In looking at the timers, I am comtemplating either that champ timer, or the microwizard K2, or K3. There seems to be a huge difference in price. I would like opinions from those pineheads that have used any of these, and can tell me which would be the best.
While budget is not set yet, I want to make sure we get the best bang for our buck. My son only has one more year after this one, and I want to make sure the pack does not have problems after I leave.
For what you get with the Champ, it is reasonably priced. The Champ simultaneously displays place (large) and time (small) at both the front and back of the timer. MicroWizard offers the option of a front and back display and the cost of doing so approaches the cost of a Champ, though you wouldn't get the large place and small time displays.
My opinion is that in a Cub Scout race setting, the times are relatively unimportant to display at the finish line. If projecting race results for the audience, then displaying anything at the finish line becomes redundant to what is on the screen. New Directions (makers of the Judge) recently began offering a display-less timer, in an effort to eliminate this redundancy (I have not seen the new timer in person nor have read a bona fide review of it).
I you are going to be doing testing on the track then the K2 requires that you have a computer connected to get the times. The Champ and K3 both display elapsed times without the need for a computer.
If displaying only place at the finish line then I would elminate the K3 from contention, since the display is fairly small. You cannot see what happened from across the room or if your eyes are no longer young. The Champ and K2 both have the large displays which is easy to see from several yards away. A few years ago I went through the same comparison you are going through now. I ended up with a K2 kit and have no regrets with the decision (the kit saves you a bunch of money and is easy to assemble).
I agree with BallBoy that the purchase decision should be commensurate with your unit's priorities. We went with the Microwizard / Derbywizard K3 kit because it seemed most flexible to us (displayed both times and order info) and we already had a projection system available for the race software.BallBoy wrote:I would base your decision on both budget and what you need displayed at the finish line. [...] (the kit saves you a bunch of money and is easy to assemble).
We also went with the kit version to save money. However, I've assembled two so far and I don't know if I would describe these kits as "easy" to assemble -- perhaps "straightforward"? Careful drilling is required and according to the web site "kit assembly takes about 2-3 hours to complete."
One more question - can the finish line be put on backwards so the display will display back at the crowd (which is normally on the sides of the track). I assume it can, but if not, would make a case for the champ timer.
Thanks for the help.
Rukkian wrote:One more question - can the finish line be put on backwards so the display will display back at the crowd (which is normally on the sides of the track). I assume it can, but if not, would make a case for the champ timer.
Thanks for the help.
There is nothing that would physically prohibit you from putting the timer backwards on the track. The K2 or K3, with the PS option that enables the timer to communicate with a computer, does allow you to reverse the lanes. Reversing the lanes allows you to put the timer on backwards.
Yes, it will look professional if you are careful and have an adequate working space. Some assembly requires drilling countersunk holes in plastic according to a paper template. The plastic screws to metal supports using self-tapping screws. A hammer and punch is used to mark the metal in order to drill pilot holes. Of course it is possible to misalign the punch marks, the template, etc., if one is careless.Rukkian wrote:Does it come out looking as good? I am not afraid to do a little labor, but want it to look professional when I am done.
You definitely want to countersink the screw holes for a professional look. (There is a risk in overdoing this with plastic.) The kit comes with checker-board decals which can hide some finishing issues, but as with any decal there is also risk in trimming the decal improperly or not affixing it squarely. There is a reason why assembly cost $75; it takes time. But if you are patient IMO you should end up with a professional looking timer.
If I were purchasing myself today, I'd likely have tried to save more money.
I think the bigger issue is your track size. I'd seriously consider a 4 lane track instead of a 6 lane. You can search for threads on that topic in this forum and the concesus seems to be that 4 lane is much preferable.