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Electronic Timing

A brief History

RaceTec is the largest electronic sports timing company in South Africa and has been operating for over 10 years with over 160 000 chips in the market. Every Year we time well over 100 000 athletes in various disciplines, and we specialise in mass - participation sports events such as Two Oceans Marathon. RaceTec was formerly known as Winning Time, and all yellow chips bearing the "Winning Time" logo can still be used on the RaceTec System.

The most important part of the whole system is making sure you wear the chip correctly. Only ever run with one chip at a time, and make sure it is one of the two styles of chips above. Also ensure that it is on your shoelaces.

Chip Timing System

A chip timing system requires that each runner wears a small, lightweight electronic transponder that uniquely identifies him or her as they cross strategically placed, electronic mats. The chip is typically worn attached to the shoe with the shoelaces. In its most basic and common form, chip timing electronically handles the task of collecting and processing results at the end of the race.

What it does at the finish line:

Every chip timing setup includes timing mats at the finish line. The primary benefits of using finish - line mats are more accurate recording and a less crowded finish area. Chip timing eliminates the problems inherent to manual timing; for example, there will be no mistakes in the results caused by confusing, multiple - chute finishing areas, "bandits" (runners who have not registered) confusing timers, runners wearing the wrong number, or runners who get out of order in the chutes. In addition, because the process of matching times to numbers is computerised, human error is minimised , and times can be made available almost instantaneously through the system.

What it does:

Multiple mats are placed along the course to provide each runner with split times. Since these times are available immediately, they can be posted as they are recorded, allowing fans to track the race as it progresses on our website. Splits are also valuable because they can help limit cheating. Runners with suspicious split times and runners who did not run over one of the intermediate mats, can be identified quickly and easily. The presence of mats at various locations requires that each athlete cross every mat to prove that he or she completed the entire course.

How it works - the technical part:

Chip timing systems feature two components: a chip that carries a unique identification number, and a number of mats that activate the chip. The chip alongwith an energizing coil is encased within a durable shell, often glass or plastic, which is then housed in another plastic case. The shell is weatherproof, which allows the chip to be worn in any racing conditions, regardless of temperature or moisture level. Of significant importance is that there are no batteries inside the chip and it can be reused repeatedly. The chip's transponder is passive, and sends no signals until it is placed within the magnetic field created by the special mats.

However, once within this field, the coil within the chip becomes energised, produces an electric current, and powers the chip's transponder. The transponder send a signal, reporting its own unique identification number, and this signal is captured by the "receive" antennas in the mat, and then collected by a computer. The mats contain two types of antennas. One type creates the magnetic field, while the other detects the signal emitted byt the activated chip. The mats are placed at key locations along the course of the race: the finish and various checkpoints. A battery and some wiring are attached to the mat, providing energy to the "send" antennas, which create a magnetic field. The entire process of activating the chip and recoding its signal takes merely a fraction of a second.

Click here to access Event Information on RaceTec

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