31 January 2021

Notes from the I.T. Department - Racecar Edition

I've talked about working on the racecar before and I know it's not everyone's interest.  Bear with me.

I have always helped with the racecar, in varying capacities.  Some of it simple, some of it not.  What's changed in the last few years is the introduction of computers and data.  What was before mostly Kevin's domain has now grown into mine.  Racecar Nerdery, thy time has arrived.

Installing a G-Force sensor

We now have two racecar "computers"...naming them that for simplicity sake...that the racecar uses. One gives us data to measure various performance aspects and assure safety.  The other is used to actually make adjustments.  I'm comfortable with the first one and learning with the second.

Our friend is on the cell phone, helping us do the initial set-up

In addition, I video each pass the car makes.  These videos are cool because: social media. However, they are also used as tuning tools.  These videos can be just as useful as the computers.  These, too, are stored on the racecar laptop.

We also have analog data, which is a nerd way to say we use a handwritten logbook.  Eventually, the two will be combined and everything will be stored on a laptop.  I'm not quite there yet. There is still a little bit of Luddite in me that draws comfort in having something tangible to refer to.

Log book and the time slip that we derive the data from

So, I help while actually racing to gather the data and save it.  Then once home, I make sure that everything is documented and backed up appropriately.


With all of that, I'm the go-to for the laptop, data, tech stuff.  We have two friends that we can ask for help but mostly it's on me. Because it is well established that I am the I.T. Department for all the things.

This is where I get to do the "I told you so" and "I am right" dance.  Kevin had made some changes to the car; changes that included complicated wiring and aforementioned tuning computer.  This created a little gremlin that he couldn't chase down.  Little as in, a warning light wouldn't light properly.

Through process of elimination, or so he thought, he decided it was the newly installed tuning program.  He requested my assistance to come run the program to see if it "threw any codes".  This means that when the program boots, any error codes will appear to let us know there were issues.   

And it threw codes.  But nothing that would affect that light.  Next, we examine the settings for this particular light.  It is set to light at "100%" so in my head, this ends that category of investigation.  Because: there is no greater value than 100%.  Parameters for the light to work are also correct.

This where I say, trying not to laugh, "This is now a You problem and not a Me problem."  As you just probably imagined, that did not land well.  I then quietly returned to whatever it was I was doing in the house.  

This is also where I say: we differ in how we approach problems.  I tend to start with the simple (Hello, Occam's Razor) and ask the dumb, obvious questions.  Someone else, who isn't me, tends to do the opposite of that.  I have already voiced this hypothesis to him.  "It has to be something dumb." To no avail.  

About a half-hour later, Kevin comes into the house. Sheepish.  At this point, I'd wager that he'd rather eat his hair than admit I was correct.  So I am practicing my best listening and not reacting skills.

It was a simple crossed-wire.  

Now, in his defense, it was a new specialty light where it Had To Be wired a specific way. Whereas with the replaced light did not. Most lights do not.  But this one did.

Because it's the holidays, I only smiled and was encouraging.  In my head, however, was copious amounts of the I Told You So dance.  Don't question the Nerds ability.

No comments: