RFIDServer Quick Start Guide What is it? RFIDServer is a software program that is specifically designed to connect to RFID Timing hardware (such as the Ultra and HDD systems) for configuring the hardware and for receiving data when chips or tags are scanned. This data is then stored in a text file or database, for access by scoring software such as RaceTec, RunScore and RaceDirector. This document is a ‘quick start’ guide only. There are a number of features in RFIDServer that you do not need to worry about, although you may consider looking at them once you get to know the program a bit better. Executing RFIDServer RFIDServer consists of a single executable file (RFIDServer.exe) which can be placed anywhere on your PC. You start the program by simply running the exe. Settings are stored in a file called RFIDServer.ini (in the same folder as the exe), and you can copy this ini file along with the exe to other computers if you wish. There are no licencing restrictions that prevent copying of the program, you are free to put it on as many computers as you like. Understanding the interface Once you know how to use it, the RFIDServer interface is actually very basic as it has been kept purposefully simple. With all your settings in place, connecting to a control box is a simple as a single button click once RFIDServer has started up. Below is a screenshot of the main window. The numbered sections are explained below.
1. The reader column is where you enter the IP address (last part) of each reader you are connecting to. As you can see, there are a maximum of 10 readers that can be connected to by any one instance of RFIDServer. RFI The number button can be clicked to access further options for that control box (more on this below). The button to the right of the IP address is used to connect to the control box, and to disconnect from it: a. Red:: Disconnected b. Yellow:: Connecting c. Green:: Successfully connected 2. The reads column shows the number of tag reads received from that reader. You can reset this counter to zero by simply clicking it. 3. The last read column shows the elapsed time since the last tag was seen. 4. The voltage column shows the battery condition of that control box. Note that this setting may not work on all reader types. 5. This button can be used to reduce the size of the window. 6. The sound button turns off all sound when chips are being read. More on this below.
Establishing a connection RFIDServer connects to the timing hardware using a TCPIP connection over an Ethernet connection, in the same way that computers at home or in the office are connected via a network cable. The scope of this document does not extend to explaining how to set up your PC with an IP address that can connect to the control box; it is assumed that you have the basic knowledge required for this. Establishing a connection involves entering the IP address of the control box into RFIDServer. To simplify the interface, you initially specify the first 3 parts of the IP address (under settings), then on the main screen all you have to do is enter the last part of the IP address. For example, assuming you are connecting to a control box with an IP address of 192.168.1.189. • Click the Settings button, and go to the IP Addresses section • In the Reader 1 prefix edit box, enter 192.168.1. (note: the dot at the end is important) • If you are connecting to a number of control boxes all with similar addresses, you can click the dark black arrow to copy your entry to the remaining 9 fields below
• • •
Make sure the TCPIP Port setting is 23 Click OK to close the settings window Enter 189 in the reader 1 edit box like this:
Click the red button to establish the connection. The button will turn yellow, and if the connection is successful then the button will turn green. This should occur immediately, but in some circumstances it may take a few seconds. If the connection is not successful, then the button will eventually turn red again.
Another way of testing the connection is to ‘ping’ the control box. Do this as follows: • • •
Click the number button next to the IP address in the image above. In the window that appears click the Ping button to start a basic command prompt ping. This ping will continue until you close the command prompt window.
Reader options Click the numeric reader button to the left of the IP address to access another window from where you can start and top reading, set the reader’s clock or retrieve data from it. Setting the clock: • Click the reader button • Click the Clock button • Specify the time you want to set, and click the Set button • Use the Read button to check the clock time. Starting or stopping a reader: • Click the reader button • Click Start to start reading. If the reader is already started then this has no effect. • Click Stop to stop reading. If the reader is already stopped then this has no effect. Retrieving data: Downloading stored data from the control box is known as doing a ‘rewind’. It can be done at any time, even when the reader is busy reading tags, and involves setting a date and time range that you require. • Click the reader button • Click the Rewind button • Enter a date and time range • You can now either: o Click the OK button to rewind the data o Click the Preview button to first view the data in the rewind window. Wait for the preview window to finish filling (it should start filling almost immediately if your date and time range is valid). If you are happy that the data is what you want, then click the OK button.
Settings From the main window click the Settings button. Please note that not all settings are described in this document as they are more for advanced users. IP Addresses: Apart from setting the IP address prefixes (as explained earlier), you can also set the beep sound that should be made for each reader when a tag is read. The conn check option will sound an alarm if no communication is received within a pre-set period (see below under Alarms). Target Files All tag reads are stored in a text file on your PC. As a minimum the file will contain tag code and a date and time stamp. Use these options to specify where the file must be created and what it must look like. If the file already exists it will be appended to. The file name cannot be configured by you; it will always contain the IP address of the reader, for example: C:\RFIDServer\192.168.1.196.txt
The increment file number option will cause a new file to be created every (x) seconds; however this is not used often. Alarms You can only use this setting with the RFID Ultra device. It works unreliably with an HDD, and not at all with the older DA control boxes. RFIDServer will sound the specified alarm after (x) seconds if no communication is received within that time period. The recommended time is 10 seconds. Why the need for an alarm? TCPIP communication is often incapable of automatically detecting an unexpected disconnection. For example, if you are connected to a control box, and then pull the network cable out of the control box, RFIDServer will continue to think that there is a connection. The connection button will remain green until you click it to ‘disconnect’. The only way to reliably detect issues is if the control box sends a regular “I’m here” kind of signal. If your control box does do this, then RFIDServer can react if no “I’m here” signal is received in a certain space of time. The advantage of a sound alarm is that it will alert you even when RFIDServer is not visible on the screen. Ultra Settings Most RFID Ultra settings are configurable using the keyboard and screen on the control box, however RFIDServer makes the task much easier through an easy to read user interface, and it also includes the ability to configure some settings that cannot be done on the control box. NOTE: A description of the relevant Ultra settings can be found in the Ultra’s documentation. To access and change settings follow this procedure: 1. Connect to the control box 2. Click Settings then go to the Ultra tab.
3. 4. 5. 6.
Select the relevant Ultra from the Reader dropdown list. The settings currently on that Ultra will automatically be downloaded. Make the changes you require. Click the Save Settings button.
Changing ‘remote’ settings For most remote settings, the only way to change them is via RFIDServer. These settings control the means by which the Ultra will transmit data via an internet connection to OutReach. The settings are explained in the Ultra documentation, however there are some points to note. When you use a LAN connection, and change the gateway or DNS server, the Ultra needs to reset its TCPIP interface. In this case, RFIDServer will temporarily drop its connection to the Ultra, wait a few seconds, and then automatically reconnect for you. The port value will be provided to you by RFIDTiming. For the Server IP and URL values, always select one of the dropdown list items unless you are specifically told not to. When not required, TURN OFF the remote option by clicking No remote connection. Remember that any changes will only be transmitted to the Ultra when you click the Save Settings button.