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Timing FAQ

ChronoSplit Q&A

HOW DOES THE CHRONOSPLIT COMPARE TO OTHER WIRELESS TECHNOLOGIES?

The Chronosplit is a revolutionary technical response to the age-old problem of trying to send Radio (RF) signals over relatively long distances (say 10mw trying to go 500+ meters) in terrible topographic and atmospheric conditions (on a ski hill). This change is a necessary and logical response to the PRIMARY technical challenge of wireless timing - making it WORK and making to work ACCURATELY pretty well everywhere and over potentially very long distances. This change however raises other questions (which we would say are secondary to having a wireless timing system that actually WORKS) and there are "cultural" and "procedural" things you need to adapt to (as a coach or as a club).

There are things you simply cannot do with an old-fashioned point-to-point RF system what you can with a ChronoSplit system:

- There are no theoretical distance limits with the ChronoSplit because of the fact that each athlete carries the time-base to each timing point - thus solving any RF distance problems in the process. Anyone who has tried timing a full-length GS or Super-G training course with any point-to-point system (let alone a DH) knows that it seldom works. And if it does, the coach becomes a timekeeper (more like a timing troubleshooter) instead to really doing his/her job (like video, for example).

- Have reliable Timing in a wireless environment. Unless you plan to transmit under a large transmit power-push ( 2.5 or 5 watts) or you intend to futz (the technical term) with antenna systems, no point-to-point wireless timing system will overcome the GS course distances every time. The Chronosplit does. Period. No distance limits.

Again, ALL "classic" wireless systems are prone to the SAME distance and reliability constraints when you try to send RF signals from a remote start, to a finish, or both, to a timer some significant distance away. Any real distance (300 meters or more) will cause RF problems that may or may not be overcome. Again, this constraint applies to traditional RF systems irrespective of who makes them. TAG Heuer, ALGE, Brower, Microgate - everyone that has a "wireless point-to-point" solution has the same issues with long-range RF reliability.

Their downfall lies in having to use low power radios, and low power radios (up to 500mw) are necessary because of RF licensing issues with the FCC. Some do it better than others but the Tag Heuer CHRONOSPLIT system REVERSES this point-to-point RF challenge and makes the basic premise of RF transmission far more dependable (since the distances are now very short in relative terms).

This quantum leap in methodology (where the athlete carries the time-base and the RF only travels from the sensor point to where the traveling timer is) will take some getting used to. However, the overwhelming reality is that NO long-range RF SYSTEM will be as successful as a SORT-RANGE solution like the Chronosplit. It's just basic applied-science. The question is how the culture of sport-training will adjust to this sensible change and prioritize the value of something that works (even on very long courses) as opposed to the constraints of a point-to-point system.

THE COST OF THE EQUIPMENT ON THE HILL IS VERY REASONABLE, BUT THE SYSTEM BECOMES TOO EXPENSIVE IF OUR PROGRAM HAS TO PURCHASE SEVERAL TIMERS.

We have witnessed that the best success is in having the families invest in each athlete's own Chronosplit Stopwatch device. This spreads the cost out over several people and promotes "ownership" and valuation of the system by everyone involved. The club should have a few timers on hand for visiting athletes or in case someone forgets his/hers on a given day.

OUR FAMILIES ALREADY SPEND A BUNDLE ON RACING. WE'RE AFRAID TO ADD YET ONE MORE SIGNIFICANT EXPENSE (THE STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK). THE PARENTS MIGHT COMPLAIN AND OBJECT.

A ChronoSplit at $265 is about the price of a hotel at a weekend FIS event (or a full tank of gas in a Hummer). It's important to remind your Families of their priorities and why their kids are training in the first place. Alpine racing is not Freestyle. You don't get judged in this sport by how you look. Video analysis is essential, but excellence in ski-racing is measured by time alone. When you combine video analysis WITH timing, then you have something tangible in terms of athlete performance evaluation. Otherwise you are simply guessing. You must know the What (Time) and the Why (Video). If you have parents who don't understand that the ONLY criteria of valid sport-performance measurement in ski racing is TIMING (and they are not prepared to value it appropriately) then you have bigger issues to solve.

THE CHRONOSPLIT IS EXPENSIVE - COSTS AS MUCH AS AN IPOD OR CELL PHONE. WHAT IF MY KID LOSES IT? CAN WE BUY A NEW ONE FROM YOU AT A REDUCED PRICE?

Not likely. Ask Verizon what happens if you lose a cell phone, or Apple if you lose an Ipod, and see what they say. We do however support the concept of clubs/teams being innovative with their own "insurance-for-loss-or-breakage" programs. Sharing the risk over the whole team for individual loss of breakage applies to all race equipment and some teams do this very effectively with much of their equipment (like slalom poles).

IF MY KID CRASHES, IS THAT BULKY TIMER ON HIS CHEST GOING TO CAUSE AN INJURY?

Possibly, but so could the Ipod that Shawn White wore in the Olympic Half-Pipe. After 3 years, we have had no reports of injuries from skiers wearing the ChronoSplit. IS THERE A WARRANTY? WILL IT BREAK?

The ChronoSplit timer comes with a 30 day factory warranty against manufacturing defects. As to its durability, it depends on how it's treated. With now hundreds in active use throughout the world, we have yet to have one watch come back "broken" but we're sure we eventually will.

IS THERE A VOLUME DISCOUNT FOR 30 OR MORE TIMERS?

Certainly. We have "discount" programs that are based on volume, payment terms and trade-in possibilities. We'd be delighted to look into needs and propose an attractive solution.

THE COACHES WANT TO KNOW THE TIMES INSTANTANEOUSLY.

There are ways to overcome the instant feedback issues. Most training groups have a radio at the start so the athlete can check in with the coach before his/her next run. That's an ideal time to share the last run's time with the coach. Or, you can post a radio at the finish of the course as well.

THE COACHES OFTEN DON'T WANT THE ATHLETES TO COMPARE TIMES WITH EACH OTHER.

With the proper communication and athlete management, your coach (a paid professional?) should be able to manage this aspect effectively.

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Do you sell watches?

No, we are the US distributor for TAG Heuer Sports Timing Equipment. Please go to www.tagheuer.com for any questions related to their watch division.

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Can our ski area use wireless timing for back up to our primary system?

Yes, for USSA scored races, one is allowed to use wireless for back up only (System B). You will need to have a double output start gate and a proper photocell finish system, but you do not need to have another pair of wires running up the hill. Non-scored races may use wireless for system A electric timing.

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Is it possible for us to rent equipment for a specific event or a month?

Of course, Reliable Racing Supply will put together a timing package to suit your needs. We will provide you with everything you will need for a great price. All we need is a credit card number to hold as a deposit. Please contact Gerry Trudell in the Timing Department for details, (subject to availability at the time of inquiry).

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What are the specifics I need to ask myself when exploring my options in timing equipment?

First of all, what kind of races are you timing? Are they FIS/USSA scored? Will you need to run dual races (head to head)? How is the terrain set up? Are there wires run on the course or will wireless be a necessity? Will you be utilizing any software programs now or in the future? What will be the maximum distance photocells will be apart at the finish line? Do you want to display the times to spectators and racers? If so, what information would you want to see? If you are a ski area, are you currently bidding for USSA races? If you are interested in wireless, do you have a line of sight with the start and finish lines? Well, that should cover the basics. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact Reliable Racing Supply and we would be more than happy to help. Most systems we sell are very custom so getting all the answers is paramount.

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What do I do if I need to have timing equipment repaired?

No matter what the problem, RRS is here to help. Box up your equipment very carefully and send it to the address found at the bottom of the page. Please include a letter containing who you are, what problem(s) you are experiencing, and a good day-time phone number where we can reach you. Please allow a few weeks to get it fixed. If you are in a desperate situation, give us a call immediately and arrangements can be made to get you through the event (subject to rental fee and availability).

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If I don't have TAG-Heuer photocells, can I still purchase a TAG timer?

Yes, the timer only needs to receive an impulse to work. If you do not need to replace your existing FIS/USSA - Homologated photocells, they will still be able to send an identifiable pulse to the timer.

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How do I get my timer to communicate with my PC?

Timers that have this ability have serial connections built in. All you need to do is connect the two providing you have an extra serial port. The software will do the rest. Typically, the software will ask you to choose your timer from a menu. The software has stored all the communication protocols so you will be all ready to go. All that will be left will be practicing with the software. For more information, visit our blog.

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Can I use the computer as a timer?

The internal time base of a PC is useful only for very simple timing that will not require any precision. If you need precision, you will need to use the time base of a timer. Beware of PC-based timing systems!

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How weather resistant is your equipment?

Timers are designed to withstand extreme cold. They will not, however, stand up to rain. The photocells, startgates and displays can take the rain, but the timers are not designed to be out in those conditions. Please protect them from this, they are electrical devices that will short out quickly in a wet environment. Always refer to your user manuals for guidelines.

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Can I convert my existing timing system to a wireless system?

Yes, TAG-Heuer and ALGE offer great solutions for this. You can connect your existing start gates or photocells to transmitters and the receiver will give the impulse to the timer. Just about any timer will work with this system. See user manuals for transmission range guidelines.

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What system components should I use?

We have put together Quick Installation Guides that outline what components can/should be used together. Click here to view our Quick Installation Guides.

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643 Upper Glen Street - Queensbury, NY 12804
Phone: 800-223-4448/518-793-5677 - Fax: 800-585-4443/518-793-6491
customerservice@reliableracing.com