How To Use Your PM4

Racing with PM4s

With PM4s you have several options for conducting a race:

  1. Wireless, PC-less racing
  2. Wired, PC-less racing
  3. Wired racing with a PC

The type of race you run, and the method of connecting the machines you choose, depends on several factors, as listed in the chart below.

  No PC With PC
  Wireless Wired
(RS485)
Wired
(RS485)
Wired (USB)
1 erg
2–5 ergs
6–8 ergs
9+ ergs
Mix of PM3/PM4s/PM5s
Using Venue Race Application
Using RowPro
Monitoring heart rate with Garmin or Suunto
Monitoring heart rate with Polar
Not compatible/not recommended
Possible, not best option
Recommended/best option

Wireless, PC-Less Racing

Recommended applications:

  • Racing between eight or fewer indoor rowers
  • Impromptu races
  • Informal settings where no audience display is required
  • Racing without a PC, software, or cables
  • Locations where only one race is happening at a time

All PM4s are equipped with an ANT chip, which allows for wireless communication with other PM4s for racing. This is great for impromptu racing and racing between a small number of machines.

Indoor Rower Setup

The configuration of the indoor rowers is important when running a wireless race. For a successful race, position the indoor rowers so that you have one bank of four indoor rowers facing another bank of four. Keep the distance between the indoor rowers on either corner at less than 11 feet/3.35 meters. See graphic.

Starting the Race

Once the indoor rowers are configured, start the race as follows:

  1. On the PM4 Main Menu, select Games.
  2. On the Games Menu, select Racing.
  3. Designate one person as the race creator, and have the race creator select Create Race and then Select Race Length to set up the race.
  4. Once the race is created, participants can join the race by selecting Games > Racing > Join Race.
  5. When all participants are ready, the race creator selects Start Race.

Wired, PC-Less Racing

Recommended applications:

  • Racing between eight or fewer indoor rowers
  • Impromptu races
  • Informal settings where no audience display is required
  • Racing without a PC or software
  • Locations where more than one race is happening at a time, or where other wireless devices (WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.) are in use
  • Races where ANT+, Garmin or Suunto heart rate equipment is in use
  • Races where the indoor rowers need to be configured differently than what is outlined for a PC-less, wireless race

Additional equipment required:

  • 14–15 foot (5 meters) or longer network or Ethernet cables with RJ45 plugs on the end

These are readily available from your local computer or office supply store, and are also available from Concept2. Do NOT get “crossover” cables as these will NOT work. (Crossover cables are used for direct computer to computer connections without a hub/switch in between and are usually specially marked)

With a wired, PC-less race, you have a bit more leeway with the indoor rower configuration. Options include:

  • The 4-bank facing 4-bank configuration recommended for wireless racing.
  • Arranging the indoor rowers in a circle.
  • Arranging the indoor rowers in one continuous line.

Pick the configuration that works best for the space and length of cables you have.

Starting the Race

Once the indoor rowers are configured, the steps for starting the race are the same as those outlined under Wireless, PC-Less Racing.

Wired Racing with a PC

Recommended applications:

  • Racing between nine or more indoor rowers
  • Formal race settings, such as the CRASH-Bs
  • Race settings where an audience display is required
  • Locations where more than one race/heat is happening at a time

Wired racing with a PC requires using software to manage the race, as you will not be using the built-in racing functions of the PM4. You will also need a way to wire the indoor rowers to each other and to the race system. You can do this with either USB cables or with network/Ethernet cables. The type of cables you select affects which software package you can use.

The two software packages available are:

  • Concept2’s Venue Race Application

    Compatible with PM4s wired with either USB or network/Ethernet cables

    The Venue Race Application is available as a free download from our website. You will also find supporting documentation, such as race guides, indoor rower configuration, wiring diagrams, known issues, and 3rd party solutions you can use in conjunction with the Venue Race Application.

  • Digital Rowing’s RowPro

    Compatible with PM4s wired with USB cables (Refer to the wiring diagrams on the How to Use page)

    RowPro enables venue racing with up to 16 boats per race in 3D. Boats can be single sculls, doubles, quads or octuples. RowPro also enables Online Rowing and Racing with one single scull per PC.

    For more information about racing with RowPro, visit digitalrowing.com.