Derby Timer Install Guide

Derby Timer has 3 main components:

Main Display Unit
Under Track Sensor(s)
Starting Gate Switch

Quick Start Summary:

  1. Install Sensors under track
  2. Place Display over track
  3. Install Gate Switch (install is optional on multi-lane) 
  4. Plug-in wires (USB for power, sensor wires, gate wire)
  5. Race!

More Detailed Instructions...

There is no such thing as a "standard track" or "standard starting gate".  Some installs may need a bit creativity to match your specific track or gate.  Derby Timer has more flexibility designed into it than many other timers in the market.  If for any reason you cannot get Derby Timer to work with your track setup, you have 30 days to return it for a full refund.

Step 1 - Mount The Under Track Sensor(s)

The under track sensors mounts under each lane, with an infra-red LED light that shines up through a hole in the track, to be detected by sensors in the overhead display.  The smooth side faces up (see picture to the right.)  The tiny hole in the middle of the board has the LED, which shines up through the hole.

There needs to be holes in the track at the finish line for the IR light(s) to shine through.  Most commercial tracks should already have this.  Your track may need to have hole drilled, as is standard for most Pinewood Derby timing systems.  

Lane Spacing

Derby Timer is designed for 3.5" on center lane spacing in it's stock configuration.  The two lane can work with many other similar lane widths without modification.  Contact Us if you need a custom lane spacing...we can test out a non-standard lane spacing to see if it works for a specific lane count, or may be able to make custom lane spacing unit for an additional fee.

Hole Size

Derby Timer can work with many different hole sizes, as small as 1/8".  As a general rule, smaller holes allow for more precise installations, but larger holes are easier to get the aligned.  If you need to drill holes, 1/4" is a good choice.

Lane Sensor
w/ 3M Dual Lock
Velcro-Like Strips

Mount the sensor(s)

Derby Timer under-track sensors are designed to allow various mounting options.  The best option for you will depend on the specifics of your track.  

In many cases, the easiest option is to use 3M "Dual Lock" velco-like plastic adhesive strips (included) to stick the sensors to the underside of the track.  

If you have a wood track, or want to make an under-track "mounting rail" for the sensors, the board shape allows for at least three configurations of screw mount solutions.

Step 2 - Plug-In The Sensors

Derby Timer ships with the sensors already plugged in the proper configuration.  If yours are still plugged-in, you can skip this step.

See image above (first image in step1), which shows the proper plug configuration for lane 1.  The bottom side says "This wire links towards controller", is where the overhead display wire attaches.  Expansion lanes (2+) get daisy chained on the "Expansion Lane" connector side.  All the boards are the same, and are interchangeable.

Step 3 - Place Display Over The Track

Before setting the unit on the track, look at the bottom of the display; you can see the holes under each display that sense the under track IR.  The display unit is mounted over the track, placed over the IR holes.  

You want the display holes directly over the track holes, or at least as best as possible.

Step 4 - Adjust Width Of Display Legs

Derby Timer legs can adjust to different width tracks.  If needed, slightly loosen the screws on the joints to the legs can will be a little tight even with the screws loosened...that's intentional.  Adjust the legs to the width of the track, and tighten the screws at the joints so they are not over tighten...enough to keep the legs from moving by accident is fine.

Derby Timer is design to accept a number of mounting configurations, such as legs on top of the track if there is a wide shoulder, or legs on the side of the track.  

A number of holes in the legs allow for the overhead display to be attached in a number of ways with screws, but for recreational use, attachment to the track may not be required or desired.

Step 5 - Hook Up USB / Power

The included 15' USB cable plugs into the side of the overhead display.  Attach the other end to a PC, or a (not included) 500mA+ phone style power supply.  You should see some lights on the display light up.

Step 6 - Quick Lane Sensor Test

If you pass your hand under the overhead display, breaking the IR beam for a lane, you should see a small red dot light up at the bottom of the display for that lane.  The dot should turn off when you move your hand out of the beam.  If the dot is always on for a lane, it means the display cannot see the IR LED...check your alignments.

Step 7 - Race (single lane? Sorry...skip to step 8)

Race!!!!  No, really!  Without a gate switch installed, a multi-lane Derby Timer will run in "Autogate Mode".  Many users may never feel the need to go beyond this step and install a gate switch.

This video explains it best:

Step 8 - Install Gate Switch

Because there is no standard track, and no standard gate, a little creativity on your part may be required for this step.  Derby Timer ships with a two part magnetic proximity switch.  The two parts are normally mounted to two parts that move apart when the gate goes down.

The gate is considered up with the two parts are closer than .45".  When the two parts move at least 0.45" apart, the gate is considered down.

First, plug it into the wire coming out of Derby Timer.  You should see things happen on the display with you move the parts together than apart.  On your starting gate, you need to mount the parts so that they are close together when the gate is up, and move apart when the gate goes down.  Install, test, and tweak positions if needed.

Already have a gate?  Derby Timer uses a 1/8" (3mm) audio mono style plug, and a 50' cable is included.  When the two "mono plug" contacts are connected, the gate is up.  Between RadioShack and Home Depot, connections to your current gate connector may be possible.  Email Derby Timer if you want a custom connector build, it may be possible for us to build a custom interface for your existing gate switch.

Step 9 - There is no step 9...HAPPY RACING!