How does the timing window work on timingsense equipment?
Imagine you’re timing the most important race of your life. You’re on the finish line, waiting for the first runners to come in. The timing has worked a charm on all of the timing points, but you know that the finish line is the ultimate test.
You got this one. You know your timing system: You’ve used it a thousand times, and for this one you’ve made double sure that the systems are set up perfectly and the connection is strong.
Then suddenly the commentator starts going crazy and the paparazzi surround the finish line. The two leaders cross the last timing point like gazelles with a split of a hair’s breadth. You’re standing by your equipment, but you aren’t sure with all the noise if you heard the tags beep and that the readouts registered right.
One second passes. You had it all set up but… what if? Two seconds pass. You focus on the screen to check the times for sure. Three seconds. There’s nothing on the screen. Four seconds. Did you check the tags on the bibs? Should you run now and note down the numbers? That is if you’d even remembered the times and memorized them in case the timing equipment actually did fail.
Five seconds have gone, and the timings pop up on the screen. Phew! You take a deep breath.
It was just five seconds, but you know those five seconds are crucial. You know that five seconds can feel like five hours. Definitely five seconds that you never want to have to repeat, but this can happen when the equipment is designed to send only the maximum power readout after closing the five-second timing window.
We get it, we know that sensation and when we designed our timing systems, so we decided to spare you that pain with a better approach to the timing window.
What is the timing window?
When timingsense equipment, placed at a timing point detects a tag for the first time, it opens a five-second timing window. This means that for five seconds the equipment will pick up the signal from the tag repeatedly until it picks up the readout with maximum power.
This maximum power readout corresponds with the moment the runner passes over the antennas, making it the most reliable readout of a runner passing the timing point. But as well as this readout, timingsense equipment also shows the first time the tag was picked up.
There are two readouts displayed on the screen.
- The first readout made is known as the type 1 readout. This readout appears on the screen of the equipment without a time in the right -hand column.
- The maximum power readout is known as the type 2 readout and is sent once the timing window closes, appearing on the screen of the equipment and shows the exact time of the readout.
Advantages of the timing window in race timing
There are two key benefits: Accuracy and security.
Normally, a tag is detected not at the level of the antennas, but before. So if we settle with only that readout, there’s a good chance it won’t be very accurate. With the timing window we single out the highest power readout across five seconds, and this give us the moment the runner was closest to the timing point.
So why don’t you just take the type 2 readout and display that? To guarantee better stability and better security. The first readout, readout type 1, is a readout held for backup, the system is almost certain to gain a higher power readout, but if that doesn’t happen, you have a guaranteed time for that particular tag.
Readouts of both type 1 and type 2 in a CSV file
From the equipment you can download a CSV of all of the readouts from the “previous sessions” option. If you aren’t sure of how to do this, check out our tutorial at the timingsense academy where we explain it in more detail.
In this CSV file, both type 1 and type 2 readouts appear, each with an allocated time. On it you’ll see exactly how the timing window works. In the example, on the image for the first readout (type 1) the tag was read at exactly 7:19:13 and the maximum power readout was made two seconds later at 7:19:15.
Occasionally, you’ll find that readouts type 1 and type 2 have the exact same time. This is simply because the first readout made was the also the maximum power, as in this example.
Differences in the timing window between remote and local connections
If you are connected to your equipment with a local connection, you’ll receive both type 1 and type 2 readouts. Whereas if you are using a remote connection via the cloud you will only receive the type 2 readouts (those of maximum power).
This doesn’t mean that the type 1 readouts aren’t being made, they are. If you want to add the type 1 readouts to a database, you can simply use the data backup function in TSConnector using the following steps.
The timing window is only one of the upgrades we’ve built into the system to make things easier for you, and has helped our systems reach one of the highest read rates on the market: 99.8% per line with a dorsal tag.