I am willing and able to help those who want to build/buy an automatic timer. So if you are interested then let me know by posting your requirements. You can have a simple manual start automatic finish timing system. You can have an automatic timer that is capable of fly times you name it its can be done. Just let me know what you want and we can discuss further details of what you require. I can sell you a kit or manual on how to construct the timing device, wher to buy the parts and so on.
Also I am working on developing a data aquistion system for setting optimal block position determined by peak force readings on both blocks.
Hundreds of dollars cheaper than the bowerman and other timing devices. If I do build them it will be at cost for members of the website…good advertising for when and if I choose to sell more widely. I will calculate cost of basic system and post to give you an idea.
For those of you who are practically minded or know a pal or member of your family who can solder electronic components; drill a few holes here and there you can buy the parts for approx $200-$300. The price starts to rise if you want a powerfull transmitter reciever units with ranges greater than 200m. Yo only need about 200-400m because if you train on track the furthest distances for start to finish will be for the 200m the closest ironically will be the 400m so you do not need a very powerful transmitter. Those of you who are short to long will only ever sprint 200m max. A transmitter reciever range of 400m will suffice.
I will cost up a kit and cost up an assembled timer or if you want I can sell you a manual on how to construct the timer but you would have to wait for me to write it. I promise to post the costs on here soon. Since you are forum members I will not add profit it will be at cost. Be mindful that I live in the UK and have an inkling that those in the US and Canada will probably be able to get the parts much much cheaper. Watch this space.
The timer module (does all the counting plus buttons/switches) $20-$30
Reciever with built in decoder and relays
Transmitter x2 (Start and finish)
Sensors $30-$50 (infrared)
Camera tripods x4 $120 approx
Total approximately $440-$500.
Can probably be made much cheaper, camera tripods can probably be bought cheaper from Walmarts or something like that in the US. Do a search for 200m-1KM range fm reciever decoder modules with relays on google or somewhere like that in the US. If you can get hold of data sheets I will consider telling you how to put the thing together.
Ok I have been wanting to do this for a long time and have never really had time… So I will be posting bit by bit.
Building a Sprint timer.
There are three components to a timing device. The input device, the process and output.
In a simple hand operated stop watch, the start /stop button coupled with the operator make up the inputs. The processor is usually based on a chip such as a 555 timer or a dedicated intergrated chip (IC). Micro chip pics can also be used.
Ok if you are not sure what a PIC is then just do a search on the net to fill in the gaps.
Now before we continue I’d like to point out that even simple cheap digital stop watches are incredibly accurate, but the operator or the sensitivity of the buttons affect the performance of the overall system. What we are trying to do is either detach the human completely from the system and make it fully automated or still keep the human in the equation but try to improve performance. If we opt for the fully automated system then we increase the price of building the system.
Partially automated system.
A partially automated system would either have a sensor that activates the timing module/processor or stops it but either the start or stop button is controlled by the pressing of a button. Example maybe a system where the coach presses a button on detection of movement by an athlete and a sensor situated on the finish line stops the timer. This is a much easier system to construct and is probably the best for most needs.
To wire or not to wire…
An automated timing device can be wired or wireless.
Wired systems are very very easy to build and are very cheap to make, but of course you sacrifice safety with wired systems. Also its not practical to use for 150, 200 or 300m sprints. Wired systems will suffice for distances up to 100m. The only problem is managing the wires. The propagation of signals down the wire is not a problem and can be measured in milliseconds.
Wireless systems are more sophisticated and can be costly. You have to consider the strength of the signal, line of site and the operating frequency allowed in your country. Usually the circuitry can be bought from OEMs or off the shelf from your local Radio Shack or RS respectively… Those who are more savvy and brave can try to adapt circuits found in radio controlled toys such as buggies. I would recommend buying clean from a company. AM circuits usually, are cheaper to buy but their transmission distances are shorter than their FM counterparts.
Thats it for now I will post with more detail soon. Next, we will talk about the ideal features of the FM circuits and what types of sensors can be used triggering the device. Then we will begin the nitty gritty of building an automated timing device
I’d rather not spend 1000$ on SpeedTrap II. But then again maybe we can put it in our strength and conditioning budget or track and field budget. Maybee the one you can rig up is better and more cost efficent.