Monday, March 19, 2012

My Review of GSA Golf Sim System (PX2)

After using it for 6 month or so, I think this system is OK but not perfect.  It calculates my swing speed by ~5mph less or so. Club face detection is not reliable on any of clubs when I use Swing Setter which has round end , it still says face is open on Prox Driving range mode. Prox Program is not playable because it keeps on crash. To get better data, I use GSA Golf ( by Red Chain) demo software. I am not sure if it is worth to upgrade to GSA premium Courses which cost 1000 bucks more. If I do it again, I will look for used Pro Launch Monitor instead.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Making GSA PX2 System to work

GSA system is shadow based. It needs lot of light. It needs focused single source of lighting. They recommend 50 to 70w halogen spot light. I bout a track light from Home Depot ( Hampton bay r-20 system). This track system can have different light fixtures such as 120v light and 12v light. I will try which one works better 12v or 120v, and cheaper. When you plan your hitting area you should plan here to put track system. Track system can be hard wired or plugged in.  this is some thing need to be planed ahead as well. Track light has  to be straight down( perpendicular to floor)  to hitting board to avoid grass mat fibers casting shadow on sensor diodes. ( 3 lows of little clear round things). Some of track light I tried can not be directed straight down but slight angle. I bent mine little bit to shine strait down to sensor without casting shadow - this solved :" Not Ready" and changing color of little square on left top corner of screen.

Computer systems I am using is Dell Vostro dual core 2.7gh with 4 gb ram and 100gb HDD.
I purchased Radeon 5570 HD graphics chip based card with 1gb  DDR3 video rams. I have Win7 64 bit installed in this computer.
Here is what I did for mine:
1) I installed all my GSA soft ware and new updates from his web site first. "Updates processes" are just copying over new exe files onto existing exe files to replace it.  I also copy& paste d3dx9_30.dll to  C:\Windows\SysWOW64 folder ( for win 32 bit, copy into c:\windows\system32 folder) You should not connect sensor board until all your software is installed and updated. 

2) Connect Sensor board and go to Windows device manager to Disable MS Serial Ball point Mouse and click LPT & Com Port to check  number of Com port used by USB serial port.

3) Reboot Computer

4)Plug in sensor board, start GSA Control program and go to settings and click on Sensors. Click on Com Port setting to match  com port # on "2)" 

5) exit out GSA control program and reboot.

6) Restart GSA Control program and click on sow sensors, shine the bare board with bright light. Cover and uncover the rest sensor - any one of clear diode sensors next to green light  and same column. If you see two bright green spots on sensor display on computer screen with" ready to swing", your system is working correctly.

7) Go to setup screen of GSA control, and click "window mode"

8) Close and restart GSA Control again and resize to minimum click on "--" on window frame next to "X".
    Open GSA ProX and see if it is working. This will conclude computer set up for now.

GSA Control feeds data from sensor board to GSA Gol and GSA Prox V. 7. You need to keep program running in resized window mode. Do not click the Top Right side Button "Send Window Back"  to resize this will cause no data or no club reading in GSA Golf and ProX programs.

I found Px2 sensors has dual duty. 1) it acts as USB software protection device(dongle)
                                                              2) Swing sensor using Serial port communication
Even if your Sensor board is detected, you can still have non communicating board because mismatched Com Port setting.


ProX Version 7 is converting club face data wrong. It states all my club face is closed by huge  amount. But GSA golf says it is open. I think Martin ( owner of GSA) got his program wrong ( left hand to right hand correction mixed-up). I am waiting on new DVD from GSA to reinstall all programs.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Building Hitting Platform

Building platform consist of  3steps.
1) Building Casing for Sensor board and Cutting Fiberbuilt Grass mats.
2) Constructing Platform and track light installation and adjustments.
3) Final touch and trim to make sensor illuminated evenly.

1) Building Sensor board casing and cutting Grass mats
 I followed GSA's web site for sizing and location of sensor mat assembly.
My sensor board casing size is exactly same width as grass mat width. I used 1/4 inch clear acrylic to build casing. I completely enclosed case to make clean up easy.  I made length of acrylic case little bit longer ( 3/8") than 2 grass panel width  and bolt down circuit board little further so I can adjust sensor location by shaving case when it is finished with joiner. Construction like this containing many parts can be miss the exact location by having error somewhere.  For circuit board mounting holes , drill all available holes on the circuit board ( pre mark and drill) , because there will be some holes that are miss aligned and some will align perfectly. Just use perfectly aligned ones disregard misses ones.

 I cut grass mats before building casing. Mat assembly instruction is on his OEM side of web site. I cut slots with Dremel EZ lock cutting wheel. Mat has hidden metal pieces that holds bristles some wood working bit can be not suitable to cut it. Then I used Dremel Dry wall cutting bit to trim and make slot straight. You can have larger slot which may not affect performance of sensor becauses it is shadow based, but too small slots and hole will be problematic for proper operation. I am thinking about using electrical tape to resize opening for sensors if I want to reduce sensor exposure. I will tape top cover of casing acrylic.  I Used my router and guide bushing to redo slots again. I will probably remake new panel soon using router and guide bushing I will make template in 1/4 inch plywood then bolt it to grass panel.  It will give me clean straight cut to minimize incorrect reading. According to GSA website tolerance for each slot is +-1mm. I think mine is well passes 1mm tolerance.

2)I used 2x4 (1.5"x3.5" exact)  and 2x3(1.5"x 2.5") to build platform.  Choose lumbers they are not twisted. slightly bent lumbers are better than straight but twisted lumber.  Hole cup size was 4" for putting. I did not use carpet tack strip because of carpet I used was much thinner than tack nail height. I stapled carpet on to wood carpet frame. I used 3/4 inch thick dense "work out area foam" for carpet backing.  Base board is 3/4 inch thick OSB  board ( cheap and strong).

3) Installing track light was breeze. But finding straight down spot light was quite a task. I installed light track directly above sensor board to minimize shadow blur. Adjusting and relocating hitting platform to get most light on sensors. I trimmed bristles to make sure fibers not casting shadow on the sensors. I enlarged fiber opening for reset sensors to make sure they are well illuminated.


After using golf sim for few month, I wish I built hitting plat form little bit longer and move sensor/fiber grass mat more centred so I can stand more centre of hitting platform. I will eventually use Fiber Mat as stance in new platform.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Preparing Golf Sim Area in Basement

I have most of my hobby set in my basement. I have complete wood working shop with dust collector that puts out dirty air to out side.  I made radiant heating on my finished side of basement which has home theatre, workout area and electronic work bench. I am try to add my biggest summer past time hobby -golf- to this highly utilised my basement.

I decide to trim off some work out area and some work out equipment that I hardly use. It took me 2 days to figure out what to throw away and what to keep in my basement. At the end I found 12' by 11' area that I can convert to golf sim area.

Things I need to do
  1) maximise ceiling height by removing existing dropping ceiling tiles and grid.
  2) Refinish ceiling and re wire electrical outlets and switches to  connect computer, monitor and projector.
  3) Install tract light for GSA golf sim system - Halogen lighting of 50w to 70w is needed for sensors, and has to be directly above sensor mat to avoid shadowing.
  4) Hide all electrical wires and cables between ceiling joists
  5) Install protective netting system to stop the balls
  6)Install impact screen to use projector

Bare height of my basement floor to ceiling joist was 9ft. Our radiant floor heating system eats up about 3 in from bare floor. Ceiling covering will eat up 1in. that leaves 8ft 8 inches. My hitting plstform will be 2.5 in. Effective swing height will be slightly less than 8.5 ft. I am 5 ft 10. With my normal swing, I will only have 4 to 6 inch room left from hitting ceiling- next home will have 12 ' ceiling for sure..

I installed four 6 inch recessed light cans ( Home Depot has this kit for less than 6 bucks per piece) between joist and connected cans with 14/nm wire. I hooked up 2 switched to control 2 cans at the time.
I was searching for ceiling covering and accidentally  found that Lowes is selling outdoor grass carpet (6'X8') for 5 bucks. I loaded up my minivan with 6 pieces of this.

Underneath (top of) of ceiling tiles were covered with fiber type 3/4" boards. I decide to keep them and cover them up with grass carpets. It was hard work to install carpets on the ceiling.

Choosing golf Simulator

I found there are more than few golf sim systems out there
Some of this summary from what I learned from reading other peoples post as well as mine.

 1) Play station based golf game- slightly above a toy grade
 2) Wii golf- really toy
 3 Optishot by Dancin dog :Pros: Inexpensive 399.00,  Fun system , May suitable for just having fun in winter months.   Easy installation ( no need to install new lights) and good graphics on the  courses and courses are free and frequent free updates on new courses. Great customer service. Most widely used system ( it is on the Golf channel). Cons: Based on number of sensors, system may not as accurate as I want.  It has no upgrade options to ball data (Ball spin, launch angle, speed MEASURE), Infrared reflective system ( pron to error reading on some clubs).

4) P3Pro :- Pros: Great price point for moderately advanced system.(599 to 1000.00)  More sensors than Optishot. Good range of club data(great for practice or shot improvement), Cheaper web cam based launch camera. Vector Launch monitor integration. 2nd biggest market share.
                   Cons: Rubber Hitting surface ( grass mat upgrade is another 300 bucks). Infrared based reflective system (may need to tape the clubs)- may not accurate for teed off shots due to further distance from sensors. According to many web posts. slow updates and software changes.

5) Golf Simulators of America (GSA): Pros: Shadow based system (less dependency on club to sensor distance), Modular design for easy upgrade and low starting cost. Lowest price among competitive systems. Sky is a limit to upgrade. Great DIY system.  ( GSA system share very close resemblance of  ProTee golf system, look at the sensor mats)
                                Cons: Hard to install  ( compare to IR based system). Need some basic computer skills and carpentry skills.

6) Protee Golf: Pros: Great accuracy.  Easy installation ( but still more complicated than Optishot or p3pro). Easy biodegradability. Close to turn key operation ( remote customer care).
                           Cons: In my eyes PreTee system is close to same as GSA base system with higher price tag.

7) Other systems: HD golf, aboutGolf ( one in Golf Channel ), Full Swing golf..  complete turnkey system needs much bigger play money to buy.

Because of my hobby attributes ( wood working, electronics and Golf), It was easy decision to pick GSA system over rests. The reasons I pick GSA are;
1) I 'd like to hit from Fiberbuilt grass mat
2shadow based system if set up correctly with correct lighting, can be more accurate than IR reflective system.
3) More sensors -(more accuracy) than competitively priced systems ( p3pro).
4)Want to substitute my labor for money -winter is long and boring.
5) Up-gradable to Camera system ( Sensor & Camera) to complete the system.

I ordered Sept. 13 2011 then I received 10/12/2011 ( nearly a month for delivery).