I have just finished an initial evaluation of the Veeder-Root A103-001 Add/Subtract Totalizer ($100).
As received, this can be used immediately as a reliable revolution counter, but with a little simple programming using calibration data, it will directly display feet or meters plus or minus 0.05 every time the wheel passes through zero. Thus, mile splits would always be laid out at 5280.0 ft in any certification. Measurers who like to see standard units would never have to work in counts.
Other novel advantages are:
1. Over-shoot correction greatly superior to that of the Jones.
2. Half-inch high digits.
3. Yellow-green backlighting to give crisp black digits.
I hope to get out a full report on this and other totalizers in the next few weeks.
This is good news, but nothing is easier to set up than a Jones type counter plus the cost will be less for Tom's counter.
It is good for us to develope new tools for measuring. I thank all doing this and hope Tom's device is there for us soon.
Set up for the totalizer is not much different from that of any typical cyclocomputer that most cyclists use. What is the anticipated cost of the new Jones with a 6-digit display?
Does this mean there is no setup of the rim or spokes? Please email with this information.
In terms of cost - I believe Tom will answer that in the near future.
I think it might be difficult at this stage to say wether the new Jones will be less or more than $100, but in any case this kind of cost is trivial these days in chosing the best counter for one's needs.
Certainly the A103 totalizer can be used without marking the rim simply by having a short rule to measure distances beyond the zero point.For instance, if the last reading near the mile mark was 5279.55 you would measure an additonal 5.5 in. However, to me marking the rim should be a trivial effort and I am shocked that so many measurers are failing to grasp the concept. I can mark a 27-in rim in units of 0.05 rev in 5 min simply by noting that units of 0.1 are 7.5 in apart with a straight edge.
I've been working to get the price down for a while now, and am hoping to sell the 5-digit counter, delivered priority US mail, for around 90-95 bucks for checks drawn on US banks. 6 digits for about $10-$12 more, due to the counter cost. I need to research shipping costs and payment methods for overseas orders, but this additional cost probably won't go more than 10.
If any of you place orders from the US to overseas have a preference for shipping/payment methods, post it here and I'll look into it. A website is in the works, and lots of ordering details will be available when the time comes. Hopefully by Christmas.
Just a note if you're planning to ship with USPS: there's no more surface shipping overseas; everything goes by air now.
Fortunately, Jones counters don't weigh much, and fit in a small package.
I will apologize up-front to anyone who feels I step on their toes in this post. I don't intend to disrespect anyone; I simply want to express my complete, unbiased, experience.
I ordered a Veeder-Root. It arrived, and I hooked switches to the appropriate leads (with helpful input from Neville). Marked my rim (I am lucky, as I have 20 spokes, which makes fractions easier).
Went to my calibration course. Got my Jones counts, and got my revolution count from my VR (disclosure - you must go into Program Mode to switch from 1 click per rev. to "number of feet per rev". Must count revs on calibration course, then, if you want to diplay "feet" while riding, re-program [simple, but an additional step] before starting your course measurement).
I chose to set the VR to display "feet", did my calculations for circumference, added SCPF, and programmed the VR. Also did my Jones calculations.
I then rode 5 miles, checking my counts on both at each mile. What I found was, my counts on the VR didn't come to an exact count per mile, so I rode to 5275 feet, then had to calculate the last 5 feet as a percentage of a revolution. This made is a little odd to hit the mile exactly, based on the VR display.
Also, each mile was 6" shorter on the VR than the Jones. Maybe I could have re-programmed the VR, but that would have meant fudging the math to suit my desire. Not professional, I think. I think that if I used the VR in this manner, and a co-rider used a Jones on a Marathon course, we would be materially different in our measurements.
After doing this exercise, I have reached the following determinations:
1) The Jones is still the easiest method for measuring courses.
2) When used as a revoloution counter, the VR is a good tool for measuring courses, due to its larger display and backlight capacity.
3) The VR should give a more-accurate backtrack reading (distance), as the bike has the same weight on it on the backtrack, as opposed to the Jones, where the bike is walked backwards.
4) The VR takes some electronics wiring (switch attachment or quick-release connections, whichever way you wish to go) to get the unit ready for use, whereas the Jones is ready as soon as it is placed on the axle.
5) For bikes where the Jones won't fit on the axle, the VR is a viable alternative.
6) For a new measurer, I would only suggest the Jones, as the VR has more interaction required.
7) If one is planning to use the VR just for a revolution counter (which is the simplest method), then the Protege (which I have not tested) seems to be the much-cheaper way to go.
My bottom line is, while the VR can be used as a viable revolution-counter backup, on a bike where a Jones can be mounted, I would use a Jones, with a Protege as backup.
I would only recommend use of the VR if a Jones could not be mounted on a bike. It would then be my first choice, as it can be ridden in "reverse" mode.
It is true that in order to take advantage of the unique features of the Totalizer, one must fiddle with the wiring and programming for quite a few minutes, but if it is used only as a revolution counter it takes only about 30 minutes to mount and mark the rim ( especially if it has only 20 spokes!).
It is not necessary to reprogram to single revolution counting every time you do a calibration. If you use approximately the same tire pressure, the whole revolutions will always be the same (191 for me) and you only have to read the rim to calculate the new circumference and make a slight programming adjustment. (A glance at the reading on the Totalizer will confirm that pressure is the same. If it is much different, then to get the whole revolutions one must divide the feet or meters displayed by the current calibration setting.)
I consider your difference of 6 inches at the mile points between the Totalizer and the Jones excellent agreement. It is wrong though for you to suppose that this is a deficiency in the Totalizer as compared to the Jones. Readings from the rim are much more accurate than corresponding readings from the Jones, and in fact and error of 6 inches on the mile is just about what you would expect from the limitation of reading the Jones on a calibration course.
The Protégé is the best bargain at its lowest price of $10, but the Totalizer and similar units are a bit easier to use and require virtually no battery maintenance.
Don't take me wrong - I am not getting defensive, or engaging in a spitting match, but...
I won't assume I have the same number of full revolutions, then just use my rim markings to calculate my calibration, because; what if my magnet is loose, and not registering each revolution? I don't want to cut corners on measuring, as any one glitch will render the exercise invalid. So, I will always set my VR to count revs during calibration. I would rather switch my programming and be sure the VR is reporting properly than to assume the magnet is always reporting properly.
I wasn't saying the variance between the two methods was a deficiency; rather I was pointing out that when multiple riders are measuring a Half or Marathon, measurements could be considerably different if one is using a VR and the rest are using Jones. I will agree that the VR is more accurate when properly calibrated and programmed. I believe the variance between VR and Jones will be more pronounced on shorter calibration courses. Mine is 1200', but if calibration was done on a half-mile course, the variance would be less over the course of a Marathon. But, after carefully considering the scenario, I believe multiple Jones riders would also have noticable variation on where their mile points would be. So, the difference between VR and Jones in my test is not unique to the different types of units, but would be common with multiple Jones counters.
Anyone beside Neville and me care to comment on the counters? Or is it just Neville and me that are exploring the Veeder-Root?
In fact, you never need to count revolutions in order to do calibrations with a marked-up rim. I don't have anything on my bike that counts revolutions, but I've been using a marked-up rim to do calibrations ever since Neville suggested it, and I did some experiments that showed me it improves accuracy by about 10cm/km when using a 300m cal course. I often use shorter cal courses when I'm not measuring for certification, and the improvement in accuracy is even greater in that case.
You can use a marked-up rim for calibrations even if you use only a Jones counter for your measurements, like me. You do need to know the # of counts/revolution for your particular Jones counter, but there is a simple procedure to determine that.
I believe you left out a qualifier in your statement "you never need to count revolutions in order to do calibrations with a marked-up rim". Should that have included "if using a Jones counter"? Just a marked-up rim is meaningless without additional data (unless I totally am misunderstanding you).
I was referring to using a VR instead of a Jones. I only was comparing the two systems side-by-side for help in determining if I wanted to use a VR instead of a Jones, as I have trashed one Jones, and have only one now, leaving me with no backup system until the new Fangle Dangle Reigle Beagle comes out. That may be a few months, and I have courses to measure, so I need a backup system.
Just an observation, but while we are striving for more accuracy than a stand-alone Jones gives, my question is "why?" Greater accuracy than one foot in a 5K course is somewhat wasted effort, isn't it? You can ride the course twice, and be withing a foot or two (I've only been within 2 clicks a couple of times), then "correct" the length. Is it really correct?
When we add the SCPF, we discard the regard for an absolutely accurate measurement. Why go to the effort to get is as close as a gnat's behind when we already are lengthening a course by the SCPF? Just a thought.
Yes you're right. I meant if you have a Jones counter, but that sounds like your situation. I should have said I don't have anything on my bike that counts whole revolutions.
I mentioned the 10cm/km because that is almost exactly the same thing you saw, 6"/mile. Like Neville suggested, the difference you saw is probably just the difference in the calibration methods.
But your point is well taken. If we are going to add 5m to a 5k, who really cares about +-0.5m. I use rim calibration primarily for when I'm measuring courses that aren't being certified. In those cases I don't add an SCPF and I often use a cal course that is only 100m, which I can lay out in about 10 minutes. For a 100m cal course the accuracy improvement of using the rim is about 0.5m/km.
Sorry to drag this thread so far off topic.
As I said in the post above, a glance at feet or meters registered on the Totalizer after each calibration run assures that the sensor is picking up impulses and you have the usual number of whole revolutions. All impulses are counted or none at all and there is no intermediate position.(Note that for some counters registration of impulses ceases at speeds above 40 mph, but more on this in a report later.)
Results with the Jones are exactly the same as for electronic counters if counts are divided by the gearing to get whole revolutions and partial revoltions are read from the wheel rim. However you are right that the limitation imposed by the accuracy of reading the Jones is not the limiting factor in course accuracy except for perhaps during calibration.
Duane's comments are interesting and should not be taken in any negative way. Neville understands his unit very well, but as Duane has pointed out it is not easy for the first time measurer. It seems as Duane has pointed out that the Jones counter is simple to set up as the electronic counter requires more effort.
At the convention, we will discuss both the electronic counter and tire pressure. I was hoping for more response on the electronic counter, but there have been so few. I was thinking of having a specific workshop just on an electronic counter, but now I feel we will incorporate this into our normal workshops presented by Mike Wickiser with Neville.
My question to all reading these posts - What are your experiences with the electronic counter? I would appreciate others to comments. Please respond!
My personal experience with electronic counting has been positive. Used properly it is as accurate as a Jones Counter. It's especially nice for calibrating.
But I use a Jones counter to measure, because I cannot shake the feeling that, with the electronic interactions I have to make, I may make a mistake. With the Jones Counter the wheel never leaves the ground, nor is it ever adjusted enroute. I find the resulting string of numbers more trustworthy than numbers gotten with in-between resets.
On those few electronically-measured courses I have had sent to me for certification, I have not yet seen one where the measurer got it right the first time. In the end they got it, but not until some back-and-forth correspondence, and more riding, occurred.
To what are you referring when you mention "in-between resets"? Are measurers going off-course, then having to correct? Or, are they using the meter/foot display method, and resetting at each mile or km?
I am going to measure a marathon tomorrow, and will have both units working, and recording data from both. My Certifier, Dave Poppers, will have a field day with my worksheets, since he is just back from an extended vacation.
By the way, if I use two counters, does it count as riding the course twice???
I wish it would count as two rides, but only in our dreams does it count as two rides.
"In between resets" refers to anything I may do with the electronic counter except to leave it alone from beginning to end of the ride. When I use it I generally reset to zero at each and every split point.
There are exploratory layouts where I may use different techniques. I can't explain all the things I might want to do. Unless I am very detailed in my note-taking I can get confused as to what went on during the ride.
I think the best use of the electronic counter is as a handlebar-mounted, easy-to-read guide that tell you when to stop. It's not necessary to count spokes. On my bike, when I see "750" coming up I know it's time to stop for another mile. A bit of back-and-forth while reading the Jones counter puts me right on the proper mile mark.
Then I reset the electronic counter to zero again, and go for the next 750.
I should like to repeat again. It takes only 30 min to mount and get an electronic counter ready for measurement. Granted if the Jones fits a bike time there is a slight savings in time intially, but this is lost later when the Jones is demounted and remounted.
Of course it is not necessary to rezero enroute at splits in order to mark them, but it is usually an advantageous option. I always lke to make at least one continuous ride on a course.
The main reason I reset at each point is twofold:
1) I use the same numerical reading for each split. No precalculation.
2) At first I used two cyclocomputers, and checked them against each other. By stopping at each mile, if I had a disagreement I knew where it happened. If I rode the whole course and had a disagreement, I'd have to start over.
That's the disadvantage of using two units. An unknown error rarely is cause for concern at the time.
Choices. What a wonderful county we live in, which allows us so many choices. Jones, Veeder-Root, Protege.
I used my Jones for my primary counter today while measuring a Marathon course. Had a co-rider, and he had a Jones, so it made sense to use the 2 Jones counters. But, I also had my Veeder-Root counter on, just for comparison.
Co-rider and I were within 5 clicks at most mile points, and within one click at others. Very close comparison, which is what we wanted.
My VR was also with a foot and a half at all my checkpoints. Much easier to see the numbers on the VR.
What I did notice was, as I believe Pete pointed out, during the calibration, the VR is much more precise than the Jones. Both my co-rider and I had half-clicks, which could have been half, more or less. This variation allows for some difference in measurments over the course of a mile, or Marathon.
But, as I stated earlier in this thread, I think the quest for gnat's-behind accuracy is wasted effort when we use the SCPF.
I believe I may use the VR for more of my measurements. Not just for the back-lit display (I often calibrate in the dark), but more importantly, it saves time after calibrating, when setting up my worksheet. Let me embellish (I normally do, so why stop now???).
I make my Excel spreadsheet, ahead of time. I have a template that I don't have to change, most of the time. I put in my 4 calibration numbers, and presto, all my intermediate points and Finish have the correct number of counts assigned to them. Once I get to the course, I may chose a round number to start my measurements with, put that into my spreadsheet, and voila, each Jones reading is entered. Great!
BUT, when I have to ride around a bit before getting to my starting point, I can't accurately project a starting number, without additional rotation additions or subtractions. This is where the VR will be a WONDERFUL OPTION.
I only have to put in my calibration numbers, then all my intermediate points will be based on a zero start-count. I can ride all I want, then, when I am ready, I clear my VR, and begin. So SIMPLE.
If I wanted to simply know how many revolutions and partial-revolutions per mile, then re-set to zero at each mile, I could. But, to me, that reduces accuracy. Still well within inches per mile, but I also think it adds one more point for potential error.
My summary, after measuring a Marathon course with a VR along for comparison, is that I think it is a great tool. Not a simple as the Jones, but just as servicable. I think the setup is simple, if one were to post non-electrician instructions on how to set one up (if pressed, I could do that, since I am not an electrician and needed Neville's help in deciphering the electrician's code). I will never try to steer someone away from the Jones who may be intimidated by the VR. I think the new Thingamajigy Riegelmajigy is going to be a great improvement on an already good design. Easily the right too to start with. But, I will use my VR for much of my work, for reasons outlined above.
Options. Allows each person to use what they are comfortable with. No one is right, no one is wrong, as long as we all end up with verifiable results and consitent methods.
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