February 21, 2011
I’m really not sure where this goes, so feel free to move if needed.
Chrony Beta Master Chronograph & ballistic printer.
The unit arrived here yesterday & after plowing (literally) through the confusing sets of instructions for both the chronograph & its dedicated printer I followed the “setting up instructions”.
That was where the fun started!
The paper printout roll comes in a tiny roll, perfectly adequate for even a very long range session, but oddly difficult to get to load into the printer unit. Confusing, as I own a Canon calculator that uses the same print unit & I have never had a problem with loading it! As I’m testing the system out t home I went with a full sized roll that can also be used by opening the cover & folding out an arm.
The actual chronograph, being a “master” unit has its electronics (thankfully) separate from the actual folding case that houses the sky screen sensors. A good thing IMO as its now not in the line of fire as many of the earlier Chrony units were. If you get a Chrony I strongly suggest getting a “Master” for this reason. The “box” opened easily, but the alignment latch is clumsy, even though definitely needed to assure the sky screen spacing is correct.
The battery was clipped to its connector & snapped under the coiled retaining spring. It works but seems “primitive”. Next one end of the “phone cord” plugs into the START screen’s box & the other end connects to a socket on the remote electronics package. That went smoothly!
Finally the 3.5mm jack connector went from the remote unit to the line printer & Voila! We’re set up apart from building the sky screen supports & diffusors. I use the word “building” advisedly as it’s a bit of a project.
First you decide on if you want “tight & short” (for position indicating only), or tall & wide (to use the diffusors.). For tight & low you push the 4 sections with brass ferrules down into the 2 pairs of INSIDE holes in the sensor boxes. For high, wide & diffused you use the OUTSIDE ones at a different angle. It may have been because the unit is new but the outside holes were tight & some twirling, wiggling & forcing was needed to get them in. Now you add the other 4 upper rods. Next you snap the 3 piece diffusors together by bending & snapping onto place then wiggling onto the rods upper ends while twisting the rods.
It’s a it of a process, but it has the advantage of having every component small enough to fit inside the folded box.
So to the tripod.
The QD tripod head doesn’t want to fit over the join of the 2 folding box/rail sections so I had to make a shim to bypass the bottom seam.
Right lets fire this puppy up!
The display/remote control/ electronics box has 3 buttons& one ON/OFF switch, turn it on.
The printer wakes itself up, even though I haven’t turned it on & the instructions say nothing about the automatic power up sequence which prints a line of type. Quite a surprise when you’re not expecting it! I guess its to ink the print wheels inside? A pair of red LEDs power up, one to confirm the printer is ON & the other to tell you its accepting data from the chronograph part.
The LCD display screen goes to “start position” (a pair of cycling “ladders” & the display “8E” which is supposed to be “BE” (for Begin?) but the LCD can’t generate the “B” so it uses an “8” instead. If there’s a period between them thus “8.E” the unit is set for metric measurements, if not its feet yards & so on. You can fairly easily switch between them & even pick a preferred default. Most units shipped to the US will be defaulted to feet yards & so on. So we’re ready to shoot, yes? Well, almost, there’s another fix to do first!
The unit can store 60 shots. But it can’t store them as 60 shots; instead it stores them as 6 strings of 10 shots each. It will try to find an empty string, but if it can’t it stores the new shots overwriting existing older strings in memory. This corrupts both the new data & the old. But Wait! There’s more! It has 2 memories, a “working one (the current string of 10), & a permanent one, which is every string stored automatically by going up to the next string. Because of this we have to purge both memories to give us a blank slate to work with! To be fair you can fairly easily just check for empty memory & this may not be needed.
NOW we can shoot!
Ok you fire over the screens & the unit briefly shows the shot number (but not the string number) followed by the velocity. If the printer is set to “ON” & “PRINT” it will print that data in a second or two. As soon as that’s done (pretty quick really) you can fire again.
Once you reach shot #10 the unit automatically switches to the next string, warning you on the display, but not audibly. You can stop short of the 10-rounds, incrementing the string number by pushing the “ST” button, but not (as far as I can determine at this point) go past them. This is where the manual fails horribly yet again. There is another mode, (Ci “circular” rather than Ln for “linear” mode) but exactly how you access it & exactly what it does is terribly unclear.
Once done you can review & print the statistical data, the shot data or both from the printer, or cycle through it visually on the LCD display by using the other 2 keys on the control box. There’s an “FU” (no jokes please) for “Function” & a “Forget”, to delete stuff in varying degrees depending on which other keys you’ve pressed for how long & in what sequence. In its simplest form you tap it when a shot number in a chosen string is showing (the number of the shot, not the velocity) & it will delete that bad data point. Neat, but the unit automatically erases any “errors” (bad reads & so on) & used incorrectly it can erase every ding-dang-doodle thing in the permanent memory!
OK we’re done now what?
Over to the printer to hardcopy the data (if you haven’t already) & the statistical info it has calculated for you. IF you set it to print as the shots were fired hit the “STATinfo” button & the derived info will hardcopy (more on this in a minute), if you didn’t then tap the “STATistic & VELocity” button & it prints everything form all your strings. It’s kind of nice to be able to pick & choose, but again the manual is horribly vague about it I had to figure out how to work it the hard way.
There is one other function of the printer. Its keypad also functions as a remote control, so if you buy the printer do not buy the remote separately because you already have the “FU” & “ST” buttons in it.
There is one last “glitch”, the printout & the LED display do not show the same thing for the same purpose! It’s a limitation of the display media, but quite irritating having to translate all the time.
On the LCD you have:
Es = Extreme spread
Sd = Std Deviation
& Last but not least
Co = Count of rounds fired since last power up.
But the printer can’t generate those characters so it uses
You just have to remember he conversions.
It works well, it is inexpensive, it can do quite a lot, it can even connect directly to a PC with an accessory cord & interface & there is ballistics software available for it as well. Folded its compact & easy to transport.
Terrible manual. It’s almost as though it was translated from a French original or something (they’re made in Canada, but not the French speaking area).
It needs more discreet buttons! Press, press & hold, press, hold & hit another button, sometimes more than once, is a very klutzy user interface.
Oh I forgot to use the display cycling or printing you have to turn OFF the sky screens as they can create erroneous data as you do so, then you have to remember to turn them back on again to use it. A simple key sequence but klutzy. Failing that you unplug the controller, plug a pigtail in & swap the 9V battery to power the box only without needing the rail or screens at all.
All in all it’s full of kludges & they hurt its usefulness.
Would I get one again?
Maybe if the price was as good as this one was.
Matthew Quigley on handguns:
“I said I never had much use for one. Never said
I didn't know how to use it.”
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