F3X Wireless Timing System by Simon Watts - F3F and F3B - RC Groups
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Jun 18, 2016, 02:56 AM
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David Olson's Avatar
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F3X Wireless Timing System by Simon Watts - F3F and F3B


When we were at the F3B WC in the Netherlands we saw the Australian Team had a very well designed wireless timing system they used as a supplement to the Official Timing System.

Glauco Laugo talked with them and was the catalyst to start a conversation about getting some of these wireless systems here in the USA and ended up making it happen with Simon.

Glauco and Tom Kiesling were the first to receive prototypes from Simon Watts. They tested them out at the F3B Gator Contest. The new system was used at the USA F3B TS last week for some Speed Runs.

Simon told me Tom, Glauco and Tim Traver have given him some great input. Simon is great to work with and is very receptive of good ideas and then he incorporates them into the firmware that he writes himself.

The Western Australian F3X Community has been using Simon's wireless system for several years now. The units we have are his 3rd version.

Simon does this on the side as a hobby. He printed out all the unit boxes on his 3D Printer. He did all the circuit design and assembly as well. The firmware is very intelligently written and is very user friendly.

I asked Simon if it would be Ok if I would start a thread here and do a video of his system. I wasn't sure he would like or want the exposure and advertising since he did this for us because Glauco asked him to since there were several of us here in the USA that were interested in getting his timing system. This ended up being a huge project for Simon that he does as a labor of love and only in his spare time. Tom, Glauco, Tim, myself and several others now have Simon's units. I was worried there might be a flood of orders but Simon is Ok with doing more if there is more interest. It would be like waiting months for a sailplane he said, it's just how it is.

We are just now starting to use them. Simon is sending new firmware this weekend to further refine things. He really is on top of developing and improving his firmware.

Those of us that ordered units from Simon have been emailing a lot over the last 8 months or so. I thought it would be good for us as a group to have a thread as well as to let everyone else know about what Simon has done.

I must say I am very, very impressed by what Simon has created, truly impressive work sir!

F3X Timer by Simon Watts (Western Australia) (3 min 22 sec)
Last edited by David Olson; Jun 18, 2016 at 04:09 AM.
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Jun 18, 2016, 03:30 AM
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David Olson's Avatar
More exciting things to come.....Simon is working on developing an anemometer and large LED display as well as uplinking it with Tim's F3XVault.

Tim and Simon have been brain storming this....more development to come.
Last edited by David Olson; Jun 19, 2016 at 01:55 AM.
Jun 19, 2016, 12:04 AM
Mark Triebes
MarcusT's Avatar
Very nice. ... can't wait to see it in action!
Jun 19, 2016, 11:19 AM
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mbr1234's Avatar
Soon on the East Coast at our RI field. Cannot wait to practice with it.
Hopefully it will attract others here in the North East to join us in F3B practice.
Thanks for starting this thread.
Jun 19, 2016, 11:14 PM
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concreteman's Avatar
We used it today at our local f3f contest, all good. Much appreciated.
Jun 20, 2016, 03:45 PM
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David Olson's Avatar
Simon wrote up instructions for us. I haven't had to refer to them much since the logic is written by a fellow pilot.
Jun 20, 2016, 04:17 PM
Hates Palm Trees
Tim brought a wireless F3F timing system to the race yesterday..........I was impressed by how intuitive it was to use.........It actually made siting in the CD chair fun.........So easy and automated.

Even the guys on pole duty could see the times for each flyer after every round.

Good stuff!
Jun 20, 2016, 05:02 PM
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David Olson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveK123
Tim brought a wireless F3F timing system to the race yesterday..........I was impressed by how intuitive it was to use.........It actually made siting in the CD chair fun.........So easy and automated.

Even the guys on pole duty could see the times for each flyer after every round.

Good stuff!
Steve,

I agree, very good stuff. I love the fact there is no "Off Course" button, just one button to use, easy peasy, right up my alley.

It is great to watch what is going on looking at the Base unit while you are working at the base. You have a handle on what is going on and feel part of things.

I don't think Tim had a chance to upgrade to Simon's latest firmware before your race. Simon has already incorporated many of Tom Kiesling's ideas as well as his own the last 2 weeks and has given us 2 firmware upgrades so far and should finish up this week on his third upgrade. Simon is great to work with and is very motivated to improve his timing system. Tom has been a literal fountain of some very impressive ideas lately and Simon gets all over it to incorporate the latest ideas into his firmware.

Things are very dynamic right now on the firmware development end. It is so great Simon can write new firmware and email it to us to upload into our units. It's like buying a brand new system with all the great changes that are being done.

Tim just emailed Simon with his recap of yesterday's race with everyone's ideas as well as Tim's great ideas and input. I know Simon will digest Tim's long email/recap and incorporate his ideas to improve the timing system even more. This is very fun to watch develop......stay tuned.
Last edited by David Olson; Jun 20, 2016 at 06:38 PM.
Jun 21, 2016, 08:47 AM
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lesterpk's Avatar
Its great to see Simons work being appreciated elsewhere. We've used his system for about 3yrs now and being totally wireless is a bonus for easy set up, along with using our own sighting devices at Base A for F3B we can run a contest with minimal helpers.
Jun 21, 2016, 01:13 PM
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David Olson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lesterpk
Its great to see Simons work being appreciated elsewhere. We've used his system for about 3yrs now and being totally wireless is a bonus for easy set up, along with using our own sighting devices at Base A for F3B we can run a contest with minimal helpers.
You guys in WA are lucky to have Simon with his skills, as we are to have Tim Traver with his creative web skills on F3X Vault.

Simon told us for F3B about when you are flying how your own Team can push the button for Base A on the Team unit, so no helpers are needed on Base A if you are short of helpers. That is so great to be able to cut the needed volunteers in half when needed.

Well, better late than never, we are so grateful Simon is able to get us up to "speed" here the USA.
Jun 21, 2016, 08:12 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Olson
You guys in WA are lucky to have Simon with his skills, as we are to have Tim Traver with his creative web skills on F3X Vault.

Simon told us for F3B about when you are flying how your own Team can push the button for Base A on the Team unit, so no helpers are needed on Base A if you are short of helpers. That is so great to be able to cut the needed volunteers in half when needed.

Well, better late than never, we are so grateful Simon is able to get us up to "speed" here the USA.

Dave, you never had the joy of guys tracking your flight time with stop watches and counting laps with a lap counter.... It only took 3 officials per pilot.
Jun 22, 2016, 01:58 AM
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David Olson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlachow
Dave, you never had the joy of guys tracking your flight time with stop watches and counting laps with a lap counter.... It only took 3 officials per pilot.
Mike, wow, then I am glad I found F3B late in life and missed those days......and you probably walked to the flying field in sub zero weather:-)
Jun 22, 2016, 06:41 AM
Registered User
It wasn't all bad. I remember a team selection with close to 30 pilots entered. I also don't go back to the days of anything goes for winches.

I generally try to avoid subzero flying conditions. I like above 40 degrees. It's also bad to go out on a sod farm when it's freezing.

Getting good judges out there on a field is always a challenge. Avoiding ways for pilots to come up with excuses for relight is the key. I'm glad the old system we have been using that I designed back at the turn of the century has worked so well for all these years.

Hopefully the new system lasts just as long.
Jun 22, 2016, 11:58 AM
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lesterpk's Avatar
I remember as a base A helper having to hold a stopwatch for the working time and one for the 4 min on course, as well as a lap counter and the buzzer. Also the inevitable arguments over whether the pilot made the line in the last second or not. Simon's system combines all that into one box/button and knows if you're even 1/100th late to the line and doesnt give you the lap.
We have around 12-15 in our local F3B contests and being able to run 3 in distance with just 3 helpers required really makes things much easier to run.


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