Chronograph Results and variables that effect readings…….
The spread between the existing brands of chronographs on the market today is aprx. 8.0%. This has a lot to do with the quality of the sensors & components used, the distance in which the sensors are spaced apart, and the firmware design of the product itself.
Variables that will effect results are as follows:
1. Temperature, altitude, & the effects these have on different powders.
2. Temperature of the barrel and the ammunition itself. a cold barrel will produce different results from a very hot one. The same with the ammunition.
3. Lighting – MUST be balanced on both sensors evenly. If the sun changes position, you must maintain a balanced condition on both sensors. Whether in bright sunlight (using the top screens) or on shady days (in which the top screens are optional), it is critical to maintain a balanced situation on both sensors. DO NOT position a chronograph with the sunlight directly behind or in front of your shooting position. In this situation, the light will always be stronger on the sensor closest to the position of the sun. Relocate to another position where the light is to the left, right, or overhead positions. It is possible to tilt a tripod panhead allowing the screens to angle themselves toward a late afternoon light in order to maintain a BALANCED diffused light on both sensors. Remember to also angle your shooting position to prevent damaging the equipment with a stray shot.
4. Muzzle blast – If the muzzle blast reaches the first sensor before the projectile, your results may be in error or not recorded at all. If the muzzle blast causes your screens to shake, the readings could also be affected. Suggestion – when using high powered rifles move back away from the chronograph sensors (12 – 18 feet), until proper velocities are recorded, and then move forward one foot at a time, to determine the closest distance at which each weapon will perform at. Then record that information for future use. Different calibers, brands, barrels, and ammunition will affect the distance, so it may be necessary to test each accordingly.
5. The CED Infrared screens are designed for use when mother nature is not cooperating or for times and locations where insufficient light exists. If they are used under bright sunlight condition, it is possible that the sunlight may over-power them or create an in-balanced condition. It is critically important on ALL chronographs to maintain a BALANCED light condition on both sensors. Therefore, in such conditions re-position the chronograph to an area of shade away from the sunlight, or remove the infrared screens and use natural sunlight in a balanced position, or cover the infrared screens with a large cardboard to prevent natural sunlight from reaching the sensors.
6. Spacing. Make sure that your sensors are properly positioned and tightened. If they are off by even 1/16″ it will cause incorrect readings. Each sensor has an internal pressure plate. Slide the sensor completely on the mounting bracket until it fits snugly and then tighten the custom pressure plate from the bottom of each sensor until it stays firmly in place. DO NOT over-tighten as it may become difficult to remove later.
7. Glints – If there is water, sand, snow, or bright concrete on the ground below your tripod / chronograph set-up, the sunlight may bounce (reflect) light off the ground surface shining it back up onto the projectile, which in turn may prevent the sensors from detecting a light drop (shadow)of the projectile, resulting in a poor or no reading situation.
8. Indoor – Fluorescent lighting is the kiss of death to any chronograph system. Their light does not allow the sensors to “see” the projectile properly. Additionally, as all fluorescent lights “flutter”, it is possible for the chronograph sensors to detect this fluttering which in turn will create false velocity readings. The chronograph may fill itself with velocities in a short period of time, all caused by the overhead lighting itself. Cover the top of the IR screens if this type of lighting is near your chronograph set-up to prevent it interfering. Also make sure that no additional light is penetrating onto either sensor which could then create an in-balance of light on them.
9. Some ranges are designed with small narrow bays or short backdrops, which may cause excessive sound wave and / or muzzle blast problems. These have been known to cause interference with chronograph results.
10. When using the CED Infrared in an indoor shooting range with AC electricity to power the infrared screen set, make sure the AC supply itself is a full 110V output. If the range is located a great distance from the power transformer, it is possible that the output is less than 110V and this may prevent proper performance. Customers in a few cases have found that although they got green lights on both IR screens, no recordings occurred. In such cases, it is better to use the NiMH Battery Pack instead. When the switch to the NiMH Battery pack was made, the problem ceased.
11. Other variables – Depending on the quality of the chronograph & sensors, other variables such as mobile phone transmissions and high electrical tension poles or electrified fencing can all have effects on chronograph performance. Even high amounts of static electricity from summer thunder storms in the area of use can result in problems. In such cases, change the location of use or wait for better weather conditions to occur.
One method of testing the main unit & sensors of CED Chronographs to see if they are functioning is the flashlight test! This test can be conducted in your home, as it requires no actual shooting or the complete set-up of the system.
Install a fresh battery in the main unit, but DO NOT turn it on! Plug in BOTH sensors into their proper “START” & “STOP” jacks. Position the two sensors “back to back” so that they are touching each other. Make sure the sides, which have the square holes for placement of the mounting bracket are facing each other. Now, turn on the main unit. Make sure that you see the display screen appear with the “0000” showing. Once you have done this, take a flashlight, turn it on and while holding it 2-3 inches above the sensors, run the light beam (as FAST as you can) over BOTH sensors. Make sure that you cross over the FIRST sensor (the one plugged into the START jack) first and then over the second sensor that is plugged into the STOP jack. If you do this correctly, you should see a recording on the display screen ranging from 70 fps up to 300+ fps. This will show you that both the sensors and the main unit are functioning! If you continue to see no velocity recorded on the main unit, but only “0000”, then a problem with either one or both sensors exists or with the main unit itself.
For customers who own the Infrared Screen Sets, another method of testing the equipment is to set-up the chronograph completely in the home using the infrared screens and to shoot rubber bands through the chronograph. Remember, the system is designed not to record velocities under 50 fps, so it is necessary to shoot the rubber bands faster than this speed to be recorded.
It is sincerely hoped that the above information provided is of assistance in answering most of the questions that arise during chronograph use.
IMPORTANT INFO (CED Millennium Chronograph Model)
We learned a few years ago of a problem with some USB adapters that had affected people trying to download to USB ports on Windows XP systems with the CED Millennium Chronograph (Silver colored model). It seems a company called Prolific, that makes USB chipsets, released a horrible Windows XP driver. The drivers were reported to do all sorts of bad things and was difficult to remove. There were reports of symptoms that looked like a virus, system lockups, “The infamous blue screen of death”, etc. Some systems had been reported to be so messed up that the only cure is to reformat the hard drive.
Unfortunately there are several manufacturers of USB chipsets and internal components are never displayed on the finished adapters so it is impossible to know what brands are affected.
We use to recommend Keyspan adapters but their’s no longer seem compatible with the Millennium chronograph. I believe it is because they only support devices with full hardware handshaking.
We now recommend people to buy their USB adapter from http://www.serialIO.com. Theirs is bundled with drivers that work with simple devices like the Millennium and will not cause Windows system problems. They even have drivers for OSX!
Please note that the new CED M2 Chronograph comes with a built-in USB port and cable for easy downloads to any PC. However, the software is not Mac compatible unless you use PC software that allow you to run PC programs on your Mac.