Why is the cost so low?
You don’t have to purchase any expensive proprietary hardware, which is where the majority of the costs of existing timing systems lie. We are helping you leverage the investment that you may have already made in a Smartphone. We don’t make any money out of the app, that all goes to the app developer.
Does my smartphone work with NFC timing chips?
If you have purchased your Android smartphone in the last couple of years, the answer is probably yes. To see a comprehensive list of supported devices click here.
Does it work with an iPhone?
A little late to the party, but Apple have recently introduced NFC into their new iPhone range, but for now it is just for mobile payment use. It is highly likely that they will open up use of NFC to app developers in the near future. Meanwhile, a brand new Android handset with NFC can be picked up less than £80.
How do I store my runners data on the NFC chips?
Download a free Android app called Tagwriter. You can write individual chips, or import a specific-format CSV file, and then you can write data to multiple or hundreds very quickly.
What data can I store on the chips?
As little or as much as you like. Just race numbers only if you want to. Alternatively you can add more details; perhaps the participant name, their age category, medical conditions or anything else you want.
Is there a limit to how much you can store on the chips?
The NFC chips vary in capacity. Most popular types NTAG204 support a 128 character limit, which is more than enough for most requirements. This is sufficient to store name, number, club, category, contact or medical details.
What if multiple people cross the finish line, will it cope?
You have to scan each chip, which takes 1-2 seconds, so if you have very short race with 1000 competitors then this is not the system for you, as this will create a bottleneck at the finish line. You can those scanned appear as ‘joint-time finishers’ within the app very quickly, and you could use multiple phones on the finish line, but if you are looking for a high-capacity finish-line system then you need to look at one of the RFID (floor mats and chips on shoes systems), which as you know cost about £4-£10k to purchase and upwards of £500 to rent for a day!
What happens if the race start time is different from the time on the smartphone?
No problem, allows you set the race start time to a specific value HH:MM:SS, or you can simply use Android internal clock time, which assuming you have it set to take the time from the network, should be in sync with the Greenwich atomic clocks. It’s rumoured they are fairly accurate!
I don’t want to use sticker based chips on race numbers. What other chips are there? Are there in any other form of chip?
There are disposable (single use) wristbands too. Or if you prefer reusable chips, I regularly use silicon wristbands, plastic hang-tags or plastic key rings.
How far away do the chips scan from?
The technology is NFC or Near Field Communications. As the name suggests, the chips must be passed close to the smartphone, to avoid accidental scanning of another nearby chip. This is typically 0-20 mm. Scanning takes about 1 second
What happens if the chip gets lost, or damaged and will not scan?
The app will allow you to manually enter a race number via tapping the number into the keypad. We thought of everything!
How do I get the data from the phone back to race HQ?
You email it, from within the App. It puts all the data into a file (can be read by various standard programs) and you choose who to send it to.
Do I have to wait until the checkpoint is closed before I can send the results file via email?
Not at all, you can send interim updates back to HQ as often as you like. The data won’t be lost or overwritten until you choose to reset it deliberately.
What happens if there is no mobile signal?
The data is stored in the App until you choose to reset and delete it. So you simply wait until you have a mobile phone signal and send it then, or bring it back to HQ and plug it in to your PC and download it.
What about GPS Event tracking
You can also opt to hire or buy a Racedrone GPS tracker to use on the event. The trackers are the kind used for D of E GPS Trackers as well as Scout GPS Tracking, and general GPS Events Tracking.
What can I do with the data from the App?
Why not use it to make Facebook or Twitter updates, or publish the checkpoint splits on your website. You will of course use the data to complete the final results table too.