Arduino Based Pinewood Derby Timer
If you have a pinewood derby race track and found that the track timers out there are just too expensive for your budget, I may be able to help. As part of my hobby I have designed and built a number of track timers and have developed a low cost yet effective track timer that may suit your needs.
See the attached photos for two versions of a 6-lane timer. One design utilizes a gate (start) switch and infrared sensors at the finish line to provide elapsed race times to the nearest millisecond. The other slightly simpler design does not use a gate (start) switch and provides finish order sequence only.
Does your track have more or fewer lanes? No problem. My design is well documented and is relatively easy to modify by someone with basic technical and novice programming skills (see below for offer of assistance).
My design keeps hardware to a minimum and utilizes your PC (or MAC) to display race results. It is based on the Arduino UNO® micro-controller board (ref. https://www.arduino.cc/) and free public domain display software (ref. https://processing.org) to provide a low cost solution.
If you're interested in using this design to build your track timer please respond to this add and I will send you an email with an attached zip file containing all the information you need, including a schematic diagram, parts list, design notes, software installation notes, and software source code to get your project up and running.
NEED HELP BUILDING YOUR TIMER?
My services are available for a reasonable fee to cover expenses and supplies only (labor is free since this is my hobby). Services include:
• Modify software to accommodate the number of lanes of your track
$10 Flat fee
Includes updated schematic diagram and parts list
• Build the timer for you
$20 plus cost of parts and shipping
Includes any software changes that may be required to accommodate the number of lanes and
any unique features your track may have.
Assumes end user will install optical lane sensors, gate (start) switch and associated
If you are a scouting, Awana or other non-profit organization and don't have someone with the skills or resources to build your own track timer, I may be able to help and would charge you only for the materials needed for me to build and ship your timer. I anticipate material cost to be around $50.00. This cost is for the Arduino micro-controller board, gate (start) switch and lane sensors only and assumes you already have the track. Installation and wiring of the lane sensors and gate (start) switch to your track would still have to be performed by you. However, I can provide guidance via phone or email.
GrandPrix Race Manager™ Users:
If you're looking for a timer that works with the GrandPrix Race Manager™ professional software package by Lisano Enterprises, LLC (http://grandprix-software-central.com/), I have developed a version of my race timer that interfaces with it (A prototype is up and running). Let me know if you're interested in this design solution. Here is a You Tube video-https://youtu.be/g7ddm4JIcMs