Barcodes versus RFID versus keying numbers/names

There are three methods for entering athlete details into the timing software:

  1. Key using the keyboard numbers or letters (if athlete is missing their bib, start typing their name, till it returns the match you need)
  2. Barcode - read in the barcode on the bib or wrist band, means you need a unique barcode on each athlete and a barcode scanner
  3. RFID - read in the RFID tag in the bib or wrist band, means you need a unique RFID tag on each athlete and a close range RFID reader

Note with option two and three you can still hand key in numbers and names if needed.

In order of simplicity...

1. The simplest method is option one as you don't need anything other than the athlete with a number and/or name available.


2. Barcodes are the next as far as simplicity and cost, as you can print and re print barcodes at very little to no cost. The barcodes are stuck to or printed onto the bib itself. So you need something other than cloth for this to be successful.

The barcode will print off with the same athlete number that is visible on the athlete chest, but as a barcode. The barcode reader simply saves you keying in the same digits you can see with your eyes. 

This means you can use this application to print direct to bibs or labels  - more...

Barcode scanners option look like this

a) Basis USB  scanner with Cable that plugs into your laptop  or PC LS2208  start from around $125  


b)       Wireless Bluetooth Unit  LI 4278 Kit  starting from around $370  



3.RFID is used if you are using cloth bibs. This is because you can not stick barcode labels to cloth or print directly to it with a household laser printer.

So the RFID buttons are sticked into the bib and are washable too. They are buttons around the size of a 20 cent piece. They have their own unique ID that needs to be imported to ResultsHQ member list to align with the athlete assigned to that tag.

This is the extra complexity of RFID, as the RFID tag has a long string that is different to the number on the athletes chest. But the good thing is if the tag is missing or not reading you can still key in the athletes number or name as per their bib.

RFID tags are around $1.85 each (used for multiple seasons), and the readers are around $498 each


Hopefully that gives you enough information to understand the difference of these three options.

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