The failure in Charlotte was due to a lack of protection from outside sources of energy. We will never know the exact source that overloaded a sensitive internal computer circuit. We proved that the same circuit on both the Primary and Backup trees was damaged. The wiring attached to the “start button” most likely acted as an antenna and conducted energy from an external source to the internal computer and overloaded a 3.3-volt input, damaging its ability to function.

The SCCA should recognize Robert Chrismas and his team for everything they accomplished despite the ProSolo software and hardware working against them at every level possible. It wasn’t easy. It was borderline impossible. Yet, they got it done.

Mike Cobb and Heyward Wagner tasked the ProSolo Reset Team (PSRT) to evaluate ProSolo as a system (Start Tree, Timing and Scoring Software, Computer Network). The PSRT was given the resources necessary to set up two testing labs, open the hood, understand the issues, make the necessary changes, and get to an operational state without outside interference. There was no singular root cause for the issues that plagued ProSolo. It was the combination of parts, software, and hardware all supplied by different vendors over a long period of time.

Starting with the Bristol Event, the PSRT began the process of identifying the root cause of system issues that did not present in lab testing. Under the right circumstances and combination of conditions, the system would make mistakes. The key to solving the issues was the comprehensive logging system we built to record all data going into and coming out of the system at an event.

This allowed the team to:

  1. Record the error
  2. Identify the time the error occurred down to the millisecond
  3. Identify the source of the error
    1. Timing Hardware
    2. Network Hardware
    3. Timing Software
  4. Reproduce the error
  5. Solve the issue

Each event moved us closer to operational excellence and our goal of a perfect event. The end of the 2021 Season brought many upgrades, comprehensive knowledge of what issues remained, and a plan for 2022.

Major changes for 2022 include:

  1. Start Tree
    1. Ruggedized to prevent the type of failure that occurred at Charlotte 2021
    2. Adjusted and verified to +/- .000125 second accuracy and repeatability
    3. Numerous software changes to improve operations
  2. Event Trailer
    1. New network hardware and wiring
    2. Permanent installation of event wiring (no setup or breakdown required)
    3. Minimized timing gear setup
    4. Duplicate timing software setup (Primary / Backup)
    5. Event data logging adding a third layer of backup
    6. Camera System
    7. Upgraded FM transmission antenna system
    8. Upgraded the wireless microphone system antennas
    9. Upgraded the internet connection antennas
  3. Software
    1. Verified and corrected any data path issues coming from the Timing System
    2. Verified and corrected helmet scanning issues
      1. Upgraded to a 2-dimensional barcode
    3. Verified and corrected the current audit system
    4. Changed software workflow to minimize and prevent operator error when possible
    5. Created completely independent duplicate of timing software to run as a backup to the primary system
    6. Added ProSolo 1 functionality allowing more site options
  4. Timing Hardware
    1. Created laser alignment rigs for the trip beams
    2. Revised antenna cabling for cellular connectivity
    3. Updated the timing system batteries to Lithium-Ion rechargeable eliminating disposables
    4. Disassembled the emitting and receiving heads and adjusted alignment of electronic sensors
    5. Documented all the menu settings associated with Timing hardware
  5. Operational Changes
    1. Added full dress rehearsal “practice starts” on Friday of each event
      1. Final testing of the equipment
      2. Operational experience for the Timing Team

Highlights from the past year:

  • April 6, 2021 - Announcement that Brian Conners would head the PRST.
  • April 15, 2021 - The first of many detailed updates given to membership. Transparency and communication are a top priority.
    • The PSRT provided weekly detailed updates to senior management for the balance of 2021 to keep them informed of progress and roadblocks.
  • April 2021 - The PSRT created test labs in Philadelphia and Ohio to test the software.
    • Eventually, the Ohio lab was outfitted with a near-exact duplicate of the ProSolo system including the timing hardware and tree hardware.
  • May 11, 2021 - The PSRT assembled in Toledo, Ohio with all the ProSolo equipment to test and validate operations.
  • May 19, 2021 - The PSRT made a member announcement based on the result from the Toledo test we would target Bristol, TN and the July 4 weekend for our “Dress Rehearsal” for ProSolo.
  • June 2, 2021 - The PSRT conducted more testing in Peru, IN with the help of regional volunteers to run cars through the system. Numerous hardware and software changes had to be validated.
  • June 3, 2021 - Member announcement regarding the June 2nd test. Registration for the Bristol event was scheduled.
  • July 14, 2021 - Bristol Event Debrief to the membership detailing the issues at the event.
  • August 16, 2021 - Toledo and Oscoda Event Debrief to the membership.
  • November 22, 2021 - ProSolo Finale and South Texas Event Debrief to the membership.
  • February 15, 2022 - The PSRT made a member announcement on the major upgrades for 2022 and what to expect based on the changes to equipment.
  • April 4, 2022 - The PSRT made a member announcement updating the members on the South Texas Pro.

The Charlotte ProSolo was the first event the PSRT has no software or hardware changes based on the prior events. We will continue updating and “training” our competitors on how things work. There are improvements that are planned for implementation during the 2022 season.

  1. Updated Database structure to allow simplified sharing for the event software.
  2. Improvements to the tree to incorporate new sensors and improve member experience.
  3. We hope to demonstrate a revised Super Challenge that will cut the time by 50% and create a more engaged competitor/member experience borrowing from Formula 1 style qualifying.

The Charlotte ProSolo, New Jersey ProSolo, and Spring National ProSolo were all successful events with no major issues from the ProSolo system.