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FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

We have been providing technical support for FinishLynx products and accessories for over two decades now. This FAQ page is designed to address some of the more common questions that our tech support team has received over the years. If you’re looking for more detailed information on how to setup your timing system, head on over to our Quick-Start Guides section and our Support Videos section. And as always, you can contact our tech support team directly with any questions.

Purchasing FinishLynx

Lynx offers remote video training for new FinishLynx users at an additional cost. We are also happy to connect you with local service providers in your area who can offer in-person training if that’s preferred. Please submit your information using the Training Contact Form and a member of the Lynx staff will contact you shortly. You can also email: support@finishlynx.com Want to learn more or request a training quote? Submit a Training Contact Form now and we will be in touch.

Windows Operating System 

All FinishLynx software and plug-ins are developed for the Windows operating system. Therefore, all computers used by FinishLynx operators must be running some version of Windows. FinishLynx is not compatible with Apple, iOS, Android, or Linux operating systems. We don’t recommend you try to port the FinishLynx software to another operating system.  FinishLynx is compatible with all modern versions of Windows, including: 98, Me, NT4, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8+, 10, and 11. If you plan to use FinishLynx with Windows 8, please review the Windows 8 compatibility information provided here. 

Minimum Computer Specifications 

Generally, any Windows-based computer purchased in the last 10+ years should be powerful enough to run FinishLynx, LynxPad, and all other Lynx software. The more RAM and hard drive space it has, the easier it will be to capture large events. See the table below for our minimum and recommended computer specs.   
Computer Specification  Minimum  Recommended 
Operating System  Windows 98 or later  Windows 10 or later 
Processor Speed  500 MHz  2 GHz Core i7 or higher 
RAM  512 MB  8 GB or higher 
Storage 16 GB HD 512 GB SSD or higher 
Screen Resolution  800 x 600  1920 x 1080 or higher 
Network Card  10/100 Ethernet  10/100/1000 Ethernet (RJ45 port)
USB  1  2+ 
Computer Features Number Pad Matte Screen
 If you require additional technical support, please send an email to support@finishlynx.com or call 978-556-9780.  

If you’re interested in learning the price of a specific product, please give us a call at (978) 556-9780 or send an email to:
US Domestic Sales domsales@finishlynx.com
International Sales intlsales@finishlynx.com
 

Lynx offers a number of packaged solutions tailored to different sports, configurations, and budget levels. You can find the right package for your organization by visiting our Packages section. Are you exploring FinishLynx for a US high school track & field program or installation? We have Scholastic, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond Packages available – each representing considerable cost savings over buying the components individually. Contact us for more details
Camera Setup (Setup, Alignment, Booting)

The Remote lens will say TV Zoom Lens on the inside front rim of the lens casing.  The lens is a standard 12.5 to 75 mm lens with a rectangular enclosure which holds three little motors controlled through the serial port so the Zoom, Focus and Iris can be adjusted remotely.  This lens is a C-mount lens. The black cable with the 9 pin female connector will connect to the Remote Port on the back of the camera, or if using a Remote Positioner, it will connect to one of the serial ports on the Remote Positioner. There is an additional cable that will connect from the Remote Positioner to the Remote Port on the back of the camera. If you have a Through-Lens Viewer, where you can look through an eyepiece to align the camera on the finish line, then it will have a manual F-mount lens.  If there is a Serial Port on the side of the Through-Lens Viewer, then the iris can be controlled remotely by connecting the Remote Port on the back of the camera to the Serial Port on the Through-Lens Viewer. Keywords:  lens, F-mount, C-mount, remote

The EtherLynx Vision camera offers an optional Electronic Level feature which displays an indicator inside the FinishLynx software to show whether or not the camera is level. Adjust the Vision camera’s swivel until Electronic Level indicator shows green and 0.0 degrees. The Electronic Level indicates how many degrees the camera is away from being perfectly horizontal (level with the ground). Watch the tutorial here

The orange boot light indicates the camera is waiting for connection from the computer. In most cases, the WiFi adapter or Firewall is on and preventing the camera from loading. See our blog post on this topic for the steps to follow when this happens.

The boot light on the 5L300 (EtherLynx Pro), 5L400 (Fusion), and 5L2000 (EtherLynx 2000+) is the indicator of boot sequence. The boot  light will flash red at first, then quickly flash amber-colored as the camera is booting. If there is a problem with the communication, then the boot light will flash amber, but in a slower sequence – about every second. Follow the instructions below to correct a communications problem:
  1. Check the static IP  192.168.0.5
  2. Check that the firewall is OFF
  3. Turn OFF any Anti-virus software
  4. DISABLE the Wireless card – this is not always necessary but a safe habit to keep
  5. Check that all cable connections are inserted all the way and secure
For Vision-series cameras, there is sometimes an orange blinking boot light which indicates the camera is waiting for connection from the computer. If this is the case, follow these steps.   Still have questions? Contact Tech Support here. Keywords:  Rx, light, connection, communication, camera, boot, power

The camera is assigned an IP address by the computer upon booting. The IP address is the next one in sequence with that computer. If the camera does not boot, it will not be assigned an IP address and therefore cannot be pinged. If you want to verify the IP address of the camera, you can open the Camera Settings window and the IP of the camera is listed under the Setup tab.  For ease of troubleshooting, we recommend using the standard IP protocol found in the Quick Start Guides. Keywords:  Camera, IP, settings, ping
Common Error Messages

Lynx has an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) portal that enables customers to submit and track hardware repairs remotely by following a custom ticket number. Customers can use the Lynx RMA portal to:
  • Submit product repair requests
  • Receive repair/return notifications
  • Track updates and repair notes
  • Receive notification of return shipping
Please visit the RMA Portal page to view the necessary steps and quick-start guide.

The orange boot light indicates the camera is waiting for connection from the computer. In most cases, the WiFi adapter or Firewall is on and preventing the camera from loading. See our blog post on this topic for the steps to follow when this happens.

Check the Camera Settings | Input tab, set Gun Sensor to None. This turns off the wired start connection. The wired start and wireless start are two separate connections in the system and are independent of each other. Check that the RadioLynx is configured correctly. Open the Camera Settings | RadioLynx tab and be sure the selected item matches the physical connection of the RadioLynx receiver (C-Box, camera back, radio port etc). If you need additional help, contact technical support.  Keywords:  armed, error, arming, Radiolynx, gun sensor

When the camera has not booted and the operator clicks on the Red Stop Sign in the upper left corner to access alignment mode, FinishLynx will display this error message.  It signifies that there is no camera available.  Make sure that the camera has booted and the camera information line appears across the top of the FinishLynx screen before attempting to open the Alignment Mode. The Hardware Control window should look similar to the image below before clicking on the Red Stop Sign to enter the alignment mode. Keywords:  error, aligning, camera, boot

“Capture button serial port unavailable; keyboard capture will be used.” This common error message can appear when starting your FinishLynx software. If you get this message and you’re using Auto Capture  but not the Capture Button, then no further action is required. You can proceed to running your meet as planned. If you are using the Capture Button and receive the message above, click here to learn what to do in that instance.
FinishLynx Software & Networking

Yes. All full-frame digital video cameras can be used with the VeriLynx profile. The VeriLynx camera is the recommended model and meets the minimum requirements.

Yes! Click on the link below to learn how to create splits with an EtherLynx camera by configuring the FinishLynx software and LapTime plug-in. The LapTime plug-in allows you to set the number of laps per race and evaluate the Lynx image on each lap to create split times for athletes. More info on the LapTime plug-in here. Or view the video here.

The Spacebar toggle for capture is a safety feature in case something is damaged or lost. It is not the best option for capturing because it is easy to be mistaken when it is off or on. Additionally, if you leave it on for an extended length of time, the excessive amount of image capture could bog down the computer. The Spacebar works differently than the capture button. When you first tap the Spacebar to toggle capture it turns on capture. You must tap the Spacebar again to turn off the capture. If you are constantly stopping and starting capture because a race is spread out, it is easy to become confused whether it’s on or off. This could result in capturing moments when there are no competitors finishing. If you go to File | Options and under the General tab, there is a dropdown for capture button and simply set it to Keyboard if you have to use the Spacebar to toggle capture. If there is no COM port available for the capture button, then the software will automatically default to keyboard capture. Key words:  capture, keyboard, spacebar, toggle

Overexposure which may be called “blown-out highlights” or “flared highlights” in photography discussions and may be due to brighter whites or reflective surfaces a bit like the White hip stickers with a black number imprinted on them. If there is overexposure in the image, then reducing the brightness value will help to even out the image exposure. If your camera is focused properly, you are using AGC and the gain value is between 70 and 90 then you can adjust the Brightness under camera settings to reduce this overexposure.
  1. Go to Camera Settings | Parameters where you will find Brightness listed next to AGC Parameters (if you use manual gain this setting does not apply)
  2. Reduce the value in increments of 5 until you find a good image from trials of capturing images.
  3. Be aware that this will change as the sun moves so don’t forget about it.
Underexposure where detail is lost to shadows and may be called “crushed shadows” or “crushed blacks” in photography discussions. If there is underexposure in the image, then reducing the Gamma value will help to bring out some of the detail. If your camera is focused properly and the gain value is between 70 and 90, then you can adjust the Gamma.
  1. Go to Camera Settings | Setup where you will find Gamma listed near the bottom (this will work when using AGC or Manual Gain).
  2. Make small adjustments in increments of .05 until you find a good image from trials of capturing images.
  3. Be aware that this will change as the sun moves so don’t forget about it.
To learn about additional factors that affect the quality of your FinishLynx images, click here.   Keywords: bright, dark, picture

FinishLynx photo-finish software allows users to program their own keyboard shortcuts or “hot-keys” to simplify some of the most common commands used during an event capture.  To access the hidden settings, while in FinishLynx click on File | Options… while holding down SHIFT + CTRL. This video demonstrates how to add custom keyboard shortcuts using the “Hidden Settings” menu inside FinishLynx. For a list of existing keyboard shortcuts, click here.
FieldLynx

Yes, this is possible with all displays but there is additional software (and sometimes equipment) required.  At a minimum, the Network COM Port (NCP) plug-in is required for the FinishLynx software. A SeriaLynx device may also be required. The NCP plug-in adds additional selections of Network (connect), Network (Listen) and Network (UDP) to the serial port dropdown in the Option menus so that an IP address and port can be utilized to send to a display board. The SeriaLynx is a piece of hardware that receives the Ethernet connection (wired or wireless) and converts the communication protocol from Ethernet (10baseT) to serial (RS232) so that displays with a serial connection can be utilized on the network also. The method used will depend on the scoreboard manufacturer and the infrastructure at the facility.  To explain the options and setup in greater detail, we have a Technical Support Guide on the web site. Keywords:  scoreboard, network, ethernet, NCP

If the Wind Gauge (WG) starts the countdown and takes a reading, check the following:
  1. Check the battery in the WG. A low battery may cause the failure. Try plugging the wind gauge into an AC source to determine if the device works with sufficient power.
  2. The USB to serial adapter may be the cause of the issue. On some Win7 computers the adapter will output commands but will not receive data. Try connecting the WG to the Camera C-Box or camera back serial connections.
If the countdown does not start on the WG, check your connections and setup in the Wind Options. Keywords:  Wind gauge, reading

COM port options are populated when FinishLynx is initially opened.  If the USB adapter is plugged in after FinishLynx is opened, then it will not appear. You must restart FinishLynx and the device will be listed as a COM port in the dropdown. If the COM port still does not appear in the dropdown, check the Device Manager found in Control Panel and verify the USB adapter is listed and working properly. The COM port number should be listed beside it in parenthesis if it is working properly. If the device is listed but has a small yield symbol next to it, there is a problem with the device or connection. In this case, follow these steps:
  1. Plug the device into a different USB port
  2. Reinstall the driver for the USB adapter
  3. Plug in the USB adapter and let the Windows OS recognize the device (a pop-up window will display that the “device is installed and working properly”)
If the device is not listed in the Device Manager, then follow steps 2 and 3 above. Another possible issue with the COM port listings in FinishLynx has developed due to changes in the technology. If the USB device is listed in Device Manager under Ports, then it is possible that a hidden setting may need to be changed in FinishLynx that was developed in version 8.5.
  1. Hold down Ctrl + Shift while in FinishLynx and go to File | Options
  2. A Hidden Settings window will open
  3. Click on the plus (+) sign next to SerialPort and select TypeMask
  4. Change the value to -1
  5. Close FinishLynx and restart to apply the new settings
+ \SerialPort\TypeMask now defaults to -1, which causes all types of COM ports to be listed. Keywords:  USB Adapter, COM port, Device Manager, Capture Button, driver, hidden settings

Each Access Point (AP) purchased from Lynx System Developers should be labeled with the pertinent information for your wireless setup. The IP address should be set in the 192.168.0.3x protocol. The SSID is typically set to “Lynx” and is the name you should see broadcast in the list of available networks. Each FieldLynx unit should have it’s own unique static IP in the same protocol as the AP.
  1. Ping the AP from one of the computers on the wired network
  2. Check the IP address of the FieldLynx device (192.168.0.3x)
  3. Search for available SSID “Lynx” with the wireless card
  4. Connect to the “Lynx” network
If some of the steps above are not working, you should have your equipment available and call technical support (+1 978-556-9780) so that they can help troubleshoot your equipment.  If the AP was purchased from another supplier and set up by the customer, please have the manual available because we may not be familiar with the AP you are using. FieldLynx is now running on the Windows OS. FieldLynx technology may be updated by purchasing Netbooks. The Netbooks provide a stronger and more reliable wireless network card. Netbooks also add the option to run field events on a wired network and contain USB ports to add direct connections to field even displays and wind gauges. Keywords:  FieldLynx, AP, Access Point, wireless, network

Usually this is because the driver was not initially installed or an old driver was used when updating to a new operating system (OS). Confirm that you have the appropriate driver for your device and Windows OS and then install the driver. You may have to uninstall the old driver if it is installed on the computer. You can find the current driver for the USB adapter we supply with FinishLynx packages on our web site (finishlynx.com). Plug the device into a USB port after driver is installed and then let Windows recognize the device. Windows 7 OS will usually prompt with a bubble in the bottom right showing that the device installed successfully and display the COM port number assigned. If you need to confirm the COM port number, this can be found in the Control Panel under Device Manager and listed under Ports. Key words: USB, adapter, COM port, driver, Device Manager
Accessories & Add-Ons

Yes! We have a simple step-by-step guide to repair the motor at home. If your positioner motor is broken, Lynx will send you a replacement which you can repair in the comfort of your own home, at your own convenience. Get the directions here: Remote Positioner Motor – Home Repair Guide

Yes, this is possible with all displays but there is additional software (and sometimes equipment) required.  At a minimum, the Network COM Port (NCP) plug-in is required for the FinishLynx software. A SeriaLynx device may also be required. The NCP plug-in adds additional selections of Network (connect), Network (Listen) and Network (UDP) to the serial port dropdown in the Option menus so that an IP address and port can be utilized to send to a display board. The SeriaLynx is a piece of hardware that receives the Ethernet connection (wired or wireless) and converts the communication protocol from Ethernet (10baseT) to serial (RS232) so that displays with a serial connection can be utilized on the network also. The method used will depend on the scoreboard manufacturer and the infrastructure at the facility.  To explain the options and setup in greater detail, we have a Technical Support Guide on the web site. Keywords:  scoreboard, network, ethernet, NCP

If the Wind Gauge (WG) starts the countdown and takes a reading, check the following:
  1. Check the battery in the WG. A low battery may cause the failure. Try plugging the wind gauge into an AC source to determine if the device works with sufficient power.
  2. The USB to serial adapter may be the cause of the issue. On some Win7 computers the adapter will output commands but will not receive data. Try connecting the WG to the Camera C-Box or camera back serial connections.
If the countdown does not start on the WG, check your connections and setup in the Wind Options. Keywords:  Wind gauge, reading

FinishLynx can export the IdentiLynx (IDL) video as an .avi file. There are many new features added to the IDL functions so you may also want to read some of the release notes so that your IDL is used to its full potential. View the PDF:[wpfilebase tag=file id=61 /] Steps to export video:
  1. Do not click in the IDL image or you will select a single pixel to export on each frame
  2.  If you want a specific area to export, you can left-click and hold, then drag a box around the image area you want exported
  3. Using the player controls at the top left of the image box, bring it to your start frame and select First and then drag it to your end frame and select End
  4. Go to Image | Export video
  5. View your IDL video in one of the media players to make sure you get the desired quality
Read the Release Notes on IDL features and discover the ability to add images (company logos) to the video frames or add a time stamp to each frame so you have a running time on the images as you play back the video. Keywords: Identilynx, export, video, IDL

There are a lot of RFID systems on the market and not all interface with FinishLynx. Before you purchase an RFID system to interface with FinishLynx, confirm that it does work with our system. All customers integrating a Chip System will need the LapTime plug-in for FinishLynx. You can contact sales for a quote. Some systems will interface with a serial connection while others will interface with an Ethernet connection. If your RFID system requires an Ethernet connection, then you will also need the Network COM Port (NCP) plug-in for FinishLynx. You can contact sales for a quote on the NCP plug-in. Once the LapTime plug-in is installed with FinishLynx, you will be able to go into the LapTime options and set up the communication protocol for your system. Please read the manufacturer’s technical manual to ensure that you set up the communication protocol correctly for their reader.
Other Common FAQs

Overexposure which may be called “blown-out highlights” or “flared highlights” in photography discussions and may be due to brighter whites or reflective surfaces a bit like the White hip stickers with a black number imprinted on them. If there is overexposure in the image, then reducing the brightness value will help to even out the image exposure. If your camera is focused properly, you are using AGC and the gain value is between 70 and 90 then you can adjust the Brightness under camera settings to reduce this overexposure.
  1. Go to Camera Settings | Parameters where you will find Brightness listed next to AGC Parameters (if you use manual gain this setting does not apply)
  2. Reduce the value in increments of 5 until you find a good image from trials of capturing images.
  3. Be aware that this will change as the sun moves so don’t forget about it.
Underexposure where detail is lost to shadows and may be called “crushed shadows” or “crushed blacks” in photography discussions. If there is underexposure in the image, then reducing the Gamma value will help to bring out some of the detail. If your camera is focused properly and the gain value is between 70 and 90, then you can adjust the Gamma.
  1. Go to Camera Settings | Setup where you will find Gamma listed near the bottom (this will work when using AGC or Manual Gain).
  2. Make small adjustments in increments of .05 until you find a good image from trials of capturing images.
  3. Be aware that this will change as the sun moves so don’t forget about it.
To learn about additional factors that affect the quality of your FinishLynx images, click here.   Keywords: bright, dark, picture

Lynx has an RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) portal that enables customers to submit and track hardware repairs remotely by following a custom ticket number. Customers can use the Lynx RMA portal to:
  • Submit product repair requests
  • Receive repair/return notifications
  • Track updates and repair notes
  • Receive notification of return shipping
Please visit the RMA Portal page to view the necessary steps and quick-start guide.

Photography basics also apply to FinishLynx image quality and many factors come into play:
  1. Light source
  2. Lens type
  3. Frame rate (fps)
  4. Field depth
  5. Lens speed (f-stops)
Light Source:  Sun,of course, is the best source of light. However, if it’s shining directly into the camera lens, it can wash out your image completely.  The sun is best when it is directly behind the camera and the light is reflecting off the object and back to the camera lens.  Shadows on the camera side of the finish images will also make it more difficult to read hip numbers and identify competitors.  Adjust the iris and gain to account for the amount of ambient light available. If you must use artificial lighting, such as indoor facilities or stadium lights, it helps to add extra light that is shining towards the finish line and reflecting back to the camera lens. Lens Type:  A fixed lens is going to slightly improve the quality of your images because there are less moving parts and less glass for the light to pass through and be diffused.  A zoom lens does provide flexibility in placement of the camera and several fixed lenses could get expensive so you must weigh your options. Frame Rate:  The speed of the object moving across the finish line and the frames per second (fps) are closely related.  The faster the object, the higher the fps and reverse for slower objects.  Consider the type of races being timed (sprint versus distance) and the level of competition (youth track versus D1 collegiate races). Field Depth:  A larger field depth creates difficulty in getting all of the objects, near and far, into focus. To solve this problem, increase the height of the camera location. As the height increases, the ratio of the distances of Lane 1 (closest object) and Lane 8 (farthest object) to the camera decreases, thereby decreasing your field depth.  Closing the iris down (similar to squinting your eyes) will help bring the field into better focus.  Be aware that if the light source is poor, closing down the iris is not a good option. Lens Speed:  This refers to the f-stops (1.4 to 16) and the distance the iris can open and close in a camera flash (fast is 1.2, 1.4).  Since the iris is fixed during capture on the Lynx cameras, it refers to how wide it can open and how much light will flood the image sensor.  Note: the iris may need to be adjusted when changing the frame rate (a higher frame rate produces a darker image; open the iris to correct). Learn how to correct overexposed and underexposed FinishLynx images here. If you want to learn more about taking better pictures, visit our YouTube Channel for tips and watch the “How to take better pictures” video playlist.  It also wouldn’t hurt to buy a basic photography book and learn about some of the things mentioned above if you really want to get the best possible images.   Keywords: image, blurry, focus, lens, dark, picture, light

Additional Resources

Setup Prep
Video Tutorials
Pre-Season Checklist
Quick Start Guides
File Library
Tips & Tricks

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