Friday, 24 October 2014

Using the Pro Chrono Digital

 An out of the box review.

Having already owned a chronograph which unfortunately met an untimely death, you end up wondering how you ever coped without one in the first place. But after six months without one, I am relieved to say I am now the proud owner of a brand new Competition Electronics Pro Chrono Digital, and bloody good it is too. There is another version which is not digital, but the advantage of going for the digital version is that it can be connected to a laptop and stores your info in a file. For an extra £60 (at time of writing), ProChrono will supply you with a cable to connect the unit to a computer, and a software disk which stores the full range of info in an easy to read format.

Well worth the wait.

On opening the box you see the 3 by 4 by 12 inch unit, two light diffusers, four metal rods and a booklet of easy to understand instructions in English. The body is a tough plastic and the whole unit is two lbs in weight. It is powered by one 9 volt battery with storage space for a spare which is handy in case you run out of power down the range, though a good battery should run for 10 hours solid. 

Extra battery storage is a clever idea.

The battery box is on the underside next to a brass screw-in connector which allows you to mount the unit on a camera tripod, this makes it easy to target shoot off hand and get a reading at the same time.

There is a tripod around, but the wifey tends to use it for photography.

The read-out on the front gives you the FPS read-out; it can be changed to MPS at the touch of a button and will tell you the high and low of each shot string. If you want ft/lb's you have to work it out yourself (I use this handy free online calculator: ), or buy the software supplied by ProChrono. The two buttons above the read-out and three below are easy to understand and use, and after one read of the instructions I understood their function completely.

Very wide sensors.

To set it up and use is simplicity itself; pop in a battery, turn it on at the side, shoot over the sensors on top and you get the speed of the projectile on the read-out. Next to the on/off button are two jack plug ports for the remote and PC cable, this is in a shallow recess which offers a degree of protection from damage when using outdoors.

This bit seems straightforward.

The two light diffusers front and back sit on two 13 inch rods and mount solidly into the unit, also giving a rough guide to a 12 inch ark of sensor coverage. When I used it for the first time, it was in the shadow of a woodland on a sunny day. I shot 5 20 shot strings without a single error from the chronograph. There was no need to calibrate anything, just put in the batteries, switch on and shoot. 

It really is a case of fit the batteries and you're ready to go.

The read-out gave the speed in FPS after every shot without having to reset, and stores the info even when the batteries are removed. The only time I have had an error was on one occasion when trying to measure a very slow moving pellet; although it should measure from 30 to 7000 FPS, more care must be taken over slower projectiles.

Chronoscope with light diffuser and poles

The five buttons around the read-out are used respectively to change the shot string, redisplay, review, delete shot, and delete string. The unit will store up to 9 strings - each string containing up to 99 shots - before it's full and needs deleting. This is where having the PC cable and ProChrono software come in handy. It would also be handy to be able to view a live readout on a computer screen.

It really isn't rocket science, in fact it's pretty self explanitory.

All in all I am utterly impressed by the ProChrono Digital, it can be set up in seconds and can be easily operated even by an idiot (which is just as well in my case). Now I can get to diagnosing problems in my old air rifles and make sure my favourite air rifles are still performing well. I may even test my crossbow and slingshot. Until then ...


Best wishes, Wing Comander Sir Nigel Tetlington- Smythe.

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