- What simulation will the Racelights work with?
Currently, the only supported simulation is iRacing. I am in the final testing with Assetto Corsa Competizione, and plan on expanding the lights to work with other sims in the future (Assetto Corsa, Automobilista 2)
- What exactly am I buying?
You are buying a strip of LED’s (or two) along with an Arduino Nano micro-controller. There are quick connectors pre-soldered on the Arduino and on the LED’s, making installation as painless as possible. To link the real world lights with iRacing, there is a custom software solution pre-installed on the Arduino. This interfaces with more custom code which runs on the same computer as iRacing.
- Why are the controller and LED strips not in an enclosure?
This is a matter of ‘choice’ and economy. Many people will want to put the LED strips in a aluminum channel, such as this example. I have chosen to not include the channel as international shipping can get challenging – both in terms of price and damage to the order. Others may like the industrial look, with the LED’s mounted directly to the monitor. The ‘bare’ approach allows you the freedom to install the lights any way you like!
- How do I mount the LED’s and board?
The LED’s come with double sided tape already applied – however – this should be considered somewhat of a temporary method to hold them in place. A high quality double sided tape will likely be required for permanent application. The controller can be left hanging behind your monitor, or use a piece of tape or velcro to hold it in place safely tucked in behind the screen. If you build an enclosure, please share your photos!
- Will you do custom length LED strips?
There are two answers to this 1) Absolutely and 2) Eventually. There are some memory limitations of the controller I am currently using, but these limitations can be overcome by using controllers with greater memory. If you have something specific in mind, let me know and I’ll see what I can do. There are also power limits on the USB port, which could be overcome by powering the LED’s from a stand alone power supply. Contact me through the Contact page with your ideas.
- Is there anything else I need to get this working with iRacing?
The only thing you will need is a USB cable with a micro USB end on it. This is the same end used on most last generation smart phones. The picture below is representative of the cable.
- How are the lights and controller powered.
All of the power for the lights and the controller come through the USB cable.
- What is the first thing I have to do to get the lights working?
Download and then “Unzip” the application that you have downloaded from www.racelights.net/downloads. There is no installation process, it simply needs to be in a folder where you can easily access it. I would recommend putting a short cut on the desktop to the main executable file (racelights.exe).
- What is the second thing I have to do?
Plug the quick connectors on the controller board into the quick connectors on the supplied LED strips, then plug the controller into your PC using a USB cable.
- Step 3:
In the folder where you have saved the racelights application, there is a file called “config.ini”. Right click on that file and select “edit” from the menu that appears. You will have to set the communication port or “com” port. In order to set it, simply follow these steps.
- Under the “Communication” heading, you will see “port = com5” (or another number)
- This needs to be set to the com port number where the controller is seen by Windows
- Leave config.ini file open and press the start button and type “Device Manager”, and select the option that comes up.
- There will be an option in the list “Ports (COM & LPT)” and when opening that menu by clicking on the down arrow to the left of the Port icon you will see “USB-Serial CH340 (COM#)”
- The number in brackets with COM is what you need to put in the Racelight software “config.ini” file.
Save the config.ini file and then you can run the racelights.exe file. The lights will go through a setup procedure that will finish with a short light animation. You are now ready to enter iRacing and start racing!
- On some computers, you will need to install a driver for the CH340. If you don’t have an entry in the Ports section, you will likely see something like this: Notice there is no “USB-Serial CH340 (COM#)” entry, but there is an entry under the “Other devices heading”, listed as “USB2.0 Serial”. In that case, download and install the driver from this link. Unzip the downloaded file, open/run it and you will see the following installation window:
Simply press “Install” and the rest should take care of itself. You will then see the COM# as listed in section 5. Put that number into your config.ini file from the downloaded software, and you are off to the races.
- Note that Windows will likely show a warning about the Flag Lights software, saying something like “Windows Protected Your PC”. As a small developer, the software has not been “signed”. Simply press “Run Anyway” and Windows will allow the software to run from then on.
- Under the “Communication” heading, you will see “port = com5” (or another number)
Shift Light / Shift Tone Questions
- Can I set custom shift points?
Yes, shift points can be set as one consistent RPM value for each gear, or they can be set for each individual gear.
- How do I set a shift point that is the same for each gear?
In order to set one RPM value to use across all gears, open the config.ini file with your text editor, and find the name of the car in the ‘Shift Points’ section. To use the same value for each gear simply put the value you want inside the first set of quotes. For example to have the ‘C6r’ shift at 5700 RPM for each gear, the line for C6r should like exactly like this: C6r = [“6”, “5700”, “0”, “0”, “0”, “0”]. The “6” in position one indicates how many gears the car has, the remaining “0”‘s are for setting shift points for each gear.In the example above, if you enter a session in the ‘fordgt’, it will not sound the shift tone or show a shift light as all sections are set to “0”.
- How do I set shift points for each gear?
To set shift points that are specific for each gear, you simply need to set a value for each gear. In our example above, the “Dallara” will indicate to shift from first to second at 9000 RPM, second to third at 8950, third to fourth at 8975 and fourth to fifth at 9000 and into sixth at 9150. Please note, if you set a shift point in the second set of quotes, then you must set values all across the line, replacing all of the 0’s.
- What happens when iRacing releases a new car? Can I add the car into the ‘config.ini’ file?
YES – or you can have the Racelight software do it for you automatically! When you start a session with a new car, or a car that is not in the .ini file, the software will add it to the end of the file. You will then have to manually go into the config.ini file and enter the desired shift point. Restart the Racelight software for
this change to take effect.
- How do I change the 10 LED strip from Fuel Lights to Shift Lights?
Open/Edit the ‘config.ini’ file in the Racelight folder. Under the [Config] heading you will see “side_light_as_shift” and “side_light_as_fuel“. If you want the lights to show the shift light, set the “side_light_as_shift” to “1”. If you want to use the Fuel Percentage lights, set the “side_lights_as_fuel” to “1” In the following example, the side lights will work as fuel lights but they will not flash for shift points (and there will also be a shift tone played each gear)
- Can I have the 10 LED strip work as a shift light and a fuel light?
YES. In the config file simply place a “1” beside both the lines labeled “side_light_as_shift” and “side_light_as_fuel“. This will have the lights display fuel information until the RPM threshold is reached, at which time the lights will all turn red to indicate the shift RPM limit has been reached.
- How does the shift tone work?
The shift tone works the same as the shift lights. It can either be individual per gear or it can be the same across all gears by entering the data in the config.ini file. The shift tone is turned on by setting “audio_shift_tone_on” to “1” in the config file. You can also adjust the volume between 0.0 and 1.0.
- What does the “checkered_flag_flashes” line mean in the configuration file?
The number in this line will set how many times the lights flash when the checkered flags come out.
Fuel Light FAQ’s
- How does the Fuel light strip work?
The 10 LED’s will all show green when there is 100% fuel load in the car. When the fuel load hits 97.5%, the 10th LED will turn to blue, and stay on until there is 95% fuel load. Every 2.5 percent change in fuel will have the light change colour, until it fully turns off at 90%. The cycle will then repeat with the remaining 9 lights going through the cycle.
The complete cycle is Green (100 – 97.5), Blue (97.4 – 95), Yellow (94.9 – 92.5), Red (92.4 – 90), Off.