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January 21, 2008 - The counter project has three phases. The first, the design and development phase, is now complete. A small amount of redesign has been completed, and Tom and the fabricator have reached agreement about what Tom wants to be done and what the fabricator can do. The design work of the fabricator was paid for earlier. Questions of quantity and parts finishing have been decided. Tooling work has begun.

Phase two has now begun. A check was written yesterday for fabrication of 1000 units. Fabrication will begin as soon as the punching tools have been made, which is in progress. Estimated delivery is not known yet, but will be reported when we know something specific.

Upon delivery of the parts, phase three, assembly of the units by Tom, will begin and units will become available for sale.
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Several people have asked to be notified when counters are available for sale. We have sent a questionnaire to each of them asking how many they are thinking about buying, and whether they will want five digit or six digit counters.

The survey is non-binding. Its purpose is to help us determine how many Veeder-Root counters of each digit count we need to order.

We will try to pin down the fabricator to a definite delivery date, and publish it here when we know it. Our best estimate now is sometime in March or April.

If you are thinking of buying a counter, please let me know what you have in mind - five or six digits, and how many. This is not binding on you in any way. It simply will help us to get started in the most efficient way.
Last edited by peteriegel
Update Feb 11, 2008

Tom talked with the parts fabricator today. He reports:

“Tooling has been taking a bit longer than expected, but will be complete on or about 2-27. Material has been ordered, and is to be received next week. I explained the necessity for delivery in mid-March, and was told that late March can be expected. It will be close to making London, but as it looks now I think it'll be a go.

I also touched base with the Waterjet operator, and he can work in an order for a few hundred gears on the same schedule.”
Last edited by peteriegel
I've ordered 50 5-digit counters, and 100 6-digit counters to accommodate all those who have expressed interest to date, plus a couple dozen extras. I should receive them about March 3. Thanks to all who expressed interest.

The Delrin gears are now in stock.

The metal stamping is still sheduled for "Late March". Tooling has not been completed as scheduled, but metal is in stock. They have received/processed the payment, and I was told they will schedule production as soon as the tooling is received.

Once I have all the pieces, it will probably take me at least a week or so to assemble a few for testing, and tweek the assembly process. After a suitable run-in period to see if anything shakes loose or needs to be adjusted, I'll be in production.

More, as it develops.
WHAT??? A 5-digit counter has lees chance for errors?

When measuring a marathon course, my click-count is about 471,960. That means that if I start at zero, my counter rolls-over 4 times. If my counter was above 72,000, then I would have the hundred-thousand digit with 5 different values.

When entering your target counts prior to the ride, having that 6th digit makes the math easier, whether using a spreadsheet to do the math, reducing the chance for human error, or using a calculator to determine the values.

After the ride, when verifying the second set of counts, having the 6th digit makes it simpler for both a humand using a calculator, and also for a spreadsheet. If one argues that "you assign the 6th digit" when doing calculations, that is increasing the error risk, not reducing it.

I suppose if one is only measuring 5k courses, and doesn't begin measuring when clicks on the counter are over 50,000 at the start, a 5-digit counter has no disadvantage. But, how often is that the scenario?

I advocate 6-digit. I will order 6-digits. The less room for error, the better, in my book. There are enough distractions when measuring.
The majority of the people who have shown an interest in the new counter prefer six digits.

I’ve used both five and six digit counters. I’ve found that when recording data I occasionally make an error in reading and/or writing a number. I believe that if I need to read and remember only five digits, rather than six, I’ll make fewer errors of transposition.

For me it comes down to personal preference. I’ve never had a problem with the rollover of the counter. I can’t remember ever riding more than a few miles without stopping and recording something, so tracking rollover is not difficult.
"I guess it depends on which way you tend to make errors"-- I like that! As if there is just one way. I consider myself a grandmaster at the making of errors, and I believe I've made every possible error (and a few impossible ones) multiple times. Besides the one Jim names, how about: totally forgetting to write down any number at all(after writing a detailed description of a point and then riding on); throwing in a backwards ride to pick up a missed point and then ignoring my own notes saying that I've done it; forgetting to bring stuff (you name it, I've forgotten it); forgetting whether I'm working in miles or kms (shades of that Mars mission); and so on. So come to think of it, could I please get a counter that will scream at me whenever I do any of these things?
Bob Thurston
So come to think of it, could I please get a counter that will scream at me whenever I do any of these things?

I never thought about it until I read your post Bob, but you could use a GPS unit to scream at you in one of the cases you mentioned. If you have a waypoint defined, you can tell the GPS to sound an alarm when you get close to that waypoint. This would be easy to use for your second ride after you defined all the mile points on your first ride. If you trace out the course ahead of time on Google Earth and download it, it should even work for your first ride.

Of course until you actually try a little trick like this (and I never have) you don't know if it is really all that helpful and worth the trouble.

Speaking of forgetting things, once last fall after driving 40 minutes to the course, I thought I forgot to bring a pen. 6:30 Sunday morning in downtown Detroit. Where am I going to find a pen? Fortunately I hadn't forgot, because my hundreds of dollars of my other equipment (bike, counter, steel tape, GPS) would have been useless without a pen.
Originally posted by Jim Gerweck:
I guess it depends on which way you tend to make errors - transposing numbers, or forgetting to calculate the rollover. For me, it's overwhelmingly the former.

With electronic counting you do not have to choose between making one or the other type of error. Rollovers never occur. (You would have to ride 130,000 miles for this to happen with the Totalizer!) Also, since numbers on the meter are small, the risk of transposition is virtually nonexistent.
Last edited by neville
You're essentially right there, Neville, which is why I do the majority of my measurements now using the Protegé. I don't however, reset at each split point - I still like the "continuous chain of data," but mainly, it's b/c I often note mile and km or 5 km splits, and it's easier to just calculate using 1 or 2 intervals rather than a whole bunch. But even w/ the infrequent rollover that occurs when measuring a longer course using the Protegé, I have less of a problem doing the math than in worrying about transposing numbers.
Hi all,
I called Friday, and the manufacturers are still telling me it will be a couple more weeks. With holidays off for Easter it is too close to tell whether or not "late March" still holds. One of the three steel pieces has been struck, tooling and material are there for one other, and tooling is complete for the last.

Perhaps if we all cross our fingures the collective's Chi will inspire the production.

Mark, I like the proximity fuse idea for GPS waypoints. I can't say how many times I've had my attention drift at the crucial second I needed to stop. Oops, back up, look around sheepishly to see if anyone saw.
Good News!

Today I picked up enough of the metal pieces to make up 100 counters. After a hasty assembly in the parking lot, the one I assembled seems fine. The counter mounts to the chassis, engages the gears, and the assembly mounts to the bike. Most importantly it spins freely, quietly, and counts upward when riding forward.

I haven't put any miles on it yet, but I intend to give it a 10 mile shake-down ride tomorrow morning. So far I am pleased with the fit, and hope to be in full production in a couple weeks.

Tom Riegel
Wow! That looks great! That's why its the SuperDooper RiegelDeal CounterWheel.

Any chance of mounting a brush in front of the counter contact, to brush off sand and road grit? May make the gears last longer. Measuring when it is wet, my counters gather road grit. A brush would help. Just kidding - it looks like a great unit. Can't wait to order one.
Here are pictures of a completely assembled counter. Tom is busy assembling others. Tom and I will be going to London April 3-14 to measure the London Marathon. When we get back we expect to be able to take orders.

Note that we have incorporated Geoff Hook's idea for extending the drive tang for cases where it doesn't quite reach the spokes.
Last edited by peteriegel
It would certainly be possible to rig a cable, but at this point there are no plans to supply cable-driven units. For one thing, the cable would come out at 90 degrees from the wheel unless a right-angle gear was put in. Tom has worked up some numbers and it looks like a pretty pricey thing.

If somebody else has an interest in producing cable drives, I'm sure Tom would be receptive to an offer to supply the chassis without the counter, but that's his call.

The doodad on my wheel is a small skull-and-crossbones, a whimsical valve stem cap, a years-ago gift from Stu.
Last edited by peteriegel
I have received a batch of counters, and on first impressions the design fully meets my expectations.

The counter mounted very easily on my standard bike. Tom had warned me to check there was clearance between the small gear and the spokes - this is definitely something that needs watching for. On my bike the clearance is extremely small almost a sliding fit past the worst spoke. Tom said the instructions, which he will include with the counters, will address this point. The full kit Tom sells will also contain two washers which can be used if necessary to ensure clearance both on the spoke side and also on the other side to the front fork. The later clearance problem some people may have encountered with the JO model. The spoke clearance check I dont think was ever needed with the JO model, but is a must-check with the J-R model. I think I would be happier with a 1mm washer on the axle to space the small gear away from the spoke, and I will get one one before I do any serious measuring, just in case some dirt thrown up from the road causes a jam there.

Well done the Riegels.

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