Now offering programmable timing control units for turning target systems

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Now offering programmable timing control units for turning target systems

Post by Craig Thomas on 3/16/2014, 5:17 pm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/soundmassage_goeshiking/13203051203/

The above shows  front panel controls and displays on the unit

The four push-buttons, Start Stop Face Edge are illuminated with internal LED's.

Black controls with white numbers, are push-wheel switches that change numbers by pushing a button(barely visible in photo) above or below the number.  

From left to right they are;

One-time preshooting delay, targets go to edge, 0-99 seconds
Target Face time, 1-9,999 seconds
Target Edge time, 0-9 seconds
Number of strings to shoot, 1-9

Before Start, displays change as pushwheel switches are changed
After Start, displays count down to completion
Face and Edge buttons are active to rotate targets before a program starts

The 9,999 seconds of face time allow coverage for rifle events


http://www.flickr.com/photos/soundmassage_goeshiking/13203286974/

Shown above.......Rear Panel Connector


Two 120 V, 7 amp relays are mounted internally

From left to right;

Pins 1,2,3 operate your target rotator with either a N.O. contact, or N.C.
Pins 4,5,6 operate a bell or electric air horn for 1 second when shooting program ends

The unit is built in a two piece, powder coated aluminum case with all stainless steel hardware.
The current draw on a 120V line is less than 100ma.

Programming or reprogramming is virtually instantaneous using the push-wheel switches.

The price is $2,500.   Unless you shoot at it, pour coffee in it, drive over it, or leave it out in the rain, I guarantee it's operation for two years and will repair it should it fail.
I built a cruder version of this almost 30 years ago with now-primitive technology and it worked about 20 years before accidentally being blown up.  I expect these will be running long after I'm not.  

The easiest way to get one is to send me a check.  After it clears, I'll start your unit.

For questions or orders, contact me;

Craig Thomas
710 Gladstone Street
Bellingham, WA 98225

360-201-8891  ( I take texts at this number as well)
cmthomas45@hotmail.com

Delivery time will vary depending on the company that makes my switches.  The switches are the most expensive components totaling about $300 out of my pocket and their delivery time to me seems to vary between two weeks and two months.  

With all parts in hand, it takes me about a week to complete one.

Craig Thomas

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Re: Now offering programmable timing control units for turning target systems

Post by DavidR on 3/17/2014, 10:00 am

Its always great to see new products come out for our sport, my thoughts about yours is it has a very expensive price tag. In many cases including the ranges I shoot at, this would take many years to recoup the purchase price due to the very low profit margin most bullseye matches take in. Also it looks to not have some very important features like reciting the NRA commands that  products all ready on the market at much lower prices do have.  We have been using the one made by TARGET TIMERS  in Canada at our range for the past 10 years and can highly recommend it as im sure any competitors that have shot at River Bend Gun Club while its been used would as well. It works great, recites the correct NRA approved range commands, operates the target turners and timers automatically and can be ran with a remote control so a person operating it can also shoot in the match. The price is very reasonable and backed by a great warranty, it only sells for a little over 400.00. See it here.

http://www.targettimers.com/target_controller.html
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Re: Now offering programmable timing control units for turning target systems

Post by Craig Thomas on 3/17/2014, 11:28 am

Hi David;

My control unit is built like a tank, will last forever, is intuitively programmable (in seconds) to cover pretty much any NRA rule book event, and with 15 seconds of introduction, anyone can program and operate it. The displays and push-buttons are brightly lit and tell anyone who can see it exactly where you are in match timing.

The push-wheel control switches make it possible for owners to introduce variations in NRA listed event times, and accommodate new, as yet unknown events in the future. It might not be clear what push-wheel switches are from my photo. Here is a link:

http://www.cherrycorp.com/english/switches/pushwheel/

The cost out of pocket to manufacture something this simple to operate and still offer complete programming, is about $1,000. This reflects about $300 worth of switches, a powder-coated aluminum case, stainless steel hardware, two printed circuit boards for minimal internal wiring, and a multi-core micro-controller for extremely precise timing. Adding Washington State sales tax, State B&O tax, City B&O tax, the effect on my income tax, my labor and trips to the powder coater and metal-shop, and you have the sales price.

No vocalization of range commands is built in.

It's a good looking piece of gear and looking like you know what you're doing (sometimes half the battle) can help bring in shooters like Leo's.

I'm well aware of the price but am confident there is a market.










Craig Thomas

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Re: Now offering programmable timing control units for turning target systems

Post by pistol champ on 3/17/2014, 8:41 pm

Craig,
Your unit looks simple and well built.

I have a question on how does the unit keep the targets faced for exactly 10 seconds during rapid fire for bullseye shooters. I looks like you give a signal to start the targets turning and lets say that it takes a 1/4 second for them to get from edge to face position. It looks like you then delay the return signal exactly 10 seconds to return to edge position. This makes the targets in the face position for 9 3/4 seconds which does not meet the rules. How do you address this situation? (Hint you can not put a fixed delay for target turners that do not always turn in the same time because they operate on air pressure and the pressure changes.)

pistol champ

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Re: Now offering programmable timing control units for turning target systems

Post by Craig Thomas on 3/17/2014, 11:06 pm

Hi pistol champ;

I missed that. The customer for my early design was not concerned, but now that you point it out...it's obvious.

Research gives an interesting variety of answers.

1. Allowing a variable but fixed delay to be added to all times
2. Adding +.2 seconds to all face times
3. Do nothing

Then there is what you mention, that the turning delay actually may vary during the course of a match.

How do people compensate for it? It would seem to require target position feedback to the timer....

It's also the reason my box has a rewritable memory. :-)

Thanks in advance.

Craig Thomas

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Re: Now offering programmable timing control units for turning target systems

Post by DavidR on 3/18/2014, 9:30 am

NRA rules allows a variance of 3-5 seconds from the time the command ends for the targets to face, then they are faced for a full 20 seconds in timed fire or a full 10 seconds in rapid fire. The target timer we use has all the correct parameters built in, but also has a adjustable setting to compensate for how long it takes for the signal to activate the turning.
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Re: Now offering programmable timing control units for turning target systems

Post by Ed Hall on 3/18/2014, 11:22 am

The simplest might be to change your Face time control to tenths: Target Face time, .1-999.9 seconds.  For BE there should be no need for a Face time greater than 600 seconds and a resolution of 1/10s would provide the capability to meet any rule time window.  Most of the BE systems are going to be pretty consistent through a match unless system air pressure or possibly a wide temperature swing occurs.  So, usually a check and simple adjustment before the match will take care of the Face time for the entire match.

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Re: Now offering programmable timing control units for turning target systems

Post by Craig Thomas on 3/24/2014, 8:26 pm

Hi Ed;

After looking this over, it's fairly straightforward to simply add it to my box in software.

No hardware changes needed. The operator will push the Start Stop and Face buttons simultaneously which will be the command to memorize the numbers currently on the Delay control. With the buttons released, Delay would be redialed to the appropriate number for that match. Unless the box would ever be moved to a different turning system, no further programming would be needed. Setting the delay to zero and pushing the three buttons simultaneously would reset the turning delay to zero.

What I don't quite see: Is the turning delay only ever added to Face time? And I assume no one cares about more than 1/10 second resolution.....

Also, the programmable delay will be 0.0 to 9.9 seconds. I understand that 9 seconds is silly but it's actually less labor for me to simply let it be a possible 9.9 than to limit it to something smaller.

When I get this done, I'll run it by the folks at the Custer Sportsmans Club for a reality check.

Craig Thomas

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Re: Now offering programmable timing control units for turning target systems

Post by Ed Hall on 3/25/2014, 11:07 am

Hi Craig,

The important timing is the actual time of full face, which is measured from the end of the facing action to the start of the edging action.  So allowing for the addition of a delay equal to the time it takes to go from signal to full face, would suffice.  1/10 second is more than enough resolution and, as you mention, 9.9 seconds would not be needed.  I would almost suggest that any turning system would face within 1 second, surely 2.  However, air actuated systems might vary by match based on pressure and I know of ranges that attach/detach portions of the line based on numbers of competitors.  In these cases, the need for easy change may exist.  There would not be a need to change it during the match, but during the setup, times are normally checked - always checked by the referee, if present.

The software route is definitely better.  I used to build a hobby grade timer with potentiometers to allow for the extra delay.  But, it was hardware centered and any changes for individual ranges entailed creating an additional hardware circuit, which became entirely unmanageable.  My newer design is built around a programmable chip.  If I ever start up making them again, they will probably have 1/4 second resolution via dip switches and only allow for an extra 3.75 seconds (four switches - 2s, 1s, 1/2s and 1/4s).

Ed Hall

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Re: Now offering programmable timing control units for turning target systems

Post by GrumpyOldMan on 3/30/2014, 1:57 am

Um, seems to me that the best programming solution is to have the face timer start with a switch that is activated by the target position.

How fast they get turned there would then make no difference.

This is assuming that whatever "propagation delay" there is between closing the end of facetime switch and the commencement of target movement really is consistent and not dependent on other factors.

Too bad it's not self-correcting like the sensing delays on photo sensors used in chronographs. The start delay is exactly the same as the stop delay, making no net effect on the measurement.

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