Timing Glossary

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[edit] #

2 x 2 Standard 2" x 2" wooden stake used for mounting photocells for (primarily) ski racing, from the most basic citizens race all the way up to the Olympic Games. These are used because of their rigidity as well as their ability to shear at ground level if hit hard enough by a falling athlete (posts should be scored at ground level using a hand saw to ensure a safe shear factor). NEVER use 2 x 4's for photocell posts as they will cause major injury to an athlete that hits them.

4 x 4 Standard 4" x 4" wooden post used for start gates in ski racing. Most electronic startgate devices are designed to easily fasten to this form factor.


[edit] A

AC power (AC) Power is defined as energy per unit of time. In the SI system it is measured in watts (W). In alternating current circuits, energy storage elements such as inductance and capacitance may result in periodic reversals of the direction of energy flow. The portion of power flow averaged over a complete cycle of the AC waveform results in net transfer of energy in one direction is known as real power. The portion of power flow due to stored energy, which returns to the source in each cycle, is known as reactive power.

Alphanumeric Alphanumeric is a combination of alphabetic and numeric (sometimes shortened to alphameric), and is used to describe the collection of Latin letters and Arabic digits used by much of western society. There are either 36 (single case) or 62 (case-sensitive) alphanumeric characters. The alphanumeric character set consists of the numbers 0 to 9 and letters A to Z.

AMP An electrical expression defined by  Current X Voltage, better known as the "flow" of the circuit. In common terms, Amps are what kill people in accidents, not voltage. See also VoltWatt.

Amphenol AMPHENOL (AMP) Type of electrical connector manufactured by Amphenol Corp.

[edit] B

Banana plug Standard connector used in sports timing applications because of its robustness and positive connection.

Beam Synonym for Photocell.

Buffer The amount of data a drive can store for quick, temporary access. The larger the buffer size, the easier it is to access documents and programs that are opened often. Commonly used in hard drives, CD drives, and DVD drives. Non-volatile memory contained in some timers & printers. Allows storage of received information until requested by the user at a later time (to conserve paper, etc). NOTE: buffer memory is normally erased when the timer or printer is turned off, and cannot be retrieved.

Button Type of actuator normally used for hand timing operations.

[edit] C

Cable Wire that interconnects timing hardware; often employs banana plugs.

Chronometer watch is a watch tested and certified to meet certain precision standards. In Switzerland, only timepieces certified by the COSC may use the word 'Chronometer' on them.

Clock is an instrument used for indicating and maintaining the time and passage thereof. The word clock is derived ultimately (via Dutch, Northern French, and Medieval Latin) from the Celtic words clagan and clocca meaning "bell". For horologists and other specialists the term clock continues to mean exclusively a device with a striking mechanism for announcing intervals of time acoustically, by ringing a bell, a set of chimes, or a gong. A silent instrument lacking such a mechanism has traditionally been known as a timepiece. In general usage today, however, a "clock" refers to any device for measuring and displaying the time which, unlike a watch, is not worn on the person.

Clockwork is the inner workings of either a mechanical clock or a device that operates in a similar fashion. Specifically, the term refers to a mechanical device utilizing a complex series of gears.

Conductor An electrical conductor is a material which contains movable electric charges. In metallic conductors, such as copper or aluminum, the movable charged particles are electrons (see electrical conduction). Positive charges may also be mobile in the form of atoms in a lattice that are missing electrons (known as holes), or in the form of ions, such as in the electrolyte of a battery. A single strand of wire. Useless on its own; all connections require at least two conductors.

Conduit is a purpose-designed electrical piping system used for protection and routing of electrical wiring. Electrical conduit may be made of metal, plastic, fibre, or fired clay. Flexible conduit is available for special purposes.

Connector An electrical connector is a conductive device for joining electrical circuits together. The connection may be temporary, as for portable equipment, or may require a tool for assembly and removal, or may be a permanent electrical joint between two wires or devices. There are hundreds of types of electrical connectors. In computing, an electrical connector can also be known as a physical interface (compare Physical Layer in OSI model of networking). Connectors may join two lengths of flexible wire or cable, or may connect a wire or cable to an electrical terminal.The "interface" between cable and timing hardware. See also banana plug.

Coordinated Universal Time (UTC, French: Temps Universel Coordonné) is a time standard based on International Atomic Time (TAI) with leap seconds added at irregular intervals to compensate for the Earth's slowing rotation. Leap seconds are used to allow UTC to closely track UT1, which is mean solar time at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. The difference between UTC and UT1 is not allowed to exceed 0.9 seconds, so if high precision is not required the general term Universal Time (UT) may be used. In casual use, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) can be considered equivalent to UTC or UT1 when fractions of a second are not important. Owing to the ambiguity as to whether UTC or UT1 is meant, GMT is generally avoided in technical contexts. Time zones around the world can be expressed as positive or negative offsets from UTC; UTC replaced GMT as the basis for the main reference time scale or civil time in various regions on January 1, 1972.

Crystal The heart of modern timekeeping devices, this is the quartz oscillator that controls the accuracy of a timer. High-quality timing devices contain Temperature-Compensated Quartz Crystals (TCXO) that provide highly accurate timing in great temperature extremes.

[edit] D

Direct current (DC) is the unidirectional flow of electric charge. Direct current is produced by such sources as batteries, thermocouples, solar cells, and commutator-type electric machines of the dynamo type. Direct current may flow in a conductor such as a wire, but can also be through semiconductors, insulators, or even through a vacuum as in electron or ion beams. The electric charge flows in a constant direction, distinguishing it from alternating current (AC). A term formerly used for direct current was Galvanic current.Direct Current. Opposite of AC. Normally associated with battery power, but dangerous nonetheless.

Digit A single character in a scoreboard or display. May be alphanumeric or seven-segment.

[edit] E

EET Equivalent Electronic Time. A hand timing formula/technique employed at high-level competitions as a means of ensuring the highest possible hand timing accuracy in the event of total system failure.

Electrical polarity (positive and negative) is present in every electrical circuit. Electrons flow from the negative pole to the positive pole. In a direct current (DC) circuit, one pole is always negative, the other pole is always positive and the electrons flow in one direction only. In an alternating current (AC) circuit the two poles alternate between negative and positive and the direction of the electron flow continually reverses.

Electromagnetic Electromagnetism is the physics of the electromagnetic field, a field that exerts a force on particles with the property of electric charge and is reciprocally affected by the presence and motion of such particles. A changing magnetic field produces an electric field (this is the phenomenon of electromagnetic induction, the basis of operation for electrical generators, induction motors, and transformers). Similarly, a changing electric field generates a magnetic field. The magnetic field is produced by the motion of electric charges, i.e., electric current. The magnetic field causes the magnetic force associated with magnets.

Electromechanical Moving display characters, normally controlled by electromagnetic pulses.

Electronic Timers Electronic timers can achieve higher precision than mechanical timers because they are quartz clocks with special electronics. Electronic timers can be analog (resembling a mechanical timer) or digital (uses a display much like a digital clock). Integrated circuits have made digital logic so inexpensive that an electronic timer is now less expensive than many mechanical and electromechanical timers. Individual timers are implemented as a simple single-chip computer system, similar to a watch. Watch technology is used in these devices.

Eyes Synonym for Photocell, Beam, Cell.

[edit] F

Female (connector) The "female" connector is generally a receptacle that connects to and holds the "male" connector. Associated with male connector.

FireWire The IEEE 1394 interface is a serial bus interface standard for high-speed communications and isochronous real-time data transfer, frequently used by personal computers, as well as in digital audio, digital video, automotive, and aeronautics applications. The interface is also known by the brand names of FireWire (Apple Inc.), i.LINK (Sony), and Lynx (Texas Instruments). IEEE 1394 replaced parallel SCSI in many applications, because of lower implementation costs and a simplified, more adaptable cabling system. The 1394 standard also defines a backplane interface, though this is not as widely used. IEEE 1394 has been adopted as the High-Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance (HANA) standard connection interface for A/V (audio/visual) component communication and control. FireWire is also available in wireless, fiber optic, and coaxial versions using the isochronous protocols.

Flip-disc display (or flip-dot display) is an electromechanical dot matrix display technology used for large outdoor signs, normally those that will be exposed to direct sunlight.

Full Matrix A term referring to a scoreboard's capability to employ & display full-size bitmaps such as logos and other graphics in addition to letters and numbers.

[edit] G

Guage Used to differentiate between various thicknesses of wire used in sports timing. The higher the number, the thinner the wire. Common phone wire used for sports timing is usually 18 or 22 guage.

[edit] H

Hand Timing Most major timed sports events still require that hand timing be present as a safety precaution against equipment failure or incompetence. Usually performed using simple stopwatches, but increasingly with more advanced handheld devices such as stopwatch.

Homologated Timer To ensure accuracy under all conditions, most sport governing bodies require the use of homologated timers within their events.

Hour is a unit of measurement of time of the duration of 60 minutes, or 3600 seconds. It is 1/24 of a median Earth day. An hour in the Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) time standard can include a negative or positive leap second, and may therefore have a duration of 3599 or 3601 seconds for adjustment purposes.

[edit] I

IEEE 1394 High speed communications protocol for transfer of high-bandwidth data such as digital video. See also FireWireiLink.

iCalendar is a computer file format which allows Internet users to send meeting requests and tasks to other Internet users, via email, or sharing files with an extension of .ics. Recipients of the iCalendar data file (with supporting software, such as an email client or calendar application) can respond to the sender easily or counter propose another meeting date/time.

iLINK Sony proprietary branding for IEEE 1394 & FireWire.

Impluse in signal processing, the impulse response, or impulse response function (IRF), of a dynamic system is its output when presented with a brief input signal. A signal as received or sent by a timing device. See also Split.

Input A receptacle on a timer or other device that allows for the connection of peripheral devices. See also Output.

Interface A broad term representing anything from the onscreen layout of a software application, to a type of cable used to drive a scoreboard from a timer or computer (Interface Cable).

Intermediate A timing location other than the Start or Finish, normally used in ski racing, motorsports, and other sports where sectional information is useful. Requires a separate dedicated timing channel.

[edit] J

Jack commonly refers to a surface-mounted connector, often with the female electrical contact or socket, and is the "more fixed" connector of a connector pair. The related term "jack plug" commonly refers to a "less fixed" connector of a connector pair, often with the male electrical contact or pin, and is generally shortened to simply "plug." Some connector styles may contain male (pin), female (socket) or both connection types. Therefore, the use of gender to describe a connector "jack" or "plug" is misleading at best and inappropriate. A jack is properly described as a connector that is designed to be mounted (fixed) on the surface of a bulkhead or enclosure. Normally a " banana jack " when applied to timing; a single plug that connects multiple devices.

[edit] K

Kilowatt The kilowatt is equal to one thousand watts. This unit is typically used to express the output power of engines and the power consumption of tools and machines. It is also a common unit used to express the electromagnetic power output of radio transmitters.

[edit] L

LCD Liquid Crystal Display.

Leap second is a positive or negative one-second adjustment to the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) time scale that keeps it close to mean solar time. UTC, which is used as the basis for official time-of-day radio broadcasts for civil time, is maintained using extremely precise atomic clocks. To keep the UTC time scale close to mean solar time, UTC is occasionally corrected by an intercalary adjustment, or "leap", of one second. Over long time periods, leap seconds must be added at an ever increasing rate.

LED Light Emitting Diode.

Li-ion Lithium-ion batteries (sometimes abbreviated Li-ion batteries) are a type of rechargeable battery in which lithium ions move from the anode to cathode during discharge, and from the cathode to the anode when charged. See also NiCdNiMH.

[edit] M

Mains |is the general-purpose alternating current (AC) electric power supply. The term is not often used in the United States and Canada. In the US, mains power is referred to by a variety of formal and informal names, including household power, household electricity, domestic power, wall power, line power, AC power, city power, and grid power. In Canada, it is sometimes called hydro, because much of the Canadian electrical generating capacity is hydroelectric.

Male (connector) Universal reference to insertion-type connectors; the receiving end is known as the Female end.

Mechanical Timers used typical clockwork mechanisms, such as an escapement and spring to regulate their speed. Inaccurate, cheap mechanisms use a flat beater that spins against air resistance.

Memory Also known as RAM (Random Access Memory). Not to be confused with hard disk space. Memory is used to buffer data temporarily. Hard disk space is used to store data permanently.

Minutes is a unit of measurement of time or of angle. The minute is a unit of time equal to 1/60th of an hour or 60 seconds. In the UTC time scale, a minute occasionally has 59 or 61 seconds; see leap second. The minute is not an SI unit; however, it is accepted for use with SI units. The symbol for minute or minutes is min. The fact that an hour contains 60 minutes is probably due to influences from the Babylonians, who used a base-60 or sexagesimal counting system.

[edit] N

Net Time The result of subtracting a Time Of Day start split from a Time Of Day finish split, effectively yielding the competitor's actual time on course.

NiCd nickel-cadmium battery (commonly abbreviated NiCd and pronounced /ˈnaɪkæd/ NYE-kad) is a type of rechargeable battery using nickel oxide hydroxide and metallic cadmium as electrodes. Li-ionNiMH.

NiMH nickel-metal hydride cell, abbreviated NiMH, is a type of secondary electrochemical cell similar to Nickel Hydrogen cell. The NiMH battery uses a hydrogen-absorbing alloy for the negative electrode instead of cadmium. As in NiCd cells, the positive electrode is nickel oxyhydroxide (NiOOH). A NiMH cell can have two to three times the capacity of an equivalent size Nickel-cadmium battery. NiCdLi-ion.

[edit] O

OHM See also Resistance. An electrical term that effectively measures the distance to a short in a wire pair, also known as Resistance. Any measurement over 500 Ohms or so should be considered worrisome as it may indicate a bad splice in the timing cable.

Optocoupler is a device that uses a short optical transmission path to transfer an electronic signal between elements of a circuit, typically a transmitter and a receiver, while keeping them electrically isolated—since the electrical signal is converted to a light beam, transferred, then converted back to an electrical signal, there is no need for electrical connection between the source and destination circuits.

Oscillator Crystal oscillator is an electronic circuit that uses the mechanical resonance of a vibrating crystal of piezoelectric material to create an electrical signal with a very precise frequency. This frequency is commonly used to keep track of time (as in quartz wristwatches), to provide a stable clock signal for digital integrated circuits, and to stabilize frequencies for radio transmitters and receivers. The most common type of piezoelectric resonator used is the quartz crystal, so oscillator circuits designed around them were called "crystal oscillators". The best timers employ Temperature-Compensated Crystals (TCXO), which function accurately in extreme weather conditions.

Output A receptacle on a timer or other device that allows for the outbound connection of peripheral devices. See also Input.

[edit] Q

Quartz crystal Quartz (from German Quarz) is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust (after feldspar). It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon-oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2.

Quartz Clock is a clock that uses an electronic oscillator that is regulated by a quartz crystal to keep time. This crystal oscillator creates a signal with very precise frequency, so that quartz clocks are at least an order of magnitude more accurate than good mechanical clocks. Generally, some form of digital logic counts the cycles of this signal and provides a numeric time display, usually in units of hours, minutes, and seconds. Since the 1970s, they have become the most widely used timekeeping technology.

[edit] P

Photocell See also BeamCell. Infrared devices that collect data from the course or track, sending instantaneous impulses to the timers.

Plug Type of connector, commonly known as "banana plug" in the timing industry.

[edit] R

Registered jack (RJ) is a standardized physical network interface — both jack construction and wiring pattern — for connecting telecommunications, or data equipment (commonly, a telephone jack) or computer networking equipment to a service provided by a local exchange carrier, a long distance carrier, or a data network in the case of the RJ45 connector. The standard designs for these connectors and their wiring are named RJ11, RJ14, RJ45, etc. These interface standards are most commonly used in North America, though some interfaces are used world-wide.

Resistance is electrical resistance of an object is a measure of its opposition to the passage of a steady electric current. An object of uniform cross section will have a resistance proportional to its length and inversely proportional to its cross-sectional area, and proportional to the resistivity of the material. The SI unit of electrical resistance is the ohm.

RJ11 is a physical interface often used for terminating telephone wires. It is probably the most familiar of the registered jacks, being used for single line POTS telephone jacks in most homes across the world.

RJ45 8 Position 8 Contact (8P8C, also backronymed as 8 position 8 conductor; it is often incorrectly called RJ45) plugs and sockets are most regularly used as an Ethernet connector. 8P8C connectors are typically used to terminate twisted pair cable.

RS232 RS-232 (Recommended Standard 232) is a standard for serial binary data signals connecting between a DTE (Data Terminal Equipment) and a DCE (Data Circuit-terminating Equipment). It is commonly used in computer serial ports. A similar ITU-T standard is V.24.A generic serial communications protocol commonly used to exchange data over short distances between different devices. Very robust but only to about 50 feet in distance without amplification or line loss. See also RS422RS485.

RS422 A generic serial communications protocol commonly used to exchange data over long distances between different devices. Less robust than RS232, but employing balanced pairs rather than single conductors as in RS232, meaning they are far more tolerant of a "dirty connection". See also RS232RS485

RS485 A generic serial communications protocol commonly used to exchange data over long distances between different devices. Less robust than RS232, but employing balanced pairs rather than single conductors as in RS232, meaning they are far more tolerant of a "dirty connection". See also RS232RS422.

[edit] S

second: A basic unit of measurement of time in the International System of Units, (SI) as defined in ISO 31-1

Seven-Segment A type of display digit composed of 7 individual vanes that only allows for the display of numbers.

Stability An inherent characteristic of an oscillator that determines how well it can produce the same frequency over a given time interval. Stability doesn't indicate whether the frequency is right or wrong, but only whether it stays the same. The stability of an oscillator doesn't necessarily change when the frequency offset changes. You can adjust an oscillator and move its frequency either further away from or closer to its nominal frequency without changing its stability at all. The graphic below illustrates this by displaying two oscillating signals that are of the same frequency between t1 and t2. However, it’s clear that signal 1 is unstable and is fluctuating in frequency between t2 and t3.

Synchronization or synchronisation is timekeeping which requires the coordination of events to operate a system in unison. The familiar conductor of an orchestra serves to keep the orchestra in time. Systems operating with all their parts in synchrony are said to be synchronous or in sync. Some systems may be only approximately synchronized, or plesiochronous. For some applications relative offsets between events need to be determined, for others only the order of the event is important. Today, synchronisation can occur on a global basis due to GPS-enabled timekeeping systems.

Signal processing or analysis of signals, in either discrete or continuous time to perform useful operations on those signals. Signals of interest can include sound, images, time-varying measurement values and sensor data, for example biological data such as electrocardiograms, control system signals, telecommunication transmission signals such as radio signals, and many others.

Solid-Core A type of wire typically used for Telco applications such as telephone systems. Commonly used for timing cable because of its low cost and ease of use.

Stranded See also Solid-core. Stranded wire is more expensive to deploy but is more robust that solid-core copper.

[edit] T

TELCO Common abbreviation for Telephone Company; usually refers to Telco-type wire or the guy who installs it. Usually refers to solid-core 22- or 24-guage copper wire.

Temperature-Compensated Crystal (TXCO) See also Oscillator, Crystal. Temperature compensation, entails using temperature dependent circuit elements to compensate for shifts in frequency due to changes in ambient temperature. A crystal oscillator that uses this frequency stabilization technique is referred to as a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator (TCXO)

Thermal Printer (or direct thermal printer) produces a printed image by selectively heating coated thermochromic paper, or thermal paper as it is commonly known, when the paper passes over the thermal print head. The coating turns black in the areas where it is heated, producing an image. Two-color direct thermal printers are capable of printing both black and an additional color (often red), by applying heat at two different temperatures. Effective in extreme weather conditions and therefore suitable for sports timing applications.

Time of Day (TOD) The information displayed by a clock or calendar, usually including the hour, minute, second, month, day, and year. Time codes derived from a reference source such as UTC are often used to synchronize clocks to the correct time of day The most commonly employed method of sports timing, whereby a start and finish impulse each generates a time-of-day split. The timer does the math and generates an actual time on course. Time of day splits, duly recorded on a printing device, means that times can never be lost due to timer or other failure.

Timekeeper is an instrument or person that measures the passage of time; in the case of the latter, often with the assistance of a clock or stopwatch. In addition, the timekeeper records time, time taken, or time remaining during events such as sports matches.

Toner Handy Telco tool for wire diagnosis. The toner is a small battery powered audio tone-generating device that clips onto a pair of wires. Using a separate induction tester the technician then listens for the tone as he moves along the cabling. The induction tester picks up the tone from outside the wire bundle and then allows you to home in on the exact pair you're looking for. A must-have for advanced wire diagnosis or facilities where you know the wire pairs exist but you can't seem to find them!

Transponder is a wireless communications, monitoring, or control device that picks up and automatically responds to an incoming signal. The term is a contraction of the words transmitter and responder. Transponders can be either passive or active. This device is primarily used as a re-transmitter due to the fact that it receives a particular signal from a particular source, then it amplifies (strengthens) the signal before sending it to a predefined location.

Twisted Pair cabling is a form of wiring in which two conductors (the forward and return conductors of a single circuit) are twisted together for the purposes of canceling out electromagnetic interference (EMI) from external sources; for instance, electromagnetic radiation from Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cables, and crosstalk between neighboring pairs.

[edit] U

USB Universal Serial Bus, a modern alternative to the ubiquitous RS-232 port.

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS), also known as a battery back-up, provides emergency power and, depending on the topology, line regulation as well to connected equipment by supplying power from a separate source when utility power is not available. It differs from an auxiliary or emergency power system or standby generator, which does not provide instant protection from a momentary power interruption. A UPS, however, can be used to provide uninterrupted power to equipment, typically for 5–15 minutes until an auxiliary power supply can be turned on, utility power restored, or equipment safely shut down.

[edit] V

Volt An expression that represents the electrical "pressure" in a circuit, quite different from the "flow" as represented by Amps. See also AmpWatt.

[edit] W

Watch is a timepiece that is made to be worn on a person. The term now usually refers to a wristwatch, which is worn on the wrist with a strap or bracelet. In addition to the time, modern watches often display the day, date, month and year, and electronic watches may have many other functions. Most inexpensive and medium-priced watches used mainly for timekeeping are electronic watches with quartz movements.

Watt W An electrical expression that represents Amps X VoltageNormally used in AC circuits to denote the total power required in a system. See also Amps, Voltage.

Wire gauge is a measurement of how large a wire is, either in diameter or cross sectional area. This determines the amount of electric current a wire can safely carry, as well as its electrical resistance and weight per unit of length. Wire gauge is applicable to both electrical and non-electrical wires, being important to electrical wiring and to structural cable.


[edit] Timing Gallery

[edit] Also see


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