Low priced systems have been around for a long time, and we tip our hats at them for delivering electronic timing to industry for so many years. Speedlight however is a different beast to these rudimentary systems.
To start with Speedlight Timing Systems deliver higher accuracy through the use of dual beam gates.
Last time we looked, many used an uncorrected single beam system, meaning a hand or a leg could extend to trigger the gate early, and even if they do employ some smart filtering algorithm to detect invalid triggers, big problems still exist.
Most of these systems also have no athlete database, as they don't run on a smart device of any sort.
Of course they also cannot be used for true reaction drills as they have no visual or audible stimulus that replicates what Speedlight offers.
If all you are interested in is 40 yard dash times, then these simple systems are probably good enough, however, if you are looking to measure the tiny changes in speed and velocity that you might achieve with an athlete over a season, you need Speedlight accuracy.
In a recent chat with a Strength coach from a major NFL team, he revealed they were using Brower to measure 10 yard dash times. When the coach learnt that magnitudes of performance he was trying to measure was LESS than the error he was getting from using single beam gates, he was shocked.
I was thinking about that chat.
Lets assume a 1.8 second 10m dash time.
That would be an average velocity of 5.6m/s
Given the acceleration is not linear, lets assume the actual velocity is about 7m/S
So 7 meter per second (or 7.5yards per second)
Assume your athletes thigh is 0.5m from kneecap to butt.
Near enough to half a yard..
How long much earlier can the knee arrive at your single beam gate, and trigger a split, than the body would?
0.5/7 seconds , thats how long. Thats 0.07 seconds....7/100th's
That relates to 0.07/1.8 = 4% error!!
With Speedlight the body breaks both beams and this error just does not occur.
Food for thought?