I have decided, based on my own experience and that gained from reviewing a submission from a new measurer, that I will not accept any more submissions based on the use of the electronic counter. Also, although I will continue to use the electronic counter for ease of layout, I will record all my official data in Jones counts.
The advantages of the electronic counter are undeniable:
It is easier to read.
It can be reset to zero.
It has low friction and does not wear out.
The disadvantages are also obvious:
1) It must be set up properly. It is easy to get this wrong, and the effect may not be obvious if the setup is not done properly.
a) The wheel size must be properly entered
b) The units (km/hr or mi/hr) must be properly entered
c) The wheel must be properly marked
d) The wheel must rotate in the proper direction
2) It must be used correctly. If it is not, reading errors will occur, on the order of two meters or more per error. Moreover, once the data has been recorded, it is not apparent whether a mistake was made.
a) Proper zeroing must be accomplished
b) When the rim reading is near zero, the proper reading of the cyclocomputer must be checked.
c) Stopping at a point where the magnet is next to the sensor must be avoided.
All of the above disadvantages have been discussed by Neville, and ways to overcome them have been described. He is comfortable with the use of the electronic counter, and so am I.
My problem arises when I receive a measurement application. In order to be confident in the data I am looking at, I want assurance that all of the potential errors have been addressed. Thus far I have not found a way to be sure of this. If the measurer gets something wrong the mistake is not readily apparent by examining the data.
The only way I know of to handle this is to require that all data submitted to me be in Jones counts. This will give me a data stream that can be analyzed, and which contains only recording errors, which may occur no matter what is used.
Having said this, I remain a big fan of the electronic method. I intend to continue to use it, as I have found that it is a great help in laying out courses. Being able to reset to zero saves much enroute calculation. But when I record my data, it will be from the Jones counter. When I get home and check what I have done, the string of Jones counts will reveal any mistakes I may have made.
In addition, I suggest that any validation measurement, in order to be considered reliable, should use the Jones counter.
It may happen that a way will be devised to eliminate the uncertainties associated with the use of electronic counters. It would be great if this could be done, as the method has huge potential. So far I have been unable to come up with anything. Until then, I will accept no submissions on anything other than a Jones counter.
Edited May 1: I am backing down a bit. See my posting of May 10. PeteThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Pete Riegel,
I have experimented with an electonic counter in parallel with my JOL counter and totally agree with you Pete. While I can make the electronic counter work I am just not confident that it will always be right for the reasons you articulate. I also like being able to back up to my mark if I have overshot it a little bit and using the JOL counter with the remote cable I have overcome your first advantage of the electronic counter.
I have my spreadsheet set up so that when I enter my calibration data it tells me the correct number to enter into my electronic counter so that it is calibrated correctly(including the SCPF). Although that is not perfect due to the limited number of digits that can be entered, it does help when I am laying out splits.
AIMS/IAAF "A" Measurer
I'm with you, Pete.
Since I brought the bike out this spring I've been "going both ways"- with a JOL counter and the Bell cyclocomputer. Sometimes they agree, and sometimes they don't. I'm not ready to proclaim that one of them is the villain, but I do know that I've been comfortable with measuring with the Jones Counter for twenty years now, and am inclined to believe what it says. There is simply too much that can go awry with an electronic counter in the hands of an inexperienced user, and, at least for now, that category includes me.
Like Paul, I also appreciate being able to overshoot a point and back up to it, and I haven't been able to figure out a way to do that with my Bell.
I'll keep trying to get more familiar with the electronic equipment, and am seriously considering upgrading my Bell to a Protege. Until I'm equally adept at using both, though, the Jones Counter is the horse I'll ride, and I'll be less than evangelical regarding electronic measurement.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Jay Wight,
Mistakes I have made using the Protégé 9.0
First: I know of no mistakes made in setting up the unit to km/hr and 9999. I am as certain as I can be that I have this right. I know of no way to easily prove this to an independent reviewer. I can think of several though. Here are some things I have experienced in the course of using the unit:
1) I experienced a number of doubly-recorded counts while wheeling the bike up a long staircase. I also had this happen while dismounted and rolling over level bumpy ground.
2) My normal constant is around 749.xx revolutions per mile. On several occasions I stopped to record data and document the location, and restarted. Then I found myself wondering “Did I stop at 748.xx or 749.xx? By that time I had rezeroed and restarted and had no way to check.
3) I have found it necessary to think carefully when I land on a point and the reading is near zero on the rim. Is the reading 254.01 or is it 255.01? It depends on whether the magnet has passed the sensor.
4) The Protégé went into sleep mode while I was documenting a point. I could not remember whether I was supposed to reset it or just roll on. I now know what to do, but at the time I was confused.
5) I occasionally have gone past an intended stopping point. If is a long overshoot I make a mark, take a reading, then measure back to where I belong, and resume. If it’s only a few meters, I roll until the proper rim reading is obtained, then roll backwards until I reach my mark, counting the few revolutions that must be removed from the reading at my original stop.
Knowledge of these past mistakes makes me pay a lot of attention to the behavior of the Protégé, and I think this reduces my ability to concentrate on the measurement itself. Using the Jones counter I do not have to think about all of the above, and this frees my mind.
I have now measured a score of courses using the Protégé. Being skeptical, I also use a Sigma Sport BC600, which uses four magnets. I have also used a Jones counter in parallel, getting perfect agreement. Disagreement is rare, and when it happens I have been able to resolve it. If I had only one unit I might never have been aware that anything was wrong. Nothing useful would show in my written notes.
When I am done measuring I always put the data into a spreadsheet as a check. I sometimes find mistakes, which I fix. If my data is bad, so is my measurement.
I have found the electronic method to be hugely useful in course layout, but to put my mind at ease I intend to take Jones readings as official, and use the Protégé only as a layout aid.
If I, as a measurer with hundreds of courses laid out, cannot be confident in the correctness of my electronic data, how can I treat electronic data from others as unflawed?
I am surprised at your rush to judgment on the electronic counter over the results from a brand-new measurer who was not even able to tape the calibration course without a gross error.
In my experience measurers do not tend to follow written directions no matter how simple. You should not have assumed that this one carried out the simple installation check that I had specified. I am sure you remember that a few years ago an experienced measurer tried out the electronic counter and also did not carry out the check. As in the present situation, his results caused a lot of consternation before the error in set-up was found.
I have extended the installation check to cover, with a minimum of button pressing, verification of correct circumference entry into the computer. The complete check should take only a minute, but it is vital that the certifier goes over this with the measurer.
I also believe it is vital that the certifier makes sure that the measurer makes at least one ride of the course that is continuous as far as possible. This is important to the overall accuracy of the course and there is no opportunity for the measurer to make mistakes.
I will summarize the above in “Guidelines” on this BB. If a certifier goes over these with a measurer, they will to use your own words “eliminate the uncertainties associated with the use of electronic counters”.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Neville,
I did not rush to judgment at all. You will notice that most of my past posts are supportive of your method because it makes layout easier. However, as a certifier I need more evidence of data validity other than a statement that “I read the material and performed everything as instructed.”
My misgivings are based not so much on the initial setup as on the enroute operations of the unit. In my own considerable experience with the unit I found too many things that made me lack confidence in my own ability to operate it without error. My potential mistakes made me believe that if I can’t get it right, why should I think that a newbie would?
The Jones counter does not require me to think about it. It works properly or it doesn’t work at all. It has no potential for ambiguous readings aside from operator error – which also happens with cyclocomputers. Certainly there remains room for the measurer to make mistakes, but the data itself is more likely to be correct.
Speaking of rush to judgment – I’m surprised that you would think that I had not asked the measurer for a bike check of the calibration course. I did ask – I noticed it right off- it was in my very first communication with him. If I did not know you for the careful and unbiased person that you are I might have thought your initial paragraph a trifle out of line. Rush to judgment indeed.
I would also like to add that the measurer is an intelligent person, an engineer, who simply made some mistakes. His willingness to recognize and correct them does him credit. He understands the process fully, but he did not get the setup right, nor completely follow instructions. He has learned, and I would expect his next submission to be well up to par.
This was one of the very few times I have ever had to ask a measurer to do it all over again. When the data is demonstrably in error, there is no choice.
Neville, you last comment about requiring at least one continuous ride makes it even less desirable to use the electronic counter. I almost never have one continuous ride as I am usually stopping to set splits or just have intermediate check points for my measurement. Alternatively, you may mean that one continuous ride is that the route is not meaured in segments. This is usually possible although may require a significant amount of extra work. However, sometimes it is a matter of safety to measue the route in segments.
I also wonder about stopping for cars, pedestrians, dogs, stop signs or traffic lights as this is a time when it is possible, if you are not careful with stopping when the magnet and pick up are not alligned, to introduce extra counts.
AIMS/IAAF "A" Measurer
Most of my certifications are for 5-km courses and I can nearly always do a continuous ride. Obviously though measurers have to stop sometimes for emergencies or other reasons and my statement was meant to imply "as far as possible". I will however elaborate the statement.
I apologize for assuming that you did not spot the misssing tape check data right away. What mislead me was that you went into a detailed analysis,asked many people for help, and condemned the electronic counter before getting this tape-check information from a new measurer.
The Protege is much easier to use than the Bell. You should be able to get precise agreement between the Jones and the Protege: I rode many hundreds of miles to prove it.
In my reports I describe many ways for correcting for overshoot, but one of the easiest ways is to mark a spot, take a rim reading, disconect the computer from its mount, and back-up for several revolutions. Correcting for gross overshoot by riding back is easier for the Protege than for the Jones
Incidentally, the official RRTC manual does not approve of backing up.
The position I took in my posting of May 10 was too extreme. I dislike absolute positions, as they allow one no wiggle room when confronted with the asininity of one’s position.
Rather than “I will not accept applications based on the use of the electronic counter” I now revise it to “I will encourage the use of the Jones counter as the primary data source, using the electronic version only as an aid in layout.”
I welcome the change of heart. I have always advocated the best transition from the Jones is to use both types of counters simultaneously for a period. New measurers who cannot borrow a Jones should demonstrate their competence by remeasuring a previously certified course.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Neville,
I like this idea expressed by Neville for new measurers and their use of the electronic counter. This could solve any concerns a Regional Cerifier may have about this new measurer for their understanding about measuring.
Do others feel the same as I do about this?
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