on "jeff Price' and "Quinn's" responses. Be nice of Jeff would share his work with the rest of us. Though I disagree with his assesment of Linux. I've shut it down hard often but haven't had much of a problem when rebooting, it's not Windows. But my thought was to use Linux as a boot loader and then have the scoring machine take over. But you had several ideas last night that I was trying to follow. But two hours of bouting, a lesson and then an hour drive home after midnight and I don't remember much. How about putting them down. There was one about timing and showing the score direct from "riposte" from a referee's phone and another about video replay that requires a check of what video inputs are possible.
     
  10. jeff price

    jeff price Rookie

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    Here is the link to the base of my work:
    https://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Fencing-Scoring-Apparatus/

    I made some improvements to the actual design, but the code is there.
    Specifically, I designed a printed circuit board to cut down on the space and wiring required in the housing. The Arduino and all of its components will fit inside an SG-1 box and reuses the SG led matrix.


    Here is the latest pi project I am tinkering with:

    https://ant.sr/test-box/

    As far a linux being robust with dirty shutdowns, it works great. However pi's can be very particular about dirty shutdowns. I have had to rebuild by pihole server, and retro pie boxes 4 times this year because of dirty shutdowns, due to power spikes or outages. Typically what happens pi will boot only to either kernel panic during the os load or not complete the boot due to a corrupt file system.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
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  11. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    Go wireless - that way you don't have to worry as much about the static problem! :)
     
  12. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    There were 3 project ideas mentioned ...

    The first and simplest was coming up with an inexpensive bout score / time / card display solution for strips. While there are 200+ strips in our area with existing scoring boxes, very few of those strips/boxes include bout score and time displays. There are only a handful of VSM or Favero Full-Arm-05 equipped strips. This is understandable given that Favero's list price for a Favero Full-Arm-05 with score and time display is €530, more than twice list price of a no score, no clock wall mount Full-Arm-01 at €222. While clubs could get score and time displays by adopting VSM, most are unlikely to incur the expense of removing existing working boxes (and repeaters) to get VSM.

    So the project suggestion was to come up with an inexpensive bout score and time display box suitable for placing with an existing Full-Arm-01, Eclipse or whatever scoring box. Ideally something that someone could either permanently install (because they're of reasonable cost) or just easily move to clubs and strips when they run competitions. One potential avenue to reduce costs and help ease-of-use would be to take advantage of what's already commonly done around here at competitions for time and score keeping - refs use their own phones with Mikol Ryon's Riposte app. Perhaps investigate creating a box that the ref can wirelessly connect to and which simply provides a fencer/coach/audience visible remote display of what the ref has on their phone.

    The second project suggestion was for an inexpensive, simple, easy to use video replay system for reffing. Ideally one that does not need a video boom and operator.

    The third project suggestion was for a fencing DVR. Not for reffing bouts, but rather a multiple view DVR that can be installed on a strip for recording competition or practice bouts (because people like that) or that coaches can use in their lessons.

    These projects all seem more useful and interesting (at least for use around here) than just another fencing scoring box.
     
  13. Zebra

    Zebra Podium

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    Great! It should include a remote and a system for cutting off touches from registering after time expires. (so presumably you'd need to route the floor cords through your secondary device first).
     
  14. jjefferies

    jjefferies Podium

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    WOW!, that is some serious overkill! A test box built around a wifi/ethernet/bluetooth capable 4 cpu machine. Oh well, I suppose that's where we are going when the chips get so cheap.
     
  15. neevel

    neevel Armorer

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    It's also the manufacturing volume for the Raspberry Pi- once you're turning out a general purpose device like that in 6-7 figure annual volumes the cost for that 'excess' power can get very low compared to a low-volume purpose built device.
     
  16. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    Armorers can now supplement their income at events by mining Bitcoin.
     
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  17. mfp

    mfp Podium

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    Turns out this quick and dirty approach is fairly quick and easy: if you happen to have a Chromecast device and a monitor around, you can mirror what the Ref sees on their phone to the monitor using the Google "Home" App. It took only a couple of minutes to set up.

    What fencers, coaches, spectators see on the larger display is simply a mirror of what the ref has on their phone's display. It's in a tall, narrow format, which looks a little odd, and you see the App's UI controls, but hey - you get the scores, time, period and cards displayed to everyone.

    Perhaps this quick hack would be useful to those wanting score/time/card display on a strip for finals or for a team match until JJ or someone devises a better solution.

    Eventually, it would be cool if Riposte or some similar referee App could send data to a box or cheap tablet (e.g. a $45 8" Kindle Fire) dedicated to score and time display, with the receiver putting things in a more pleasing layout. But that will take time and code.


     
  18. Privateer

    Privateer Podium

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    side note - if you're using vsm and the remote app, you can connect to any strip in use in a view only mode. there's some way to clone to the main display off to another networked device, but I don't have experience in how to do it.
     
  19. Mergs

    Mergs Podium

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    Still looking for the interface or FT app that can send the data to FT directly.
     
  20. mfp

    mfp Podium

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