Considerations for planning with mixed punching (SIACs)

Tue 11 Apr 2017

This is intended to complement the SIAC Users Notes document (‘Some notes for SIAC Users’) attached to the LOC events with a few points the planner should consider, and to make sure they know about the basic operation of the controls in both contactless and non-contactless (SIAC) modes and the differences in SIAC mode. There is, therefore, some repetition between the documents.

Note that for Sportident controls the terminology ‘controls programmed for contactless punching’ used below really means ‘controls for mixed (contactless and normal) punching' since it involves enabling an addition mode.

The SIAC Dibbers

A SIAC dibber behaves in exactly the same way as a Type 10/11 dibber with similar physical punching speed unless a CHECK is used in the start process, in which case the contactless part of the dibber becomes live when the CHECK controls is punched.

The SIAC dibbers provide feedback that they have registered in the form of a beeping sound and a flashing tip at a control in both punching and contactless modes. In order to prevent repeat punching at a single control the SIAC cannot register again until it stops flashing and beeping, this takes about 3.5 seconds.

Interaction between the dibber and the control

In contactless punching mode the SIAC does not register on the control, only the control information on the dibber, therefore reading a control after the event would not provide any evidence that a runner using contactless punching had visited that control.

The course controls

Course controls will not work in a contactless mode until they have been physically punched (normal mode) after which the control remains active for the programmed on-time (normally set to 2 hours). The on-time will restart each time it is punched.

When the course controls are programmed to work in a contactless mode and have been punched (as above), a SIAC dibber taken within the range (about 50cm) of a control should register and the end of the dibber will beep audibly and flash for a couple of seconds when a connection has been made.

Start, check and clear controls

As at any event the START, CHECK and CLEAR controls should be returned to the download team when the start closes to help with the safety information.

At all our events the START controls will be programmed in non-contactless punching mode to allow us to read them when the start is closed to help to identify missing runners.

Finish controls

The FINISH control will normally be programmed for contactlesss punching but it will respond in phsical punching mode as well, the FINISH controls can not be used by the results team to check who has actually finished. Where the FINISH is remote from the Download a SAFETY control (not contactless) can be used in order to be able to check for missing runners. The FINISH control also switches off the SIAC contactless functionality to avoid battery wastage.

SIAC-OFF control – information only

Both the FINISH and the DOWNLOAD controls switch off the active radio part of the SIAC to avoid unnecessary battery usage. This is not part of the responsibility of the planner or organiser.

Planning considerations with controls for mixed (contactless and normal) mode punching

​This text is provided to highlight the more significant issues. but Sportident UK provide complete guides covering the use of SIACs on their website, the main document for planning is attached

Since the controls transmit in ‘beacon’ mode and SIAC dibbers operate as ‘receivers’ when live allowing multiple runners to simultaneously record their visit to a control if they are using contactless mode, this reduces the need for multiple controls at some sites depending on loading based on the number of runners using normal punching.

However, at control sites where 2 or more controls are used, if they are all programmed as contactless they should be positioned at least 0.7m apart to ensure correct punching. An alternative is to have only one of the controls at the site programmed as contactless and the rest as normal physical punching, they can then be placed closer together and a  runner using contactless punching can register with the single control operating in contactless mode.

A control placed on the other side of an obstacle such as a fence can potentially be punched from either side on the obstacle, depending on the width of that obstacle.

For Odd/Even Score events, if the transition control is placed on a crossing point (stile, gate, etc.) the control box should be positioned about 0.7m outside the area where a runner's hand (with SIAC) might pass. Within this range there is a risk that the transition (odd to even, etc.) might be triggered when not planned.

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