Timing - How were DMC's Runs in K7 Timed....?

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Engine 711
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Timing - How were DMC's Runs in K7 Timed....?

Post by Engine 711 »

I would be interested in understanding more about how K7 was timed, during its runs on Coniston in '66/67. I believe than Longines were involved - and that their timing system involved synchronised stop watches and photographic film....?

Can anyone explain further how this all worked...? I know that Run 1 was confirmed as 297mph - Plus 47 on the radio. Also that a peak speed of 328/329mph was recorded during Run 2.

Any further information appreciated..... :)
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rob565uk
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Re: Timing - How were DMC's Runs in K7 Timed....?

Post by rob565uk »

I have read extensively about K7’s records, but have never seen any detailed description of the technicalities of timing of the runs.

My (limited) understanding is that many of the runs were timed by a team from Longines, using their own product -the Chronocinegines. In the 1950s and 60s, this device led the field in precise timing of sporting events and was definitely used by the Longines Team in the final record attempt by Donald Campbell and K7 in January 1967.

I can find few details of the Chronocinegines, but here is a short summary and I hope it helps:

“In 1954, with quartz timekeeping technology still in its embryonic phase, Longines launched the world’s first quartz clock with atomic precision, which was certified at Switzerland’s Neuchâtel Observatory.
That first quartz clock, which would go on to claim numerous subsequent precision records at the Neuchatel Observatory after its debut there in 1954, was integrated into a famous sports-timing instrument, the Chronocinégines (below). This device — which provided racing judges with a film strip composed of a series of pictures recorded at 1/100th second, allowing them to precisely record the moment an athlete crossed a finish line- represented a milestone in timekeeping history”

F7BA47C7-0D19-44FC-8B6C-21BEE11475C4.jpeg
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Malcolm Ops
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Re: Timing - How were DMC's Runs in K7 Timed....?

Post by Malcolm Ops »

The precision clocks are activated (as they are at Speed Records Week today) by tracking telescopes. These are focused on the bow of the craft and activate when they are aligned with the timing post on the opposite shore. [They may have used two telescopes, one behind and higher than the other, for back up at the start and finish lines, I cannot recall if that was the case].

The average speed is of course calculated from the time in seconds taken to pass through the flying start kilometre distance (although the UIM does allow for measurement on the mile distance). Hence the report of the 'plus 47mph' outbound speed - 297 mph.

All other speeds (such as the 328.12mph at the entry to the kilometre on the return run) were calculated by Ken Norris (RIP) and the RAF investigators. The exit timing beam of the kilometre was not crossed by the craft.
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Engine 711
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Re: Timing - How were DMC's Runs in K7 Timed....?

Post by Engine 711 »

@rob565uk and @Malcolm Ops - Thank you both. Great info. Just what I had hoped for.

What you have both said seems to fit with the limited accounts and odd photos that are in the various books, etc.

I had sort of suspected that the technology might be related to the Photo Finish used in Athletics & Horse racing - and it is. I think I had read about the Longines guys checking their 'special' clocks. I didn't know that they were using the first Quartz technology - but its entirely logical.

Thank you both - again... :D
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Engine 711
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Re: Timing - How were DMC's Runs in K7 Timed....?

Post by Engine 711 »

Seaerching on Google, using the word "Chronocinegines" found a few things, often using the exact words that @rob565uk used. Hmmm...

But here is a picture of what I assume is the full Longines Chronocinegine set up:

Image
Last edited by Engine 711 on Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Timing - How were DMC's Runs in K7 Timed....?

Post by Renegadenemo »

There was another part of the timing system with mechanically operated stopwatches. You can see it at about 38 seconds in on the BBP promo video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3V9r1zsFmVk

No idea how it works or what else it's attached to- maybe it's all part of the same setup but there it is anyway.
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Re: Timing - How were DMC's Runs in K7 Timed....?

Post by rob565uk »

Engine 711 wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 11:13 am Seaerching on Google, using the word "Chronocinegines" found a few things, often using the exact words that @rob565uk used. Hmmm...
Yes, I repeated information I had found - the part between the quotation marks.

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Engine 711
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Re: Timing - How were DMC's Runs in K7 Timed....?

Post by Engine 711 »

Now I know what to look for, I have found a picture of the Longines Chronocinegines, in 'With Campbell At Coniston' - see attached.

IMG_2330 copy.jpg

Looks to be during setting up..? The 2 boxes below, are yet to be opened & connected.
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Re: Timing - How were DMC's Runs in K7 Timed....?

Post by Renegadenemo »

Last time we were out on the lake the remains of that little jetty could still be found.
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RichM
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Re: Timing - How were DMC's Runs in K7 Timed....?

Post by RichM »

Yes, the north jetty is now just a small wooden post visible when the lake isn’t too full - the southern marker posts are still there too ;)
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