This guide provides an overview of the functions of the Active system extension that's available as a modification of your MiniTrack controller or natively with your Pro2 controller as of ChronOS version 188.8.131.52. This extension's configuration and pricing is unique in the timing market for a small investment relative to other systems. The extension will not replace the passive capabilities of the Mini, but adds the Active capability as another option to the existing hardware. Once you've updated your Pro2 to the latest version of ChronOS or have a properly modified Mini, Setting Up and Using the System is very simple.
If you're looking for pricing information for the Active Extension, Active tags, loop, or any other components, please contact your Regional Sales Manager.
What is the Active System and how does it work?
All of the equipment and tags used by ChronoTrack prior to the release of the Active system utilized Passive UHF RFID technology. Simply put, this means that a chip can only transmit its data when it receives enough power from a Controller's antennas, and the strength of its transmission is only as strong as the strength of the signal it receives.
An active RFID system's chips - referred to here as Active Tags - each contains a small battery. This means that an Active Chip's transmission is always the same strength. The Active Chip does not always transmit, however, but only becomes active when brought in range of an Active "loop" wire connected to the Active Extension.
The loop can be up to 82 feet/25 meters long. Since the loop wire has to run out and then loop back, this means you can have a maximum width of about 39 feet/12 meters for your timing line. (You may notice that this is less than half the total length. This is because the long sides of the loop must be 1-2 feet/.4-.6 meters apart to work correctly.) You can purchase 16ga stranded copper or silver-plated copper wire to make your own loop for the active system or purchase the loop from ChronoTrack.
In addition to the general signal strength advantage, the Active Chip also works extremely well in any situation with moisture. Because the chips operate on a much lower frequency than the passive system, they aren't susceptible to interference from water or mud like passive tags are. This makes the Active Extension ideal for mud runs and triathlons. The active loop wire can even be placed underwater without affecting performance!
The Active loop does not require gators, but does need to be protected. For full details on setting up the Active system including loop length, protection, and more, click HERE.
How can I get the Active Extension for my Pro2?
If you purchased your Pro2 since the beginning of 2018, your controller can support the Active Extension as soon as you update to ChronOS version 184.108.40.206 or higher. If you purchased your Pro2 prior to 2018, you may need to send your controller in for a free upgrade.
To see if your controller needs the upgrade, go to the Settings > About Controller screen and look for the Powerboard HW version.
If the number before the dot is 6 or higher AND the number after the dot is 5 or higher, you DO NOT need to have your controller upgraded. If this seems confusing, here are some examples:
If the version is 7.3, you DO need the upgrade because the second number is lower than 5.
If the version is 6.8, you do NOT need the upgrade because the first number is 6 AND the second number is higher than 5.
If you find your Controller needs to be upgraded, contact your Regional Sales Manager to start the upgrade process.
When your controller is ready to support the Extension, you can order the Active Extension, loop, and Active Tags using the standard equipment order form found on the Timer Portal.
How can I get the Active Extension for my Mini?
For MiniTracks, the active extension is comprised of three components (not including the Active Tags - 2, below)
- Active Extension (1, below)
- Active loop wire. (3, below)
- Active Extension upgrade kit (see second image)
To get set up with the Active system for your MiniTrack, contact your RSM. You'll then order the upgrade kit, Active Extension, loop, and Active Tags using the standard equipment order form found on the Timer Portal. From there, you'll ship the Mini in for the installation of the active extension adapter kit. The installation requires some sensitive modification to the existing physical components, so it must be completed by trained staff.
You can also order new MiniTracks with the Active upgrade kit already installed and purchase the Active Extension, loop, and Active Tags at the same time.
Installation of the extension may take up to two weeks, so plan accordingly.
Activation: 125 kHz
Back Channel: 2.4 GHz
Accuracy: .1 second
Temperature: -22°F to +158°F Weight: 16.8g
Dimensions: 36x40x9mm Waterproof: 100%
Battery Indicator: Temperature compensated
Tag Battery life: 4+ years
CE and FCC Compliant
3D Active Tag antenna: provides increased reliability (other competitors have 1D or 2D at most)
Bidirectional data communication: provides increased reliability (Active tag retries transmission if it does not receive an acknowledgement)