CHIP TIMING WITH EXTERNAL NFC READER

Webscorer PRO 4.0 adds support for the external NFC readers by Advanced Card Systems Ltd. - models ACR-1255U-J1 (USB / Bluetooth model) and ACR-122U (USB-only model).
 
 
Benefits of using Bluetooth NFC reader over using the phone as the NFC reader:
 
1. Works with any iOS, Android or Windows device running Webscorer PRO
   - Use a phone, tablet or laptop as the timing device
   - iOS 9 or later, Android 4.4 or later, Windows 10
 
2. The reader can be placed on a table / in the weather
   - No need to (nearly) touch the timing device with the chip
   - You can place the reader in a waterproof enclosure (see picture below)
 
3. The reader can be connected via Bluetooth or USB
   - Bluetooth connection for iOS and Android devices
   - USB connection for Windows 10 devices
 
4. You can use multiple NFC readers per timing device
   - Use multiple NFC readers to scale up a busy finish
   - The app will accept chip detections from any number of NFC readers
 
5. It is easier for the app operator to monitor the chip detections in real time
   - The chip detections will show up on the fast-tap list
   - It’s more practical to tap the racer manually for any missed chip detections
 
NFC vs. RFID chip timing:
 
1. Detection range
   - NFC chip needs to be within 2 inches / 5 cm of the antenna to be detected
   - RFID chip can be detected up to 6 feet / 2 meters away from the antenna
 
2. Detection speed
   - NFC chip typically needs to be close to the antenna for 0.5 to 1 second to be detected
   - RFID chip detection takes place at a tiny fraction of a second
 
3. Detection reliability
   - With NFC chips, the racer is responsible for getting a beep from the app for a successful detection
   - RFID chip detection reliability may vary based on environmental conditions, chip type & antenna placement
 
4. Cost
   - NFC readers are inexpensive at USD $70 per reader (which includes the antenna)
   - RFID readers are costly, the reader & antenna combo typically costs a minimum of USD $800
 
5. Complexity
   - NFC readers are easy to deploy, no special Bluetooth “pairing” required, simply turn on the reader
   - RFID readers require more extensive setup, cables & power considerations add complexity
 
Notes about chip timing with Bluetooth NFC reader:
 
1. The ACR-1255U-J1 reader’s internal battery can last up to 10 hours
    - The reader can recharged with an USB cable while also detecting chips
    - The ACR-122U is USB-attached to a laptop, hence does not need a battery
 
2. You can check the battery charge level of the reader as follows:
   - Start the race on the app with Bluetooth NFC reader configured
   - Turn on the NFC reader
   - Tap “Race control” / “Chip timing”
 
3. No separate Bluetooth “pairing” required
   - Simply turn on the reader(s)
   - Once the race is started on the app, a connection beep will sound
   - If you’re using multiple readers, you’ll get multiple connection beeps
   - Note that iOS will not show the NFC reader on Settings / Bluetooth list (but it will still work)
 
4. Two options for chip programming:
    - You can use either the unique “serial number” of the chip (Chip ID = Bib is OFF)
    - Or program the bib number into the “Plain text” field of the chip (Chip ID = bib in ON)
    - NFC chip programming must be done with a separate app (e.g. TagWriter by NXP)
 
5. No NFC chip programming is required if you use the chip serial number 
    - The serial number of the NFC chip is (typically) 14 characters long
    - You can time a test race on the app to get the serial numbers electronically
    - You'd have each chip detected by the Bluetooth reader
    - The serial number will be shown in the app's fast-tap list
    - You’d then label each chip with e.g. the last 4 characters so you can hand them later to the correct racer
    - The serial numbers are included in the “Taps recorded” download after posting the test results
    - You'd then include a "Chip ID" column on your start list with the 14-character chip ID for each racer
    - The chip detection is slightly faster with the native serial number vs. Chip ID = Bib programming