TSOne Timing System Technology

Hi! In this post we’re going to strip down for you, piece by piece, the sports timing system that we’ve developed ourselves: the TSOne by Timing Sense, three intense years of work that have turned this timing system into one of the best on the market.

What makes the TSOne by Timing Sense the best sports timing system?

      1. Disposable chips: our timing system is based on the RFID Gen2 standard, on the UHF band. Due to their low cost, they are considered to be cheap, single-use chips. They adhere to the back of the runner’s shirt number. Due to this and because of their proximity to the human body, which is made up of water, salt… the original inlay cannot be used. The body generally has dielectric constants ranging from 50 to 70, much higher than air, which is practically 1. This means that when the wave hits the antenna on the inlay, it doesn’t move at light speed, and so its frequency is modified because the signal slows down. By modifying the frequency at which it moves over the metal, it is detuned and no longer adapted to the UHF working frequency of Gen2. A great number of insulating plastic materials had to be worked on and tested before we finally found a family of materials that worked correctly. Next, the manufacturing process had to be studied, given that inlays are sensitive to torsion and static electricity. We have now established an efficient manufacturing process that allows us to manufacture economical chips that function wonderfully in spite of being very fine: 2mms.


          1. RFID reader: after conducting a market study on the main readers and manufacturers, we chose the Speedway Revolution reader by Impinj because of its advantages over the competition. Unlike other timing systems manufacturers, we chose to develop firmware that runs inside the reader developed in C++. The reader is thus independent from the rest of the system.

          2. Battery: the first thing to do was to conduct a study of the different types of batteries on the market. We decided to choose lithium-ion or LiFePO4 batteries, and also to make them smart batteries. After trying out manufacturers from China, Israel and Sweden, we decided to manufacture a 4s7p lithium-ion battery and SMBus communication with a Spanish company.

          3. Antenna: we have developed our own vertically polarised antenna, which is why the disposable chips stuck to the shirt back number are positioned vertically. The antennas are positioned on the ground and so are highly resistant and very thin. At Timing Sense we have dedicated a lot of effort to developing an antenna which, frankly, works really well. We are proud to be the only company to offer timing with a very fine chip (2mm) and with antennas only on the ground, thus avoiding problems with the channels of the reader and false detections by side dishes.

          4. Protective grommet: because the antennas are positioned on the ground, they are susceptible to being squashed not only by runners and cyclists, but also by heavier vehicles. We have developed a three-part aluminium mould to house the antenna and cables that run to that antenna and the ones after it. The design of the grommet is perfectly optimised for the timing in practice and for our cables and antennas.

          5. Pasacables

          6. CPU: we chose an industrial range Advantech CPU with a 6.5” touch screen, after testing other smaller manufacturers with poor results. All our electronics can withstand temperatures of at least 70ºC. We have invested a lot of time in the development of firmware and the result is an intuitive interface that is really easy to use. We have also placed a lot of emphasis on security in every process in order to avoid system failures. Every reading is stored in two different locations on the same device, as well as in the Cloud, all to guarantee maximum security.

          7. Electronics and power supply: we have developed the design of our own PCB card that enables us to:

            • Supply power to the CPU at 12V.
            • Supply power to the RFID reader at 24V.
            • Provide an uninterruptible power supply between the internal battery, a possible external battery and the power source.
            • Handles shutdown.
            • Manages the acoustic signal every time a reading is taken.

          After these three intense years of work, we are pleased to introduce the timekeeping community to the TSOne, the most advanced and easy-to-use timing system on the market. We hope you like it.