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Technical News

System Updates & Development News

GSA Golf daily updates and news

Hi! I'm Martin Paul Gardiner

Electronics and software development engineer and founder of GSA Golf

Regularly check out my tech news page for all our latest developments and free updates

GSA Golf tech news is updated at least once a week !

so make sure to check in for all the latest updates and news regularly

If you have any questions

please feel free to contact me personally anytime from M to F - 12noon to 3pm US ET via e-mail at

Note that telephone service is - due to the workload we're under at present - very limited and sporadic at best.

If you can't get through then please use email.

Note that currently, our telephone sales and support lines are closed due to the coronavirus

Please Note: We're closed on weekends and all US national holidays

If you are contacting us on the weekends or on national holidays,

then we'll make best effort to get back to you within 24 hours of the next working day.

Did you get a response to your e-mail?

We get really busy at times and e-mail responses can be late or even forgotten at times.

Please remind us again if you didn't get a response to your e-mail.

Note: we are not receiving or responding to emails

on weekends or on national holidays.

Weekends at GSAgolf are used solely for system development and product assembly

Emails sent to us after 3pm Friday will get answered to the following Monday

Emails sent to us after 3pm on work days are not read until the next day

Email responses are usually only made between 12 noon and 3 pm

GSA Golf Telephone sales and support is suspended

Please Note: Due to the heavy workload and high demand for our products,

GSA Golf have had to suspend all telephone sales and support services for the meantime in order to keep up with the high volume.

All sales and customer support inquires are thus dealt via email only on a first come, first served basis.

Best effort is made to reply to all inquires within 24 hours on work days, but delays may occur.

Note that all phone calls are routed to an automated answering service that does not record messages.

Customers attempting to leave messages won't be heard as our regular telephone systems are currently shut down.

 


Click the above button image to download the latest Beta CP update

GSA Control Panel (CP) Beta update V 9.5.2.1

January 15 2021

GSA Control Panel (CP) Alpha update V 9.5.4.3

January 27 2021

Browser blocking the download?

From what we gather, Google's new policy is to block all exe file downloads from websites that are not on their trusted "White List".

So until then, all users wishing to download the latest CP updates may have to go through the above shown process.

Note: do the above procedure after the download has completed and you get the "blocked" message from Google Chrome

Even then, your Virus Protection software will probably be complaining about it too.

Click the "Trust Now" in this case.

Download VC redistributables hereHere

Download latest Camera DLL hereHere

Don't forget to run the download after it's downloaded!

A number of customers don't realize that a CP update is a dual process

i.e first download and then run the download

Note that anti-virus programs will probably try to block the GSA Golf CP update download but - be assured - there's no malicious software in the download update

so just ignore any warnings from your anti-virus programs and choose the "More options" and "Run anyway" option.


GSA Control Panel (CP) full version download

V.9.4.5.3 October 26 2020

Click the above image to download your free Full version GSA Golf Control Panel

After downloading and installing the full version Control Panel,

download and install the CP update by clicking on the above CP update button.

Technical Support

Email support is available free of charge for all original GSA Golf purchasers and owners

As of January 24, 2021

all newly purchased systems at the new higher prices will include free remote access installation and support

 


January 27 2:20pm

- V 9.5.4.3 Alpha

VisTrak Stereo LS update

New: When the setting "using a Line Scan cam" is ON, then all strobe triggers are now switched off

as this can cause premature triggers.

Wait time after ball launch

Customer request:

This time is now user adjustable in the setup window.

Default is 14 seconds.

January 27 9:00am

- V 9.5.4.2 Alpha

SCTS

The optional SCTS trigger system is active in this version of the CP

How it works:

The SCTS trigger system converts a VisTrak camera to a line scan camera.

The camera is ceiling mounted in-between the stereo cameras pointing straight down.

When running and grabbing frames, the system scans the scan zone area looking

for any pixel with a gray scale greater than the max floor gray scale (usually caused by a ball in flight).

If found, a trigger signal is sent (via the supplied trigger cable) to the stereo or CX (Vcam and Hcam) cameras

so that images of the ball in flight are captured at a precise point.

When viewing the images in the camera window, the last trigger point co-ordinates and gray scale are shown.


January 26 4:25pm

- V 9.5.4.1 Alpha

VisTrak Stereo LS update

New: When the setting "using a Line Scan cam" is ON, then all trigger delays are set to zero.

Otherwise the ball traces won't be seen even though the cameras were triggered

January 26 11:45am

- V 9.5.4.0 Alpha

Fix: Vcam "ball detected" green light indicator not functioning

January 26 8:10am

- V 9.5.3.9 Alpha

VisTrak Stereo LS update

You can now switch off the LS cam and use trigger delays instead with the Stereo LS system.

Differences between VisTrak Stereo LS and VisTrak Stereo are:

Other than the use of a Line Scan camera to trigger the cameras,

the regular VisTrak Stereo system is capturing freeze frame images of the ball

whereas

the VisTrak Stereo LS - even when not using an LS cam - is using a longer exposure on the stereo cameras to capture ball traces.


January 25 1:30pm

- V 9.5.3.8 Alpha

New : New camera releases for new customers

Fix : CX2 calibration table window showing Stereo settings


January 24 8:45am

As of today,

all purchases of VisTrak systems at the new higher prices will include free remote access support and 4 IR LED lamps

New prices are: VisTrak Eagle $1,999, VisTrak EV $ 2,999

i.e. $500 more

This move - in collaboration with our Canadian partners - will essentially make the system plug'n'play for the user.

It will also free us up here at GSA Golf to concentrate solely on software development in order to further improve the system.


January 23 2:30pm

- V 9.5.3.7 Alpha

New 1: User request: Putting skip frames increased to 17 (16 is displayed as 0 is also a frame)

New 2: VisTrak scan zone borders are set to their max positions when right clicking the the Defaults button.

January 23 9:15 am

- V 9.5.3.5 Alpha

New 1: password protected sys admin mode added to non-vistrak systems (i.e. CX2, PX5 etc)

New 2: max putting delay frames increased to 15

Fix: E6 Write message log files option not being displayed


January 22 3:35 pm

- V 9.5.3.4 Alpha

Wait time after ball detected on mat

User request: make the time the system waits after the ball has first been detected on the mat user adjustable

so that the player can move the ball around for a while or to add more time for the player to tee up the ball.

This feature is now in the Setup window

January 21 10:25 am

- V 9.5.3.3 Alpha

Password protected system Administrator mode

When in System Locked mode, all system setting controls are now hidden in all windows.

The only exceptions are the Video play-back controls


January 21 3:00 pm

- V 9.5.3.2 Alpha

Unnecessary Cancel button removed from Sys Adm Login window.

January 21 12:15 pm

- V 9.5.3.1 Alpha

Password protected system Administrator mode

Okay, after a good 12 hours plus of coding, I have 99% of the new password protected administrator mode functions completed.

As this is a test, you can still create a new password even though you're not logged in as the system admin.

I made it like this for the moment to ensure users don't lock themselves out if they have forgotten the password.

When the system is in locked mode, no changes can be made to the system settings and there is no access to the camera and setup windows.

Other than the VisTrak video window and the CP's main window, no other windows can be accessed.


January 20 4:25 pm

I must say, I'm looking forward to a successful collaboration with the new GSA Golf licensed manufactures and their customer remote system support.

If all sales, manufacturing and remote support goes via them, then this frees me up to concentrate solely on software development.

And I'm sure customers will love this too as this will take out the very time consuming and complex setup

and also the fear that that they don't have enough technical knowledge to get the systems up and running.

As far as the end user is concerned, the systems will then be essentially plug'n'play

and so they don't have to be bothered with trying to fix issues that require in-depth complex knowledge of the system's workings.

January 20 1:10 pm

Password protected system Administrator mode

The new password protected system administration mode is nearing completion.

Update is expected later today or tomorrow morning.

Note that the user can also enter a password in order to lock the CP should the system have been purchased without pre-password protection.

Should the user (or system administrator) forget the password, then they will have to contact us to unlock the system with a secret master password.

Either that or re-install the system.

The password is encrypted and stored in a secret location on the PC and is never visible after it has bee created, so is very secure.


January 19 8:50 pm

Password protected system Administrator mode

Okay, making progress on the new password protected administrator mode this evening.

When in this new mode, other than a scaled down version of the current CP's main window and VisTrak playback window, no other window panels will open.

i.e there will be no access to the camera windows and no setup windows.

In other words, the CP will then just be a simple one window application with no way to adjust or view any settings or view any camera images.

Hopefully this will squash any criticism that the GSA Golf system is too complicated to setup and operate.

i.e. after the reseller sets up your system, all you have to do is switch it on and you're up and running and ready to play.

Of course, if you do need to make any adjustments or the system is not working correctly,

then you'd have to contact the reseller to remote into your system to make the changes or fixes.

Note that this "password protected system administrator mode" will only be available from certain resellers or licensed GSA Golf system manufacturers.

All products purchased directly from GSA Golf will not have any such restrictions.

BTW if you would like this remote easy setup service now, then contact Keith or Rick.

Click the above "Buy Now" remote support ticket.

January 19 3:40 pm

Password protected system Administrator mode

I've received a request today from a GSA Golf reseller to lockout the user (even owner) from making any CP adjustments.

The idea being that a standard set of settings will be supplied that are blocked so that users or owners don't inadvertently adjust settings which may render the system unplayable.

Should adjustments be required, then the reseller (or licensed GSA Golf system manufacturer) will remotely log in, use the secret encrypted password, and make the adjustments for the user.

Coding of this password protected administrator mode will begin tomorrow morning and should be completed by the end of the day.

January 19 9:35 am

- V 9.5.3.0 Alpha

New: You can now adjust carry distances (i.e. ball speed) directly in the VisTrak Video window and see the results immediately.


January 18 2:40 pm

- V 9.5.2.9 Alpha

Fix: CP not capturing frames correctly in stereo sytems when EC is switched ON.

Fix: CP not capturing images when Eagle mode

New: More basic mode settings


January 18 8:45 am

How to solve the Wedge shot issue

Wedge shots can cause problems when the club is in front of the ball

Switching Enhanced Contrast ON solves the issue.


January 17 5:00 pm

VisTrak accuracy

While the ball speed and path accuracy of a ball launching at zero vertical launch angle detected by the overhead mounted VisTrak Eagle camera is spot on,

the unknown factor is the Vertical Launch angle (LA) of the ball - which will drastically effect the true measured speed of the ball.

Without knowing exactly what the ball's LA is in a shot (and using just the selected club's loft angle as a reference to ball LA)

ball speed measurements (and thus carry) cannot be guaranteed to be precisely accurate.

It is essential, therefore, to add either the Vcam or Stereo cameras - that measure ball LA - to the VisTrak Eagle if more precise ball speed accuracy is to be attained.

The question begs of course is, how accurate is the LA measurement?

While the Vcam is quite easy to setup and accurately measures LA when setup correctly, stereo camera systems are far more complex to setup and thus far more prone to LA measurement errors

and thus ball speed and carry distances are more prone to be inaccurate.

January 17 2:40 pm

- V 9.5.2.6 Alpha

CP Advanced and Basic Level of Operation

As the CP can be quite complex for new users, there are now two modes of operation : Basic and Advanced.

While the Advanced Operation Level will allow the user to make any changes as before, the Basic level will limit the number of changes that can be made.

This is being done in the hope that new users - or those that don't want to get too deep into the complexities of the setup - will be up and running sooner and will simplify the operation.

The number of advanced level options that will be blocked will be expanded over time. Currently there are only 2 but in a few weeks this number will probably exceed 50 plus.

Note that Advanced Level Operation is default OFF when first starting this update.

Switch ON or OFF in the Setup window.

  • Ball strike to ball launch lag time
  • The above three videos show how severe the lag time can be - even on $50,000 plus golf simulators.

Tests today showed that the "ball strike to ball launch" lag time with the VisTrak system is now down to around 1 to 2 seconds with today's CP update.

This compares - as the above videos show - very favourably with its super high-end competitors.

January 17 10:25 am

- V 9.5.2.5 Alpha

Improved (i.e. shortened) ball strike to ball launch lag time

Fix: Incorrect "out of sync" messages being displayed in Stereo camera windows

January 17 8:12 am

- V 9.5.2.4 Alpha

Update for VisTrak Stereo systems

Fix: Frame 3 ( camera 2 ) using incorrect frame when Enhanced Contrast is switched ON


January 16 4:00 pm

- V 9.5.2.3 Alpha

New: As per customer request: No limit on min ball speed setting for ball launch

Coming later this weekend : improved shot lag-time

Currently the CP is taking too much time looking for balls in frames when there is no ball there.

This will cause a longer lag time between striking the ball and the ball launching in the game.

It is more noticeable with fast shots (drivers etc) because there will only be a couple of frames that actually contain images of the ball in flight.

This means that, of the 16 ball frames, 12 to 14 frames probably won't contain any ball images.

A simple check to confirm that a white ball is present in the frame should solve the issue and vastly shorten the shot lag time.

January 16 10:15 am

- V 9.5.2.2 Alpha

New: Embedded image time-stamps

These new image time-stamps are embedded into the image itself so we know for sure that the ball images are the correct images for the VisTrak video.

As the previous time-stamps were separately stored in system variables, and there has been some reports that the ball images from the stereo cameras shown in the CP

do not belong to the current shot video, sync checking with these time-stamps will definitely show up the fault.

i.e. new warning messages will be displayed if they are out of sync with the VisTrak Video.

Fix:

During system start up, the CP wasn't waiting long enough to capture frames during the GPIO test.

i.e. a Camera could have a GPIO trigger cable attached but the CP didn't recognize it.

Alpha is now Beta

Note that yesterday's CP Alpha is now today's Beta, and this update is the new Alpha.


January 15 6: 55 pm

Price increases for VisTrak Eagle and VisTrak Vcam systems coming this weekend

As these systems are currently being offered for under cost price, we'll be increasing the price by around $500 in order to break even this weekend.

The new price for the VisTrak Eagle will increase from $999 to $1,499 and the VisTrak Eagle with Vcam and lighting will increase from $1,999 to $2,799.

January 15 3: 35 pm

- V 9.5.2.1 Alpha

New 1: should E6 cause the CP to close, all user setup values are now stored before closing

New 2: Hcam with VisTrak video sync check now made

Fix: GPIO message not being displayed on camera 2

January 15 9: 15 am

- V 9.5.2.0 Alpha

GPIO triggers

This version of the CP automatically detects if a GPIO trigger cable is connected to the ball Vcam or stereo cameras

The above Camera window screen shot shows that camera 1 features a GPIO trigger cable

Should the camera(s) not feature a GPIO trigger cable and the "Soft Trigger" option in the Setup window has been turned OFF -

so that triggering is only via a GPIO trigger - then a warning is displayed.

Note: the reason for using a GPIO trigger with VisTrak systems that don't use a Line Scan trigger camera is that it is faster than the regular soft trigger method.

As the trigger signal is coming from the VisTrak camera on the fly (i.e. during shot video capture at full speed), a slow trigger method can cause the VisTrak camera to drop frames

which can result in jumps in the video playback and / or incorrect ball speed readings.


January 14 3: 35 pm

- V 9.5.1.9 Alpha

VisTrak Stereo LS fix

Fix: Hcam not capturing images

Error was traced and fixed. Both stereo camera images are now being captured with the LS cam.

January 14 1:10 pm

- V 9.5.1.8 Alpha

Fix: Possible issue with VisTrak Stereo or Vcam cameras using GPIO hardwired triggers

VisTrak Production models

This VisTrak Eagle and Vcam set is shipping to a customer today, so thought I'd take a couple of snaps before packing them up

VisTrak Vcam

Production model now has camera mounted sideways


January 13 4:55pm

Levels of operation : Advanced and Basic

Due to the CP having so many variables and setup complexities - and because all these settings can be overwhelming ( especially for new users) -

the CP will have two levels of operation soon : Advanced and Basic.

The Advanced Level will allow users to change any settings as they wish

whereas

the Basic Level will severely restrict users from making changes to settings that can cause complications and reduce the playability of the system.

e.g. in Basic Level mode,

1. Vertical launch angle measurements will be restricted to be within 25% of the selected club's loft angle

2. It will not be possible to allow the non-LS stereo systems to measure ball speed and path

3. Correct scaling factors and trigger delay settings will be enforced if found not to be within certain limits.

Overtime, many more restrictions will be implemented for Basic Level users which should considerably help new users to get up and running faster.

January 13 11:58 am

Issue when club is under and in front of ball

January 13 10:10 am

- V 9.5.1.7 Alpha

Fix: Soft trigger not functioning in VisTrak window when using VisTrak Stereo system

Tests this morning revealed no other issues reported that we can reproduce at the moment.


January 12 12:30 pm

- V 9.5.1.6 Alpha

Update for VisTrak Vcam Spin systems

January 12 10:30 am

Slowly working through the support video emails that have been sent in recently.

This one is from Mark, who is wondering why his VisTrak Vcam ball trace isn't being detected

Mark seems to have switched Enhanced Contrast ON, but - because the threshold is set too high - the ball trace was darkened instead of being high-lighted.

Adjusting the Threshold down to 80 fixes the problem.

The original Vcam image from Mark was looking good anyway, so EC isn't really required in this case.

- V 9.5.1.5 Alpha

Out of sync messages

Fix:

incorrect out of sync messages being displayed

No fix:

A report that frame 3 is not being captured in stereo systems when EC is on, could not be reproduced.

Frame 3 with EC on is being captured every-time here.


January 10 12:15 pm

- V 9.5.1.0 Alpha

Ghost images in stereo cameras or Vcam camera. i.e. images left over from the previous shot or previous trigger.

A - or most - possible cause of so called "ghost images" is that the stereo or Vcam cameras either weren't triggered - or if they were - the cameras were in a de-activated state.

Ball cameras are automatically de-activated for a few seconds after triggering to insure that they are not double triggered by the following club head.

If - after the VisTrak camera detects the ball on the mat - the ball is moved slightly or a hand is placed down over the ball, the ball stereo or Vcam cameras will be triggered to caputure new shot frames

and thus they will be placed in a de-activated state.

If the player then plays the shot while the cameras are still in the de-activated state, then no new ball images will be captured and the user then sees the previous last captured images in ball cameras.

In this Alpha version of the CP, a check is made to see that the VisTrak camera time stamps are the same - or close to the same - as the Stereo or Vcam images

and if not, a warning message is displayed (as in the above screen shot).

In order to prevent this, it is recommended to keep the camera de-activation times low. i.e. 3 seconds or so.


Enhanced Contrast now available for CX2, CX3 users

Very faint ball traces from the Hcam are very difficult to detect if - as in the above image - the flooring is too reflective

Switching the new Enhanced Contrast ON and setting the threshold down to 80 solves the problem

E6 disconnect issue

E6 message Log file now includes session start date and time plus any TCP/IP error messages.


 

Installation


Factory

Based in Naples, Florida,

all GSA Golf products are meticulously assembled and tested by hand to meet the highest industry standards

GSA Golf golf simulator components and kits

CX and Vistrak system components can be used to build the complete GSA Golf golf simulator camera tracking system

at a far lower price than the ready made system prices

Click above to read more about GSA Golf components and kits


Recent customer comments

Hi Martin, I just wanted to drop you a note to say how amazing the new VisTrak camera is.

I am still playing around with the settings and learning but the video capture and being able to see the frame by frame impact is awesome!

I also really like the way you show the ball ready/playback buttons as an overlay on the TGC.

The best part of my day is going to the tech page and seeing your latest updates - keep up the good work!

Richard L. Illinois 12/17/2020

Hi Martin- I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your efforts.

I could have bought any of the expensive and well-known golf simulators, but I’m glad I ultimately took the chance and bought your products.

It wasn’t an easy decision, as it takes a leap of faith to take the road less traveled, but it has made all the difference.

I love that your products are not perfect (no one's are) but that you strive for perfection while pushing innovation.

You’re clearly never satisfied. As soon as you develop a new software feature, or build a new camera system, you're immediately back at it working on the next iteration.

You’re a true inventor and engineer. Almost every day I download the latest beta and see how it enhances the simulation.

It's like Christmas morning everyday.

Sometimes there’s a marked improvement. Sometimes the new feature “breaks” something else.

But over days and weeks, I feel how the collective innovations are improving the overall experience.

Your products aren’t for everyone but they are a clear alternative to the high-margin corporate products that have an arm's length association with their user base.

Buying a GSA product is buying into you and becoming part of your user community.

You listen, you care, and you explore. I know many of us appreciate it but perhaps not enough of us say thanks.

Martin, thank you for an enjoyable and rewarding journey with your products in 2020.

You’ve made a COVID 19 year more endurable.

Eric P. Burien, WA 12/25/2020

Matt P. 1/15/2021

Hello Martin, I have had 2 weeks of excellent play and stability in Eagle Mode! This has been very enjoyable! Matt T.

Matt T. 1/14/2021

Hi Martin, I see your daily updates on the Tech News page and I just want to say thank you for all your hard work and dedication.

Your passion for golf and engineering clearly shows and thank you!


Martin Gardiner

Founder of GSA Golf

These days, when I'm not developing golf simulators, you'll find me in my keyboard music studio


 

 

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