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Walleye

DIY Cable for Pro Chrono Digital USB Interface: Complete Instructions

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A similar thread was started in 2009 and has been added to a few times over the years. Thanks to that thread, I have created what I think is the definitive set of instructions for making your own cable for the Pro Chrono Digital USB Interface.

The instructions in the attached PDF are sufficient for those who are comfortable with an Ohmmeter, a soldering iron, and heat shrink tubing, and who know how to install and configure drivers for a USB converter. If this is not you, then please get help from a friend or don't try this project. I assume no responsibility for any damage whatsoever.

I purchased the 25' 3.5mm headphone extension cable ($4.65) and the TTL UART USB converter ($9.30) on Amazon. Links and keywords are below. I discovered that the USB Converter is not Windows 7 compatible, so I have included a link to one that is, that one is currently $15.99. I purchased the 10K 1/4W resistor at Radio Shack, it was less than $2 for 4 resistors. I have less than $15 into the whole operation. You can use any TTL UART USB converter you want, but I know that the Win 7 compatible converter listed here works with my setup.

Have fun and let me know if it works for you.

25' 3.5mm headphone extension cable (Keywords mini headphone extension cable)

Win 7 and prior compatible USB converter (Keywords Prolific 2303HX) (The attached wiring diagram color code is for this cable)

Win 8 compatible USB converter (Keywords Prolific 2303HXD) (The attached wiring diagram color code is NOT for this cable)

DIY Pro Chrono USB Interface.pdf

Edited by Walleye

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Thanks, Great Info. I did something close to that last weekend and I started writing my own software for it.

I wanted extra stuff like to be able to assign items to a string or set of strings and then keep track of it in a database for easy future reference.

Stuff like Bullet make, type, weight, powder type and weight, primer type, COL.

I didn't like having to push multiple buttons to get what I needed either, so when I go to the next string it automatically pulls the stats and velocities for that string.

I will be working some better file saving and printing features as well. I also would like to graph multiple strings on top of each other for comparison.

Charts, PDF, HTML, Excel (Native), Standard TXT files, Print Single String or Multiple Strings or All.

One button download so it gathers all the string and shot data and imports into a database so you don't have to look at it one at a time.

Remote control interface (wireless blue tooth).

The command set is a little flaky and cumbersome but with a little work I'm figuring them out.

It's getting there, just very limited time to work on it.

Richard

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The command set is a little flaky and cumbersome but with a little work I'm figuring them out.

It's getting there, just very limited time to work on it.

Richard

Hi, can you please post the commands you figured out?

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@Histate, this is a two-step process: (1) Build a serial cable that connects your Pro Chrono to your laptop computer. (2) Download and install the software from the Pro Chrono web site. Both of these steps are outlined in sufficient detail in the PDF in the original post. If you can't figure out how to do either of these steps from that PDF, then you need to either (a) find a friend who can figure it out from the provided document or (B) spend $50 to buy the cable and software from Pro Chrono. I'm sorry but I can't make it any simpler than that; there is some basic understanding of soldering, wiring, software installation, etc. required in order to complete the project. If you don't already own and know how to use a soldering iron and a volt/ohmmeter then this project is probably not for you.

The other guys are talking about how they are writing their own software to collect and analyze the chrono data. That is beyond the scope of my original post, and beyond the scope of my technical capabilities.

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@Histate, this is a two-step process: (1) Build a serial cable that connects your Pro Chrono to your laptop computer. (2) Download and install the software from the Pro Chrono web site. Both of these steps are outlined in sufficient detail in the PDF in the original post. If you can't figure out how to do either of these steps from that PDF, then you need to either (a) find a friend who can figure it out from the provided document or (B) spend $50 to buy the cable and software from Pro Chrono. I'm sorry but I can't make it any simpler than that; there is some basic understanding of soldering, wiring, software installation, etc. required in order to complete the project. If you don't already own and know how to use a soldering iron and a volt/ohmmeter then this project is probably not for you.

The other guys are talking about how they are writing their own software to collect and analyze the chrono data. That is beyond the scope of my original post, and beyond the scope of my technical capabilities.

Thanks walleye I can figure out how to build the cable and download the software from prochrono. I was just wondering about the software programming and Bluetooth connections was also curious about any Mac software compatibility. Sorry for being vague and not specific. Thanks again for the help

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Thanks walleye I can figure out how to build the cable and download the software from prochrono. I was just wondering about the software programming and Bluetooth connections was also curious about any Mac software compatibility. Sorry for being vague and not specific. Thanks again for the help

No problem, I would think the only Mac option would be to use the "windows emulation" within OS10x, but then I don't know if the serial connection to Mac via USB would be compatible. Would be a fun experiment.

Ideally the data collection would be Bluetooth to iPhone OS (since I have an iPhone). Next choice would be Bluetooth to Android phone, but then I don't have an Android phone...yet... Then the data could be picked up by email from whatever computer you wished, and the data massaged and plotted etc. independent of the data collection device.

These all sound like fun projects but I barely have enough time to get to the range!

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Thanks for the cleaned up instructions. I got a ProChrono Digital last week so I ordered the 3.5mm stereo cord and the windows 7 compatible USB converter and got everything connected today. The software leaves a bit to be desired but it was nice not having to type in all the velocities into a spreadsheet.

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@TDH, thanks for the report, I'm glad my instructions were repeatable. I always wonder if I've forgotten something...

Agreed about the software, it is reliable but usability didn't seem to factor into the design. Even if you could export all strings at once, rather than having to export each string individually, that would be a HUGE improvement. But since I downloaded the software for free from their web site, I don't think I have the right to complain to them. Surely somebody must have already told them how clunky their software is?

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Yeah, no issues with instructions. Wiring colors were different but just had to match them up to their respective plug contacts. If I had to do it over again, I may have just bought a 3.5mm male connector and soldiered the USB converter to that. I would have a short cord for transferring data in the house, and if I need the length, then I could just plug in the extension.

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I made the cable up today and here is what I am experiencing:

When I plug everything up and power on the ProChrono, it flashes "rdy".

I open the software and can change strings, but I can't pull the strings where I have recorded shots to the laptop. Anyone else experiencing this?

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@TheDave, I had exactly the same problem you're describing until I installed the 10K resister between the Chrono TX/UART RX and ground. The resistor is required.

"rdy" on the display is what you should see right at power-up. When you click "String Change" there will be no shot data displayed until you click "Get Velocities" and there will be no statistics for the string until you click "Get Statistics". These are oversights in my opinion; the data should be pushed to the computer when you change strings.

Edited by Walleye

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@TheDave, I had exactly the same problem you're describing until I installed the 10K resister between the Chrono TX/UART RX and ground. The resistor is required.

"rdy" on the display is what you should see right at power-up. When you click "String Change" there will be no shot data displayed until you click "Get Velocities" and there will be no statistics for the string until you click "Get Statistics". These are oversights in my opinion; the data should be pushed to the computer when you change strings.

I do have the resistor installed, I'll go back and double check my wiring.

ETA: Had the resister going from USB RX and TX instead of ground. Changed over one leg and voila, it works! Great write up, really simple if you're handy with a soldering iron and wire cutters.

I ended up just attaching a male 3.5" connecter from Radio Shack so I have a 3' "pigtail" of sorts. Then I got a 25' extension cable off of ebay for range use. The pigtail when let me pull data over when I get home without all the extra cabling.

Now we need to make a remote switch to change strings when you're on the range and no laptop!

Edited by TheDave

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Now we need to make a remote switch to change strings when you're on the range and no laptop!

Glad you got it worked out.

How about Bluetooth to iPhone or Android? That would be the ticket.

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Now we need to make a remote switch to change strings when you're on the range and no laptop!

Glad you got it worked out.

How about Bluetooth to iPhone or Android? That would be the ticket.

Amen to that. I can't believe how much the remote is compared to the chrono itself

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Love this thread.

On going wireless, is there any reason why you wouldn't be able to use a Serial-to-Bluetooth adapter (like this one) on the chrono end (serial wired to a 3.5mm plug) if you're using a laptop with a Bluetooth receiver? It seems to me the only trick would be getting power to the Bluetooth adapter.

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M852 your post may have just cost me $45! This might work. I'll have to do some research. Will keep you posted.

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M852 your post may have just cost me $45! This might work. I'll have to do some research. Will keep you posted.

Thanks for looking into it.

I just ordered the FTDI TTL-232R-3V3-AJ, which looks like all of the parts in your original solution (except with a FTDI FT232RQ vs. the Prolific) integrated into one molded cable ($19 shipped). According to the datasheet, the pin outs (pg. 13) look the same. My only concern is whether the 10k resistor is still necessary.

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I think you've done it! I think that is the cable I spent 2 hours building. It should be plug and play compatible. No soldering required.

Good news/bad news is, to build the Bluetooth version with the converter will probably require a 3.5mm jack and a DB-9 connector and a 10k resistor.

But in the meantime I think the cable you found will work. Please post your results!

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Bluetooth to my Win8 PC. Not for the faint of heart. Needed to configure the BT2S board, then needed correct the "virtual" COM ports created by Bluetooth pairing. And I'm still not exactly sure how I got it working in the end. It seems bulletproof now, however. Wow that was fun. Will post as much info/details as possible if anyone is interested.

photo_zpsa4d4ce0e.jpg

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M852 your post may have just cost me $45! This might work. I'll have to do some research. Will keep you posted.

Thanks for looking into it.

I just ordered the FTDI TTL-232R-3V3-AJ, which looks like all of the parts in your original solution (except with a FTDI FT232RQ vs. the Prolific) integrated into one molded cable ($19 shipped). According to the datasheet, the pin outs (pg. 13) look the same. My only concern is whether the 10k resistor is still necessary.

So did that cable work? =)

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M852 your post may have just cost me $45! This might work. I'll have to do some research. Will keep you posted.

Thanks for looking into it.

I just ordered the FTDI TTL-232R-3V3-AJ, which looks like all of the parts in your original solution (except with a FTDI FT232RQ vs. the Prolific) integrated into one molded cable ($19 shipped). According to the datasheet, the pin outs (pg. 13) look the same. My only concern is whether the 10k resistor is still necessary.

So did that cable work? =)

Don't know yet. Chrono went out-of-stock & didn't ship.

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Bluetooth to my Win8 PC. Not for the faint of heart. Needed to configure the BT2S board, then needed correct the "virtual" COM ports created by Bluetooth pairing. And I'm still not exactly sure how I got it working in the end. It seems bulletproof now, however. Wow that was fun. Will post as much info/details as possible if anyone is interested.

Definitely interested.

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Okay, unfortunately the FTDI TTL-232R-3V3-AJ cable did not work right out of the box (er, bag). I had to swap the Tx and Rx wires (yellow & orange) to get the chrono to receive, and I still had to put the 10k resistor between the tip and ground to get it to transmit back to the PC. I wanted to keep the molded 1/8" stereo plug, so I spliced the cable about 8" from the stereo plug to swap the wires and solder in the resistor. Used heat-shrink tubing to keep everything together and in-line. If I had it to do over again, I would probably get the TTL-232R-3V3-WE with the bare wire end and just solder it to a 1/8" stereo plug with the resistor installed in the plug. Would have kept me from having a cord that looks like a python digesting something where the splice is.

One thing I did find interesting: when I was installing the PCRemote software it had FTDI chipset drivers with it, leading me to believe the USB dongle that comes with the ProChrono Digital USB Interface kit uses a FTDI chipset, too.

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Bluetooth to my Win8 PC. Not for the faint of heart. Needed to configure the BT2S board, then needed correct the "virtual" COM ports created by Bluetooth pairing. And I'm still not exactly sure how I got it working in the end. It seems bulletproof now, however. Wow that was fun. Will post as much info/details as possible if anyone is interested.

Now that I have the cable behind me, I'm starting to look at the Bluetooth option. There's a surprisingly insightful Amazon review on the BT2S that explains how to program it (with the help of a USB to TTL Serial Converter). It looks like most of the other Bluetooth serial slave options (here and here) are based on the HC-05 or HC-06 chipsets.

Couple of questions:

  1. What configuration changes did you make to the BT2S? Did you use a USB-to-TTL serial converter to make the changes?
  2. What power supply did you use? I'm thinking the end game would be to have the Bluetooth module mounted inside the ProChrono case with an exterior on-off/external jack-bluetooth switch. If it's mounted inside, shouldn't I be able to tap off the internal 9V battery with a 5V voltage regulator? The other option I was thinking of is to use 2xAAA batteries with a 5V DC-DC step-up converter. I'm wondering what the run time would be with that option given the draw from the BT2S (10-35mA IIRC).

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