Video VBOX installation

I just finished installing a Video VBOX Lite system in my car and am happy be driving my car again! It’s been 3 weeks since I started the project with 3-4 days of actual time spent. The biggest time sink was routing a microphone to the rear bumper which isn’t necessary but should make for a great sound track. I also lost a week to a wrong part being sent. If not for these two factors, install would have easily taken under a day.

Below is a video showing the output of my initial drive with the system recording just after completing the install, so minimal configuration. It’s not intended to be exciting (it’s not), but potentially informative for anybody considering a VBOX or evaluating similar systems.

Edit (07.25.14): The following video shows a VBOX recorded session from a recent lapping day with the system fully customized for my car and configured for the track. There’s an issue with the speed ‘sticking’ that I need to look into and I didn’t have my audio plugged in for this session. I also cooled down the colors in Final Cut for this video.

VBOX is an in-car video and data acquisition system targeted at motorsports enthusiasts and racers who want to improve their driving by analyzing their driving after each session or event. I researched several different systems and opted for Racelogic’s Video VBOX system because it had most of the features I was looking for, was priced competitively, pre-sales support was responsive (which is a gauge for what I can expect post-sale), worldwide distributor network including two distributors in North America, good support site with monitored forums and regular updates, and an impressive product line.

The feature that attracted me to Video VBOX are:

  • Multiple video inputs.
  • Fully customizable video output.
  • External stereo microphone input.
  • CAN bus integration for getting at ECU data.
  • High-resolution GPS and track mapping feature.
  • Data stored to inexpensive, standardized SD card.
  • Start/stop recording triggered by speed.

The one feature I wish VBOX had is HD video. There are other systems available with HD I opted for VBOX anyway because HD was a like-to-have for me, not must have. I purchased the VBOX lite, which is Racelogic’s least expensive system, as shown here:

vbox_lite_and_oled__30604_zoom

Layout Schematic

I gave careful consideration to the installation prior to starting and opted as follows:

  • VBOX stored inside glove box.
  • 1-externally mounted microphone at rear of car (mono).
  • 1-internally mounted microphone inside passenger cabin.
  • 1 video extension cable routed back to roll bar.
  • 1 CAN bus clip-on interface routed to driver-side foot well area.
  • All other accessories, incl. power & GPS routed from glove box.

Layout schematic for all of the above is illustrated below.

vbox-layout-schematic

VBOX Mounting Location

I considered two (2) locations for mounting the VBOX unit: Somewhere in the front trunk area and in the glove box. The biggest advantage of the front trunk is retaining full use of the glove box storage area, which the VBOX and all of its cabling pretty much fully occupy. However, I opted for the glove box for several reasons:

  • Status LEDs able to be viewed without needing to get out of car.
  • Easy access to record button if manual start / stop desired.
  • No need to pop trunk to add / remove SD card.
  • Easy to route cables in and out of glove box if needed.
  • Close proximity to 12v power outlet (under dash).
  • No need to route through wires through front bulkhead.
  • Simply remove and store for safekeeping during offseason.

My overall goal was to minimize or eliminate need to make any modifications to the car in order to accommodate the system. By using the 12v power outlet I didn’t need to splice into any wires or tie into the fuse box. Racelogic also makes a clip-on interface that reads signals off of the CAN wires without needing to splice into them so I went this route as well. (More on the CAN interface below.)

Microphone Locations

The VBOX has a stereo microphone input and includes a splitter and two single channel condenser microphones so that left and right channels can be picked up at different points. I ran wires for mounting as follows:

  • Inside cabin facing driver to pick up conversation and sounds hear by driver such as tires working. Also hoping that by pointing at driver from dash, wind buffeting will be kept to a minimum.
  • External to car and hidden behind rear license plate facing downward. Not coincidentally, this also happens to be right over the exhaust tips.

I expect (hope) that this should make for some great audio tracks. Will probably require lowering exhaust channel level relative to cabin channel during editing in order to get a good balance.

Camera Locations

My system accepts 2 camera inputs (more expensive models accept up to 4). Both are mounted from inside the vehicle:

  • A high-resolution camera is attached to the windshield using a suction mount and faces forward across the hood of the car. This will provide an unobstructed view of the track and is the main video displayed.
  • A low resolution camera is attached to the roll bar aiming at the driver from behind. This will be shown as an video inlay (picture-in-picture) and will be useful for accessing factors such as driver smoothness.

CAN Interface

CAN bus signals are captured using Racelogic’s clip-on interface. This is nice for at least three (3) reasons:

  • No need to alter the cars wiring harness.
  • I was fairly confident I had the wires but not 100%. With the clip-on interface, no need to worry about hacking-up the electrical in search of the correct pair. Fortunately I got it right the first time thanks in-part to some thoughtful Internet posts.
  • Non-physical interface for measuring signals means no chance of measurement affecting the signal and possibly causing CAN bus errors, which could in-turn affect vehicle operation.

The most obvious place to hook into the CAN signal was near the ECU since the pin-out schematic clearly identifies high and low CAN signals. However, it can also be picked-up of these same wires as they route up through the drivers foot well area near the fuse box. I opted for the latter because in the event of issues down the road, less stuff to need to tear into to diagnose and repair. (I apply this philosophy to all wire placement and routing considerations.)

The CAN bus interface is shown in the figure below and will be discussed in more detail with installation.

CAN bus access can be achieved on the Porsche 997.2 by attaching the VBOX CAN bus interface to the CAN wires routed up near the fuse box. They’re a twisted pair comprised of yellow-white (CAN high) and black-white (CAN low). The clip-on interface clips over the wires so no splicing is required. After closing the shell, I took the added step of securing with two small zip ties to make sure it doesn’t come undone. More details on the CAN bus clip-on interface below so read-on if this is of interest to you.

CAN bus access can be achieved on the Porsche 997.2 by attaching the VBOX CAN bus interface to the CAN wires routed up near the fuse box. They’re a twisted pair comprised of yellow-white (CAN high) and black-white (CAN low). The clip-on interface clips over the wires so no splicing is required. After closing the shell, I took the added step of securing with two small zip ties to make sure it doesn’t come undone. More details on the CAN bus clip-on interface below so read-on if this is of interest to you.

Installation

The bulk of the work involved with the install involved routing a microphone to the rear of the car. It’s a lot of work for just one (1) cable, but worth the effort in my opinion because it’ll return glorious audio tracks as opposed to the all too common wind-buffeting filled tracks heard on the Internet.

This is not a step-by-step guide so I’m only showing the basic flow. If you want to follow similar approach for your specific car, you can get detailed disassembly instructions on the Internet. Installing on a 2011 Porsche 911 GT3RS (997.2) and there was ample amounts of information on forums like Rennlist and Renntech that detailed anything I needed to know. For any Porsche 997 owners reading this, I’ll provide any 997 specific details that are not already amply posted about such as center console removal DIY.

Battery disconnected to prevent drain and shorting while working on the car.

Battery disconnected to prevent drain and shorting while working on the car.

Rear bumper removed for routing microphone to rear of car.

Rear bumper removed for routing microphone to rear of car.

Interior partially gutted (rear-half) to make room for cleanly routing wires to rear of car.

Interior partially gutted (rear-half) to make room for cleanly routing wires to rear of car.

Glove box removed for routing wires in cleanly from behind and into it.

Glove box removed for routing wires in cleanly from behind and into it.

Getting to the back requiring punching through the rear bulkhead. I removed the rubber plug seen at far left by the reflection from rear window which is being shot through. Then I ran some coat hanger into the engine bay to be used for pulling the microphone cable into the car. Observant person may notice rear shock dropped, which is because I also needed to remove the roll bar to gain access.

Getting to the back requiring punching through the rear bulkhead. I removed the rubber plug seen at far left by the reflection from rear window which is being shot through. Then I ran some coat hanger into the engine bay to be used for pulling the microphone cable into the car. Observant person may notice rear shock dropped, which is because I also needed to remove the roll bar to gain access.

Here’s the other end of the coat hanger, which I tape microphone cable to and route it back through the hole shown in previous. If you’re following, don’t forget to re-insert rubber plug and you’ll want to pass the wire through it by cutting a small hole and applying a small amount of Vaseline, wire pull gel, or similar. You can also see my brake pads are getting low.

Here’s the other end of the coat hanger, which I tape microphone cable to and route it back through the hole shown in previous. If you’re following, don’t forget to re-insert rubber plug and you’ll want to pass the wire through it by cutting a small hole and applying a small amount of Vaseline, wire pull gel, or similar. You can also see my brake pads are getting low.

Since the microphone gets routed through the rear bumper, I wanted to guard against the possibility it or its wiring getting damaged by an unsuspecting person working on my car during service, etc. If damaged during bumper removal I only need to replace the small run from the connector back. I used a 6-pin Deutsch DTM connector. For details on this connector and how to crimp, see my Reliable Connections post. Also visible is a stereo microphone input which is in addition to the mono cable. This will allow me to record audio with my Zoom H1 if desired without needing to attach it to the rear bumper as I’ve done in the past. The extra wire will also serve as a spare in the unlikely event the mono cable is damaged.

Since the microphone gets routed through the rear bumper, I wanted to guard against the possibility it or its wiring getting damaged by an unsuspecting person working on my car during service, etc. If damaged during bumper removal I only need to replace the small run from the connector back. I used a 6-pin Deutsch DTM connector. For details on this connector and how to crimp, see my Reliable Connections post. Also visible is a stereo microphone input which is in addition to the mono cable. This will allow me to record audio with my Zoom H1 if desired without needing to attach it to the rear bumper as I’ve done in the past. The extra wire will also serve as a spare in the unlikely event the mono cable is damaged.

Microphone is routed through rear bumper and exits out from behind the license plate support (mount surface). It stays positioned as shown and sandwiched between the bumper cover and support pointing downward towards the exhaust. There'll be no wind noise issues because it's protected from any turbulent flows. I also place it in a plastic Ziploc bag to protect the condenser from any water that might splash in. Microphone is routed through rear bumper and exits out from behind the license plate support (mount surface). It stays positioned as shown and sandwiched between the bumper cover and support pointing downward towards the exhaust. There’ll be no wind noise issues because it’s protected from any turbulent flows. I also place it in a plastic Ziploc bag to protect the condenser from any water that might splash in.

Microphone is routed through rear bumper and exits out from behind the license plate support (mount surface). It stays positioned as shown and sandwiched between the bumper cover and support pointing downward towards the exhaust. There’ll be no wind noise issues because it’s protected from any turbulent flows. I also place it in a plastic Ziploc bag to protect the condenser from any water that might splash in.
Microphone is routed through rear bumper and exits out from behind the license plate support (mount surface). It stays positioned as shown and sandwiched between the bumper cover and support pointing downward towards the exhaust. There’ll be no wind noise issues because it’s protected from any turbulent flows. I also place it in a plastic Ziploc bag to protect the condenser from any water that might splash in.

Wires seen being neatly routed over top of left-rear wheel arc with some racers tape applied. They continue along the doorsill with the rest of the harness and up into the driver’s side foot well area exiting by the fuse box. In addition to the one wire for the VBOX rear mono channel, I also routed a stereo microphone cable to have as a spare and / or for recording using a higher-quality stereo microphone and audio recorder. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Wires seen being neatly routed over top of left-rear wheel arc with some racers tape applied. They continue along the doorsill with the rest of the harness and up into the driver’s side foot well area exiting by the fuse box. In addition to the one wire for the VBOX rear mono channel, I also routed a stereo microphone cable to have as a spare and / or for recording using a higher-quality stereo microphone and audio recorder. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Microphone wires continue their journey alongside factory harness into the dash area. You can see them just to the right of the CAN bus clip-on connector. I wrapped the mono and stereo cables together with some electrical tape to keep them together while routing through behind dash area.

Microphone wires continue their journey alongside factory harness into the dash area. You can see them just to the right of the CAN bus clip-on connector. I wrapped the mono and stereo cables together with some electrical tape to keep them together while routing through behind dash area.

I opted to mount route the wires externally in the pedal box area (microphone wires plus CAN bus clip-on feed wire). I didn’t want to pull the entire dash to get a clean route and ensure out of the way of moving parts (pedals, steering, etc.). You cannot see these unless you get down on your hands and knees to look under. I removed the three screws and routed the zip ties through the gaps in their respective speed nuts. No drilling required.

I opted to mount route the wires externally in the pedal box area (microphone wires plus CAN bus clip-on feed wire). I didn’t want to pull the entire dash to get a clean route and ensure out of the way of moving parts (pedals, steering, etc.). You cannot see these unless you get down on your hands and knees to look under. I removed the three screws and routed the zip ties through the gaps in their respective speed nuts. No drilling required.

After a bit of strategizing about the best route, I opted to go into the glove box through the top. The hole is not visible unless on hands and knees again, and the route selected provides a clean route for the wires with no physical interference. I needed to remove the useless CD storage tray. There are just two screws holding the CD try in place so it can be replaced at a later date if needed. (Does anybody listen to CDs anymore?) I cleanly removed a strip of felt for where the grommet is going to go.

After a bit of strategizing about the best route, I opted to go into the glove box through the top. The hole is not visible unless on hands and knees again, and the route selected provides a clean route for the wires with no physical interference. I needed to remove the useless CD storage tray. There are just two screws holding the CD try in place so it can be replaced at a later date if needed. (Does anybody listen to CDs anymore?) I cleanly removed a strip of felt for where the grommet is going to go.

The grommet ensures that the wires will not get cut on the rough / sharp edges from the hole cut. Probably not necessary since this hole is through plastic, but a good practice and always necessary when going through thin gauge metal.

The grommet ensures that the wires will not get cut on the rough / sharp edges from the hole cut. Probably not necessary since this hole is through plastic, but a good practice and always necessary when going through thin gauge metal.

VBOX shown laying in glove box. Microphone, CAN bus, and rear cameral inputs are routed in through the top. These are fixed inputs that will always stay with the car. The remaining inputs are routed into the box by closing the door on them as they are only used for track days. Photos below illustrate and discuss rational for externally routed inputs.

VBOX shown laying in glove box. Microphone, CAN bus, and rear camera inputs are routed in through the top. These are fixed inputs that will always stay with the car. The remaining inputs are routed into the box by closing the door on them as they are only used for track days. Photos below illustrate and discuss rational for externally routed inputs.

I routed a video extension cable from the rear of the car on through the top of the glove box (grommet from previous photo). This gives me plenty of flexibility in terms of where I mount the rear camera without needing to worry about cable length. Also, should the camera go bad, I don’t need to reroute cable. If you’re reading all this, are you staring to see a theme? This was a fairly big job and I don’t want to have to do it again. If you look closely, you can see the camera input just below the diagonal brace on the roll bar’s main hoop. That it’s hard to see because I can remove the camera on the off season and no visible wires. (Another theme for this install.)

I routed a video extension cable from the rear of the car on through the top of the glove box (grommet from previous photo). This gives me plenty of flexibility in terms of where I mount the rear camera without needing to worry about cable length. Also, should the camera go bad, I don’t need to reroute cable. If you’re reading all this, are you staring to see a theme? This was a fairly big job and I don’t want to have to do it again. If you look closely, you can see the camera input just below the diagonal brace on the roll bar’s main hoop. That it’s hard to see because I can remove the camera on the off season and no visible wires. (Another theme for this install.)

I mounted the rear camera to the roll bar so that it’s position over driver’s right shoulder and aimed down towards driver’s footwell. This will give a clear view of my inputs while driving. I really like the camera mount (yellow). It’s plastic so it does not scratch the bar and can be easily slid and rotated into position. I’m probably going to paint it black so it blends in with the bar and interior, although it’s hard to see from outside the car.

I mounted the rear camera to the roll bar so that it’s position over driver’s right shoulder and aimed down towards driver’s footwell. This will give a clear view of my inputs while driving. I really like the camera mount (yellow). It’s plastic so it does not scratch the bar and can be easily slid and rotated into position. I’m probably going to paint it black so it blends in with the bar and interior, although it’s hard to see from outside the car.

Cabin microphone is routed through top of glove box (grommet) and behind dash area, exiting as shown sandwiched between the trim pieces. You can see the front of the condenser microphone at the lower left corner of the air vent. Since the microphone is facing aftward I expect minimal wind buffeting. You can see small section of wire also showing though which I easily pushed back out of view after taking this photo.

Cabin microphone is routed through top of glove box (grommet) and behind dash area, exiting as shown sandwiched between the trim pieces. You can see the front of the condenser microphone at the lower left corner of the air vent. Since the microphone is facing aftward I expect minimal wind buffeting. You can see small section of wire also showing though which I easily pushed back out of view after taking this photo.

Forward facing camera is mounted to the inside of the front windshield. I chose to route this wire externally because I will only keep this camera mounted on track days. It also affords me a lot of flexibility in terms of placement (e.g., perhaps outside the car instead). I recommend mounting behind windshield because I lost 4 or 5 sessions worth of video last year due to bugs going splat on my externally mounted Go Pro. If a bug goes splat in front of the camera behind the windshield at least you’ll see it and clean your windshield.

Forward facing camera is mounted to the inside of the front windshield. I chose to route this wire externally because I will only keep this camera mounted on track days. It also affords me a lot of flexibility in terms of placement (e.g., perhaps outside the car instead). I recommend mounting behind windshield because I lost 4 or 5 sessions worth of video last year due to bugs going splat on my externally mounted Go Pro. If a bug goes splat in front of the camera behind the windshield at least you’ll see it and clean your windshield.

The bullet camera is attached to the front windshield using three suction mounts. The mount feels very secure and the bullet camera is very light so I’m confident that there’s be no issues with the mound coming loose.

The bullet camera is attached to the front windshield using three suction mounts. The mount feels very secure and the bullet camera is very light so I’m confident that there’s be no issues with the mound coming loose.

One more photo of front facing camera with wire routed into glove box. I just close the box on the wire. At the end of the track day, just release camera from windshield and store in the glove box with cable alongside the other equipment.

One more photo of front facing camera with wire routed into glove box. I just close the box on the wire. At the end of the track day, just release camera from windshield and store in the glove box with cable alongside the other equipment.

I mounted the GPS antenna on the rooftop as shown. It has a magnetic base but I also secure with racers tape which also serves to keep the cable neat as it routes to the front of the car. I mounted toward the back where the roofline is lowest to minimize aero forces wanting to push it off. The combo of magnetic base with cable acting as opposing force should keep the antenna fixed in place. For the tracks I visit top speeds approach 160MPH so acting forces needed to be considered.

I mounted the GPS antenna on the rooftop as shown. It has a magnetic base but I also secure with racers tape which also serves to keep the cable neat as it routes to the front of the car. I mounted toward the back where the roofline is lowest to minimize aero forces wanting to push it off. The combo of magnetic base with cable acting as opposing force should keep the antenna fixed in place. For the tracks I visit top speeds approach 160MPH so acting forces needed to be considered.

The GPS antenna cable enters into car a top of A-pillar and is tucked into weather stripping on its journey downward.

The GPS antenna cable enters into car a top of A-pillar and is tucked into weather stripping on its journey downward.

Finally, the GPS antenna cable is routed into the glove box. Just like the front facing camera, it’s only for track days so wrap-up and stow in glove box when using car for daily driving. Also, I expect that the antenna will get lost or damaged occasionally since it’s an external mount so I didn’t want to get fancy with how the wire was routed like I did with the microphone and other fixed inputs.

Finally, the GPS antenna cable is routed into the glove box. Just like the front facing camera, it’s only for track days so wrap-up and stow in glove box when using car for daily driving. Also, I expect that the antenna will get lost or damaged occasionally since it’s an external mount so I didn’t want to get fancy with how the wire was routed like I did with the microphone and other fixed inputs.

Finally, power is supplied using the 12v auxiliary power receptacle located in the passenger footwell area. It’s also right underneath the glove box where the VBOX unit is located so it’s a super short run. This receptacle is always powered (even while ignition is off) so I don’t need to worry about cutting power while VBOX is still saving data. I wanted to minimize any modification to the car so I chose not to tie into the fusebox or splice into wires. I’m probably going to add an inline on/off switch so I can reach over to power on / off the unit without needing to get out of the car.

Finally, power is supplied using the 12v auxiliary power receptacle located in the passenger footwell area. It’s also right underneath the glove box where the VBOX unit is located so it’s a super short run. This receptacle is always powered (even while ignition is off) so I don’t need to worry about cutting power while VBOX is still saving data. I wanted to minimize any modification to the car so I chose not to tie into the fusebox or splice into wires. I’m probably going to add an inline on/off switch so I can reach over to power on / off the unit without needing to get out of the car.

CAN bus interface

A CAN interface is optional. Without it you’ll get the basics like video, audio, vehicle speed, g-forces, track mapping, lap timing. With it you can get a whole lot more data. What you get depends on your car. For my car (997.2 Porsche), I can get at:

  • Lights on / off
  • Reverse engagement
  • Engine RPM
  • Throttle position
  • Parking brake engagement
  • Road speed
  • Brake position
  • Steering direction
  • Steering angle
  • Wheel speed (RR)
  • Wheel speed (RL)
  • Wheel speed (FR)
  • Wheel speed (FL)
  • Clutch engagement
  • Water temperature 1
  • Water temperature 2
  • Oil pressure
  • Oil temperature
  • Boost (my car is NA so does not apply)
  • Gear selection

The VBOX lite only allows up to 4 CAN channels at a time, with the option to purchase up to 4 more for a total of 8 (purchased individually). I’m going to start with throttle position, steering angle, brake position, and gear selection. I’ll probably also purchase 1 extra for oil pressure.

With the VBOX unit you can get an unterminated CAN cable and wire directly into your system. But they also sell a clip-on interface that eliminates the need for splicing. It also guards against the VBOX system incidentally introducing any CAN signals onto your system’s CAN bus. I opted for the clip-on interface.

CAN bus clip-on interface and installation

If you’re using the CAN bus clip-on interface or if you have a Porsche 997 you may find this section useful if interfacing with your vehicle’s CAN bus.

I opted to access the CAN bus wires located in the driver’s side footwell area. This is not the only location but it’s an easy location to get at and therefore a good choice. Here’s the loom (forefront) containing the CAN wires. You can see the fusebox in the background. Just remove the three screws behind the fusebox cover and the left trim panel exposes these wires comes right out.

I opted to access the CAN bus wires located in the driver’s side footwell area. This is not the only location but it’s an easy location to get at and therefore a good choice. Here’s the loom (forefront) containing the CAN wires. You can see the fusebox in the background. Just remove the three screws behind the fusebox cover and the left trim panel exposes these wires comes right out.

CAN transmits data in an electrically noisy environment, so the wires are a twisted pair to reduce signal noise just like Ethernet cable. For my car, CAN high is yellow-white, and CAN low is black white, so the combination of these colors plus twisted means these are almost certainly our wires. Thanks goes out to others who posted similar details elsewhere which helped me zero in quickly. I pulled back some of the loom wrap to clear the path for the clip-on interface.

CAN transmits data in an electrically noisy environment, so the wires are a twisted pair to reduce signal noise just like Ethernet cable. For my car, CAN high is yellow-white, and CAN low is black white, so the combination of these colors plus twisted means these are almost certainly our wires. Thanks goes out to others who posted similar details elsewhere which helped me zero in quickly. I pulled back some of the loom wrap to clear the path for the clip-on interface.

In order to route the CAN wires through the CAN clip-on interface, I needed to untwist a section of the wire. Don’t untwist more than you need to because they’re twisted for a reason (as discussed above). CAN bus spec allows for up to appox. 2″ untwisted (I forget where I read exact length but I’m close). Cutting the wire to untwist obviously negates the primary benefit of using the clip-on interface so don’t do that. It requires a little bit of finesse to push the twists back. Just use your common sense and exercise some patience.

In order to route the CAN wires through the CAN clip-on interface, I needed to untwist a section of the wire. Don’t untwist more than you need to because they’re twisted for a reason (as discussed above). CAN bus spec allows for up to appox. 2″ untwisted (I forget where I read exact length but I’m close). Cutting the wire to untwist obviously negates the primary benefit of using the clip-on interface so don’t do that. It requires a little bit of finesse to push the twists back. Just use your common sense and exercise some patience.

Shown here is the clip-on interface with wires positioned incorrectly to make sure anybody reading this gets it right. See discussion that follows directly below for details. This wires run along the circuit board where the signals are sensed and reported back to the VBOX unit. It’s a clamshell design with the two-halves snapping into place. I used zip ties as shown earlier in the post to secure shut. Again, probably not necessary but it cost me nothing.

Shown here is the clip-on interface with wires positioned incorrectly to make sure anybody reading this gets it right. See discussion that follows directly below for details. This wires run along the circuit board where the signals are sensed and reported back to the VBOX unit. It’s a clamshell design with the two-halves snapping into place. I used zip ties as shown earlier in the post to secure shut. Again, probably not necessary but it cost me nothing.

The clip-on interface came with no instructions and it was immediately ambiguous to me regarding how to position the wires. The correct way in my non-humble opinion is to position the wires so that the surface area labeled CAN_H comes into contact with the CAN high wire when the shell halves are snapped together. However, some companies in an effort to make things easier for people outsmart themselves and just end-up making things more confusing. So I wondered did they mean for the upper half to read like a map for positioning the wires into the bottom as viewed during installation? Certainly, I’m thinking too hard about this but I did some checking after finding no documentation online and came across the promotion video for the interface showing the latter (reads like a map). Turns out the promotion video gets it wrong. (For BMW, which is the car used, CAN high is red-blue, and CAN low is red).

I contacted Racelogic support for clarification and they responded as follows (option1 is having the CAN high wire in contact with the surface area labeled CAN_H):

As for the ambiguity issue you are correct in thinking option 1 is correct. As we have had this question before I have contacted the developers of this and they are aware of this issue and are working on a new version that can be used either way round. Although we will have to make do with sticking to option 1 for now.

Also my opinion, I think they could save themselves some engineering investment and simply include a small piece of paper with the clip-on interface showing proper usage since it’s otherwise self-explanatory.

Also complicating my install was that VBOX sent me a clip-in interface for one of their higher-end (not VBOX Lite) which accepts a different style connector. Shown below is the other end of the cable for the interface I received, where as it should look like a PS2 connector from the outside. This added 1 week to my install while I waited on the part because it needed to be shipped from the UK. (Would have been longer if I didn’t foot the bill for overnight express which VBOXUSA was unwilling to do, so make sure you emphasize having them fulfill the order correctly for your system if ordering a VBOX CAN interface.)

Shown here is the connector end for the clip-on interface sent, which was incorrect for my model (VBOX Lite). VBOX uses a higher-end, more expensive connector style on their higher-end products as shown here. Make sure VBOX sends your the correct connector for your system when ordering to avoid the added delays and costs that I ran into.

Shown here is the connector end for the clip-on interface sent, which was incorrect for my model (VBOX Lite). VBOX uses a higher-end, more expensive connector style on their higher-end products as shown here. Make sure VBOX sends your the correct connector for your system when ordering to avoid the added delays and costs that I ran into.

Setup and Configuration

I’ve only just started to play with configuring my VBOX system. Except for reading the CAN data, everything was plug-and-play simple. Getting to where I could read the CAN data for my car took a little help from VBOX. Not getting anything at first begged the question if installation error or software configuration issue. I was very confident I had correct CAN wires and support clarified proper usage of the clip-on interface so either an issue with the clip-on interface itself or software configuration was my thought.

The issue turned out to be software configuration. VBOXUSA sent me a scene file for my car which had VBOX reading the CAN data; something I was unable to do using the CAN database file for the 997.2 Porsche. Different cars differ in how they use CAN to send data so you need  model specific information which VBOX provides via their online vehicle CAN database. The database returns a file that gets read into the scene file loaded onto the VBOX telling it how to interpret the CAN signals.

The only other thing I needed to do to get the system ready for my initial (and successful) road test was aim the cameras. I purchased a small display that plugs into the AUX port on the VBOX and shows video in read-time. This makes setting up the cameras super easy. Just hold display in hand while adjusting each camera to desired position. The following figure is a photograph of the display screen:

I purchased a small external display so I can easily configure cameras at the track. The display shows video output in real-time and incudes a long cable so you can move about and see changes to cameras as they’re made. This can be achieved with software configuration app running on laptop as well, so this is a nice-to-have and not a must.

I purchased a small external display so I can easily configure cameras at the track. The display shows video output in real-time and incudes a long cable so you can move about and see changes to cameras as they’re made. This can be achieved with software configuration app running on laptop as well, so this is a nice-to-have and not a must.

Shakedown Cruise

Video showing trial run of system. This is with only minimal configuration so only minimal data is displayed and the brake pressure gauge needs reconfiguration. Goal of this drive was to simply check out video quality, confirm GPS working, etc. Just the basics.

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  1. […] As mentioned ,VBOX is a more expensive and capable system. You can forget about impressing your friends with cool in-car video footage but it gets the job done in terms of providing visual references while analyzing your driving, which — in fairness to VBOX — is the point of this system. For more information and installation instructions, see this post. […]

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