Tuesday, July 28, 2020 #

SPORTident cleaning for COVID-19

SPORTident has updated their excellent user guide to include cleaning information of SPORTident timing equipment. 

It especially describes how to best clean rental finger sticks.

The full article can be read here.

posted @ Tuesday, July 28, 2020 8:21 AM | Feedback (0)

Saturday, May 20, 2017 #

Explaining mispunches to a new SI orienteer

This afternoon I received an email from an orienteer who had three mispunches, and he wanted to know what happened – he was sure he was at all three controls.  He kindly sent me a picture of his results:


Immediately noticeable is the long time to the first control.  This is an indication that the runner didn’t punch the start control.  But this does not explain the three mispunches, with no extras at the bottom of the page that would show that he had punched the wrong control. So I pulled out our results computer to inspect what information had been downloaded. 










Here you see what OE2010 shows for this user.  Interestingly Clear, Check and Start are all blank. Also the three controls are blank as expected.  The runner used one of our club’s rental timing sticks – an SI-5.  Since it’s a rental it had been used the previous week, and I expected to see some sort of time in the Start field.


Time to check the controls!






Here is the Clear control.  As you see the finger stick was pulled out before the imageClear completed.  The user was not sure, and tried a second time, but again did not keep it in the control long enough. This would explain why there were no times in Clear, Check or Start:  The fields were cleared, but then the Clear time could not be recorded before the stick was removed.

Next the Check control.  Here you can also see imagethat the user tried twice, but it wouldn’t beep.  I believe ErrC means Not-Cleared error – I will investigate this separately for another blog entry.



imageNow the Start control: Sure enough another ErrC – probably a Not-Cleared error.

Because no Start time was recorded, the event start of 9 o’clock is assumed by OE2010 – this explains the large amount of time up to the first control.

I won’t show what the controls of other than Control #53.  The otherimage two controls showed nothing at all.  Again here the user seemed to be too quick on the control and did not complete the download (again, a future blog post will explain the error codes).  Interesting here is that this control uses firmware version 580, which does not record the date, only the day-of-week, while the other controls have firmware 656.  I like that they show the full date!


In summary, I could show that this user (who has orienteering experience from way back, but is new to electronic punching) did not wait for the beep ‘n’ blink of one of the three mispunched controls as well as the Clear control.  It can be assumed that he was even quicker on the other two controls, which did not even register an error. 

posted @ Saturday, May 20, 2017 8:47 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 #

Fixing a printer which shows random symbols

This applies to the Martel printer only!deanne

If your printer has started to show random junk symbols, like here on the right, then chances are the connection speed (known as the baud rate) has randomly changed.  Here’s how you can find out, and fix it. 

First check the baud rate.  If the green light on the printer is on, press the SI logo briefly to turn off the printer. 

Then hold the SI logo button down for 3 seconds and let go.  The printer will now print its current settings, as well as a short strip showing the various fonts the printer is capable of.

Hprint2ere’s what the settings printout should look like.  The critical part is the section titled ‘RS232 PORT.  Note the Baud rate of 4800.  If yours shows a different baud rate, then you change it as follows. 

If your printer shows 4800 baud, then you need to check if your control has changed baud rate.  That will be in the next post.


The following is a direct quote from the Printer manual.



Printer Configuration

  1. Ensure the printer is OFF.
  2. Press and hold the Mode [the SI logo] button.  After some seconds, the Status light will flash five times to show that the printer is in configuration mode.  Release the Mode button.
  3. Press the Mode button the same number of times as the option that you wish to change (for example to change the RS232 baud rate, press the Mode button four times).
  4. After a short delay, the Status light will flash the same number of times as the option that you have chosen.  If you have made a mistake at this stage, simply wait:  after a delay, the printer will power-on without changing any options.
  5. To proceed with configuration, press the Mode button the same number of times as the setting that you wish to make (for example, to set the baud rate to 4800, press the Mode button six times).
  6. After a short delay, the Status light will flash the same number of times as the setting that you have made.
  7. After a further delay, the printer will power-on with the new setting.
Subset of configuration options
Option Description Setting Description
3 RS232 proto 1 8 data bits, No parity
4 RS232 baudrate 6 4800 baud
5 RS232 Handshake 2 Software
11 Sleep/wake 1 Never sleep
    2 Sleep after 1 minute
    3 Sleep after 2 minutes
    4 Sleep after 5 minutes
    5 Sleep after 10 minutes
    6 Off after 1 minute
    7 Off after 2 minutes
    8 Off after 5 minutes
    9 Off after 10 minutes


There are other options, but those are the interesting ones.

Please send me an email if this does not solve your problem.

posted @ Wednesday, April 12, 2017 9:12 PM | Feedback (0)

Monday, February 6, 2017 #

Upgrade to 656 !

Around November 2016 SPORTident posted the latest version of the SI-Config+, along with a new firmware version (656). As there are known deficiencies in firmware versions 623 and 649, it is strongly recommended to upgrade any controls with 600-series firmware to 656.

posted @ Monday, February 6, 2017 12:42 PM | Feedback (0)

Friday, September 30, 2016 #

Using SI-Print in 2016

So it seems that SI-Print (version 2.0.2) doesn’t work anymore – at least not in Windows 10 with the printer control directly connected.  I could not talk to it successfully when directlyimage connected to the computer with a USB-to-Serial cable and then through a null-modem (the grey cable with a female 9-pin socket at either end). 

SI-Print just wouldn’t work.  SI-Config+ talked to it just fine, and a terminal emulator showed me that the printer control sent the correct data.

But there is a solution.  SI-Print does work when a download control is connected, and the printer control is accessed as Remote.  You can’t use SI-Print to test yimageour layout, but you can leave your printer connected to the printer control and test on the printer itself.




Below are the settings I specified (follow your printer specifications, and type a percent - % to code the ESC character), and the finished goods, below.




The printer specific codes for the current SPORTident printer (MCP7830 by Martel) can be downloaded at http://martelinstruments.com/sites/default/files/images/stories/datasheets/mcp7830_adq.pdf

Make sure to use the tables on page 5 (RS232 mode).

posted @ Friday, September 30, 2016 4:14 PM | Feedback (12)

Thursday, November 5, 2015 #

SPORTident Newsletter for Organizers

Somewhat belatedly, here’s a link to a newsletter from SPORTident, specifically targeting event organizers and SPORTident equipment maintainers:


It mentions a rare issue with some controls after upgrading to firmware 623.  If you notice this, please let SPORTident or me know.  I can be reached as always at mailto://erict@sportident.ca

posted @ Thursday, November 5, 2015 9:04 AM | Feedback (2)

Saturday, May 23, 2015 #

New firmware 623

It is strongly recommended to upgrade all controls to firmware 623, as it has improved SI-5 handling.

posted @ Saturday, May 23, 2015 11:05 AM | Feedback (1)

Friday, March 27, 2015 #

New firmware is out: Version 618

An improved firmware has been released, with an issue using SI-5 sticks resolved. Now all the great new features of the 600 Series of firmware is available again. You can get the latest SI-Boot software to install this firmware at this address: https://www.sportident.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=106&Itemid=2633&lang=en

posted @ Friday, March 27, 2015 2:39 PM | Feedback (0)

The LCD screen with 600 series firmware

When a unit is started with the SERVICE/OFF key, a lot of information is shown on the LCD screen.  Seven key units are shown for three seconds each, cyclically.

Here’s a description of each unit of information, in order:

cn_thumb1. What the unit is programmed as.  If it’s a regular control, it will show like the sample on the right. Other possibilities are START, CLEAR, FINISH, etc.

time_thumb2. Time of day


3. Next it shows how many minutes the unit will be idling awake before going to sleep.  In this example, the unit will go to sleep 4 hours after the last user punched the control. We consider 2 hours (120) a good number for day-to-day operation, and 4 hours when the control is used in an important A meet.

sw4. The version # of the software.  It is a good idea to follow this web blog; I will advise when the software should be uploaded.  618 is the latest version in March 2015.

PunchCount5. The number of punches that are currently recorded in this control.

bat_thumb6.The current battery voltage.  When it drops below 3.15V (315), time is nearing for a battery replacement.


cap_thumb7. Consumption of the battery.  A brand-new battery will have a consumption of 0, while 100 is typically an exhausted battery.  But this value is a computed approximation, not the actual level. The example on the right shows that the battery has consumed approximately 24% of its power.

While the unit is in this Service mode, current use is higher than normal.  It is advised to turn the unit off after inspecting these values; however the unit automatically turns itself off after 10 minutes in Service mode.

posted @ Friday, March 27, 2015 1:41 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, March 26, 2015 #

Firmware 618 has been released

SPORTident has released a new firmware for the BSF7 and BSF8 family of controls.  This includes the standard controls, the download controls, as well as the specialty (master, printer and the sprint) controls.

As always, try it on a few controls to make sure everything works as expected.  As this release is a fix from the previously released 614, I expect few if any issues.

What’s changed

This new firmware has many new features, improvements and fixes over version 580.  Here’s a list:

  • Use of these controls with Air+ and SIAC finger sticks. A follow-up article will discuss Air+ and the use of existing BSF7/8 with the Air+system.
  • The SI Time Master has a new mode “Standard Master”, which will restore the configuration of the device being sync’d if this configuration has been backed up in advance with SI-ConfigPlus (more on SI-ConfigPlus in a future article).
  • When using a PC to set the time of a remote device (not direct connect), the direct-connected device will also get its time set.  This allows higher accuracy in the time-setting algorithm to the remote device.
  • If a control is used with an fCard, the extended protocol flag will automatically be set in the control on the first fCard punch.
  • The display information on the LCD has been updated.
  • SI-6 finger stick handling has been improved.
  • A start control can now also be a start clock