TURN OFF AUTOMATIC SYSTEM TIME SYNC WHEN TIMING A RACE

by Vesa SuomalainenSunday, October 20, 2013 06:16 PM
The Webscorer timing app uses the internal clock of the device (iPhone / iPad) as its reference clock:
 
- The device’s system time is stored as the time stamp for when the race clock was started
- It is therefore important that the system time is not changed while the race is being timed
- Most timers understand changing the system clock on the timing device could create a problem
 
However, there is a built-in feature on your device that could cause the race clock to “drift” by several seconds:
 
- To find this feature, tap the “Settings” app for your iPhone / iPad
- Then navigate to “General” / “Date & Time”
- You’ll find a setting called “Set Automatically” which is “On” by default
- This will automatically sync the device’s system clock with the official internet clock
- The date & time sync typically happens each time you establish an internet connection
 
How could this create a problem?  Consider the following:
 
- When the device asks for the time, the responding internet service will send a message with the time stamp
- Over a typical WiFi connection, this message is received very quickly, normal response times are well below 1 second
- However, over a slow cellular network (or when cell coverage is poor), the response may take 5-10 seconds to arrive
- In other words, your device will receive a date & time stamp that’s 5-10 seconds old
- If this happens during the race, it will affect the Webscorer race clock as the app will now use the new system time
- Therefore, the racers’ finish times could be 5-10 seconds slower than actual
 
Conclusions:
 
1. It is therefore important to turn off the automatic time sync (Set Automatically = Off) for the duration of the race
2. You will not experience the drifting race clock problem if your device is not connected to the internet during the race
3. If you’re on a fast internet connection, the automatic time sync will be of no consequence (system time will stay the same)
 

 

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