Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Why should you choose a MoTeC C125 dash logger?

The new MoTeC C125 color dash logger has arrived! I am very excited about this new product. Knowing that you have other options in this entry or club level price range, I wanted to take the time to go over some of the features of this device and why I feel it is by far the best product in the category.

MoTeC has built their reputation over the years by delivering some of the highest quality motorsport electronics in the business, with highly functional and easy to use software. The C125 is no different. The color screen is simply gorgeous. Bright, crystal clear and easy to read even in direct sunlight. It makes every other display on the market look a bit dated (including I am afraid some of the outgoing MoTeC dashes). A high quality sealed connector on the back, along with built in mounting studs makes for an easy installation. MoTeC also has two offices in the USA along with a large dealer network, providing the best support I have personally ever seen in this industry. I don’t know about you, but it is nice buying a highly capable piece of equipment knowing it is engineered to last and that I have a strong support network for it.

We have found many users start by wanting a data display unit, to replace a myriad of traditional gauges with one high quality, configurable display. The C125 interfaces with other MoTeC devices, along with most popular standalone engine controllers. It can also display information from most OBD2 data streams. It features two separate CAN BUS inputs, along with two RS232 inputs giving a great deal of flexibility in connecting to the devices already on your car (or to the OEM systems on the car itself). Communications between your laptop and the C125 is via Ethernet, providing very fast and reliable downloads. This also means using inexpensive and easy to source Ethernet cables (no special/hard to find/high dollar cables needed).

This image shows the communications setup screen, with just a few of the many pre-built communications templates available for popular devices. You can also build your own templates using the powerful and flexible software.

Perhaps you have no other devices on your car and want to just use the C125 as a standalone unit, or you want to supplement the data coming into your C125 from other devices with sensors connected directly to it. Either situation is easily accommodated, via a software upgrade code which unlocks the physical input/output pins of the C125. No need to send your hardware in, or worse buy a new piece of hardware simply because your needs grew.

The C125 features 6 0-5v inputs, 2 thermistor temp inputs, 2 digital inputs and three speed inputs. Along with these it also has a built in 3 axis accelerometer and internal temperature sensor. Just like we saw above with the communications screen, the setup is straight forward and there is pre-built templates for many sensors. Or you can again build your own as well. No need to buy special sensors specific only to this device. The C125 can work with most any sensor out there, OEM or aftermarket, providing you have the calibration data for that sensor.

Another option is connecting a GPS via one of the two RS232 connections, which will allow the C125 to do track mapping and lap timing. This is a very simple, cost effective alternative to the traditional beacon setup. It is also extremely valuable for longer events such as rally, off road racing, land speed, and others where traditional timing and tracking are much more difficult.

Now that we have some data coming in, we can configure the C125 to display our information. The C125 features 3 pages that can be independently configured using a variety of basic template screen, then populating with the data you want to see. You can use a switch to toggle through the pages, or you can set a condition to automatically change pages for you based on one or multiple parameters.

These two pictures show some of the display templates, along with a glimpse of the setup for the parameters, units and labels for the display. The bottom row can have up to 20 “rows” setup that can be toggled through with a switch. You can also setup overrides to show pertinent data when an alarm condition is present. Screen backlighting can be adjusted via potentiometer, using a switch to toggle between two brightness levels programmed in the software, or it can be left at one fixed value.

MoTeC hit a home run a few years back with a little device called the SLM (shift light module). A shift light driven via CAN, it required no outputs on the device driving it, and was highly flexible with programmable multi-color LEDs. Well that device is now built into the C125! You can build your own pattern/color patterns which are triggered by just about any parameter in the system. This photo is an example of the main setup screen, a couple SLM patterns and then the layout editor where you can pick your colors/position, can set the brightness for each layout, flash or steady, and the channel driving that pattern. SLM brightness can be adjusted the same as the dash backlight, either using the same controls as the dash backlight or independently controlled.

The C125 also features an alarms system, which allows you to set a variety of conditions that will trigger the alarm. From there you can have the alarm condition do various things, such as flash the SLM a specific pattern (see image above for warning pattern), flash messages and important data on the screen during alarm, or even send that data to other devices to change control strategies based on the alarm. In the image below you can see the alarm setup window, allowing up to 48 different conditions (each with multiple parameters as triggers). You can set light to flash or steady for each condition, set the warning message that comes up, and the duration the warning lasts.

Should you decide you want to now use your C125 as a logging device as well as a display, it has an available 250MB of memory. Again no need to send your device back or worse purchase a new one, you simply purchase and enter the logging enable code and off you go! You can log up to 300 channels, across any and all the devices you have hooked to your C125, either directly or via CAN BUS. You can set the logging speed per channel, set multiple start/stop conditions and more. Analysis is done using MoTeC’s powerful i2 software.

The C125 also has user defined tables, both 2D and 3D, that you can apply any of the parameters in the system to the axis of, to create a new channel from the result.

An available 4 outputs, configurable for a wide variety of tasks, allow the C125 to control various devices such as fans, pumps, sprayers all based upon data parameters within the system (or the output of a table or condition).

One of the coolest features is the ability of the C125 to simulate data parameters, allowing you to test all systems driven by them without actually running the vehicle. Simply set each parameter you are working with to the desired value, and verify that the output or control is working how you want.

There is a lot more that could be covered about the C125, but it is outside the scope of this (already long) article. Hopefully my tour has given you an idea of what it is capable of. There are units out there that are priced less than the MoTeC C125, but it is my personal belief that the C125 offers by far the best value for a long term dash logger investment. Flexibility, gorgeous screen, support network, easy room for growth make it an unbeatable choice. I put my money where my mouth is, I own one as well and could not be more pleased with it.  Race Smart!

For more information please email: johnreedracing@gmail.com