Light Pollution

General timing system discussions.
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PWD_addict
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Light Pollution

Post by PWD_addict » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:28 pm

At our District Derby, we host it at a local shopping mall that has huge skylights on the roof, causing a significant amount of light pollution. It was so sunny this year, that we had to put a 10x10 popup canopy over the finish line (we do this every year) but also had to hang a NASCAR flag in certain positions on the popup. We would run a test run before each set of races and would routinely have to adjust where the flag was to get all 8 lanes providing timing info back to the computer.

I saw the great article from Pinewood Derby Times (http://www.maximum-velocity.com/pinewoo ... imes-v7i2/). The black paint and smaller bushings may solve our problem but we are using the Judge Timer and could purchase the Sunlight Max Option http://www.newdirections.ws/options.htm#sunlight.

Has anyone had a similar problem and had success either way?



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Re: Light Pollution

Post by gpraceman » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:37 pm

PWD_addict wrote:we are using the Judge Timer and could purchase the Sunlight Max Option
Well, if you are operating in that much light and knew of the problem before, I'm rather surprised that you did not get that option already. I'm not sure if that can be retrofitted to your current timer or not. Maybe John Shreffler can chime in.


Randy Lisano
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Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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Re: Light Pollution

Post by PWD_addict » Tue Apr 20, 2010 1:53 pm

gpraceman wrote:
PWD_addict wrote:we are using the Judge Timer and could purchase the Sunlight Max Option
Well, if you are operating in that much light and knew of the problem before, I'm rather surprised that you did not get that option already. I'm not sure if that can be retrofitted to your current timer or not. Maybe John Shreffler can chime in.
I didn't realize it was even an option before today. The cost is pretty reasonable--but the cost for painting the finish line black is practically free. If I would have thought of it beforehand, I could have charged it to the District event budget--we have a kind sponsor and we usually make a fair amount of money from the event.



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Re: Light Pollution

Post by gpraceman » Tue Apr 20, 2010 6:58 pm

PWD_addict wrote:I didn't realize it was even an option before today. The cost is pretty reasonable--but the cost for painting the finish line black is practically free. If I would have thought of it beforehand, I could have charged it to the District event budget--we have a kind sponsor and we usually make a fair amount of money from the event.
Ah. Well, if the books are not closed on this year's race, try to squeeze it in. I would check with John at New Directions to make sure that it would be an easy retro fit.


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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Re: Light Pollution

Post by John Shreffler » Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:58 am

Keep in mind that what looks black to the human eye does not necessarily look black in infrared light. Even if it did, placing the emitter or detector or both at the bottom of a deep hole is not going to help. If you are outdoors or under a skylight, or have a glass brick wall, the entire area and everything in it is aglow with infrared.

It is a bit like trying to talk to a friend at a rock concert. Impossible. But if you put in your ear buds and tune your radio to your favorite station, it works fine. The is the principle of Sunlight Max.

The circuitry is transferable to other finish lines.


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Re: Light Pollution

Post by gpraceman » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:09 am

Hello John,

For someone with one of your timers, is it just a matter of getting a different sensor board from you?


Randy Lisano
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Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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Re: Light Pollution

Post by John Shreffler » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:19 am

Beginning with the F series Judges, the boards have positions for the components. It is easier of course to install Sunlight Max when first building, since to retrofit means tearing up everything inside the Judge and rebuilding. Not just the main board, but all lane station boards. So I charge an extra $20 for a retrofit to cover the average hour of time.


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Re: Light Pollution

Post by gpraceman » Fri Apr 30, 2010 7:26 am

John Shreffler wrote:Beginning with the F series Judges, the boards have positions for the components. It is easier of course to install Sunlight Max when first building, since to retrofit means tearing up everything inside the Judge and rebuilding. Not just the main board, but all lane station boards. So I charge an extra $20 for a retrofit to cover the average hour of time.
Thanks for that clarification. Since there is some pulsing of the IR going on with those sensors, I had a feeling that there was more to it than just a sensor board swap.


Randy Lisano
Romans 5:8

Awana Grand Prix and Pinewood Derby racing - Where a child, an adult and a small block of wood combine for a lot of fun and memories.

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