System Updates & Development News
by Martin Paul Gardiner
Electronics and software development engineer and founder of GSA Golf
The GSA Golf range of golf 3D graphics software and electronic hardware is being updated with new features continuously.
New Features are being added and mods being made on nearly a daily basis so please check here regularly for your free updates.
GSA Golf installation & instruction videos
Save even more money with GSA Golf DIY kits
GSA Control Panel (CP) update V.18.104.22.168 - Windows 7 / 8 version
December 19 2014
Go here for CP Download and update instructions
Note: The above download is just an update for existing customers and not the full version Control Panel
The full version Control Panel together with the GSA Golf single course software is available on a DVD. Go to GSA Golf Software to purchase.
Download Visual Studio Windows 8 64 runtime components here
Sales or Support ?
Due to the heavy work load on at the moment with development and fulfilling orders we may not be able to get to the phones.
If you have questions please e-mail and we will get back to you within 24 hours.
Please note that we are closed on weekends
(we need this time for new developments and testing)
Note! All GSA Golf software and hardware updates (yes! product hardware updates too) are free of charge for life
GSA Golf are constantly researching and working on improvements to their product line.
If we find better methods and improvements for any processes we pass them on to our customers free of charge to ensure that their investments are secured.
go here to see GSA Golf Business News
December 19 2014
New CP today has a number of nice new features.
December 16 2014
How to make screen shots for GSA Golf Support video
As we often require screen shots and raw camera images during a support session and not everyone knows how this is done, I've made a quick video to show how to do this.
December 15 2014
coming soon in February : E6 Cloud
E6 will soon be affordable for everyone with the E6 Cloud
December 14 2014
CX2 control panel setup video
December 13 2014
LX Pro CTS video with text
Standard CTS setup video with text
Video showing how to setup and focus the Ccam CX club tracking camera
December 12 2014
More LX instruction vidoes
December 9 2014
New LX instruction vidoes
I'm doing a series of instruction and installation videos for all GSA Golf products at the moment. Here's a couple of LX instruction videos
December 5 2014
New LX software and hardware
A lot of intensive testing was done over that past weeks on the new LX Pro soft and hardware updates. All is looking great now so will be shipping the outstanding LX orders and LX B mods this weekend.
LX Lite : just $1,699
In order to compete against the new kid on the block in the launch monitor market, I've re-introduced the LX Lite at a price of just $1,699.
It features both club and ball tracking like the LX Pro and interfaces with E6 87 golf course software, GSA Golf software with up to 130 golf courses now and our new ProX II software coming out next year.
In addition it runs on a standard PC without the requirement to purchase any other hardware.
November 30 2014
Ccam Club Tracking camera video
This video shows the setup parameters for the club tracking camera with examples of various club shots. If using the Ccam CTS as stand-alone system - i.e. without ball tracking cameras - the section showing how to adjust the club/ball smash factor will be of interest.
A number of improvements were made to the CP while making this video. Today's version of the CP includes all of these.
November 29 2014
Last upload of the CP was mistakenly a test version that may not have been able to communicate with the game software. Now fixed.
E6 - Red Chain carry comparisons
Click above images to see our E6 / Red Chain carry comparisons
November 28 2014
New ball and club speed controls for both CX2, CX3 and LX
Should you wish to adjust the measured ball and club speeds with any of the GSA Golf camera systems, you can now do this with the new Control Panel "Speed Controls".
Click on above image to see video.
Ball speed reduction proportional to launch angle
We've been aware for a number of years now that golf game software doesn't always calculate carry distances correctly over the spread of launch angles.
i.e. A user can set the system so that the game software calculates the correct distances for low launch angle shots but higher ones are then carrying too far.
And vice-versa, when the user sets the distance correctly for the high launch angle shots, the lower ones carry to short.
We'd like to point out that we don't make the game software where the trajectories are calculated (i.e. RedChain and E6 software).
We just make the camera systems and image processing software and all our tests show that we are consistent in what we are measuring.
November 27 2014
LX Pro Chipping and Putting video in more detail - LX Full shot video
The above left video shows the LX Chipping and Putting in more detail. Commentary coming on this video later.
Screen capturing was used to make the video which makes the game software (Red Chain in this case) look jerky and not nice and smooth which it normally is.
The above right video shows a full shot. Sceen capturing was used on the Control Panel scenes and video camera used on the game ball launch scene.
November 26 2014
LX Pro Club Tracking video in more detail
The above video shows the LX Pro Club Tracking in more detail. Commentary coming on this video later.
LX Pro ball tracking screen capture video coming tomorrow.
Many more GSA Golf camera installation and instruction videos coming soon
Vary many more GSA Golf CX, CTS and LX installation and instruction videos will be coming every week from now on.
Metal sensor trigger
Currently all GSA Golf club tracking systems (CTS, CX3, LX Pro in CTS mode) require an optical sensor to trigger the cameras. The sensor is supplied with a hitting mat but for those that would prefer to use their own mat and don't want to make a hole in it for the optical sensor, we're be coming out with a metal detector sensor soon. The - which is basically just a small copper coil and a small circuit - can be placed under the mat in the hitting area without having to drill a hole in the mat.
November 25 2014
Many new features and improvements in this new version of the GSA Golf Control Panel.
I'll be making nice clear Screen Capture videos this week of all the new features in the CP plus basic system instruction and installation.
November 24 2014
LX Pro lab test videos
Here's a small sample of the many LX Pro videos to come. Note: These are just lab test videos and not product promotional videos. Professional promotion videos will be coming at the end of the year.
I didn't have time today to do any commentary on the videos yet. Thanksgiving seems like a good day for this for me.
I started with chipping and putting because I have heard from many sources now that currently both radar and camera launch monitors have problems detecting these shots. Not sure why that would be - unless they're using a mic trigger - in which case there's not much hope that they ever will detect these shots. I know this because I spent many hundreds of hours trying to get this method to work.
The videos show the new IR beam method of triggering the cameras. 6 powerful lensed IR LED emitters send out a strong IR light that reflects IR light back into a sensor whenever a bright object - like a golf ball - passes within this IR light field. When this happens, a bright blue LED will light up. In contrast to mic triggering methods of triggering the cameras, this method allows even the softest of putts and chips to be detected. You could even pad your putter with cotton wool and the putt will still be detected.
I would have preferred to use "Screen capturing" for the monitor parts of the video in order to get clearer images but - due to the overhead - this was casing issues with the camera image capturing. Hopefully I'll have a solution to this with the next videos.
I'll be using "Screen capturing" for all future setup and non-live instructional videos though.
BTW The Club tracking images appear mirrored so what appears to be a closed club face is actually open and vice-versa. I'll be flipping club tracking images with the next version of the CP to correct this.
November 23 2014
LX Pro videos
The LX Pro videos have been shot - including the new LX Pro Club Tracking! - with examples of game play drives, chipping and putts!
I'll need a day or so to edit, combine and sync the two camera videos though. Videos include Setup, Control Panel explanations and captured image analysis.
Many new features have been added to both the LX Pro software and hardware.
November 21 2014
LX Pro videos and LX Pro B mods
The first LX Pro videos (showing chipping and putting first) should be completed and online by this weekend. Works great!
During the process though, I noticed a problem with the B Mod units so there's couple of days delay before I can send these units out.
The issue - which only occurred very occasionally - caused the main flash LEDs to stay in an on state and that's not good as they'll burn out very quickly like that. Usually they are only on for a few milliseconds.
Turned out that I had forgotten to solder in a comparator feedback hysteresis resistor and that caused the comparator to occasionally oscillate when the reference voltage was close to the IR Sensor input voltage.
And that in turn caused the one-shot flash circuit to keep on firing the flash LEDs. In fact, the only reason the LEDs didn't burn out was that they drew so much power that the 5 amp power supply cut out.
Anyway, the problem is fixed but I have to dismantle all the LX Pro's that were scheduled to go out in order to just get that 1 cent resistor in.
November 20 2014
Due to the overwhelming number of orders we're now receiving for all the GSA Golf product range, we reluctantly have to announce that we are sold out now until Christmas.
If placing an order, please allow a 4 to 5 week lead time on your shipment.
November 17 2014
LX Pro videos
Starting this week:
LX Pro videos using two Sony cam video cameras - one focused on the LX Pro unit itself with ball and club and the other on the monitors showing game ball trajectories and captured camera images of every shot.
To start with, we'll be showing chips and putts - which, according to reports we're receiving, aren't being detected by our competitor products.
A probable reason for this would be they are using mics to trigger the cameras - which don't work for chips and putts - and/or are using just one camera - in contrast to the LX Pro which uses two cameras.
If the competitor product uses just one camera, then the position of the ball on the tee or hitting position on the mat would have to be precisely known before a shot was taken in order to detect any launch parameters with any degree of accuracy.
This position, however, wouldn't be possible using just a laser pointer to indicate to the user where to place the ball. There'd be no accuracy in doing just that as the laser could be pointing anywhere on the ball - i.e front, back or anywhere in between.
Anyway, producing the videos is going to be fun so stand by.
November 10 2014
LX Pro club tracking
We're nearly finished now with both the LX Pro and the CTS Pro club tracking software.
The above images show the composite of frames 2 and 3. Color coded lines show club path, club face angles before and after impact to ball.
Users can choose between face angles before, at or after impact to ball.
November 6 2014
LX Pro club tracking
We're about 75 percent finished with the new LX Pro club tracking feature. Above, the first LX Pro club tracking image. Notice that the center of the dots are exactly detected.
In contrast to our overhead mounted CTS club tracking camera -that views the club looking directly down on to it at 90 degrees - the LX Pro views the club at around a 45 degree angle. This, however, does not cause a problem with calculating face angle, path and club speed.
CX systems are now supplied with both dual halogen track lighting as well as IR LED lighting.
November 4 2014
Black fleece wall covering
"Tis the season" for golf simulator installations it would seem but we're still getting a number of issues with installers not following our instructions correctly and not ensuring that the walls and flooring in the Valid FOV of the H and V cams are either dark and non reflective to begin with or are not covered in a non reflective dark material . The above left image is a typical screen shot sent back to us with the complaint from the user stating "it doesn't work!".
In order for the cameras to detect ball traces, there must a a good contrast between the ball trace and the background so an illuminated bright wall background - as in the above left image - certainly will not work.
To-date, we've been supplying a sample roll of black carpet with every CX camera system for the overhead Hcam and this seems to work very well. i.e. the user or installer actually uses it.
So to address the Vcam wall issue, we're now also supplying a 9 * 5 feet black fleece roll. Users can then hang this material in the are of the valid FOV of the camera if required. Customers can also purchase this black fleece for around $15.00 from any good fabric store like "jo-ann".
November 1 2014
LX Pro IR Beam / Mic combo triggers
Normally, the LX Pro will only be using the IR Beam to trigger the cameras, however, you can also use a combination of both IR Beam and Mic triggers if ambient lighting conditions are such (ie too light) that the IR beam sensor sensitivity can't be set high enough to capture fast shots. In this case - and because a fast full shot will produce a very distinct and load club to ball impact sound - the mic can be used as a back-up trigger. i.e. if the IR Beam trigger didn't detect the ball, then the mic will.
The microphone trigger can be switched on or off via the Control Panel's main screen.
October 30 2014
LX Pro ball position indicator
The ambient light indicator we were testing yesterday also serves as a great ball placement indicator.
If the ball on the tee or hitting position is in the FOV of the IR beam sensor, then a bright blue LED will light up. In this case either the unit should be moved slightly forward or the ball hitting position moved slight backward.
If the blue LED is permanently on and there is no ball on the tee or hitting position, then the ambient light is too bright and the sensor's sensitivity should be reduced until it just goes off.
October 29 2014
LX Pro updates
Tests today revealed that the IR beam trigger sensor would require more dynamic sensitivity range for varying ambient lighting conditions either outdoors or indoors.
A new improved trigger circuit (comparator op-amp) is thus being installed in all units together with a new ambient light LED indicator. Shipments of all new and B mod LX orders are thus slightly delayed until next week.
October 28 2014
LX Pro updates
We're fitting all new LX Pro,s - including all those sent in for the B mod - with new circuitry for the club tracking feature coming next month.
Requests for help and support for a competitor's product
see Business News to read more.
October 27 2014
LX Pro updates
All LX Pro's - including all those sent in for the B mod - are being fitted with a mount on the rear that attaches to the club tracking stand should the user wish to use the LX Pro in club tracking mode in the future.
Camera alignment is now factory set individually for every LX Pro so user camera alignment is no longer necessary.
October 26 2014
LX Pro putting
Coming later this year: LX Pro multiple image putting mode
There's a camera based putting launch monitor on the market that takes a series of images of a ball rolling after it has been struck with a putter.
I'm not quite sure what the point of this product is but whatever it is there's quite a few people prepared to spend a lot of money to get it.
I inquired what the cost of this product is and was told by the manufacturer - a whopping $10,000!
Since then I've been on their mailing list with links to all the buzz about this new "holy grail" of putting monitors and about all the top PGA players that are using it.
Other than seeing how the ball travels, speed and it's spin rate (top spin in this case) I've got no idea why anyone would spend $10,000 on a machine like this but just in case you know and want this as well, we'll do it too.
It's just a software update so will be added to the new free LX Pro "Modes of Play" later this year.
October 24 2014
New LX Pro modes coming next month:
Want super accurate club angle of attack?
Switch the LX Pro to Club AOA mode and apply a single tracking dot to the side end of the club to get precise and accurate club angle of attack
Want super accurate club lie angle?
Switch the LX Pro to Club Lie angle mode and apply tracking dots to the face of the club to get precise and accurate lie angles
These software updates - that should be available next month - are free of charge to all LX Pro users.
Thanks to Frank H. for pointing out these additional LX Pro and CTS Pro possibilities.
October 23 2014
Switching an LX Pro to Club Tracking mode.
The LX Pro has the exact same components and circuits as our CTS Pro camera club tracking system and thus can easily be switched to club tracking by mounting it on a stand so that it looks down on the club.
When the LX Pro is used in club tracking mode you can still play a complete round of simulated golf. All shots from 200 mph drives to 2 inch tap in putts are detected.
Infinitely more accurate then any optical sensor pads and mats, the LX Pro club tracking captures fades, draws, hooks and slices like no other system on the market.
LX Pro club tracking software will be available free of charge in November
October 21 2014
Launch monitor price wars? see Business News to read more.
October 18 2014
We are currently nearing development completion of the most precise and accurate club tracking system available on the market today.
Both the CTS Pro and CTS Pro FM feature dual cameras that capture freeze frames of the club before and at impact to the ball.
Precise digital and programmable timing between the frames ensure that club speed, face angle and club path acquire an accuracy never before seen. And - due to our open technology - it's all verifiable by the user.
Price of the CTS Pro and CTS Pro FM is expected to be around $2,799 and $1,999 respectively.
Production start in November
October 16 2014
LX random dot pattern recognition
Random dot pattern recognition coding for the LX Pro has reached the Beta test phase. This method is now included in today's version of the CP. Select "Random dots" in the CP's main window to use this.
The above composite test image of frames 2 and 3 show a ball with random dots placed all around the ball with 4 of these in the FOV of the cameras.
(Note: placing dots all around the ball saves the player from having to bend down and align the ball logo or line to the cameras in the LX).
The image on the right shows how the intersection of the dot perpendiculars is used to determine spin axis.
The images also show that the ball has rotated 82 degrees within the time window between the two frames which equates to a spin rate of 6764 rpm.
October 14 2014
LX Pro IR beam trigger instructions
The first of the LX Pro B's with either the IR trigger mat or the internal IR beam trigger have been shipped so I've updated the LX Installation instructions to include this.
October 13 2014
USB 2 cameras on USB 3 ports
Up until now we've been recommending that each GSA Golf camera be connected to separate USB buses on the PC to prevent image tearing. i.e. the first camera uses the USB bus on the motherboard and all additional cameras required a separate PCI USB card.
The image tearing problem was caused by cameras being triggered at the same time which resulted in too much data coming in on the USB bus and the USB FIFO buffers would overflow.
However, since the advent of USB 3 I haven't noticed any image tearing problems anymore with multiple cameras connected to the same USB bus. i.e. all connected to ports using the USB bus on the mother board.
A reason for this could be that as USB 3 is 10 times faster than USB 2, it can handle a larger volume of data coming in at the same time from USB 2 devices. USB 2 cameras won't be any faster on a USB 3 bus but it would seem there is no longer any need to add extra USB PCI cards if the PC features USB 3.
Portable Club Tracking System for the LX Pro
We've had a number of requests to add club tracking to the LX Pro so here it is. The CTS-FM - camera Club Tracking System Floor Mounted.
The system is essentially the same as our standard overhead CTS but without the zoom lens, Halogen lamp and hitting mat sensor.
The CTS-FM uses the new IR beam trigger built into the camera and built in IR LED lighting.
Like the standard overhead CTS, the CTS_FM can also be used as a stand alone system to play a complete round of golf on the simulator.
With a price tag of just $999 it should offer a viable alternative to those low cost optical sensor pads on the market.
October 12 2014
LX Pro IR beam trigger works outdoors too
We have an Australian customer who has a number of open but semi covered bays on a driving range that wants the LX Pro to detect chips and putts as well as full shots. Up until now, using the LX outdoors meant using the mic triggers that are not suitable for putts and chips so we did some outdoor tests today with the new IR beam triggers. To my surprise - and even in the bright Florida sun but in the shade - the IR beam trigger worked great so we have a good solution for our customer.
All LX's will thus now be shipped with the IR beam triggers instead of line scan cameras and trigger mats. Existing customers that have ordered the - free of charge - LX B mod will also get this update free of charge.
BTW: Occasionally we like to try out our competitors launch monitor products at the golf stores to see how they fair with detecting chips and putts.
To-date, we haven't found a single launch monitor - neither radar or camera based - that can do either. We're always being told things like:
"Yes, it can detect a putt and a chip but the system has to be setup for it". "Um, no, high lofted shots like that can't be detected" .
October 11 2014
LX Pro IR beam trigger
For those that don't wish to use our IR trigger mat for the LX (ie would prefer to use their own hitting mat) but still want the system to detect all shots including small tap in putts and chips
(which preclude the use of mic triggers), we're testing a new built-in IR beam trigger method. This is the same trigger sensor that is built into the trigger mat but with an extended range.
Initial tests are working great so we may be making this method standard and offer the trigger mat as an optional extra,
October 9 2014
LX Pro and LX Pro B mod revisions
A couple of small but important revisions to the LX Pro ( also included in the new B mod for current users) has been made.
1. Camera 2 (the camera above camera 1) is now tilted down a touch to insure that the ball at ground level is completely in the camera's FOV.
2. The trigger input used for external triggering (i.e. via a trigger mat instead of the mics) has been modified to interface with an overhead line scan camera.
This was done so that users that don't wish to use the new trigger mat can still detect smaller chip shots and putts using their own mats.
October 8 2014
CX Hcam camera panel casing revision
The larger more powerful 200 IR LED lamp for the CX series we're using now is too large to fit in the panel casing for the Hcam so we're using the same case for the Hcam and line scan camera as the Vcam.
New LED indicators for power and line scan trigger are integrated in both the panel and standard casings.