Using an Aim Solo

First let’s talk about how to use your Aim Solo. I have a suction mount for mine and I stick it to my windshield in a spot where I can see the lap times well, it doesn’t obstruct my view and I can reach the buttons while I’m belted in. If you are at a track that is already loaded into the system then all you need to do is turn it on and start doing laps. It will automatically start telling you lap times are you cross start/finish. If you are going to the Ridge make sure you set up that track first as I’ve detailed in a previous post. All other tracks should already be in the system.

When you first turn it on it searches for the GPS satellites. Once it has a good signal from enough of them it is ready to go. You should get something that looks like this:

Except for the “bitchen” part. I stole that image from the Aim site as you can see! Anyway it’s not quite what it looks like when you start. Above the the big lap time there should be text that says Static. This means that is is showing “static” lap times which I believe means that above the big lap time it shows your best lap time in smaller text. I’m not really sure. The reason is because I never use that mode. Instead I use what is called “predictive” mode. To change to that mode press the right-most button. Now the top text should say “PredT”.

Predictive mode can be a very useful mode for learning how to go fast. Basically what it does is predict what your next lap time is going to be. You can look at it at any point on the track and it will show you what it thinks your lap time is going to be. It does this by looking at previous laps and your current lap up to the point on the track you are currently at. So for example you could try a completely different line through a turn and after that turn look up and see whether your predicted lap time has gone down or not. Another really useful thing for predicted lap times is handy if you race and are qualifying. You can see if you are halfway through your lap and you are going faster then you know to keep pushing hard. But if predicted time tells you you’ve already blown it. Might as well cool your tires a bit and try again on the next lap. This is fun on track days as well. If you track a lot you know what your best lap time at track is. If predicted is showing you beating that, it gives you that little more incentive to push hard, not screw up and try to beat it. It’s always exciting when you beat your best time. Another interesting thing that it does is show you how even a small mistake trashes your lap time. Say you’ve been looking at it so you know what it thinks you’ll hit. Then you blow a braking zone and miss an apex and boom, 5/10ths goes out the window instantly. As greats as the good news it can give you is, the bad news can be a bummer as well.

On the right hand side of device is a little door you can open. This is where the USB connection is that we will use to download data to you PC.

There are two types of Aim Solo’s. The Aim Solo and Aim Solo DL. The DL version allows you to connect to the CAN bus in your car and collect extra data. The extra data available depends on your car. The DL is interesting, but I’m able to do everything I need using the cheaper version. The cheaper Aim Solo provides the following data in addition to the lap times which we will use to help us go faster:

  • Speed
  • Longitudinal Acceleration - G force while braking
  • Lateral Acceleration - G force while turning

It records these values many times a second for each lap. With just these three values we can do all sorts of interesting things to help you go faster. [Technical caveat since I know there are a lot of techies out there: It's not really recording G forces. It's just calculating them from GPS position data.]

Next time we’ll talk about how to download data from the device to your laptop and look at it.

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