Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Diy Transponder System

Recommended Posts


Our scenario is this. 4-5 of us all own M03 mini's and we race against each other pretty regularly outside using a track made from fire hose and traffic cone bases. We have quite a good setup and have some close racing. We stick to Silver cans and NiMH batts and no slicks. Everything else is open.

We tend to just do 5 laps races, sometimes some auto testing, sometimes qualify, loser gets the beers in kind of thing.

The only issue we have is that if we have to use a stop watch for single cars on track or count our own laps for the races. It would be nice to have a transponder system, but all I can find is AMB transponders at £80 each, plus I guess you need some other hardware and software to plug into a laptop.

Can you build a system yourself that could count laps and maybe even record lap times?

We have thought about joining a club but its more commitment than we currently would like to give.

Thanks in advance,

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites


I did some research a while back for a similar setup, and came up empty handed.....until I found

RC Lapcounter

Sure, it is still pretty pricey, but if there are few of you sharing the cost it works out ok.....and you can take it where you like...

You can use a variety of different software that they supply with the kit, all you need is a laptop and a bridge.

We went with a 5 pack of transponders, 5 bridge sensors and the decoder, and later upgraded by buying bits as we need them.

Also, there was a system on Tower that was ok, but as we knew we were expanding, this one made a lot more sense...

Apart from this...there is not a lot out there...

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

The main race timming system in the UK and Europe is by a company called AMB http://www.bbksoftware.com/

HOWEVER if you can live without lap times,

We started on the cheap like this.

You need someone to count the laps,a pencil,a bit of paper and car number stickers.

As the cars pass the start/finish line,the "Race Director" writes the car number down,they end up with a string of numbers.

1234563245613421345 what ever,at the end of 5 minutes[for example],if you put a line through all the 1`s and count the laps off,all the car 1 is 3 laps,

so make a list and go through the numbers,

Car 1 = 3 laps,

car 2 = 3 laps,

car 3 = 4 laps,

car 4 = 4 laps

car 5 = 3 laps,

car 6 = 2 laps.

So how you work it from here is interesting,

car 6 is last on only 2 laps,so car 6 finishes last,

then there are 3 cars on 3 laps,cars 1,2 and 5 have 3 laps,you look at the last part of the string and see who crossed the line first,

car 5 is last over,

car 3 is next to last over and car 2 was first over the line of the 3 lapper cars,

So before we do the 4 lappers it`s,

car 6 on 2 laps,

car 5 on 3,

car 1 on 3,

car 2 on 3,

then do the same with the 4 lapper cars makes the result,

Car 6 on 2 = 6th

car 5 on 3 = 5th,

car 1 on 3 = 4th,

car 2 on 3 = 3rd,

car 4 on 4 = 2nd,

car 3 on 4 laps is the winner.

That was quite hard to write down but if you can grasp it,you can be a manual lap counter/race director and get some racing going for cheap.

We used to get the random kids to shout the car numbers as they go over the line to help the race director out.

It really works and was some of the best racing we ever had :)

Computer systems help details/info,laptimes etc etc etc but can cost[the AMB system is a couple of grand+],when we did get a computer,we used

Mark Saunders "Buggy soft" RC timing,it gives all lap times,auto comentary/car positions throughout the races and supports printouts etc,this was a great little system which involved putting in driver /frequency details ect,it sorted the heats out for you and when running you simply pushed the number of the car on the keyboard as it went past and the computer did all the working out for you at the end.

As far as i am aware,this software product has never been available on the net,i probably do have a copy somewhere but would have to ask Mark about passing it onto people before i did.

Please feel free to pm me if you might be interested in a copy,tracking him down to ask could be another thing altogether.

I`m sure there must be other free RC timming available out there and am always interested in what people are up to.

The serious cost of race systems which use expensive transponders etc can be overcome for smaller fun meetings,but as soon as it becomes popular you will find the need to invest.

It makes a meeting run great having the latest timing kit with all the bells n whistles but the cost is high and when organisers say "Personal Transponders" only,then everyone who races has to buy in for the PT that is a big extra cost to all the racers.

Most clubs do have "Hand out" transponders,but it is a faf about,collecting it and putting it back after each heat/final.

I always use club handouts myself and make sure i look after them :P

Decision decisions eh :D

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been using a video camera pointed at the start/finish line to record the race. We run a timed race (10 minutes) with a count down alarm, so after the buzzer sounds you finish the lap you are on. We don't get the number of laps or laptimes in real time, but once you put the video into the PC you can count how many laps each car has done and use the time on the video to workout the laptimes. It's long winded, but it works and you can't argue with video footage.

I looked at the same system as sirandy and it was a bit out of my price range. One day. :D

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an example of the excel speadsheet I use to calculate the laps and laptimes. In the left panel I put the time as it shows in the video footage each time a car passes the start/finish. Using Autosum calculates the laptime in the right hand panel automaticly. You can pause the video each time a car passes so you can put the time in the spreadsheet.

This was a 6 minute race on my backyard track with standard buggys, Ni-Cd only, and silvercan motors. Just me and my four boys having a practice race. The boys have improved a lot since and now run laptimes between 23 and 25 seconds consistantly.


**Note how the DF03 died mid race with a mainshaft failure :D

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Apart from buying and expensive transponder and Timing System, or very manual systems, the easiest way is to use Rc-Timing's Laps Free - RC-Timing Laps Free

You can use the use the software in manual mode, using the keyboard to type in the car number. It has all the benefits of a Automatic system.

Of course the other option is finding a local club where you can race! Go and have a look, you will learn more that way, and it will be warm and dry.

Just looked, Leighton Buzzard isn't far from Hemel Hampstead. Go and See Joe Brown. LBMCC

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks all. Good ideas.

I eventually found the i-lap system also and it seems good value. I think that's the best solution if we upgrade from what we have.

The only bit I wondered is whether the sensors used are available from somewhere like Maplin and you could wire it all yourself.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am pretty sure that an eletrical expert would be able to 'decipher' a way to build some of those, but the guy who sells them has probably priced his effort to do just that, into the cost of the unit. I have to admit that although the sensors are fairly high in price, they are worth the money. They are well made and provided you look after them, they will last a long time. The are pretty rugged.

As you will have seen, the system comes with a number of software packages as a bundle, most of them are demo versions. I use the RC Scoring Pro and the demo version is limited to a MAXIMUM of 5 racers per heat. You have to pay a chunk of change US$250, to get the full version, but if you are using it casually, you may find that 5 slots per heat is enough. You can have as many heats as you want though, so if you have 12 racers, just make 3 heats of 4 drivers. It is not the most user friendly software but there are some features of it that make it very easy to operate once you have figured out how it works.

For our casual Saturday racing, it takes me only a few minutes to register all the attendees because it has a very neat way of adding people to the events.

All in all, good system , you just need to persevere with it. If you come unstuck with it, Doug, the guy who sells the software (not the hardware) has helped me on a number of occasions, and in gratitude, I sent him a donation for his help. It was well received and although I dont EXPECT any major help/support from him, it is nice to know he is willing.

As you grow, you will see that guys will be keen to get their own transpoders to save hassles, and at US$35, they are not a major money drain.

I am in no way affiliated to either party, I am just trying to provide a 'user review' for your consideration. :)



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Years and years ago when I raced F1 our small club couldn't afford transponders so we had coloured flags for our antennas and someone would sit at the start/finish line with a board that had about 10 "clickers" on it with corresponding colours. This person would click each time a car crossed the line.

When the timer goes off for 5 mins you just rolled to a stop and we checked where everyone was on the track plus how many clicks their clicker had.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...