The basic elements
The SPORTident system is comprised of two basic elements: stations and cards. SI-Stations are placed on the race track. Each station has a unique control number. Every athlete carries a SI-card which records the time and control number as he or she passes the stations during the race. SPORTident is all-weather, hardy, lightweight and very reliable.
The competitors' use of SPORTident is dead simple. For the SPORTident classic system, the athlete has to "directly punch" the station, i.e. dip the tip of the card into the hole of the unidirectional control station to record the time and control number to his or her card. Importantly, data is stored in the competitor card and backed up to the control stations. There is no battery in the classic SI-card.
Data exchange at check points is done at the small sized SPORTident station. SI-stations are working autonomously without battery change for several years. The athlete gets an optical and acoustic feedback after a correct punch.
Before the start, some special stations have to be punched. The CLEAR station will empty the SI-card and this can be verified with the CHECK station. Depending of the type of start, the START station has to be punched (free starting time) or not (mass start or addicated start). At the end of the race, the FINISH station is punched.
The control units have internal software to control them, known as firmware. From time to time, new versions of free firmware are released to correct bugs or to handle new types of SI-card. The firmware can be downloaded from the SPORTident website and applied to the control units using the PC-software SI Config+.
After the race, the SI-card holds the athlete's start-finish time, split times as well as all control numbers. The system can be operated computer-less, printing out each SI-card to a small thermal printer or these data are evaluated at the end of the race using one of the evaluation programs, which are designed for SPORTident equipment. As one of the key features SPORTident produces an individual sheet of paper with results just after the runner has passed the finish line.
SPORTident offers two timekeeping solutions: SPORTident classic and SPORTident AIR+. A special SPORTident Active Card (SIAC) is used to punch the controls, programmed in beacon mode. The classic SI-station can be used for the touchfree punching although special stations are available too.