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Laser Beam Timer

Discussion in 'LEDs and Optoelectronics' started by digger, Dec 23, 2016.

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  1. digger


    Dec 23, 2016
    HI I am hoping someone can help

    I am looking at building a timing system for whippet racing, It would need to be activated as the trap doors are released then stopped when the dog/dogs crossed the winning line with is anywhere between 150-200 meters away. the track width is approx 3 meters

    Weather proof is a must and one thing i can't get my head around is the dogs re different sizes and different parts will pass the line first so ideallty the beam would be broken by the dogs nose but unsure how to do that. The dogs chase a drag lure which is a plastic sack which would go infant and hopefully underneath the beam.

    Any help advice would be great as I'm a totally beginner and unsure of what components and set ups i would require but I'm desperate to give it a go.

  2. chopnhack


    Apr 28, 2014
    Some broad strokes if you like:

    I would approach this project with the assumption that I could attach a microswitch on the lever that activates the trap door. This switch would be the input to a microcontroller of some sort (arduino or purpose built chip). The microcontroller would then need to receive another input from a wide beam 'electric eye' that would need to be calibrated to provide a sufficiently wide enough swath to capture the first object that crosses its path. As you say the lure will dive down at the end of the track. This should account for the bobbing of the dogs head hopefully and capture whichever snout passes first.

    Now the question becomes if its tolerable/possible to have 200 meters of wire between the μcu and the electric eye or an even split of 100m of wire to each 'switch' with the μcu in the middle. Another solution would be to have some type of RF transmission between the finish line switch and the controller, but for the convenience, the difficulty factor is greatly increased.
  3. daberbaber


    Feb 2, 2012
    chopnhack raises a good point about the distance from the trap doors. Another point would be the position of the dogs as they pass the finish line for determining what place they would be awarded. To me, a photographic system suspended over the track might be best. The dogs will not stay in a lane as they are speeding after a "prize" so if you take a video up until the end, you will have positive proof of where the dogs finished. The recording speed of the camera system then becomes important as these animals can really run. With a track width of 3 meters you can elevate the camera adequately to gain access to the full width and you can adjust the placement based upon the length of the track.
  4. peterlonz


    Feb 11, 2010
    Bearing in mind that some form of reliable photographic evidence of the winner, especially in close finishes, will almost certainly be required, I think the video camera suggestion is likely the best.
    Of course this alone will not provide the winners time which might or might not be important.
    Individual owners will probably be stopwatching anyway as they do in training.
    BTW a whippets snout is a small target & it's unlikely ever to steady in any reference plane.
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