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FinishLynx 12.00 & the Introduction of VeriLynx

November 2021 – Taking effect November 1, 2021, World Athletics (WA) Technical Rule 30.1.1 states that horizontal jump take-off failures are re-defined to include any breaking of the vertical plane of the take-off line. In addition, Rule 29.5 strongly encourages judges to use video, or other technology, to assist in the decision process.

As a response, the latest version of FinishLynx (FL 12.00) includes a new profile called VeriLynx. This profile is customized to support the use of IdentiLynx cameras for video review of field events. Read below to find out more about VeriLynx and other updates included in FinishLynx 12.00. The latest version of FinishLynx can be downloaded from our FinishLynx Software page.


Profiles

FinishLynx supports the concept of profiles. A profile can be created and used to store configuration and camera settings, as well as an associated language file or splash screen. When a profile is used, all of the settings are saved to the current profile when FinishLynx is closed, and re-loaded the next time FinishLynx is started. This makes it easy to switch from one application to the next (such as Track to Cross Country and back, for example).

VeriLynx Profile

Field Event Video Verification

FinishLynx includes the VeriLynx profile. This profile is customized to support the use of IdentiLynx cameras for video review of field events, such as the verification of take-off fouls in the Long or Triple Jump events. Align the IdentiLynx camera with the take-off board, load the field event start list, capture, verify, and timestamp every attempt. VeriLynx will save all images to disk in real-time (no image loss) and allow you to quickly review every attempt for every athlete, providing proof in case of a foul. 

VeriLynx also has the option of exporting a JPEG of each attempt automatically when marking a frame, and keeping multiple IdentiLynx image panes synchronized (time tracking) to view multiple angles.

VeriLynx Profile Screenshot
  • Pre-configured profile available with standard FinishLynx installation giving a customized user interface for field events
  • Ability to load field events from the field event schedule file (fldlynx.sch)
  • Ability to view a vertical line in alignment mode for IdentiLynx cameras to facilitate camera alignment with the take-off board (see image above)
  • Ability to capture and review all attempts from a flight into the same FinishLynx event
  • Ability to set the ACM active area so it is limited to the image’s vertical area of the take-off board
  • Ability to mark/log attempts with the time of day to allow quick review of all attempts for each athlete during or after the event
  • Ability to display the attempt number of each attempt in the Results Zone and on the image using Line Labels
  • Ability to automatically export an image (jpg) when an attempt is marked/logged
  • Ability to time track (scrolling through an image of one camera refreshes the other image panes with the equivalent frame) between images of multiple cameras to easily review different angles, including the option of using a front-facing camera to identify the athlete

LapTime & Scoreboard Status

LapTime objects now show the connection status in the Status bar.

In addition to existing states (not loaded, not running, running), the Status in the object box for the LapTime and Scoreboard Options tabs can now show Not Connected if the TCP connections are not connected, but otherwise loaded and configured. 

Additionally, there have been updates made to scoreboard scripts, Remote Control Commands, and the Lynx Data Port (LDP) Plug-in, plus Advanced Other Settings. 


Downloads & Resources

If you require additional support, please contact Tech Support.

Lynx Support Resources & Where to Find Them

Support Resources Feature Image
For many Lynx users, timing is a seasonal job that comes and goes. Some of our service providers are busy timing events year-round, but we know that many others, including high school and college customers, put their systems in storage between seasons. Because of this, we want to share some resources that will help get your FinishLynx system and operators working as efficiently as possible. Lynx offers an array of online tools that can benefit the novice to the pro timer.

FinishLynx Sports Timers Facebook Group

The FinishLynx Sports Timers Facebook group was started in the hopes of giving FinishLynx operators a space to network and share their questions and timing photos. Over the years, it has grown to over 1,400 active members who post regularly. We love seeing the community grow and engage with one another to help solve problems and brag about their timing setups. When you join, be sure to introduce yourself and let others see your best “Office of the Day” photo!

Join the FinishLynx Sports Timers Group Today


Lynx YouTube Channel

The Tech Support team here at Lynx has been working hard over the years to provide FinishLynx operators with helpful video content to aid in system setup and operation. To help find what you’re looking for, click on the ‘Playlists’ tab to see videos broken down into categories. Some of the popular playlists include Video Release NotesNew User FinishLynx Timing System Setup and Advanced Operation of FinishLynx. Be sure to also subscribe to the Lynx YouTube channel to be notified when new videos are added.


Online Help Manual

This online support tool was created to act as a searchable FinishLynx Operator’s Manual combined with years of software release notes. Support videos have been integrated into the relevant sections for added clarity, and other features include the ability to print a page that’s particularly helpful, search hundreds of informational pages at once for exactly what you’re looking for, and use it across all devices as it’s also mobile-friendly. This resource is updated with each new software release or new features/products.

Benefits of the new online operator’s manual:

  • Up-to-Date: It will constantly be updated with the latest release notes, technology, and software information — unlike the current PDF version of the FinishLynx manual which is a few years old at this point.
  • Searchable: The key feature of this user manual is that it’s a search engine of sorts for FinishLynx information. You’ll no longer need to look through page after page for the answers you’re trying to find.
  • Mobile-Friendly: Have a question during your meet? Pull up the Online Help Manual to quickly find your solution. Use this resource across all of your devices.

Find the Online Help Manual Here


Guides & Support Documents

Product Quick-Start Guides (QSGs) are designed to provide simple, step-by-step directions for setting up your FinishLynx timing system. These setup guides are included with every product and system we ship. But you can also view and download them at any time. The guides vary by sport, competition level, and product – so be sure to select the QSG that best fits your system.

Visit the File Library for a full list of product manuals, release notes, quick-start guides (QSGs), and other support documents that may be useful to FinishLynx operators. You will also find direct download links for various software and firmware applications.


Other Helpful Links


Email & Phone

If you need to reach out to Lynx Technical Support, please send an email to support@finishlynx.com or give us a call at 978-556-9780.

Tips for Wave Starts (Time Trial Mode)

Since the release of the wave start feature in FinishLynx when using the Time Trial mode, we have received a few questions for which the answers could serve many users. Here are some advanced tips for wave starts.

Note – These tips assume FinishLynx 11.20 is used.

How do I stop FinishLynx from switching the running time to the next start after I evaluate a result?

TT Advance Setting

The default configuration has an auto-advance feature to simplify operations in a traditional trial. To disable (or customize) this behavior:

  1. Hold Ctrl+Shift and go to File|Options…
  2. The Other Settings dialog opens.
  3. Expand Event.
  4. Expand Starts.
  5. Select TTAdvance.
  6. Set the value to 0 (disabled).

How do I avoid having the cumulative split time change to time of day when evaluating the finish from the image?

Create Splits

When a laptime device is used in Time Trial mode and a time is evaluated from the image, FinishLynx needs to know explicitly that this should also be considered a From Image split. The easiest solution is to enable the CreateSplits function.

  1. Hold Ctrl+Shift and go to File|Options…
  2. The Other Settings dialog opens.
  3. Expand LapTime.
  4. Select CreateSplit.
  5. Set the value to 1 (ON).

How do I enable the start mask so it is applied to all waves (not just the first)?

By default, FinishLynx will assign laptime events to all participants as soon as one start exists. If the participant’s start key value does not exist when a laptime event is received, it will fall back to the first available start to establish a time.TT Start Mode

For the start mask to be applied, the TTStartMode must be set to Key Field only.

  1. Hold Ctrl+Shift and go to File|Options…
  2. The Other Settings dialog opens.
  3. Expand Event.
  4. Expand Results.
  5. Select TTStartMode.
  6. Set the value to 2 (key field only).

In such a case, FinishLynx will not find an associated start time and simply create a results line without laptime data in the Results Zone. By default, the first laptime event received in such a case is marked as deleted by remains available in the Edit Split… dialog. To save all received laptime events as deleted, modify the AddSplitCtrl option.

Add Split Ctrl

  1. Hold Ctrl+Shift and go to File|Options…
  2. The Other Settings dialog opens.
  3. Expand LapTime.
  4. Select AddSplitCtrl.
  5. Set the value to 2 (keep all start masked).

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See the video on using Time Trial for Wave Starts here.

To contact technical support, please send an email to support@finishlynx.com or give us a call at 978-556-9780.

Try These FinishLynx LapTime Settings To Improve Your Cross Country Results

Cross-country season is upon us and experienced timers always find ways to improve their operations. Here are some tips that may save a few clicks or speed up the results generation process. Are there any other tips worth sharing?

Line Labels

When using the combination of an EtherLynx camera, an IdentiLynx camera and a LapTime device, try activating Line Labels to help with the verification of results. This can make it easier to quickly scroll through the image and confirm all chips have been received and that the order is correct.

Find detailed instructions in our Online Manual – Overlay Section.

Overlay Line Labels in FinishLynx

FillInTime – Advanced Settings

By default, the Time field will only populate when the photo-finish image is evaluated, if using a camera and a LapTime device. It is possible to configure FinishLynx so that the cumulative time from a LapTime device is used to populate the Time field when the number of laps changes from 1 to 0 by changing FillInTime to Always (instead of only when Hardware is set to None).

To set the FillInTime to Always:

  1. Hold CTRL+SHIFT and click File | Options…
  2. Expand LapTime.
  3. Select FillInTime.
  4. Set the value to 2.

TotalLaps – Advanced Settings

When using a LapTime device, it is important to set the number of laps in the Event window before any LapTime data is received, especially if the FillinTime feature is being used. By default, the total number of laps is set to 0, but this can be modified so that a new event is created with a specific number of laps to go.

To set the default value for Laps to go:

  1. Hold CTRL+SHIFT and click File | Options…
  2. Expand LapTime.
  3. Select TotalLaps.
  4. Enter the number of laps for the next race.

*For races where the LapTime device is used for the finish only, set the value to 1.

TrackSelection – Advanced Settings

FinishLynx will track the selected result line in the Result Zone whenever it moves in the list. This is convenient when evaluating the finish, since the most recently evaluated result is selected and easy to find.

However, if you scroll the Results Zone data to the end to see if all athletes have crossed the latest split point during a multi-split race, it will always jump back to show the currently selected line whenever new data is received.

To avoid this, turn off the TrackSelection feature:

  1. Hold Ctrl–Shift and click File | Options…
  2. Expand Event.
  3. Expand Results.
  4. Select TrackSelection.
  5. Set the value to 0.

Max results on scoreboard

Do you want your scoreboard or LED display to only scroll through the top 30 places for a race, instead of all 300 participants? You can easily set a max value of results to page through in the Scoreboard Options.

To limit the paging to a maximum number of finishers:

  1. Click Scoreboard | Options…
  2. Select the correct scoreboard object.
  3. Enter the desired value for Max (Results: section).

FinishLynx scoreboard options max results

IdentiLynx Buffer

Refer to this previous blog post to learn how to increase the IdentiLynx buffer to avoid dropped frames. Note that the next version of FinishLynx will set the default value for CacheSize to 100MB.

Map Files

When the transponder ID does not match the results key (ie. the bib number), a map file is required to link the transponders to athletes. A map file is a simple text file that includes each athlete’s bib number and transponder ID, separated by a comma. A sample map file called LapTimeMap.txt is also saved to C:\Lynx folder when FinishLynx is installed.

There are multiple ways to create a map file. It can be done by hand in Notepad or Excel. It can also be done by scanning transponders in order and using the corresponding *.lif as demonstrated in this video tutorial (this video is specific to IPICO, but the same principle can apply to all systems). Different third-party systems may also have their own way to create it.

Tip: Consider getting a short range antenna compatible with your laptime system, such as the IPICO Registration Reader or Impinj Mini-Guardrail Indoor Antenna, to simplify this process. For UHF systems, it may be worth investing in a printer to encode the tags yourself and avoid using a map file all together.

Add the FinishLynx XC Triad

Combine the power of FinishLynx photo-finish, RFID chips, and IdentiLynx video for a complete Cross Country meet timing system. Learn more about the XC Timing Triad here

Prevent Dropped IdentiLynx Frames with Increased Buffer Size & Other Tips

The value of an IdentiLynx full-frame video camera for identifying participants in a race is indisputable. But finding out that the few seconds of critical image is missing can be extremely frustrating. In this blog post, we try to understand what can lead to lost frames from an IdentiLynx camera and explore some possible solutions in the FinishLynx software. 

Causes

Low Network Throughput

Ethernet cables and network switches have an impact on the amount of data moved from the IdentiLynx camera to the FinishLynx software. To transfer high resolution images at a high frame rate, shielded cat6 cables and a gigabit switch will improve the performance.

Slow Disk Speed

FinishLynx writes image data to the hard disk in real-time. Again, to transfer high resolution images at a high frame rate, a fast hard disk such as a 7200 rpm hard drive, or even better, a solid-state drive (SSD) will also improve performance. Alternatively, increasing the IdentiLynx buffer size (continue reading below) will also help reduce the risk of lost frames.

FinishLynx User Interaction & LapTime Events

When a FinishLynx operator interacts with the application to scroll through an image, move the hash-line, or enter data into the Results Zone for example, FinishLynx uses the computer’s memory (RAM) to store the new IdentiLynx image until the user action is completed.

The percentage of allocated memory currently used is displayed at the bottom right, in the Status Zone. If the buffer reaches 100%, then any new image is lost because there is nowhere to store it.

In addition, a combination of many LapTime events and a long results list can cause FinishLynx to spend a lot of time re-sorting and re-drawing the results area leading to a full buffer.

Status Zone
FinishLynx Status Zone

 

Solutions

Buffer Size

FinishLynx buffer cache sizeThe size of the buffer, the available amount of data that FinishLynx will reserve in memory (RAM) for IdentiLynx cameras, is defined by the following Other Setting:

  • Hardware\Ethernet\IdentiLynx\CacheSize

What Size?

The allowable CacheSize is controlled and limited by Windows when allocating memory (RAM).

  • Recommended value: 100MB (100000000 bytes)
  • Max value: 500MB (500000000 bytes)

[box type=”alert” style=”rounded” border=”full”]NOTE: If the value is too high and Windows does not allow FinishLynx to use the configured CacheSize value, the IdentiLynx camera will fail to boot and will not appear in the Hardware Control window.[/box] 

To change the Hardware\Ethernet\IdentiLynx\CacheSize:

  1. Hold CtrlShift and click File | Options
  2. Expand Hardware
  3. Expand Ethernet
  4. Expand IdentiLynx
  5. Select CacheSize
  6. Enter the number of bytes

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Limit User Interaction

Another way to reduce the risk of losing image frames for any camera is to be conscious of the impact of specific operations on how FinishLynx deals with new image.

For example, avoiding or limiting the following actions will help:

  • Holding mouse buttons to use scroll bars or move the hash line.
  • Clicking a cell in the Results Zone to edit text.

Reduce the Leader and Trailer

The Leader and Trailer value in the Camera Settings of IdentiLynx cameras adds a number of frames at the beginning and end of each time image is captured. By reducing this value, you reduce the amount of data being requested by the camera. Less data means less chances for the buffer to fill during user interactions.

EtherLynx Cameras

EtherLynx cameras also have available buffer to store new images, but this memory is located in the camera itself. The amount is fixed and varies per camera model.


Additional Resources

  1. Contact Technical Support 
  2. FinishLynx Online Help Manual – IdentiLynx
  3. Basic IdentiLynx Setup Video

 

 

FinishLynx 10.03 Software Release

June 21, 2017 – Version 10.03 of the FinishLynx photo-finish timing software is now available and we encourage all Lynx timers to update their software immediately. FinishLynx 10.03 has many new features, including: 

  • RadioLynx performance indicator – displays packet number of the last wireless start signal received
  • LapTime offset – easily syncs laptime device with the official FinishLynx time
  • New scoreboard scripts for Daktronics, Lynx Laptime, and Video Display Module displays
  • Updated German language file
  • New Offline Help Files include a local version of the help.finishlynx.com manual for offline support in (help|contents)
  • Vision PRO Wide Pixels Mode available in 50%, 33%, and 25%
  • Vision PRO Black Levels control the brightness of the darkest portion of the image. Adjusting from zero affects the dynamic range and color saturation
  • F-Mount remote focus control  – New F-mount adapters for Vision PRO cameras offer remote focus control for Nikon lenses with a built-in focus motor
  • New Advanced FinishLynx features (see release notes)
  • Find the finish line feature re-added due to customer demand. YMMV.

See below for a list of the all the relevant downloads. View the release notes PDF and video for more information about each feature. 

FinishLynx 10.03 Software Installer & Help Files

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FinishLynx 10.03 PDF Release Notes

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FinishLynx 10.03 Video Release Notes

FinishLynx File and Directory Best Practices

In a previous blog post, we discussed meet management file formats, FinishLynx software formats, and meet management integration as a way to understand how FinishLynx communicates with a meet management program. This post addresses the best practices of data management as it relates to the files saved by FinishLynx. 

FinishLynx will save three (3) types of files with each event run:

  1. LIF File: Results file used by meet management
  2. .EVT File: FinishLynx event file — one file is created for each race
  3. .io1 (.io2) Files: Camera files  that are associated with each specific .evt file

All three file types are typically named by the event, round, and heat numbers (i.e. 4-1-1). This means that from one meet to another, there will be multiple files with the same name that may overwrite one another. It’s also possible that results from the LIF files of previous meets may be pulled into meet management software if that data is not managed. 

This issue is easily solved by creating a sub-folder in the shared directory for each meet:

  • One folder should be saved to the shared input/output directory on the meet management computer. 
  • The other folder should be a sub-folder of the event directory saved on the FinishLynx computer. 

Folders can be named with the meet name, date, or both and should be created within a shared directory. Simply point your input/output directories and event directories to the new folders for each meet.

Lynx Meet Files

Event Directory Settings:

Event Directory Settings

 

Database Settings:

Database Settings

 

As always, if you have additional questions please feel free to contact technical support


 

FinishLynx File Formats for Meet Management Integration

Learn More About Lynx File Formats & Extensions

When using FinishLynx with a meet management program, there are a number of files that are created that allow one program to communicate with the other.  It can be helpful to understand what these files are, the purpose they serve, and where to find them. In general, the files are created in one of two places; either FinishLynx or the meet management software.

Meet Management File Formats

Meet Management files are used to create a schedule in FinishLynx and populate each event with start lists/entries. These files include:

.PPL File – a list of each competitor and their ID/Bib number (if used)
.SCH File – a list of each event, round and heat in the schedule
.EVT (Classic Event Log) – a list of each event, round, and heat with the ID, lane assignment, and name of each athlete entered. It may also contain other relevant information including affiliation. Open with a text editor like Notepad to view the contents.

FinishLynx Software Formats

Files produced by FinishLynx include:

.LIF File – This file contains the results of each event, round, and heat in the following comma-separated format: 

Place, ID, lane, last name, first name, affiliation, <time>, license, <delta time>, <ReacTime>, <splits>, time trial start time, user 1, user 2, user 3

This file is used by meet management software to populate results and score the meet. This simple text-based data format can then be shared across the network with race scoring programs or uploaded to the web and formatted for live results. Below is a screenshot of a .LIF file:

FinishLynx .LIF file screenshot
FinishLynx .LIF file screenshot

 

Meet Management Software Integration

To ensure successful integration of the two software programs, these files must be saved to a shared folder. In FinishLynx, set your input and output directory to that folder under the Database | Options

FinishLynx database options dialog box
Finishlynx Software Database Options Dialog Box

 

It is recommended to save these files to the meet management computer (if using more than one computer) as they are utilized by the meet management software. 

FinishLynx creates other files that should be saved to the capture computer as they can only be accessed by the FinishLynx program and may need to be reviewed after the meet is over.  These include the event files (Boys 3000.evn) and associated camera files (Boys 3000.io1). 

Create a folder on the C: drive and set the Event Directory to this location under the Event | Options. It is recommended that you create a new folder for each meet.

Finishlynx event options dialog box
Finishlynx Software Event Options Dialog Box

 

Have some specific questions about connecting FinishLynx with your meet management software? Contact tech support now

Remote Positioner Motor Home Repair Guide

The remote positioner for Lynx photo-finish cameras is a popular add-on that allows for the remote adjustment of cameras from within the FinishLynx software. The remote positioner contains small motors that enable the camera to tilt, swivel, or pan while mounted atop a tripod. In some cases—especially during tight storage—a motor can be broken and will require repair. If you have a broken positioner motor, Lynx will send you the replacement and you can complete the repair at your own convenience. Rather than sending your positioner back to Lynx, you can save time and money by replacing the motor(s) yourself. The process is very straightforward. After receiving your replacement motors, please follow the steps below. 

To begin, find yourself a work area that is flat, clutter-free, and well-lit. 

Necessary Tools:

  • 1/4″ socket driver
  • 3/16″ socket driver
  • Medium Phillips head screwdriver

Note: Some older Positioners will require a 5/16″ socket driver as larger nuts were previously used. 

If you’re only replacing the Pan Motor, skip steps 5-6, 8. 

Step 1: Turn the Positioner so the back legs are closest to you. Remote Positioner

Step 2: Begin by removing the 2 short screws from the back legs of the mounting plate.

  • Remove the 2 long screws from the front legs of the mounting plate and remove the plate. 
    Remote Positioner Step 2

Step 3: Remove the 4 screws from the base of the Positioner.Remote Positioner Step 3

Step 4: Flip the Positioner over and remove the bottom plate. Unplug the 3 cables. 

Remote Positioner Step 4

Step 5: Using the 3/16″ socket driver, remove the 4 jack screws from the sides of the serial plugs.Remote Positioner Step 5

Step 6: Using the 1/4″ socket, remove the 2 nuts from the circuit board; remove the board by pulling up and away.

Remote Positioner Step 6

Step 7: Remove the nuts and washers from any broken motors. Transfer the stand to the new motor. 

  1. Replace the old motor with the new motor with the wires pointed inward. Remote Positioner Step 7
  2. Replace the washers and tighten the nuts.Remote Positioner Step 7b

Step 8: Replace the circuit board.

  1. Tighten the nuts. (The motor mount nut may need to be adjusted for the board to fit.)
  2. Tighten the jack screws. (Over-tightening may cause the screws to break.)

Step 9: Plug the motors into the board taking note of the labels and motor positions — right, left, pan

Also keep in mind that the motors are upside down and therefore reversed.

Remote Positioner Step 9

Step 10: Replace the bottom plate with the pan motor to the back.

Step 11: Flip the Positioner over and tighten the 4 screws on the base.

  1. Tighten the two long screws on the front legs of the mounting plate.
  2. Tighten the two short screws on the back legs of the mounting plate. 

 

If you need any additional help, please contact tech support: 978-556-9780 or support@finishlynx.com

Fix Vision Camera Ethernet Issues on Windows 10

Since the upgrade to Windows 10, many users have reported issues with the ability of the Vision camera to load to FinishLynx. Often, users will see the camera load only to have it red-line within moments.

A simple fix to the power management settings of the Ethernet port can solve this issue:

  1. Navigate to the Control Panel
  2. Open Device Manager
  3. Find the Ethernet Adapter (also possibly listed as Realtek Family Controller, Local Area Network etc.)
  4. Right click and select PropertiesDevice Manager Screenshot
  5. Select the Power Management tab
  6. Un-check the box that says “Allow the computer to turn of this device…”Power Management Tab
  7. Close the windows. Restart FinishLynx, power cycle the camera and attempt to load the cameras

 

If you continue to experience issues, please contact Lynx technical support at 978-556-9780 or by emailing support@finishlynx.com.[hr_invisible]