Voltage indicator / battery indicator legal?

Discuss the IOM class rules and interpretations

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Lester
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Voltage indicator / battery indicator legal?

Post by Lester » 28 Nov 2007, 21:32

While we are talking about the class rules, here is another little gem that was e-mailed to me some time ago and which I've only just spotted (sorry Graham E!).

In common with a number of owners, I've fitted Rob Guyatt's little battery voltage flashing display thingy on my pot lid (http://www.onemetre.net/OtherTopics/Flash/Flash.htm). Turns out this might not meet the IOM class rules:
IOM Class Rules wrote:D.2.4 REMOTE CONTROL EQUIPMENT
(a) The following is permitted:
(1) One receiver.
(2) One rudder control unit.
(3) One sheet control unit.
(4) Battery cells assembled in one or more packs.
(5) Electric cables, connectors and switches.
(b) The rudder control unit and the sheet control unit may contain ball and/or roller bearings.
(c) Remote control equipment may be fastened using hook and loop fasteners and/or the materials listed in D.2.1(a).
The RMG "flash" unit, or anything like it for displaying battery voltage or charge state, is apparently not a permitted item of R/C equipment... Argh!
Lester Gilbert
http://www.onemetre.net/

Steve Landeau
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Post by Steve Landeau » 30 Nov 2007, 19:11

Hi, Lester.
It appears you are correct. I hope none of our skippers finds it necessary to protest this before we get the rule ammended.
Steve Landeau
AMYA 10859
IOM USA 112
Finn USA 112
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Barry Fox CAN262
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Post by Barry Fox CAN262 » 01 Dec 2007, 07:45

My Electronic Engineer points out that it is not really a part of the radio control unit but a device to monitor the battery and if you wire it correctly, not through the Rx, it is likely not even part of the radio. There is no restriction on the battery so if it is actually a part of the battery then . . .

That's picky of course and we ought to either recognize it that way or somehow allow it through an ammendment to the current rule.

Sort of in the same league as deck markings for mast rake angle and those for boom positions. I don't think they are specifically allowed and have a greater effect on boat performance than this volt meter.

Hard to know where to draw the line on specific rulings without making the rules nearly unreadable.
Barry Fox
CAN 46
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Gilbert Louis
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voltage reader

Post by Gilbert Louis » 03 Dec 2007, 01:24

Hi,
I think this is a no brainer - the rule need to change to include such a device. it doesn't add to the performance and so many people use it already even at the recent Worlds.

Regards
Gilbert
Gilbert LOUIS
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RoyL
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Post by RoyL » 11 Feb 2008, 20:36

Seems like a good time to bring this issue up again. It would seem hard to find a "loophole" in the rules that allows the use of a built in battery status checking device. That said I don't think anyone believes this is an item that should be banned.

Problem as I see it is if we open up the rules and add language saying a battery status indicator is permitted, first, we have made the rules more complicated and second, what do we do when someone installs an internal water monitor for their sealed boat? Or what about a radio frequency read out? Or what about a wind speed indicator? Or data recorder? Or finally, a full set of feedback instruments that transmit back when you are sailing? What readouts do we want to permit and which prohibit?

Thoughts on how to proceed are welcome. One nice thing on the current battery indicators, they can always be unplugged when sailing and only hooked up when off the racecourse.

Ken Dobbie
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Voltage Meter

Post by Ken Dobbie » 12 Feb 2008, 05:59

The RMG Flash unit is a visual reporting unit and thus one needs to be close to the boat to be able to see the LED unit.

Let's not complicate the issue by discussing other reporting systems which, to be of any use, would require an electronic link to the boat and purely on a cost basis should not be permitted.

The main advantage of the RMG unit is that it provides a low cost, instantaneous report on battery life when the boat is on the shore.


Regards

Ken

Bruce Andersen
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Post by Bruce Andersen » 12 Feb 2008, 07:15

You could argue that this type of non-transmitting device has no performance advantage while adds a bit of safety and/or convenience to prevent boats from dying on the course.

Alfonso
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Post by Alfonso » 12 Feb 2008, 11:43

I agree 100% with Ken.

I hadn’t thought about it but the absence of any indication in the rules about the battery indicator makes a big problem because, is it legal a servo that apart to trim and ease the sails gives you information about the situation of the batteries with a special sound?

In my opinion the rule should be changed for several reasons, some of them had already been said, but I would like to highlight one that, in my opinion, should always be taken into account and that is that the change doesn’t make the old boats non-competitive.

The wind speed indicator or the water monitor are a different issue as carbon masts but first we can solve the battery indicator problem and we can open a new topic to discuss them.

JThompson
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Post by JThompson » 06 Apr 2008, 07:20

Can someone please explain to me how a LED or LCD readout can be construed as a remote control device?

Hypothetically, say my crew of gerbils perform better if I let them listen to the stereo. Why couldnt I put an iPod and speakers on my IOM? As long as I cant control the playlist from shore....

Jim
Jim Thompson
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Hiljoball
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Post by Hiljoball » 06 Apr 2008, 22:21

In my opinion, a good rule says what it has to say and says nothing where it does not have to.

This discussion is a good example.

The most important part of the radio equipment rule is the restriction to two servo control functions, specifically sail and rudder control. Some of the wording in D2.4 is unnecessary and causes problems.

I would like to see a simplified version of D .4 where item 1 is replaced by "radio control equipment" (this would cover such items as receiver(s), antanea, batteries, wiring, switches, AND voltage display). Items 4 & 5 can be deleted.

Such a simple version is independent of technology changes. It also resolves any discussion of multiple receivers (the DX6 and DX7 discussion) and the voltage display issue of this thread.

These are not "performance" related items. They are technology implementations or "reliability" items and need not be qualified in the rules.
John Ball
CRYA #895
IOM CAN 307 V8
In my private capacity

RoyL
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Post by RoyL » 07 Apr 2008, 00:54

Hard to imagine too many objections to proposed simplified rules. Feel free to have your national authority make a motion for rule changes at the next AGM.

Gilbert Louis
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voltage reader

Post by Gilbert Louis » 07 Apr 2008, 12:50

I'm struggling to understand why this little LCD reader would be against class rules. It doesn't add to the boat performance, it doesn't transmit information back and if anything it is a preventative measure.

More is to be gained from boat tuning, correct helming and tactical choices. if we go down that road I could say I'm penalised because it is more tricky for me to change my battery pack due to my "old" hatch system which is held down by sticky dacron vs people who have a pot who can change their batteries in no time even when it's raining... And on this topic having the LCD reader makes it easier to know whether or not I need to change my batteries. And I'm sure there are still plenty of skippers like me who's boat is not equipped with a pot.

Regards
Gilbert LOUIS
www.iomireland.org
V6 - RMG - Blackmagick
IRL41 - Ireland

RoyL
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Post by RoyL » 07 Apr 2008, 19:08

Gilbert: The IOM class rules as currently written state that anything not specifically authorized is prohibited. This is the source of all sorts of issues. So, for example, a meter that reads out battery voltage or one that reads the torque output from your winch or the position of your servos would not be allowed because they are not specifically authorized under the IOM Rules.

One thought, mount the meter on velcro so its is removable from the boat and don't plug it in except between racing. This would seem to get around the current "legal" problem since the device is then neither a permanent part of the boat nor working during "racing".

The more permanent solution to this problem is to propose a change to the overall IOM rules as has been suggested earlier that would permit battery read out devices.

One concern I have here, is where does this trend stop? I can currently buy a data recorder that will give me wind speed, boat speed, angle of heel, battery level, servo positions and more. I can have this information transmitted from my boat in real time or download it after racing. Does having this information give me an advantage, even if I download it after racing? Should all of this be allowed? Any of it? Is cost an issue? Not an immediate concern for the class, but in the next few years this equipment will be much cheaper and much more available.

paulo gomes
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Post by paulo gomes » 01 Oct 2008, 16:18

Hello from Portugal,

We have recently discussed this issue of the voltage indicator and it is our opinion that this item does not benefit the user during a regata.

It basically serves the same purpose as "clear deck patch material" that tells you that you have water in the boat when it starts collecting condensation.

As far as we are concerned these voltage indicators do not go against the rules in any way and should be allowed at any regata.

Our very best regards

APMV
Portugal

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Olivier Cohen
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Post by Olivier Cohen » 01 Oct 2008, 16:53

100% OK with that

Andy Stevenson
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Post by Andy Stevenson » 01 Oct 2008, 19:26

Hi Paulo
[...]these voltage indicators do not go against the rules
I suspect they do, they’re not listed in CR D.2.4 as permitted radio control equipment.

Whether they should be legal or not is another matter entirely and one that has, as yet, not found sufficient momentum for an NCA to propose a CR change to specifically allow them.

Cheers
Andy Stevenson
"A little pain never hurt anyone!" Sam, aged 11

Steve Landeau
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Post by Steve Landeau » 01 Oct 2008, 20:05

What if you had a battery pack that included a direct wired voltmeter? The rule allows you to carry a battery pack. It does not limit it's specific construction.
Steve Landeau
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Andy Stevenson
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Post by Andy Stevenson » 01 Oct 2008, 20:15

Hi Steve
CR 2.4(a)(4) wrote:Battery cells assembled in one or more packs.
I read this to mean your packs can only contain battery cells.

Cheers
Andy Stevenson
"A little pain never hurt anyone!" Sam, aged 11

Barry Fox CAN262
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Post by Barry Fox CAN262 » 01 Oct 2008, 23:11

If my Deans Ultra Plugs happen to have a voltage indicator integral/permanently to the connector then it isn't a separate piece. Maybe RMG can turn their product into a plug for us.
Barry Fox
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Hiljoball
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Post by Hiljoball » 01 Oct 2008, 23:30

Hi Barry, I think you are on to something here.

It is really unfortunate that the folks who opened up D2.4 to deal with the multiple Rx issue did not at the same time also deal with the voltage display issue that had also been discussed at length in this forum.

I think your idea that a voltage display that is built into an existing component such as the winch or a plug or a switch gets around the rule as there are no definitions that describe or limit the function of the individual components. So a plug that connects to another plug and also displays the voltage passing through it is a feature of the plug and not an unlisted (and therefore an illegal) component.
John Ball
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IOM CAN 307 V8
In my private capacity

Steve Landeau
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Post by Steve Landeau » 01 Oct 2008, 23:48

Barry Fox CAN262 wrote:If my Deans Ultra Plugs happen to have a voltage indicator integral/permanently to the connector then it isn't a separate piece. Maybe RMG can turn their product into a plug for us.
That's kind of what I meant.... an integral part of the pack. They do make "cells" that tell you their capacity (Duracell, Energizer,etc), just not in a digital method. The rule also does not say we can use shrink wrap to hold it all together either.... or solder to hold the wires to the cells.
Steve Landeau
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Barry Fox CAN262
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Post by Barry Fox CAN262 » 02 Oct 2008, 00:30

In my years of dealing with rules to govern car racing, we also had that rider on the rules that said if it wasn't authorized you couldn't do it. When you declare that you must then be careful that you aren't setting up to have a hundred page rule book wherein you mention every little thing that is normal.

Therefore, for the radio part it could be as simple as saying you must use a commercially available transmitter receiver system that is authorized to be used for surface vehicles/craft. When you add in that you can only control the rudder and the sail control then it would seem that the pertinent restrictions are done.

The implication that you can only use two channels to control these two on board controls would seem to indicate that the use of 6 or more channel radios might not be authorized.

Anyway, the Fox Boatyards will start on the development of the "Volt-Plug".
Barry Fox
CAN 46
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

RoyL
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Post by RoyL » 02 Oct 2008, 07:19

Ok guys, here is what I don't understand. Why haven't any of you gotten your NCA to put up a proposal to have battery read out devices included in the IOM Class Rules? I have made that suggestion numerous times over the course of the last year. Our Chairman, Andy, suggested that if any members where unhappy with the class rules to "make some noise" and get their NCAs to act. No response whatsoever. Now the time to make a proposal has passed...Hard to figure how to proceed.

One easy thought, run an attachment for the battery read out up to the deck, put a cover over it and then plug your meter in between races. Or, if you have a hatch with receiver access you just need to plug in.

Alfonso
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Post by Alfonso » 02 Oct 2008, 09:39

Roy, the answer to your question is also simple, because if we make a proposal to modify the class rule, the new rule will take a long time to come into force and we need the change NOW.

The European will take place in almost 15 days and we have to clarify this issue because is the same situation than the dual receiver.

The NCA representative from: USA, AUS, POR, FRA, IRL? and ESP, thinks that we need the emergency rule change.

Stefano Savelli
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Post by Stefano Savelli » 02 Oct 2008, 13:18

hello to all,
if I haven't got it wrong you are putting in discussion the possibility to control (only by having the boat very close to you 3/4mt) the battery status.

Since on almost all transmitters there is a voltage indicator why do we have to put on discussion the possibility to see battery status with some sort of led indicator (Rob Guyatts flash indicator or whatsoever)? The important thing is that this information shall be retreived only looking at the boat.

Honestly, I don't think that there is any advantage for any skipper in the regatta having an indicator on deck signalling voltage level so I propose to accept any changes, if they are necessary for the rules.

Stefano Savelli (Ita54)
Stefano Savelli
SAVELLI S.r.l.
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Don Case
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Post by Don Case » 02 Oct 2008, 17:29

Can someone point me at the rule that says we can't use anything that gives us an advantage?
Don
Don Case
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Hiljoball
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Post by Hiljoball » 02 Oct 2008, 17:30

RoyL wrote:Ok guys, here is what I don't understand. Why haven't any of you gotten your NCA to put up a proposal to have battery read out devices included in the IOM Class Rules? .
I did put a change that would have covered this into my NCA. They came back with an answer that there was no AGM in off-world years and blew the window to propose the change.
John Ball
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In my private capacity

Barry Fox CAN262
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Post by Barry Fox CAN262 » 02 Oct 2008, 18:46

This issues around battery condition/voltage indicators is a good example of "where do you draw the line?".

The rules actually already, specifically, say:
C5.3
(c) Except for control unit positioning and radio link information, no radio
transmissions from the boat shall be made.

So, are visual indicators different that a radio transmission? By specifically mentioning "radio transmissions" and no others then I would say that other means of delivering information other than radio transmissions are allowed.

In rules that are formed around the premise of only allowing things that are specifically authorized, you get into trouble when you specifically disallow one thing as that carries the interpretation that as long as you don't use that method, anything else is OK. If that isn't true then the list of disallowed items must grow.

Now these LED voltage indicators are obviously not a radio transmission, they are a purely visual indicator of condition. So if they are deemed to be not legal then the extension of that argument is that is that any visual indication is also not allowed. Therefore, the feature of RMG winches where they run your sails out to half travel when the voltage drops below 1V/cell becomes dis-allowed as it is a visual indicator of voltage condition on the boat, and doesn't even require to bring your boat close by to see it. The same applies to radio systems and digital servos where the fail-safe positioning of the servo can be preset. That is a visual indicator.

I don't know what the number is but a large portion of the fleet is probably at risk of being illegal by having the capability of providing this visual indicator of battery condition.

I would say the rule as it is written is probably just fine and it already covers the delivery of real time data from the boat.
Barry Fox
CAN 46
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Bruce Andersen
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Post by Bruce Andersen » 03 Oct 2008, 06:14

An interesting point of interpretation Barry! Although attached to the receiver circuit, it does not transmit, therefore should be legal with regard to the Tx/Rx.

However, if we observe the "anything not specified is not allowed" portion of the rule, battery indicators are not specified and thus not allowed. The simple fix is to add them to the rule as allowed. No performance advantage and one could argue, makes running the boat (and thus the regatta) safer - fewer chase boat trips out for dead boats.

Personally, I am in favor of including them as allowed equipment.

Barry Fox CAN262
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Post by Barry Fox CAN262 » 03 Oct 2008, 07:04

I'm with you Bruce in that they simply help manage the basic operation of the boat, do nothing to enhance performance and could help reduce those rescue runs.

If you follow the instructions for the RMG version, and use it with an RMG winch, then the volt meter is not attached to the receiver circuit very directly. If you simply plug it into the receiver it will read 5 volts until the battery pack is about to crash as the battery first powers the winch and the winch then delivers 5 V to the receiver to run it and the rudder servo. So the volt meter should be wired into the power side of the RMG in order to really read battery voltage. So it is part of the power delivery system in this case.

Anyway, I think everyone is "violently" in agreement.
Barry Fox
CAN 46
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

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