IR or Tape Switches

Timing System

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Karl Floitgraf
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IR or Tape Switches

Post by Karl Floitgraf » Tue Sep 22, 2009 12:53 am

I am about to put down the big investment of getting a timer and I want to know people's opinions of whether or not I should get an IR timer version of track mate or tape switches?
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Post by Pat Chewning » Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:46 am

Tape Switches

Easier to set up and align.
Not triggered if someone crosses the finish line on foot and steps over the switch.
Stay in place even if a racer is off balance and hits the end of the switch (disaster for IR switches).
Less expensive (probably).


Make some sort of provision to protect them (in tubes, or laid flat in a box) and they can last a long time. Buy a tube or a box at least as long as the tape switches. The switches should be either in the box/tube or taped down on the ramp or finish line -- at all times.

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Post by Wesley Tucker » Tue Sep 22, 2009 4:02 pm

A thin strip of metal (actually two) runs the length of the tape strip. If that metal gets kinked or bent, you're screwed.

I went to Home Depot and paid $6 for a length of 5" PVC pipe and two end caps. Whole thing cost less than $10. Cut it to like 4 or 5 feet (can't remember.) I put the tape strip in flat, the loose connecting wires for the system AND the TrakMate box all fit easily in the tube. Put on the end cap and it's all together. That plus my spool of cable is the timing system.
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Post by Marcos Soulsby-Monroy » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:48 am

Tape switches. IR have the more faults of the two.
As Luck would have it . . .

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Post by Eddy Martinez » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:41 pm

Where can I get some tape switches for my TrakMate Timing Sytem. Your Amigo Eddy Texas Outlaws. Have the new timing system, but the beams are a drag to align.

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Post by Wesley Tucker » Mon Mar 01, 2010 9:52 pm

Eddy Martinez wrote:Where can I get some tape switches for my TrakMate Timing Sytem. Your Amigo Eddy Texas Outlaws. Have the new timing system, but the beams are a drag to align.
Right here:

http://www.tapeswitch.com/Switches/sw_rs_101_131.html

You want Type 101. They will make your strips to any length.

Usually best to get them to match the width of the start ramp. Or you can get crazy and order two to match the ramp and two wider strips for the finish line. To me, though, that's too much trouble. If someone can steer around a cone they can hit a 2-1/2 foot wide finish line.
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Post by Miguel Marco » Mon Mar 01, 2010 11:33 pm

Eddy,

Buy Type 131. It's tougher, lasts longer, resists better to bending, and is sensitive enough for any size junior. You won't regret it.

I guess we're crazy up here. We have been using 3' for starts and 6' for finish lines at all the races we have used our timing kit. Bottom line is it works great. A 6' finish line might avoid an accident to a beginner, or even a Pro who is going all out in the last few cones, by keeping him from tangling in the hidden wires under the finish line cones. Or even rolling over the wires, tapeswitch ends, or plugs and damaging the timer kit itself. I don't see having two different lenght tapeswitches being too much trouble if it can avoid injury or the race/session from stopping.

I've yet to see a high speed dual racing sport limit the finish line to the same width the starting gates are. To me, that's just plain stupid. Sorry Wes...

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Post by Wesley Tucker » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:37 am

So I guess the many racers who have gone down a course set with my timing system did so stupidly.

Good to know. Glad we got that cleared up.
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Post by Rick Floyd » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:52 am

Miguel Marco wrote:Eddy,

Buy Type 131. It's tougher, lasts longer, resists better to bending, and is sensitive enough for any size junior. You won't regret it.

I guess we're crazy up here. We have been using 3' for starts and 6' for finish lines at all the races we have used our timing kit. Bottom line is it works great. A 6' finish line might avoid an accident to a beginner, or even a Pro who is going all out in the last few cones, by keeping him from tangling in the hidden wires under the finish line cones. Or even rolling over the wires, tapeswitch ends, or plugs and damaging the timer kit itself. I don't see having two different lenght tapeswitches being too much trouble if it can avoid injury or the race/session from stopping.

I've yet to see a high speed dual racing sport limit the finish line to the same width the starting gates are. To me, that's just plain stupid. Sorry Wes...
Mig - you are using WAY too much common sense. Try to be more ambivalent and vague and less sensible and coherent.

Karl...I vote IR, coupled with the wider finish line Mig is putting Wes down about. ;-)

We use IR on snow worldwide and with minimal failures. Works pretty good.

-R
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Post by Eddy Martinez » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:58 am

Thank guys. I got the new TrakMate. But the beams are a bitch to align. So I will just order some extra tape switches. You never know when one will go bad. Agree with Rick. Mig quit using too much common sense. Wes allways willing to help out. Gracias. Your Amigo Eddy Texas Outlaws.

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Post by Neil Orta » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:17 am

Eddy, I purchased mini tripods for my system. I drilled and tapped the IR boxes for the 1/4-20 screw on the tripod and when used on the lowest setting (just unfolding the legs) the IR boxes are actually very simple to line up. When used this way you can also set the height so that in a race situation it is not easy to criddle a cone through the IR beam and by setting the finish just in front of the finish cones you can set the beams farther apart than the opening so as to help prevent a rider colliding with the IR boxes. Though I have yet to use it in a race situation we have put some hours on it in training.

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Post by Wesley Tucker » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:34 am

Rick Floyd wrote:
We use IR on snow worldwide and with minimal failures. Works pretty good.

-R
If you don't mind me asking, Rick,

When using it for a snowboard course, are the IR stands, posts, supports or whatever they are attached to driven into the ground and firmly staked in place?

The issue with IR and slalom skating is sitting a free-standing tripod on the road and a good breeze or a pants leg will knock it out of alignment.

Of course, the stands can be weighted, held in place with a brick or some other accessory but then there's the issue of bricks and other rather solid objects very, very near the course.

Anyway, I've been in two races with IR (2002 World's and Ga. Tom's equestrian system) and with both the wind was an issue. Racing stops to run down the hill and move stuff around until the light turns green.
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Post by Rick Floyd » Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:38 am

We actually duct tape them to squirrels in cages, and then just align the cages - bingo!
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Post by Miguel Marco » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:32 am

Wesley Tucker wrote:So I guess the many racers who have gone down a course set with my timing system did so stupidly.
You're guessing wrong. Don't blame them. They did so because you didn't give them a choice... ;) :D
Rick Floyd wrote:Mig - you are using WAY too much common sense. Try to be more ambivalent and vague and less sensible and coherent.
Eddy Martinez wrote:Mig quit using too much common sense.
Haa! Ha! Ha! Sorry about that guys. I know common sense is sometimes hard to grasp in a "sport" where the rules state that you need exactly 4 wheels on your deck but can bolt on as many trucks as you want... ;)

I don't like IR. Besides all the problems listed above, you can trigger the bottom one by crouching and throwing your hand in front of you. Kind of cheating to me. Front wheel triggered tapeswitches are far more fair and accurate, IMO.

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Post by Rick Floyd » Tue Mar 02, 2010 4:00 am

Miguel Marco wrote:Haa! Ha! Ha! Sorry about that guys. I know common sense is sometimes hard to grasp in a "sport" where the rules state that you need exactly 4 wheels on your deck but can bolt on as many trucks as you want... ;)

I don't like IR. Besides all the problems listed above, you can trigger the bottom one by crouching and throwing your hand in front of you. Kind of cheating to me. Front wheel triggered tapeswitches are far more fair and accurate, IMO.
Don't catch those wheel-less bare axles on the extra trucks, on the tape switch.

I dig the hand break - you have to reach for it at speed, it's gnarly sometimes. The squirrels rock though.
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Post by Pat Chewning » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:52 pm

I totally agree with Wes about the length of the strips.

We changed our timing system to 2-foot length timing strips. They have lasted for 3 years now, whereas the longer strips would last maybe 1/2 a year because of bending/kinking.

Especially on start ramps, you want the short timing strips so they don't bend.

We have used these short timing strips on races ranging from 3 person parking-lots to the World Championships at Hood River.

A racer that can turn at speed within inches of a cone can easily hit a 2' timing strip.

Tape down the wires and they are no worse than the timing strip for running over with your wheels.

In timing strips, length does matter .... and shorter is better.

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Post by Wesley Tucker » Tue Mar 02, 2010 3:59 pm

Gee, Pat, that's stupid.

What were you thinking?
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Post by Rick Floyd » Tue Mar 02, 2010 6:20 pm

Man, I wish there was a skateboard racing governing body out there without members who take it personally when a knowledgeable racer in a DISCUSSION about a topic feels an idea (not a person) is stupid, and then said member runs with it trying to insult the original poster. That's what I want my member fees to go towards for sure. Karl asked for people's opinions, and got some, then got more BS from his governing body...nice.
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Post by Joe Iacovelli » Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:04 pm

Rick,

I hear you, I really do, but what gave you the impression that WT was speaking for anyone but WT? I take exception with Wesley when I feel like his sarcasm or brute force are not warranted when he is speaking as the Secretary of the ISSA, but in this case, seems to me like it's just Wesley.

I don't know that the BOD has or wants to have an official position on ir/trip and how long the strips should be.

Joe

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Post by Miguel Marco » Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:43 pm

Pat Chewning wrote:Tape Switches
...
Stay in place even if a racer is off balance and hits the end of the switch (disaster for IR switches).
Pat Chewning wrote:A racer that can turn at speed within inches of a cone can easily hit a 2' timing strip.
Aren't those two statements kind of contradictory, Pat? A racer that can turn at speed within inches of a cone and easily hit a 2' timing strip, can't possibly be off balance at the finish line and almost miss it... ;)
Pat Chewning wrote:Tape down the wires and they are no worse than the timing strip for running over with your wheels.
I disagree totally. From what I've seen, I don't think most wires used in the current timing systems are made for that type of impact. The only failure we've had in 4 years of practices, outlaws, Mains, and Majors with our system was not from a 6' tapeswitch but from someone rolling over its TAPED DOWN wire at the finish line at one of the Antrim Can/Am Championships. And we have good wire, not the tiny flat telephone stuff...

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Post by Eddy Martinez » Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:06 pm

At one of our Outlaw session this did happen. Jason aka Borto veered of the course. He was heading straight for the timing wires. He made the right decision. Right before he went into the timing wires he took a dive. He sacrificed himself to save the timiing wire. It was an interesting scenario. I never tape ours down. But after this disscussion. Not a bad idea. Your Amigo Eddy Texas Outlaws.

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Post by Rick Floyd » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:41 am

Joe Iacovelli wrote:Rick,

I hear you, I really do, but what gave you the impression that WT was speaking for anyone but WT? I take exception with Wesley when I feel like his sarcasm or brute force are not warranted when he is speaking as the Secretary of the ISSA, but in this case, seems to me like it's just Wesley.

I don't know that the BOD has or wants to have an official position on ir/trip and how long the strips should be.

Joe
Of course they don't - that isn't what I said. My point is that when a BOD member comments like that on this forum I think it's BS. Could anyone in an administrative postion, a Senator say or even a school teacher, say suff like that "off the record" to their respective constituencies without problems? They can, but it just doesn't look good. IMO the BOD member in question, I forget his name, probably could reign it in a bit until he is not a BOD member, then they can post stuff like this...ahhhhh, sweet freedom.
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Post by Rick Floyd » Wed Mar 03, 2010 1:43 am

So Karl - which one are you gonna get? Were we helpful, cuz you know we try...even though we are demented flakes
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Post by Pat Chewning » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:28 am

The beautiful thing is that you can buy whatever length you want.

If you want the benefit of additional peace of mind at the finish with a longer strip, at the additional hassle of handling and the additional risk of damage to the switch -- you can choose that 5-foot 6-foot or 8-foot tape switch.

If you want the benfit of easier storage and handling, interchangable spare strips for use on start and finish, a lower risk of tape switch damage due to kinking, and some additional risk that the racer can't hit a short switch, then choose the 2' tape switch.

As far as the wires go: I have not seen any race setup that had switches long enough and wire routing on both sides of the course to completely cover the street with tape switches and NO WIRES. So even the long tape switches will normally have some exposed wire for the racer to potentially run over.

I'm just saying that FOR ME the benefits of the short switches outweigh any small risk of damage due to the decreased "window" at the finish line.

=========================================

As far as racer safety is concerned, a well-taped down finish line with wires and a switch that is 2' wide presents MUCH less racer risk than the huge narrow start ramps that seem to be becoming popular.

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Post by Joe Iacovelli » Wed Mar 03, 2010 3:55 am

Rick Floyd wrote:
Joe Iacovelli wrote:Rick,

I hear you, I really do, but what gave you the impression that WT was speaking for anyone but WT? I take exception with Wesley when I feel like his sarcasm or brute force are not warranted when he is speaking as the Secretary of the ISSA, but in this case, seems to me like it's just Wesley.

I don't know that the BOD has or wants to have an official position on ir/trip and how long the strips should be.

Joe
Of course they don't - that isn't what I said. My point is that when a BOD member comments like that on this forum I think it's BS. Could anyone in an administrative postion, a Senator say or even a school teacher, say suff like that "off the record" to their respective constituencies without problems? They can, but it just doesn't look good. IMO the BOD member in question, I forget his name, probably could reign it in a bit until he is not a BOD member, then they can post stuff like this...ahhhhh, sweet freedom.
Nice point Rick, thanks, I agree. Please don't hold anything I do at the open bar at Sizzler against me.

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Post by Rick Floyd » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:03 pm

Joe Iacovelli wrote:
Rick Floyd wrote:
Joe Iacovelli wrote:Rick,

I hear you, I really do, but what gave you the impression that WT was speaking for anyone but WT? I take exception with Wesley when I feel like his sarcasm or brute force are not warranted when he is speaking as the Secretary of the ISSA, but in this case, seems to me like it's just Wesley.

I don't know that the BOD has or wants to have an official position on ir/trip and how long the strips should be.

Joe
Of course they don't - that isn't what I said. My point is that when a BOD member comments like that on this forum I think it's BS. Could anyone in an administrative postion, a Senator say or even a school teacher, say suff like that "off the record" to their respective constituencies without problems? They can, but it just doesn't look good. IMO the BOD member in question, I forget his name, probably could reign it in a bit until he is not a BOD member, then they can post stuff like this...ahhhhh, sweet freedom.
Nice point Rick, thanks, I agree. Please don't hold anything I do at the open bar at Sizzler against me.
There will be video. I figure you are too far gone to bother trying to change.
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Post by Pat Chewning » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:13 am

Miguel Marco wrote:
Pat Chewning wrote:Tape Switches
...
Stay in place even if a racer is off balance and hits the end of the switch (disaster for IR switches).
Pat Chewning wrote:A racer that can turn at speed within inches of a cone can easily hit a 2' timing strip.
Aren't those two statements kind of contradictory, Pat? A racer that can turn at speed within inches of a cone and easily hit a 2' timing strip, can't possibly be off balance at the finish line and almost miss it... ;)
Not a contradiction.

The 1st item is discussing the EFFECT of a racer hitting the stop switch (for whatever reason) -- comparing hitting a TAPE SWITCH vs an IR BEAM SWITCH.

The 2nd item is discussing the CAUSE of a racer falling or missing the switch due to THE SIZE OF THE TAPE SWITCH.

They can't contradict because they are two totally different things.

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Post by Miguel Marco » Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:43 pm

By increasing THE SIZE OF THE TAPE SWITCH at the finish line, you diminish the chance to CAUSE a racer missing the switch, thus also diminishing the chance to suffer the EFFECT of a racer hitting the IR boxes/tripods, timer wire, tapeswitch wire, connector boxes, plugs, banners, or whatever is near the finish line that is TAPED DOWN, or not, that your using and could stop or delay the race. Not to mention diminishing the chance for that racer to HURT HIMSELF. Must be my french to english translation, cause it seemed pretty obvious and logical to me.

You can go down to 1' tapeswitches, for all I care. Just warn me in advance for the races using them. I will put that down in my "PLUS and MINUS" decision making sheet for attending races. Guess what column it will go under...

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Post by Rick Floyd » Thu Mar 04, 2010 6:58 pm

stupid metric system
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Post by Pat Chewning » Thu Mar 04, 2010 9:33 pm

Miguel Marco wrote: You can go down to 1' tapeswitches, for all I care. Just warn me in advance for the races using them. ...
We will be using tape switches at least 2 times longer than your minimum threshold of 1' for the Oregon State Games.

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Post by Rick Floyd » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:12 pm

score 1 for IR - nobody is arguing what size to get. :-)
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Post by Eddy Martinez » Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:08 pm

Pat took your advice. I ordered 2 ft Tape switches for the ramps and 3ft for the finish line. I have tape switches that I got from Daniel at TrakMate 4 yrs ago. They still work just fine. I just do not want to find myself with one tape switch gone bad. Mig I got the 131. But I am going to buy some Tripods for the beams and see how that works out. The Sizzler will be the big test. Gracias Your Amigo Eddy Texas Outlaws.

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Post by Neil Orta » Fri Apr 02, 2010 2:39 am

Since I got no paperwork with my timer what so ever I am trying to make sense of why the timer has seperate "IR" and "Tapeswitch" settings. Is it a difference between normally open and normally closed circuits?

As well as what function the third button has...anyone got paperwork they can email post up?

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Post by Michael Stride » Fri Apr 02, 2010 6:06 pm

Some IR gates can be set off by some auto focus cameras using IR.

I had probs with my IR gates from low level sunlight too.

SO I prefer tapeswitches.
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