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RACELOGIC Support Centre

02 Installing VBOX 3iS Dual Antenna RTK in your vehicle

Mounting 

When installing the VBOX 3iS Dual Antenna RTK in your vehicle, you can either fix it rigidly to the vehicle using the fixing holes or secure it with a telescopic mounting arm.

Try to position the unit as close to the centre of the vehicle as possible, and make sure that it is level with the ground. If you are using the internal IMU, you should ideally mount the unit in the direction of travel (as shown in the image below). If this is not possible, you can change the orientation of the internal IMU in the VBOX Setup Software, on the Front Panelor with the VBOX Manager.

Note: VBOX 3iS and the antenna should be mounted on the same rigid body to provide a relative reference. So for a vehicle such as a truck cabin, both the VBOX 3iS and the antenna should be fitted to the cabin body (if the cabin is air-sprung) or to the vehicle chassis.
 

VB3iS Mounting Fixed.png

Fixed Mounting   

You can mount VBOX 3iS rigidly to the vehicle via the fixing holes, ideally mid-way along the wheelbase.

Using a Mounting Arm

A flexible way to fix the VBOX 3iS rigidly in the vehicle is by using the Racelogic Mounting Arm. The three-part telescopic handle is fully adjustable to any length between 70 – 150 cm, another 20 cm can be added by extending the third section using the compression lever.

Both ends are fixed to an 8 x 13 cm plate which sits on a joint to accommodate uneven surfaces. The VBOX 3iS can then be pressed against the floor and the vehicle's ceiling, ensuring that the VBOX 3iS is fixed tightly. Another option is to use a bracket that attaches to the mounting arm, meaning that the VBOX 3iS can be fixed to the mounting arm before being installed within the vehicle. If using the bracket, it is recommended that the VBOX 3iS is mounted vertically towards the bottom of the pole for greater stability.
 

VB3iS Mounting Arm Bracket.jpg
 

Please contact vbox@racelogic.co.uk for more information or to order a mounting arm (RLACS212-V2) and/or mounting bracket (RLACS291).

Antenna Placement

GNSS Antenna Placement

Appropriate placement of the GNSS antenna is crucial to the quality of the data that is being recorded.

Be aware of objects that can shadow the antenna or block the signal to the antenna. Some objects can also reflect signals which can send weaker GNSS signals to the antenna. This is called multipath, and these reflections can disturb the signal in an unpredictable way.

If an antenna is not mounted on a large enough ground plane, multipath reflections can also come from the ground beneath the antenna.

If you are using the antenna without a sufficient ground plane (such as on a bike or carrying the unit by hand), you can put a sheet of metal underneath the antenna (this can for example be copper or aluminium foil) or use an antenna with strong multipath-rejection properties (ACS320).

Antennas, such as the ACS320, are much larger and more expensive than the standard antennas that come supplied with a VBOX unit, but you can mount them on a pole to get them higher from the ground and away from shadowing items.

On a motorbike, you should place the antenna as far from the rider as possible to reduce the rider's shadowing effect. The best place is usually at the back of the bike.

Reflected signals to antenna.png

 

Illustration showing multipath reflections from the ground and surrounding buildings.

When you are placing the GNSS antenna on a vehicle:  

Do:

Use the GNSS antenna in the centre of a metal roof or on a metal ground plane that has a radius of at least 5 cm.

Make sure that the GNSS antenna is placed away from anything than can cause blockages or multi-path, such as roof bars or radio antennas.

Do not:

Mount the antenna close to the edge of the roof as reflections from the ground may interfere with the signals. 

antenna placement on vehicle - best placement-new - 450px.png

Illustration of the recommended GNSS antenna placement location on a vehicle. 

antenna placement on vehicle - alternative placements-new-450px.png

Illustration of alternative GNSS antenna placement locations on a vehicle. 

 

 

 
For non-magnetic surfaces: 

If the vehicle does not have a metal roof you can: 

Use copper or aluminium foil to create a shaped ground plane that is at least 10 cm in diameter and place it underneath the antenna. 

  • You can use a non-metallic tape to secure the antenna. Non-metallic tape placed over the top of the antenna will not cause any issues with the operation.
  • If it is not ideal for your scenario to attach metal foil on the outside of the vehicle, you can place some adhesive-backed metal foil underneath the antenna on the inside of the vehicle.
OR

Use a Suction Roof Mount with Steel Plate (RLACS334).

RLACS334 -200px.png

RLACS334
Suction Roof Mount with Steel Plate

Dual Antenna Systems   

When using dual antennas, the antenna separation affects the accuracy of the dual antenna-derived data channels. You will experience greater accuracy the further apart they are. However, on a vehicle it is most common to have a separation distance of between 0.5 m to 2.5 m. You can see the accuracy differences in the overview below.  

Slip Angle Accuracy     Pitch/Roll Angle Accuracy
<0.2° rms at 0.5 m antenna separation
<0.1° rms at 1.0 m antenna separation
<0.067° rms at 1.5 m antenna separation
<0.05° rms at 2.0 m antenna separation
<0.04° rms at 2.5 m antenna separation
    <0.14° rms at 0.5 m antenna separation
<0.07° rms at 1.0 m antenna separation
<0.047° rms at 1.5 m antenna separation
<0.035° rms at 2.0 m antenna separation
<0.028° rms at 2.5 m antenna separation

IMPORTANT
Both antenna cables must be the same length!

Timing is a very important aspect of the dual antenna lock and identical cable lengths will ensure that signal propagation delays do not cause unreliable dual lock.

You can use a Dual Antenna Mounting Pole (RLACS171) to increase the separation further.

VB3i Dual Antenna drawing.png VBOX BMW.jpg
Dual Antenna Mounting
  1. Connect one end of an antenna cable to the connector on the primary GNSS antenna.
  2. Connect one end of a second antenna cable to the connector on the secondary GNSS antenna.
  3. Place the GNSS antennas on the roof of the vehicle.
  • They should be positioned so that their gold antenna connectors are pointing in the same direction. 
  • Where possible, the antennas should be placed on a level plane. 
  • In pitch alignment, the primary antenna (A) should be placed towards the rear of the vehicle, and the secondary antenna (B) placed towards the front of the vehicle.
  • When in roll alignment, the primary antenna (A) should be placed to the left of the vehicle, and the secondary antenna (B) should be placed to the right.
  1. Connect the primary GNSS antenna to antenna port A on the VBOX unit.
  2. Connect the Secondary GNSS antenna to antenna port B on the VBOX unit. 

Note: It is important that you keep the GNSS antenna cables separated when you are installing the equipment on and in the car. Do not bundle or tape them together as this can cause cross-talk and affect your data. 

 

Click on the blue heading for the mounting system you want to use. 

With Dual Antenna Mounting Pole
  1. Assemble the Antenna Mounting Pole as described here.
  2. When you are placing the antenna pole onto a vehicle roof, make sure you have the best stability by placing the suction mounts as far apart as the roof allows.
  3. Remove any dirt, dust or excess water sitting on the roof before you attach the suction cups.
    The roof surface should be clean and dry so that the suctions cups attach properly to the vehicle. 
  4. Check that both suction mounts are properly secured to the vehicle roof after you have locked the vacuum clamps.
  5. Use a spirit level to check that the ground planes are level.
  6. When moving the pole between vehicles, make sure that the suction mounts are unlocked and repositioned to correctly fit the camber of the new roof. You must perform this check even when moving between similar models, as the positions of the suction cups will be slightly different.
Pitch Mode Roll Mode
Without Dual Antenna Mounting Pole

When mounting the antennas directly to the vehicle roof, ensure that the antenna placement still follows the guidance of the single antenna above (i.e. clear ground-plane, away from obstruction).

Do:                         

  • Place the GNSS antenna in the centre of a metal roof or on a metal ground plane
  • Make sure that the GNSS antenna is placed away from anything that could cause a blockage or multi-path, such as roof bars or radio antennas.

Do not:

  • Mount the GNSS antenna close to the edge of the roof. 

Reflections from the ground may interfere with the signals.

Dual Antenna (No Pole) PITCH.png Dual Antenna (No Pole) ROLL.png
Pitch Mode Roll Mode
Antenna Separation Measurement

The most important factor for dual antenna testing is the correct configuration of the separation distance between the centre points of the two antennas. This allows the VBOX unit to acquire and maintain dual antenna lock. The physical separation distance between the two antennas should be measured as accurately as possible, and entered in to the Antenna Separation setting in the Dual Antenna menu in VBOX Setup.

To make sure that the reference is consistent, the two antennas should be aligned with the gold antenna connectors pointing in the same direction. This makes it eaier to make a physical connector-to-connector reference measurement.

The antennas should be placed on a level plane if possible. 

Measure the separation distance between the primary and the secondary antenna. 
We recommend you measure the separation from the outer edge of antenna connector A to the outer edge of antenna connector B. 

The measured distance between the antennas should be the 2D distance as viewed from above. It is not the straight-line distance between the antennas regardless of the mounting angle.

Notes: 

  • It is essential for dual-antenna operation that you enter the antenna separation accurately. 
  • If you are using a VBOX 3i ADAS, the antenna separation will be calculated automatically. 

Roll Mode

In Dual Antenna Mode, you can often test the roll and pitch measurements separately. If you wish to set up you antennas across the width of the car to measure the roll angle, you must make sure that you enable Roll Mode in the Dual Antenna menu in VBOX Setup. 

Slip Offsets

In Dual Antenna mode, you sometimes need to take slip measurements from other locations on the vehicle, for example the centre of gravity or slip over the wheels. You can configure this in the Slip offsets section in the Dual Antenna menu in VBOX Setup. You can set additional locations by entering the offset distances from the primary antenna location in the Ahead/Behind and Left/Right settings.
 

When using an external IMU: When an IMU module is connected to the VBOX unit, the yaw rate channel will be used in the calculated slip channels, as the signal to noise ratio is much lower than the GPS derived yaw rate. This reduces noise in the slip translation process.

Satellite Elevation Mask 

You can use the Satellite Elevation Mask feature to improve the GNSS signal quality when nearby obstacles, such as trees and buildings, are reflecting or temporarily obscuring the signal from satellites at low elevation. Raising the mask will make the GNSS engine in your VBOX unit ignore signals from satellites that are located below the mask angle. As this feature will reduce the total number of satellites it receives a signal from, you must use it carefully to make sure that you have sufficient satellites for your test.  

You can change the elevation mask angle in VBOX Setup or with VBOX Manager.

Sat Elevation Mask.png

Hardware Connections 

VB3iSDR-connections-V2.png

Connecting the Loom to the VBOX Unit

Note: It is important that you do not use force when connecting and disconnecting the loom to the VBOX unit. 
VB3iS-connector.png RLCAB163-connector.png
  1. Look at the connectors on both the loom and the unit.
  1. Locate the different sized inner notches on the loom's connector and line them up with the equivalent notches on the unit's connector. 
  1. Note the outer notches on the connector.
VBOX 3iSD-connector.png VBOX 3iSD-connector_inner notches.png VBOX 3iSD-connector_outer notches.png
Push the connectors gently together and twist the outer ring on the loom's connector until it slots in place and locks the connection. 

Disconnecting the Loom From the VBOX Unit

Note the notches on the connectors as illustrated above. Twist the loom's connector while you gently pull it away from the unit.

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