Header Graphic
NewBold Products
Pinewood Derby
Since 1996
FAQ Turbo Timer

How fast can I get a TURBO Timer?

During the busy season from Dec - March, we typically run an order backlog of 1-2 weeks. Please your order early and let us know your race date!

Why should we purchase a timer from NewBold Products?

We're so glad you asked!! In fact, here's what sets us apart from other pinewood derby manufacturers.

What measurements do I need to take before ordering the TURBO Timer? You need to measure the lane spacing at the finish line of your track. Measure from the center of each lane to the center of the next lane. Also check the length of your track to know whether it is longer than the 40 ft switch cable we sell. If it is longer, you may get your cable extended for $2.00 in the Options Catalog after you click Order Now.

Where do I get the drivers for either the USB builtin port or the USB adapter by IO Gear?

For the USB Built in port, use this link to download the driver:  For the IO Gear USB adapter, use this link to go to their website.  Select the driver based on the version of Windows you have.

I am having problems getting my USB interface to work.

The problem is probably not with the timer or with the software, but with the installation of the USB to RS232 adapter.  You could verify the timer is working using a desktop PC that does have a standard RS232 serial port.  The USB to RS232 adapters can be tricky to get the driver installed properly.   Follow the installation instructions precisely, including when to plug in the USB cable.

If you have installed the driver and it is loaded correctly you should be able to go into the Windows Device Manager and find under Ports a new Serial port shown with a name corresponding to your adapter. There will be a new COM port assigned to the adapter, i.e. Com 5 etc. You must be able to select this Com port within your race management software in order to get the connection to work.

Another thing to try is to connect to the timer through the USB adapter using Hyperterminal. Do this after you are sure that the USB adapter's driver is installed correctly and you are seeing the adapter in the Device Manager. If you can talk to the timer through the USB adapter using Hyperterminal, then your race software should work, as long as it allows you to specify the correct COM port number.

Note that if your computer is assigning a high COM port number, your race software may not allow it to be selected. In the past the RS232 serial ports were always below COM4, so back then the SW companies only allowed selections between COM1 and COM4, nothing higher. The race software may or may not be updated to support the high COM port numbers. If you find this is the case, please contact your race software support number to see if there is an update available.

What is the max. length for USB or serial port cables?

The USB cable is 15 feet and the serial cable that we sell is 10 feet.  Serial cables can be made much longer or cascaded (up to 50 ft), but USB is limited to 15 feet unless you go to a much more expensive repeater.

If you want to run everything from the starting line you would be better off to run a long serial cable from the timer to the laptop and then use a USB to Serial converter at the laptop.

How do the timer and sensors connect to the tract?

The starting switch is mounted to your start lever at the top of the track.  The timer and bridge is placed at the finish line.  IR Emitters are installed in the center of each lane. These shine up into the bridge that is over the track.  You will need to drill holes in the track to do this.  If you are purchasing a new track, you can request that they predrill your track for the TURBO Timer.  The operating manual clearly describes how to install the timer and how to drill the holes. You can view the manual here

Does the timer module provide the individual times of each car per race as well as ranking their finish order? Is the timer part optional? The timer module comes standard to provide the elapsed times on the timer module. It is configurable by the user to provide either the winning lanes' time, or all lane times. It can rotate through them automatically or allow you to sequence through each one.

How does the start switch work? The start switch mounts to the start line so that the switch opens when the start lever is moved.  For best results, the start lever should move quickly so that the cars do not rest on the support pins as they begin to move.

Is there an option for an electronic start gate? Or must the cars be started manually? We do not provide any solenoid type start gates. They can be used with our products, many have used them successfully. A lot of groups use a spring forced gate to give a consistent and quick release. Our start switch is independent of how the gate is released.

How do I know my computer is talking to Hyperterminal? One thing to try is to run Hyperterminal without connecting the timer. You should be able to jumper pins 2 and 3 on the end of the Serial cable and when you type you should see the characters displayed on your Hyperterminal window. If you do not, then Hyperterminal itself is not opening correctly and/or connecting to your serial port.

What if I physically connected my timer to the computer but have not been able to get the USB driver to work? You may have problems getting the USB driver to install. Disconnect the timer. Uninstall the driver (if it was installed at one point) using Add/Remove programs and start over with the installation of the USB driver BEFORE you connect the timer cable to the computer.

Our current track has a 4" center lane spacing. What would I have to do to the Turbo if I change tracks later? What you would need to do is to order new Bridge sections that fit your new track. For example if your track is 4 Lanes you would order two Bridge sections for $23 each and use those in place of the 4 inch ones.

Can I use the Turbo Timer outside?

The Turbo Timer was not designed to run outdoors.  Never has been and probably never will be.  It is a bad environment to use IR sensors.   And the market is very small, probably less than 5% of our customers have any desire to run outside - given that most derbies are run in the wintertime.    From time to time we get folks who just have to try and are willing to experiment. If this is the case, please contact us for suggestions on what to try but we do not recommend it.

Should we avoid any special light conditions?

Sunlight, even indirect can cause problems.

Is there an issue having an extra bridge section attached on the end but not used?

No. There is no problem with that particular setup.

How do you skip a lane? Say we had a physical problem with lane 2. How do we run lanes 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6?

Just disconnect the IR cable for that lane or cover it up then cycle the power.  Keep the sensor disconnected or covered up until the timer finishes counting 0 to 9.

Is there a minimum or maximum distance between the race surface where the IR is and the bottom of the bridge section where the sensor is?

Design is for up to 5 inches maximum, and no minimum.

One of our lanes didn't run. We saw the timer count up to 9.9999 and then stop. Is this by design?

Yes, if the timer finds a lane present, it will wait for that lane to finish during the race and go for 10 seconds to allow a slow car enough time to finish.

What is the tolerance for having the phototransistor over the IR source at the normal height? Is the IR source like a laser beam or does it disperse like a flashlight? Any tools we should invest in?

The IR disperses.  Generally alignment to only 1/4 inch is good, but even eyeballing it you can get it closer than that.  You do not need any special tools.

Could we purchase and use all 24” cables instead of 12” and 24” lengths?

Yes that is fine.

Our displays are not displaying the correct number. How do we troubleshoot?

If the displays over each lane are not displaying the correct number then you have a problem in one of the following areas:

1.  Connection problem between the timer module and the Bridge.  You might check the connector that joins these two pieces to make sure it is making good contact with no bent pins etc.
2.  Problem inside the timer with the circuitry that is driving the Bridge.  Please contact us to have it looked at.

Someone handed down this timer to us but we do not have a manual. Can you send one to us?

We can do better than that! Our manuals are on our Support page.

What is the correct setup for the dip switches on the Turbo Timer?

This information, along with a lot of other helpful details, is located in the manual. You can download the manual here.

If I purchase one of your products, can I move it between different size tracks?

Flexibility in moving between tracks is one of our key features.  The DerbyStick and TurboLite products can move between any type of track with no changes required at all.  The Turbo system is built to fit one of four sizes, 3.25", 3.5", 3.75", and 4.0".   However, even the Turbo can be easily modified to work on a 3.5" track even if originally designed to fit a 4" track.  To make the change you would need to purchase a new Bridge section which is $25 for every two lanes plus $17 for the aluminum support brackets.  We have customers make this change quite often and it costs less than $100 even with shipping.

How do I order replacement IR sensors?
We carry replacement parts for Turbo units.  These can be ordered through our website.  Go to the pricing/place an order tab, then click on the Turbo products.


©2022, NewBold Products    newboldproducts@gmail.com