Powering timers with USB

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PinewoodNuts
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Powering timers with USB

Post by PinewoodNuts » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:22 pm

I just wanted to talk about something we started doing a couple of years ago. We run around 25 derbies a year on our Best Track and Microwizard P3 timer. We are always looking to streamline our process, so saving time by NOT running another extension cable just made sense. I've looked at using battery packs to power timers, but I never wanted to run into issues where I didn't have extra batteries and couldn't finish a race unless I ran an extension cord. Running 2 races in a day in 2 different venues means we need to be as portable as we can.

I found a $6 power converter http://a.co/jjWYo3k that increases the 5V power from a standard USB power brick up to 9V or 12V. Most of the commercial timers I've looked at will run on 9V or 12V.

The adapter has a 2.1mm barrel jack, but my timer uses 2.5mm. I need to just replace the cable end, but for the last 2 years this adapter has worked fine. http://a.co/1WBaglV

Plug the power converter into a $30 20,000mAh battery pack I already had http://a.co/eRVmcQF, and I'm able to run 10 races without going below 70% charge. It's easy to recharge every couple of weeks and lives in the bag with the laptop/printer we use for derbies.

The P3 timer has LCD displays instead of LED, so it has very low power draw. I've also used a Champ timer with the 12V converter version and it works great. In that case I just recharge more frequently, but still only after several races.

Hopefully this idea helps someone.

---pinewoodnut
Last edited by PinewoodNuts on Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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gpraceman
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Re: Powering timers with USB

Post by gpraceman » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:05 am

I like the idea. Your power converter link goes to a plug adapter.


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.

PinewoodNuts
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Re: Powering timers with USB

Post by PinewoodNuts » Mon Feb 19, 2018 3:07 pm

gpraceman wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:05 am
I like the idea. Your power converter link goes to a plug adapter.
Thanks for letting me know. I fixed it in the original post now.



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Re: Powering timers with USB

Post by gpraceman » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:03 pm

I went ahead and purchased a power converter and battery pack and will give it a try at a race this weekend. There are times that I end up one extension cord short and instead of adding one, not having to use one for the timer means that I will have a spare when needed. This particular power converter came with the right plug adapter (5.5*2.5mm) for my timer.


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: Powering timers with USB

Post by gpraceman » Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:04 pm

I finally had a chance to try this out at a race. It worked perfectly. After the race, the battery pack wasn't showing any appreciable loss of charge (still 4 bars on the battery's meter). Thanks for the sharing that idea. I like having one less cord to run.


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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Vitamin K
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Re: Powering timers with USB

Post by Vitamin K » Sun Mar 25, 2018 7:23 am

Cool stuff! This should get pinned somewhere.



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gpraceman
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Re: Powering timers with USB

Post by gpraceman » Wed May 02, 2018 2:10 pm

I used this setup for 4 races this year and it worked perfectly.


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: Powering timers with USB

Post by PinewoodNuts » Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:41 pm

Glad it worked for you. It takes so much less time and effort when you don't have to roll up one more power cable. 😁



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