TBS RaceTracker unboxing, initial impressions and review

The Team BlackSheep RaceTracker caught our eye last year when it was announced. They’re now available within the UK and we’ve picked up 4 units to use for keeping track of our teams lap times.

The RaceTracker is a personal lap timer which uses your 5.8GHz video signal to monitor and record your laps.

What’s in the box?

TBS RaceTracker boxed

As per other TBS products, the RaceTracker comes in the sleek black box with the embossed logo and product name. They’ve also included the web addresses and a handy QR code on the box to download both the TBS app and Drone Squad app, as well as the manual.

TBS RaceTracker Boxed

Inside the box, the RaceTracker is protected from knocks and bumps with bubble wrap. A 6-pin molex connector cable is also included.

Initial impressions

The TBS RaceTracker feels good when you initially take it out of the box. The first thing we did, and we expect most will, was to check the colour & animal combinations of our units.

We have GoldDeer and GreyBaboon (as shown below), as well as GoldBird and… well I’ve forgot the last one as it was a bit obscure to be honest 🙂

TBS RaceTracker colour and name

Holding the unit for a short period of time, you realise that the plastic is a little creaky in places, but overall it feels pretty good. The creak can be attributed to the fact that the front panel is easily removed, and only held in place with tabs.

Battery powered

The RaceTracker units come with around 50% charge fresh out the box which is handy as we’d headed straight out to test. We didn’t need to give them any further charging to begin use, and certainly the battery didn’t look to be dropping very quickly at all from the few hours they’ve been on so far.

Inside is a 1s 3000mAh li-ion battery. The specs state this lasts for up to 6 hours and based on our initial useage we reckon this is a relatively accurate time. Charging is handled through the micro USB port located on the top of the tracker.

In use

To power on the unit you simply hold down the button in the centre of the arrows and wait for all the lights to turn green (roughly 2 seconds or so). You should now be able to detect the RaceTracker using either the TBS Tracker app (available on the Google Play Store) or the Drone Squad app (via Apple’s App store or Google Play store).

So far I’ve used the Drone Squad app on iOS and it’s nice and easy. When you launch the app, the top right menu gives you the option for TBS RaceTracker Menu. From here, you’re able to scan for trackers, connect to any trackers already discovered and then, once connected, configure the tracker.

TBS RaceTracker and Drone Squad

When a TBS RaceTracker is connected, you’ll see the name of the tracker shown along with the current battery percentage and Bluetooth RSSI.

Clicking on the channel button (shown as F1 in the picture above) brings you to the frequency and calibration menu. Again everything is nice and simple and instructions are included on the page if you get stuck.

TBS RaceTracker and DroneSquad

Starting a lap timing session is done by navigating back to the Drone Squad main menu, clicking the orange ‘+’ option near the top left. From here you should be able to start a new time trial session and away you go!

The app will call out each lap time as you pass the gate which is very handy. We hope there’s plans to expand the app in the future to allow for different voices. When only one is running this isn’t a problem, but we suspect that with four RaceTrackers running simultaneously it could get harder to tell who’s who (using headphones could mitigate this easily however).

Accuracy of the TBS RaceTracker

Accuracy is obviously important for any lap timing system. TBS advertise a circa 5ms precision in the systems resolution.

We set up four RaceTrackers in a line on the same frequency and Ryan ran a few laps so we could benchmark if there were any discrepancies. All were set to the medium The biggest gap we recorded between the trackers was 50ms for one lap, but the rest were all around 10ms to 20ms.

Our test was in no way scientific here so we’re happy with the results and confident that the RaceTracker will record consistently for us.

Four TBS RaceTrackers

Wrapping up

Overall we’re certainly impressed. For the price the TBS RaceTracker seems like a no brainer really. The small compact size means they’ll be nice and easy to carry around with us and the battery

Time will tell once we start using them for some indoor racing if they hold up. We’re already thinking of designs for a case to hold the units together at the start / finish gate. Once we have something in place we’ll update this post.

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