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by Bill Mills
Chronographs are key tools in safe paintball. There's no way to know if your paintgun is shooting under the safe 300 fps limit (most fields actually require 280 or 285 to allow room for error) without measuring it.
But, chronos have their share of problems. Optical chronographs are dependent on lighting conditions. Radar chronographs, are more expensive, bulky, and heavy - until now.
The Paintball RadarChron is from Sports Sensors, Inc. Sports Sensors took the doppler radar experience from their baseball Glove Radar and put it to use for paintball.
Doppler radar emits a small burst of microwave energy, and then detects the changes in its frequency when it bounces off of a moving object. Sports Sensors reconfigured their software so that instead of measuring the speed of a baseball heading toward the sensor, it measures a paintball heading away.
The Paintball RadarChron is in a pocket sized casing (the same casing as for the Glove Radar) that can be held next to the paintgun barrel by a referee, or suspended under the barrel while tuning.
Operation is simple. Pressing the Radar Chron's one button brings it out of "sleep" mode, turning it on to display the last velocity measured. Pressing the button again prepares it to take a new reading.
Because the display is only two digits, it scrolls the paintball velocity. It first shows the 100s digit, followed by the tens and ones. A reading of 285fps shows up as 2, and then 85, then back to two, continuing the cycle until a new measurement is taken, or it goes back to "sleep" after a minute of non use.
According to Sports Sensors, the Paintball RadarChron is accurate to +/- 2% at velocities between 150 and 450 fps. The unit is packaged in a small padded storage case along with its double sided instruction page.
Preproduction models were field tested by Russ Maynard, Dan Reeves, and Jessica Sparks who provided feedback about its use in a tournament environment.
Simple to use, and convenient to carry around, the Paintball RadarChron is also reasonably priced. MSRP is $100 to $130, which is comparable to some optical chronographs, and much less expensive that traditional radar chronographs.
Sports Sensors points out that since the RadarChron is based on microprocessor technology, features in future models are mainly a matter of writing new control software. Functions such as shot counters, and rate of fire measurement may well appear down the road.
Sports Sensors, Inc. is selling the Paintball RadarChron to distributors, dealers, and on a limited basis direct to consumers.
Sports Sensors, Inc.
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