Work continues on the design of the Next Generation Controller. Based on the input we gathered from the US Conference and from our European Tour, the design(s) most favored included:
1. 5 User Replaceable Ryobi Batteries:
- 4 external batteries located on the top panel
- 1 battery under the top panel.
2. Quickly visible LED Display: conveying time of day, tag counts, etc…
3. Lid open mode: Antenna cables, Ethernet ports, USB ports and SIM card all accessible from the top panel and not in side canyons. There was a great deal of concern about these connectors getting water logged and shorting out in the event of a significant rain event.
4. Key pads and touch screens: The survey was split almost 50-50 between using a keypad with monochrome display vs. touch screen display for controller configuration. The cost difference between these two methodologies is minimal, therefore we decided that the best user experience would be to use both a touch screen along with a keypad. This allows us to display text and characters more easily via the touch screen while still allowing input via the keypad similar to the MiniTrack.
5. External vs. Internal communications module: Again there were very strong views for both configurations. There was a slight majority favoring the internal design and we are currently designing the new controller with an internal GPRS modem, WiFi and GPS. We believe this to be the best option as it is significantly more weather-resistant and less prone to being “forgotten”. These communication devices will be easily accessible/replaceable in the event of a failure and/or technology change. For those timers that currently use external routers and modems we will design the controller configuration software to support these devices, but with much more flexibility than in the current release of software.
6. Controller Configuration options:
- Laptop using Ethernet or WiFi connection
- Pre-configured USB thumb drive
- Remote control through the ChronoTrack Server
- Planned: Via a local Bluetooth/WiFi connection with any device that can connect to such a “hotspot” and has a built-in browser
The delivery schedule of the Next Generation Controller may be slightly affected by the announcement of the Current Controller Upgrade Program, but we are still on track to have first articles of the new hardware in July 2015. Testing will occur throughout the Fall Season of 2015 with the goal of shipping the first production units in the first half of 2016. Once the Next Generation Controller is in production we will cease production of the current pro controller. There are no plans to stop production of the Mini Controller.
For technical questions about the proposed direction of the Next Generation Controller contact either:
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