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Transponders


Explanatory article

The South Eastern Centre board meeting on 29th October 2008 gave the green light for the SEMX Combine to go with electronic transponder lap scoring and timing for 2009 by agreeing to the initial funding for the purchase of individual personal units for onward sale to riders at discounted prices.

With the help of the centres loan to purchase the units the scene is now set for 21st century lap scoring and timing in the South Eastern Centre. The SEMX Combine will be buying all the computer equipment including lap tops, printers, decoder, generator and all the associated loops, cables and bits and bobs to keep the system up and running.

The AMB units are guaranteed for three years and many competitors have had units for six years or more and they are still fully usable. All the units come complete with chargers, mounting brackets and full instructions and whilst riders should make sure that they are fully charged prior to the event the software is also designed to flag up units that are in need of re-charging so that the lap scorer’s can inform the individual before it is too late. The website mylaps.com will also be available for the SEMX to upload results and lap times so now everybody will be able to see just how fast you really are!! Take a look at that site now or visit the AMB site Individual transponder prices (spercific page).

It is envisaged that centre motocross events will use a qualification system using timed training after a couple of practice laps seed juniors into the various groups. It could also mean no more picking a peg for start line order by again using qualification times for all classes. What happens if you have a problem and need to borrow a bike at a meeting? Just swap over the transponder (one simple clip) and you will be recorded no matter what number is on the bike! Although this certainly does not mean the end of the SEMX permanent number scheme and of course all number plates will still be expected to conform to current ACU regulations. If for whatever reason a rider is forced to retire from the sport the personal units can be sold to another competitor with no problems other than having to tell the coordinator who will then update the database with the new owner’s details.

Two very important items to note is that firstly all the centre ACU clubs have agreed to the new venture and there will not be an option of racing without a transponder. Secondly whilst these transponders will work with all other AMB systems used in motocross including the AMCA, the ones that are being sold by the AMCA to their members at much cheaper prices are designed to work only with the AMCA system and not with any other AMB system.


FAQs

We've had some rider's ask some questions about how they should look after their transponders, etc so we;ve asked AMB and here are some answers;

Q1) If a transponder is fully charged, kept in its holder to go "asleep" and then used for one day, should it need recharging if you put it back into sleep mode until the following weekend? Its a question that a few lads have been asking as they have found that it has gone to red even though should be asleep??

A1) The transponders indeed go into sleep mode in the cradle. Sleep mode however does not mean it is switched off entirely. The battery consumption is 80% lower than outside the cradle. I always advise to fully charge the transponder and let it fully uncharge before recharging it again for the next event. Just as with your mobile phone, that prolongs the life time of the battery.

Q2) Is it better to let it just run down each week or should it just be topped up all the time?

A2) See answer above. So let it run down each week for optimal life time.

Q3) If a rider feels that his is not working correctly how do we go about getting it checked by you guys? [AMB]. We [SEMX] can loan them a new unit as we still have a few for sale left, but what do with the old unit?

A3) He (or the club) could send it to AMB directly so we can check if it is covered under warranty. However, I would first double check if the transponder is indeed not working properly. So check the LED after a full charge, see if it is picked up by the decoder, check the signal strength and number of hits in Orbits, see if the transponder is mounted correctly, etcetera.

Q4) A few people have units that are a couple of years old (or more) which have not been used or charged for a long time. Is it possible for these to be re-conditioned or are they now useless?

A4) Not charging the transponder can indeed affect the battery, especially with old type transponders. Therefore we put in our manuals to charge it at least every 3 months. Not doing that voids the warranty, so if that is the case there is nothing I can do or those people. We do not replace batteries because those are completely protected with epoxy. So the best thing to do is recommend those riders to buy a new one. If they treat the transponder well the expected lifetime is 8-10 years. A couple of days ago a colleague performed a test on MyLaps.com. We found out over 90% of the transponders sold before 1999 are still being used on MyLaps!