Help file for egTimer v0.21

Index:

Introduction
Main Menu
Database
Options
Leaders Screen (NOT AVAILABLE on this version of the program)
Video Overlay
Design Overlay Screen
Uninstall


INTRODUCTION

The aim of the software is to provide a database for storing competition entries and results and to link this to a video display so that timing and other information can be broadcast whilst the competition is actually running.

The database should be updated with all the class and entry names before the actual day of the event. Then live timing, including class and competitor names, can be publicly displayed, either as an overlay that can be mixed with a television signal, or as a 'leader' display of the current competitor plus the 12 leading competitors.
For live timing, the time is obtained from one of our timers using a 'COM' port, or a USB adaptor.
Competition results are saved for future reference.

When you run the program 'egTimerInstall.exe' for the first time, it will prompt you to install onto your computer.
This is quite safe as NO changes are made to your computer's settings, although windows will display a warning which you should ignore.
A desktop shortcut to the program is added during installation.


MAIN MENU

Practice Mode:

This allows you to use the program using a randomly generated set of classes and competitors. Using this, you can become familiar with how the program works without any danger of corrupting the 'real' database.
When you run the program in this mode you will be asked if you wish to use the existing 'practice' database or randomly generate a new one.

Options:

Allows you to set where data is stored and settings for communication with the timer.

View/Edit Database:

Use this to enter competition details and to view (and print) results.

Design 'Leaders' screen:

You can set the appearance of the 'Leaders' screen.

Design 'Overlay' screen:

You can set the appearance of the 'Overlay' screen.

Run 'Leaders' screen:

Puts the program into live competition mode with the current leaders shown on-screen.

Run 'Overlay' screen:

Puts the program into live competition mode with the screen arranged for overlaying onto a television picture.


DATABASE

When you select 'View/Edit Database' from the main menu, a window opens with two lists of the data, one above the other. The top list is a list of recent classes that have been entered. The bottom list shows the competitors for a selected class (and the results if the class has been run). Data from two classes of Olympia 2016 are already entered in the database as an example.
Buttons to the right of the top list allow you to add classes and sort the list (sorting by date puts the latest classes at the top). If you select a class by clicking on it, you can edit the class.
Similarly, buttons below the bottom class allow entries to be added, edited and sorted, but a class must be selected first.
You can alter the width of columns in the lists (but the changes are not saved).

Add Class:

This button opens a window where you enter the class details.
The date is initially set to the date that was used last.
The Show name can be typed in directly, or selected from a drop-dawn list of recently used names. If you type a two or three letters before you open the drop-down list the program will try to match the letters you have typed.
The class number can be four figures plus an optional letter, selected from a drop-down list.
The class name can be typed or selected from a list in the same way as the Show name.
The competition type is selected from a drop-down list. The current number of competitors is shown to the right of this.
A sponsor's message can be typed which may be shown on-screen.
Press 'Save Class' or 'Cancel' as appropriate.

Edit Class:

This is the same window as 'Add Class', but with data already filled in for you to edit.

Add Entry:

This button opens a window where you enter the details of individual entries for a class. The show date, show name, class number and class name are all shown at the top of the window.
The competitor number must be typed in.
The horse and rider names and nationality may be typed or selected from a list in the same way as the Show name.

It is possible to enter results manually (if, for example, you are adding historic data to the database), but you cannot do this once the results for a class have been finalised. In the faults box enter: E = eliminated; R = retired; W = withdrawn. There is no check that the values that you put in the faults and time boxes are actually valid.

Press 'Save Entry' or 'Cancel' as appropriate.

Edit Entry:

This is the same window as 'Add Entry', but with data already filled in for you to edit.

Set Start Order:

This generates a random starting order.

Set Rank:

This finalises the competition and puts the results in rank order. WARNING once the competition has been finalised, you cannot edit or add entries so use this button with care!

Sort:

These buttons are largely self explanatory.
The left 'Sort:' button changes function as the competition progresses. Before the competition starts it sorts by start order and when the competition has finished, it sorts by final rank.
The right button sorts in leader order, but does NOT finalise the results.

Print:

This prints out a list of the entries (and results for competitions that have ended) for the selected class.

Close:

When you close the database (this does not apply if you are in 'Practice' mode), you will be asked if you want to save changes to a second, hidden, copy of the data. This can then be used if the main file is missing or corrupt. There is only ONE such file, so it is not a replacement for regular backups onto USB drives or other removable media.
When you start the program, if the main database file cannot be used, you will be prompted to either use the copy file that exists, or to use your own backup file. In this case a file explorer window will open so that you can select your backup file.
If neither the main database file nor the copy can be used, you will be prompted to either use the your own backup file, or to re-create the default data file, in which case all your data will be lost.


OPTIONS

Data Folder:

By default, data is stored in the folder 'egTimerData' in your home folder. This makes the data private (other users cannot access or change it).
We suggest that you change your data folder to a location that is included in your regular backup routine. If the data folder is outside of your private space, other users will be able to access and modify your data.
To change the folder press 'Browse'.

Timer Format:

'Standard' format is the default format and is supported by all our timers that have a serial port output.
'Advanced' format allows additional data to be read from the timer. It is only supported by a few timers.

Port:

The default setting is 'Auto'. The software attempts to automatically detect which port is being used. If you have problems connecting, or if you have more than one serial port connected, you can choose which port to use.

Licence:

No license is required for this version of the program.


VIDEO OVERLAY

The Video Overlay screen provides a screen with the time and other information that can be mixed with a live television signal. It can also be fed to local video screens.

When you run the overlay screen, you are first prompted to select the class that you wish to run. This enables the class and competitor names to be read from the database and displayed on-screen.
It also enables results to be recorded in the database (NOT AVAILABLE on this version of the program).
If details of the competition have not been entered prior to the event you have the option to proceed without using the database, but names will not be shown on-screen and results will not be recorded.

When running, in order to provide a 'clean' screen, there is no menu or mouse cursor - all operations are controlled by the keyboard shortcuts. Pressing ? will show, at the bottom of the screen, what the keys do, but as this will appear on screen you are recommended to print out the list below to remind you.

You are especially reminded NOT to press the Windows System keys: 'Windows Start', 'Alt+Tab' and 'Ctrl+Alt+Del' until the VIDEO FEED HAS BEEN DISCONNECTED, as they override the program and disrupt the screen.

The keyboard shortcuts are:

? Help Displays a ribbon at the bottom of the screen.
For emergency use only.
V Show/Hide number keyed in  
X Hide/Show All  
T Show Time Only On/Off  
S Hide/Show Sponsor's Message  
Ctrl+C Enter Class Number First key in a number, then press Ctrl+C to display it.
This is disabled if you selected a class from the database.
Shift+C <reserved> This is disabled if you selected a class from the database.
C Hide/Show Class Number  
Ctrl+N Enter Competitor Number First key in a number, then press Ctrl+N to display it.
N Hide/Show Competitor Number  
Ctrl+F Enter Faults First key in a number, then press Ctrl+F to display it.
Shift+F Add To Faults First key in a number, then press Shift+F to add it.
F Hide/Show Faults  
spacebar Start/Stop Manual Timer Used for testing, when a timer is not connected.

Ctrl+Z

Zero Manual Timer

Used for testing, when a timer is not connected.
The timer must be stopped before it can be set to zero.
Ctrl+Q Exit (Quit) DISCONNECT THE VIDEO FEED FIRST.

You can see the number that is entered for faults, class and competitor at the bottom left of the screen by pressing 'V' (for view).
If the wrong number is entered, press 'backspace' or 'delete' to delete it.


DESIGN OVERLAY SCREEN

In design mode, click on any item to select it - it will be highlighted in red. Then you can move it by dragging with the mouse, or change the font and other properties using the menu that appears when an item is selected. For items that display text the default text can be changed, but this may be over-ridden by text you have entered in the database. If the menu is in the way you can drag it by clicking on its title. You can place the 'sec' text wherever you want, but once placed it will be dragged along if you move the time display. The 'faults' text is similar.

The text of many items can be edited in the box that appears on the menu when an item is selected. The text of time and faults cannot be changed here, they are altered when the event is running.
For the 'Class' and 'Competitor' text, only the part in front of the number can be edited. The numbers displayed can be altered from the keyboard once the event is running.
If you do not wish any item to appear on screen, select the 'Show Never' option rather than deleting all the text (press 'Preview' to see how the screen will look during a competition)..

There is an option centre some items on the screen, or right align the text when it is changed. If you centre the 'Time' or the 'Faults', the associated text will be included.

For many items you can choose individually when they will be visible:
'Show Always' is self-explanatory.
'Show if Not Zero' means visible if the time is not zero. The 'Faults', 'Class' and 'Competitor' are also made invisible if their number is zero.
'Show if Stopped' means the item will show when the timer has stopped, but has not been zeroed (useful for the sponsors message for example).
'Show Never' is used for items that are not required to be shown on-screen.
Note: all items are visible during the design stage, the 'Show' settings only take effect when the competition is running.

There is a built-in layout that you can use by pressing the 'Default' button.

You can change the colour of the text and the colour of the background to the text, but this is affects all text, individual items cannot be changed. The colour of the background screen can also be set.

You will need to save your layout in order to use it in the future. Use either the 'Save Layout' button to save to the existing file, or choose 'Save As...' to specify a new filename. 'Save As...' also allows you to change folder or create a new folder (by a right-click).

When you start the program again, the last layout file that you used will automatically be opened. If you wish to choose a different file, press 'Load Layout...'.

The 'Preview' button allows you to see what the screen will look like when the competition is running. To exit preview mode, just left-click, or press any key.


UNINSTALL

The program makes no changes to your computer's registry and the disk space it uses is small so it is not usually necessary to uninstall the program.
You may simply delete any shortcuts that were placed on your desktop.

The program is located in the folder 'C:\egtiming'. If this folder is moved the program will not work correctly.
The data is initially in the 'egTimerData' folder in the home directory of the current user. The data may be moved by selecting another folder using the 'Options' menu.
The configuration file 'egTimer.ini' is placed in the root of the users home directory and cannot be moved.
The backup file 'egTimer.bak' is placed in the root of the users home directory and cannot be moved.

(c) Eric Garthwaite 2017.