A. The installation requires that two optical sensors be mounted in your track on the center line of each lane. One sensor starts the timer, the other stops the timer. Installation of the sensors requires that you drill a 3/8" hole in each location. They can usually be held in place without any glue as they fit snugly into the mounting hole. The timer unit itself is a handheld unit that can be placed somewhere in between the start and finish lines of your track. See the picture below.
Q. How do the sensors work? How accurate are the sensors?
A. The sensors require a small light to be placed over them and the difference between this bright light and the shadow that the car causes as it passes over them, triggers the timer. The light can be fairly small, we've used "Snakelights" with no problem. Some people like to use a switch on the starting mechanism to trigger the start of the timing. This switch is included with your purchase of any of our timers/finish lines. It is a simple switch that is normally closed and goes open when you move your starting bar down. It usually works best with a 60 Watt Bulb of incandescent, not halogen or flourescent light. It also works well when you place the light approximately 3-4 feet above the sensors.
The sensors have a .0001 accuracy, or .1 millisecond.
Q. How many lanes can you time at once?
A. Each lane has its own finish line sensor. Depending on which timer you choose, you can time from 1 to 8 lanes. Click here for a chart to help you choose which timer.
Q. Can you use this timer for other applications?
A. You bet!! We've had all types of interest in our timer for things like Physics experiments, Accident Investigation probes, timing missile launches, etcetera. Call or email us to see if one of our timers will meet your application's requirements.
Q. What are common pinewood derby track dimensions? Will your timer work with any track? What track should I purchase and who sells them?
A. Most tracks are 32 feet long, usually having at least two sections and commonly, four sections of eight feet each. Most tracks have a vertical drop between four and five feet. YES! Our timer works with any tracks, as long as you can drill a hole into the finish line of each lane. We do not require or need the dimensions of the track in order to send you your timer.
Plans and information for building a track are available from this link: Click Here!
1. Best Track All Aluminum Tracks are strong, lightweight, easy to assemble and reasonably priced! The only track you can add lanes to one at a time.
These are the guys who make the kits for the Boy Scouts for MANY years! They make the following kits for the BSA: pinewood derby (cars and tractor trailer), raingutter regatta, space derby. Beta Crafts makes the black-end flap PWD kits. They do NOT make the PWD kits that have the orange-end flaps.
The "Challenger Track" is the aluminum deck that the Scout Catalog lists. The extruded aluminum decking is so fast that a 50-foot track is suggested in place of the standard 32-foot track. It has precision joints that lock on the track segments. The 50-foot track only requires two 4x8 sheets of plywood. The dimensions are exactly the same as a standard 32-foot track except that the flat surface is longer. They will drill the holes for the popular start gates and timers. They also make an extension that attaches to the top for the truck big-rig races without having to modify the start gate or anything else!
Check out Pack 235's web site for pictures of their Challenger Aluminum track.
3. Piantedosi Oars, Inc.
P.O. Box 643
West Acton, MA 01720
The "Piantedosi" PWD Track, Manufactured by Piantedosi Oars Incorporated. Piantedosi is the world's largest Pinewood Derby Track manufacturer, having delivered over 500 tracks last year alone! Their track is fabricated from marine-grade multi-ply voidless (solid core) maple hardwood and top-quality hardware. All parts feature non-stripping mechanical "T-nut" fasteners. Assembly and disassembly of the prealigned sections and support structures can be done quickly and easily. Two (2), three (3), four (4), six (6), and eight (8) lane tracks are available. You can purchase the tracks directly from Piantedosi, or from the PineCar catalog.
4. S & W Crafts Mfg.
P.O. Box 5501
Pasadena, CA 91117
These are the guys who made the original Pinewood Derby car kits!
Q. Do you have to use a computer with your timers?
A. All of our timers can be run with or without a computer. A computer is not required, however it can give you added functionality and more information.
For instance, on the DT8000, the display on the hand held unit shows only the order of finish, but if you use the computer you will receive the times for each lane as well. See the Technical Info section to download a manual with more details about how the timers work.
You can use your computer without any additional software required by interfacing our product to a PC via a cable and using a terminal program on the PC such as "Hyper Terminal". Hyper Terminal is normally included with all PCs running Windows 3.1 or Windows 95. If you are running under DOS, programs such as Procomm or others can be used.
Q. Do you work with any of the Race Management Software that is available?
A. Yes! Our timers are compatible with three software programs: RaceVIEW software, Enterprising Ideas' DerbyMaster software and GrandPrix Race Manager by Lisano Enterprises. All of these software programs allow you to manage your race easily and quickly. Go to our software page for more information about these three programs.
Q. I want to be able to display my results for all to see on a big screen at the race? How can I accomplish this with your handheld timers?
A. We're Glad YOU Asked! We have developed an easy, cost effective solution for this need. It's called DerbyTV. This product allows you to directly connect the timer to a TV screen and view the results there as well as on the timer. You don't need a computer to do this, just a TV. Think about how exciting it would be to have your results displayed on a 32" or larger TV!! You can also use an LCD Projector or Computer monitors to display the software results for all to see. In fact, you can do both at the same time! And, the cost is minimal because you can use the equipment you either already have or can borrow or rent. For more information on projecting the software results, check out our Large Screen Display section.
Q. If I purchase the DT8000 timer, what does the display show at the end of the race?
A. If you are just using the handheld timer by itself, you will get the order of finish only.
For example: "3 1 2" might be displayed if 3 was first, and so on.
However if you plug up the computer interface by using a serial cable to a laptop and open a terminal window, you would see something like
"3 2.8820 1 2.3434 2 1.1112"
where the time is displayed after the lane and they are displayed in the order of finish.
There is no additional charge for you to perform this function with the DT8000 timer that you purchase, but you would need a laptop and a serial cable.
Q. Do I have to use the handheld unit or is the computer interface sufficient?
A. No, you don't have to use the device to read the times. Time information is always sent to both the LCD (for DT1000 and DT2000) on the handheld and to the computer (if connected).
Q. Will your timers work on an aluminum track?
A. The install requires a 3/8" hole drilled to hold the stop sensor, but this is no problem on an aluminum track.
Q. My track is 48 feet long, can the cable be adapted?
A. We typically ship the start cable with a 40 foot length and the sensor cables made to 10 foot length. Just indicate on your order that you need longer cables and to what length. There is a small additional charge for each cable that must be adjusted.
Q. How long can the start switch cable be? How long can the race be in terms of seconds?
A. The start switch cable can go at least 150 feet. We do not charge anymore than the normal adjustment charge to change it to a length such as this.
However, note that the timer can only time up to 9.9999 seconds so you would need to have all the cards down to the finish line by that length of time.
Q. I want to use a computer with the timer. How do I do it?
A. You can order a serial port cable from us or purchase one at your local computer store. This cable is a DB9 male to DB9 female cable. The cable we sell is 3 meters long. If you want a longer cable, you will need to purchase it yourself. You can use at least a 50 foot cable and possibly even up to 100 feet. We do not guarantee anything longer than 50 feet but have heard of those having good results with longer than 50 foot serial cables.
Q. Does this product work on reflected light or broken beam sensors like other products on the market? Do car's angled surfaces or colors affect accuracy? Is it affected by flash photography?
A. The timer does not work by reflected light or by a broken laser beam. The timer stops timing when the car goes through the finish line and breaks the light path from the light above the track to the up-facing sensor that is installed in the track. Therefore, since the timer is affected by darkness when the car blocks the light, it is not affected by flash photography.
Q. Are there any overtrack displays that are compatible with your product?
A. Displays made specifically for pinewood derby are very expensive, at times they are several times the cost of the timer itself. We have an entire section of our operator's manual and web page devoted to implementing large group displays using common things you may already own or have access to, such as TVs, PC monitors, LCD projectors etc. I would recommend downloading the DT8000 manual if you are interested in this.
Q. I did not see a picture of your product or a description of how it functions. Please forward this information.
A. The operator's manual is online at: www.pinewood-derby-timer.com for all three timers. Click on questions and scroll down to manuals. The Operational manual covers installation, operation, setup, etc. We have pictures of the DT8000 on our website--see the Pictures page. The DT1000 and the DT2000 are the exact same devices with different software.
Q. What is the turn-around time from the date of order? I have a race soon.
A. We usually have units in stock and most orders ship within 1-3 business days after we receive your order. It depends on the current order backlog of orders that came in before yours. If you call or email to ask about it, we can usually give you a rough estimate of when your product will ship. You can have it shipped with 2nd day or next day service, using FEDEX. Occasionally we may be running short on product due to high demand (busy season) or due to waiting for shipments from a part supplier. When this happens, we will let you know and we always process units on a first come, first served basis. It is helpful to us if you will specify your race date when ordering. That way we can prioritize shipments as best as we can.
Q. Do you have anything I can put all the timing equipment and computer disks in?
A. Sure! NewBold Products is the only pinewood derby manufacturer with a custom case. We sell a black carrying case which holds all your timer equipment for the DTX000 product line and a blue case for the TURBO Timer product line. You can put the timer, sensors, cables, cable ties, manual, diskette, etc. into this case. The top level holds the timer and the lower level holds all your sensors, cable wraps, computer cable, etc.
Q. What kind of warranty do you offer on your products?
A. We have a 90 day money back guarantee from the date of purchase. We will take the product back with no questions asked and give you a full refund during the 90 day time period. After that, we have a 6 year parts and labor warranty, should your product need repair in any way. This is the longest warranty available from any pinewood derby manufacturer. We rarely have any returns on our products. We always try to work with you to resolve any issue you might have. If you have damaged the product unnecessarily by tampering with it in any way, we reserve the right to charge a 10% repair fee (based on the price you paid for the equipment being repaired, without shipping charges).
Q. How can I pay for my product?
A. We accept VISA, MasterCard, Discover, Checks, Money Orders and COD. You can order online or phone/fax in or mail in your order. To order online, you may either use a credit card or tell us that you are sending a check in the mail or choose to pay the delivery person a check via COD. In any case, we'll hold your order for you and when we get the check or credit card payment, we'll ship the product. To contact us directly, follow the Contact Us link in the top right corner of our webpage.
Q. I need the cable pinouts for the serial computer cable so I can wire it to my terminal device.
A. The connector is a female DB9 with the following pinout:
2 Data out
3 Data in
Communication is async, 1200 baud, 7 data bits, no parity, 2 stop bits. A normal DB9 Male to DB9 Female cable works fine.
Q. Does the direct sunlight affect the finish line sensors? We use our track outside and have direct sunlight hitting the finish line.
A. Our timers may work outside. Some have used them outdoors and provided a shade over them and had great success.
Q. I am using the DT1000 timer and I was curious as to how to know when the battery is slowing down?
A. On hardware version 2, there is a red LED visible above the power switch that will turn on when the battery is low. On the previous hardware version, there is no battery low LED, but you will notice the LCD numbers getting dim. A fresh alkaline battery should last 10-15 hrs on a DT1000.