Last year you could connect the Driver Station to a laptop through the ethernet switch in order to use a dashboard. Now that the Driver Station is run on a laptop, is there going to be a way to connect the Driver Station laptop to another laptop that you can run the dashboard on? I’m wary about running a dashboard on the driver station laptop due to the limited performance it has, especially since I’m implementing my own dashboard software.
This appears to be one of the cases where something is supported by the control system, but not allowed in the rules. <R82> says that you can only connect something to the drivers station via USB. <R84> says you can’t connect directly to the field ethernet, which seems to rule out a switch. On the other hand, a USB network card connects via USB and you could connect the classmate and second dashboard that way. That is worth clarifying through the FIRST Q/A if you want to go that route.
I have used the dashboard redirection built into the driver station when the second laptop is connected via a switch. However, I only tested it with dashboard data, not the camera. One disadvantage is that data is then only shown on the remote computer, not on the classmate also.
To use the dashboard redirection, in the setup tab, select remote dashboard and enter the IP address of the remote dashboard computer.
My understanding is that this is the intended approach if you decide you must run your dashboard on a separate laptop. Screen real estate and independant displays for driver and kicker-operator are the only reasons that I think justify the added complexity. The CPU on the classmate is easily up to the task of running your dashboard… unless you write it exceedingly poorly!
In my opinion, from a software approach, it is best to implement two dashboards… one on the classmate that shows some of your data and also fowards on what data you want to show on the other dashboard. Then the second can just communicate with the first, meaning that the networking is completely up to you since the link between the DS and he Dashboard is independent of the field network.
There was only one Ethernet connection on the field last year too. The difference is that the DS is now a commodity and not a custom device… this means you don’t get to have 2 Ethernet ports built in (whens the last time you saw any laptop with more than one). My guess is they don’t want to change the field side of things to double the number of Ethernet connections.
If you search “USB Ethernet adapter” on your favorite search engine you’ll come up with plenty of options that support your favorite OS (though XP on the classmate is all that matters) for $20 to $30. The rule simply says you can only use USB on the classmate… it doesn’t matter how you connect to your dashboard computer.