03 Jul How does a go kart transponder work?
Nowadays any go kart centre needs a timing system. Increasingly demanding customers, are attracted by those companies that clearly incorporate new technologies in their businesses.
Go kart transponder definition. A go kart transponder consists of an electronic device installed in each kart, capable of sending a radio frequency signal at a specific point on the track. Subsequently, the signal travels through the air and the receiver captures this signal and forwards this information, which after being processed will determine a time corresponding to the timing of the lap or desired section.
Transponder installation. Mounting a go kart transponder must be quick and easy, it must be installed on the kart in a fixed, robust and reliable way. For this reason, once the go kart transponder is installed, it will be assigned to a specific kart number through the computer system. The height of the go kart transponder installation with respect to the ground, will be variable depending on the manufacturer, generally a transponder that is allowed to be installed higher is better, concerning to detection. In the following picture, you may see an example of installation:
Precision. More and more customers are more demanding and look for the similarity with professional F1-type competitions, this is where we must equip our go kart centres with top quality equipment acquiring a timing system that allows us to know the timing to the millisecond.
Reliability. It is the most delicate point and the one that makes the difference between a good timing system and a mediocre system. The go kart transponder must be reliable and balanced throughout the timing process, a go kart transponder must be compensated in all its operation phases, which are the following:
- The go kart transponder is normally in standby waiting to detect a timing zone, for example the finish line. It is very important that in the idle phase has a minimum and negligible energy consumption to prolong the internal battery lifetime, but at the same time it must be ready to give an adequate response in case of detection and activation at one of the predetermined timing points (e.g. finish line).
- It’s the stage that follows the standby and the most critical of the operation of the go kart transponder. The activation consists on the ability to detect the passing of the go kart through a certain point on the circuit also called loop (the finish line, the entrance to the pits, the exit of the pits, etc.), and enables the internal electronic process to emit the telegrams for timing, called emission.
- Emission. It is the process that occurs after activation by which the go kart transponder emits a telegram with all those data of relevant importance for the timing system, identification, type of loop detected, etc. Thanks to the internal battery, this data emission is done several times in order to ensure the reliability of the system.
The transponder manufacture. A go kart timing transponder must be manufactured by robust materials, shock-resistant material and waterproof. It consists of an electronic card, an internal battery to power the electronics, a housing and a sealing resin. You can see what a transponder looks like here:
Receiving antenna and internal activation. All the go kart transponders incorporate at least one internal antenna that is in charge of detecting the passage of the transponder through a certain area, generally the transponders must be placed in a specific position to improve detection. However, the latest generation go kart transponders such as those from Pixelcom® integrate three antennas internally oriented in the 3 dimensions of the XYZ space, obtaining this way the best reception conditions in any position since the total sensitivity of this technique is the sum of the values obtained by the three dimensions measured by these 3 antennas.
Go kart transponders with advanced functions. The best timing transponders incorporate additional functions that will make the system more flexible and save on costs when incorporating a shutdown system (speed control). These transponders are able to communicate with the shutdown system, thus obtaining additional functions related to speed control or stopping the karts. You can see detailed information about the shutdown system at:
The loop. It’s part of the timing system. Generally, it consists of an antenna installed in two cross sections in the asphalt. The basic installation consists of a single loop, which is normally used for lap-to-lap timing. It is the first link in the timing process, its mission is to emit a determined radio frequency signal with a coded pattern in order to activate the go kart transponder. This activation occurs as it passes through the line described by the two transverse and parallel cuts on the asphalt of the track.
The decoder. It is generally in charge of receiving and processing the signals emitted by the go kart transponder. Its mission is mainly to collect the radio frequency signals emitted by the go kart transponder and translate them into a digital language that is interpretable by the computer timing system.
Ultimately, the go kart transponder is an element of high technology and high precision essential today in go kart centres.