Some time back I posted a request for info on electronic timing
equipment. The response was quite fantastic. Many thanks to all
who responded, and sorry that I have not replied individually to
everyone. Each response was valuable, and this has resulted in
me having great difficulty in making the final decision. The
options range from constructing a cheap and simple "home-made"
system right through to commercially available, yet expensive,
systems which can download the data to computer. I have not
included the prices of systems (none were given in original
postings, only on follow-up).

The original posting and replies follow:

> I need any suggestions on electronic timing equipment to measure
> sprint performance. I need equipment that will time from start
> to 5m, 10m, 20m etc. A system consisting of photo-electric cells
> which will trigger a stopwatch seems simplest. Does anyone know
> if there any commercialy available systems like this? I'm trying
> to get quotes for having this made up locally, but it's taking
> forever. Are there any other (cheap) suggestions for quickly
> measuring sprint performance?
> I would also like to measure soccer kicking performance. Taiana
> etal. (1993) describe a system which consists of a photo-
> electric cell to start timing when a ball is kicked, and a
> microphone to stop timing when the ball hits a wall. This system
> consisted of TAG HEUER equipment. If anybody knows how I can
> contact them, or another supplier of such equipment, they may be
> able to help with both timing needs.


I have recently had all the same problems myself trying to find
a timing system. Lafayette Instruments, Lafayette, USA (Fax 317
4234111) used to sell a product called a performance pack
(#63520) which I believe used infra-red sensors, a digital clock
counter and tripods. When I was looking around December last
year, this item was out of stick and discontinued but was
supposedly up for review early this year. You may want to
follow this up.

I ended up getting an electrical engineer from one of the local
polytechnics to make a system according to my requirements
(which sound very similar to yours). If you want ideas on this I
can expand later. The price he charged was similar to the
commercial product.

Hope this helps.


Annette J. Raynor
School of Physical Education
National Institute of Education
Nanyang Technological University
469 Bukit Timah Rd
Singapore 1025

fax: (65) 4687506

__________________________________________________ _______________

You might want to contact the electronics technicians at
Southern Cross University in News South Wales, Australia for
such a system. They have put together a nice one in which you
can have as many timing lights as you want and works well both
indoors and outdoors. The technician name is Mark Fisher and
have included two email addresses for you. The cost is about
$1000 Australian dollars depending on the number of lights you
want. Hope this is of some help.

Best of luck.
Michael McDonald
School of Human Movement Studies
Queensland University of Technology
Brisbane, Queensland, AUSTRALIA
Phone (07) 864-3618
Fax (07) 864-3980
Email M.McDonald@QUT.EDU.AU

__________________________________________________ _______________
I had a look at a lot of different timing systems both in
Australia and overseas. Most were very expensive, had limited
battery life, subject to false triggering etc.. In the end our
Technical Services Department did some R&D and came up with a
system. It has dual beam lights, computer interface for
downloading results, and the batteries run for days between
recharges. It has worked very well for the biomechanics section
and we do a lot of timing measurements. I believe they have
just come up with a contact mat attachment which allows you to
also do vertical jump tests.

I hope I am not sounding like an advertisement. If you would
like more information I could pass your email address onto the
Technical Services Department of my university.

Robert Newton

Robert Newton Internet:
Lecturer in Biomechanics Phone: +61 66 203234 FAX: + 61 66
Center for Exercise Science and Sport Management
Southern Cross University
P.O. Box 157
Lismore NSW 2480 AUSTRALIA

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There are a few commercially available systems available in
Australia including one from Canberra (DDH) and another
developed at the Australian Institute of Sport.

If you need further details please email me directly and I will
dig them up.



Robert Neal, PhD
Department of Human Movement Studies
The University of Queensland

ph 61 7 365 6240
FAX 61 7 365 6877
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Our laboratory technician here at the University of Canberra
(Ben Sorensen) has developed a three beam infra-red timing
system that is becoming fairly widely used throughout Australia
(used at the Australian Institute of Sport). The costs work out
at approximately AUST$1000 per gate. I have used this system
extensively and have had no troubles with it.

Ben can be contacted here at the University on 61 6 201 2308 or
by Fax on 61 6 201 5403.

I hope you have some luck in finding what you want.


Mark Sayers
Centre for Sports Studies
University of Canberra
PO Box 1 _--_|\
Belconnen ACT 2616 / \
Australia \_.--._ *
Ph: 06 201 2608
Fax: 06 201 5403

__________________________________________________ _______________

From: "Leigh F. Bacher"

You may have already considered this... but if 'all' you need is
to get the time between two points in space of a moving object,
perhaps you could use burglar alarms (one at start and one at
end?). The time that the beam was broken would seem to be a
very accurate index of when the body reached the point of
interest. I do not know how much they would cost, nor do I know
how easy it is to access the pulse marking the beam break.
Good luck,
Leigh B.

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I have a suggestion with the timing problem. At my old
institution we used a Dekan (sounds like Deacon) timer and some has been a long time since then and I was not
totally involved with that protocol. I believe that the Dekan
company has offices in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

Good luck,


************************************************** ***************
* Stephen J. Kinzey, MA * internet: *
* The University of Toledo * phone : 1-419-537-2753
* HEC BLDG * fax : 1-419-537-4759
* Toledo, OH 43606 *
************************************************** ***************
__________________________________________________ _______________

For your first question you should try Power Systems, Inc.
Their address is P.O. Box 12620, Knoxville, TN, 37912, USA.
They have some timers with extra sensors which can be added.
The price is $819 plus $329 for each extra sensor. Their phone
numbers are 800 321-6975 and FAX 800 298-2057. Other numbers
are 615 947-5229 and FAX 615 947-0319. Good luck

Jon Fewster
Biomechanics Lab
Oregon State University

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I put together an inexpensive system for timing walking/running
using slightly modified off-the-shelf components, purchased at
Radio Shack (do you have Radio Shacks in Johannesburg?). It
consists of two infrared photorelays (Cat. No. 49-551A - about
$40 U.S. each) and a LCD stopwatch (Cat. No. 63-5013 - about $20
U.S.). The stopwatch was modified to connect an external switch
in parallel with the start/stop button, and a resistor was
changed in the photorelays to reduce the reset time (otherwise,
events lasting less than about 3 seconds could not be timed).
The rest of the system is just wiring - anyone with a little
electronics experience should be able to put it together quickly
(it took me less than half a day to put together a nicely
packaged system).

The photorelays are designed for security/intruder detection,
run off of a 12Vdc power supply or battery (draws about 60mA),
and include a light source, photocell and relay circuitry in a
small box (54x84x75mm, 350 grams). A separate reflector
(included with the photorelay) must be placed 1 to 9 meters from
the photorelay. The system timing should be accurate to 1/100
second, but overall accuracy is limited because the photorelays
are triggered by whichever body part happens to cross the beam
first (errors are minimized by placing the beam at shoulder

If you want more details on this system, let me know.

************************************************** ***************
Scott Tashman, Ph.D.

Head, Motion Analysis Section Assistant Professor
Bone and Joint Center Department of Orthopaedics
Henry Ford Hospital School of Medicine
2799 W. Grand Blvd. Case Western Reserve University
Detroit, MI 48202

Voice: (313) 876-8680 or 876-7572
FAX: (313) 556-8812 or 876-8064
************************************************** ***************
__________________________________________________ _______________

What exactly are you trying to measure in your soccer
experiment? I have measured soccer ball velocity in the past
using a radar gun. It is easy to use and it works in both
directions (whether you stand directly behind the subject, or
directly in front). Let me know if the radar gun is an
acceptable solution.

Good Luck

Morris Levy
Biomechanics Lab - Oregon State University

__________________________________________________ _______________


If you have a Radio Shack in your country there is available an
Infrared Photorelay Sensor System for $40.00 that will allow you
to make a timing device like you want. It will take several of
these sensors along with a timer to build your system, but
should not cost more than $250. The Radio Shack part number is

Jimmy Foto
Paul W. Brand Biomechanics

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In addition, a fax was sent from NEWTEST describing the
POWERTIMER system which is capable of assessment of mechanical
power in jumping (contact mat), speed testing (photocells),
reaction time and throwing/kicking velocity etc. The system can
store data for downloading to computer. Contact:

Aila Toyryla
Kiviharjuntie 11
90220 OULU
Tel +358-81-5372277
Fax +358-81-5372270


Gareth Jane
Division of Physical Education
University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, Johannesburg, 2050,
South Africa.
Telephone: (011) 716-5717/8 Fax: (011) 339-6876
E-mail (Internet):