Family Software Newsletter #8 - June 7, 2000



1. Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) and You
2. Using Infrared Thermometers in Drag Racing
3. FREE Software Download
4. REAL World Technical Support

-- Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) and You --

What you don't know about RFI can hurt you! RFI can effect almost any device on your race car. In the early days of drag racing electronics, most devices didn't have RFI filters. If another racer has a magneto, solid core ignition wires, holes drilled in his distributor cap, or some other means of putting out large amounts of RFI, your vehicle performance can be altered dramatically without your knowledge. Sometimes it is being done on purpose, and sometimes it happens inadvertently. Either way, it effects you.

Modern day delay boxes and throttle stop timers now have filtering circuits to help ward off these invisible attacks on our performance. But, if you are using older equipment and having unexplained inconsistency in your performance, this could be the problem. In the past, I have had my car shifted early numerous times and once even had my throttle stop actuated on the starting line when I was only using a down track throttle stop! Most manufacturers will upgrade your older boxes to the newer design for a nominal fee. It isn't always necessary to buy a new unit.

I discovered the problem many years ago, when I was developing our DataMaster computer. Like you, my tach was connected to the tach terminal on my MSD ignition control. Then, I wasn't using coaxial cable for my tach lead. Also, connected to the same terminal was an MSD RPM Activated Switch used to shift the car at a predetermined RPM. Every time my car shifted early, I noticed there was a corresponding high frequency exhibited on the RPM graph for that run. It seems that the tach lead had became an antenna for RFI. I found that my car always shifted early when I ran against the same racer. He had holes drilled in his distributor cap. I left first and when he caught up with me at about 150 feet out, my car shifted early and I wouldn't run the number. It was a simple problem to fix. I replaced every wire that connected to the MSD tach terminal, including the tach lead, with coaxial cable and grounded the braided lead to the chassis.

Currently, I'm using a shift timer rather than an RPM activated switch. It is much more reliable. The throttle stop problem was cured by changing to a more modern timer with better filtering circuits. The shifting problem caused me to lose a few races. However, the throttle stop timer problem cost me what may have been my only shot at a World Championship in Super Comp. And, that sucks!

-- Using Infrared Thermometers in Drag Racing --
In drag racing, Infrared Thermometers are commonly used to check the surface temperature on the starting line and the rear tires. In this manner, it is possible to analyze and perhaps predict traction changes due to varying temperatures.

Another use of these devices is to check for hot or cold cylinders. Cylinders making more horsepower will exhibit a higher temperature. If the engine is sound mechanically, leak down tests show that all cylinders are equal, and mechanical compression tests show that cylinder pressure is equal, then variance in exhaust temperature is probably due to fuel distribution and/or jetting problems.

By using an Infrared Thermometer with laser sighting, such as our new #IRT888-6, it is easy to locate weak cylinders. The thermometer outputs a red laser light. Just place the red dot on the header tube, at the same distance from the header flange, of each cylinder. All things being perfect, the temperature will all read approximately the same. However, you may be surprised to see what you will find.

There are many Infrared Thermometers available, however most do not have laser sighting. Our new Laser Digital Infrared Thermometer #IRT888-6 is probably the best deal you'll find anywhere at just $149.95. The specifications for this new product are listed in our Products section.

-- FREE Software Download --
Our DataMaster Analyzer software, Version 2.0, is available to you as a FREE download on our web site. You don't need a data recorder to test the software and see exactly what a DataMaster Sportsman Computer does better than any other data logger system in the world! If you have any older version of this software, download this as a FREE update.

-- REAL World Technical Support --
With Family Software, you'll get better technical support than anywhere on the planet. Why? Because, I design and program all of Family Software's products and I use them all on my own very competitive Super Comp dragster. All of my 30+ years of experience and knowledge is available to you and our other customers. Try to find that kind of information at any one of our competitors. You won't be able to, I guarantee it! Family Software cares about the racer and his/her success as a racer. The other companies just want your money!

-- New Digital Altimeter/Barometer --
We also have in stock, the best electronic altimeter that I have ever seen. It has a resolution of just one (1) foot. We had previously sold a unit that had a resolution of three (3) feet and we thought that was good! The new unit is just $149.95. You just can't beat that! To read the specs on this unit, just go to the Products page on our web site and click on Digital Altimeter.

-- Secure Ordering --
You can safely order directly from our web site. All of your information is handled on our Secure Server. We have established a privacy policy and it is posted on the web site. Our company has now been registered with the Public Eye. You can check our ratings by clicking on the Public Eye link on our Home Page or Order Form.

If you have questions or topics that you would like to see covered in this newsletter, please Email them to me. Or, start a new topic on the bulletin board located on our web site. I'll be glad to join in.

Bob Kodadek
SC 1596
Family Software - Drag Racing Computers and Software - 610.497.5561(Voice/Fax)

[ Back To Top ]

[ Home ][ Products ][ Contact Us ][ Articles ][ Links ][ Photos ][ Downloads ]

Copyright 2000, Family Software. All rights reserved.