New SmartLine Timer Options

Commercial timing systems
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New SmartLine Timer Options

Post by gpraceman » Fri Sep 20, 2019 12:13 pm

eTekGadget, looks to have made some improvements and new options to their SmartLine timers. They have also improved their website. It looks much more user friendly than their old one.

New Enclosure:
Looks like they now use the same enclosure to house all of the timer electronics as The Champ timer uses. eTekGadget supplies the electronics for The Champ, so that is not a surprising change.

USB Option:
You can opt to have the traditional serial port connection to a computer or the new USB connection for an extra $20. Some might think that having a USB connection would be a more problem free means to connect to a computer, since you don't have to deal with a USB to Serial Adapter. In that, they would be incorrect. Any USB timer really just has a built in USB to Serial Adapter. So, there are still USB drivers that must be installed on your computer to get the timer and computer to be able to talk to each other. There can be issues getting those drivers installed depending on which OS and version you are running.

On the Pro side, there is no USB to Serial Adapter that you have to keep on hand. On the Con side, you still have USB drivers that must be installed properly on the race computer. Also, USB cable length is limited to about 16 ft. So, if you want to place your computer further away from the timer than that, you would have to use a USB extension cable with built-in signal amplification. Those cables can be a bit pricey. Fortunately, their USB option does come with a 10' USB cable and a 35' active extension cable, so you will have flexibility in your computer placement.

Personally, I don't really see an advantage with the USB connection. With a regular serial connection, even having to use a USB to Serial Adapter, you can use very long serial cables (100ft or longer), if you really needed to. You don't have that flexibility with USB. Also, long serial cables are much less expensive than USB cables.

Double Sided Time and Place:
Their original timer had time and finish order on one side, nothing on the back side (if I recall correctly). This option gives you time and finish order on both sides. If you are using race management software to display race times to your audience, you could save some money by just getting their single sided finish order only display.

Alternating Time/Place:
This is a new double sided option where the display alternates between showing the times and then the finish order. The numerals for the time display look a bit larger than what is used in their base model timer. Though, it looks like to make it all fit, they had to stagger the displays (high to low). That looks a bit funny. A disadvantage is that the finish order display is rather small. Again, if you are using race management software to display race times to your audience, you could save some money by just getting their single sided finish order only display.

I do like that they have added these options. You can get just the features that you want or go full bore and get everything.

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Re: New SmartLine Timer Options

Post by bracketracer » Mon Sep 23, 2019 9:35 am

I like that they bumped the display to four places past the decimal, our pack's timer only shows three.

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