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Intercomp Digital Tire, Brake Pyrometer and Timer

When people introduce to multi-purpose tools I am usually the first person to walk away and return to my traditional method of having the correct tool for the correct job.

Well Intercomp really changed my mind when they put a tool in my hands and
told me that no crew chief should be without this tool in their hand, on pit wall. I admit that I was skeptical especially when they told me that it doesn't perform two functions, it performs three functions.
Brake Pyrometer
Tire Pyrometer
This tool is the most complete tool which I have seen. Full functionality is offered for each and every function. They did not compromise any feature of this tool.

We use the functions in this order: Timer, Tire Pyrometer, Brake Pyrometer.

The timer is used first as we record every lap of practice, qualifying or race for my driver. The device lets me record time for three other karts as well as our kart.. It is almost impossible to time with four watches hung around your neck. I always pick the karts which appear to be contenders. I like to know their lap times and I like to be able to judge the split time between my driver and those contending for our position.
The timer gives me the capability to time up to four karts. Each time you depress the keypad to record a lap for one of the four karts the timer displays the lap which was just timed and displays the current lap being timed. All of the times are stored in memory until you decide to clear the device. You can recall specific karts and review all of the data stored .

You can also load all of the data into your lap top. The cable connection is easy. The software is very generic and comes free with MS Windows 95, 98, 2000 and NT. The software displays each kart in successive lap order and will report up to 100 laps per kart. As soon as kart #1 is complete the data is printed for kart 2,3,and 4. The cable connects to the Com port of your computer with a
9-pin D-sub connector. If you do not have a laptop it is not a big deal the Intercomp device can store up to ten sessions. When you get home just plug in and load all of the data into your home workstation. We load all of the data intoa database which represents all of the statistics for the race outing that we just completed and that aids us in preparation and execution at the next race.
For those who resist the using PC's but still want the data which is contained within the device, Intercomp offers a compact printer cable which plugs into the timer/pyrometer and the user can print the data which has been recorded to a standard printer.

If you choose to only time your kart you can use the three additional timers to time different track segments and you can determine where performance is increasing or decreasing as the race progresses. This then lets you address performance in those segments which were not consistent during the race. Drivers very often do not know that they are giving up time is different segments of the track as the race progresses. Using this timer you can download the data and show the driver where the team needs to focus the next time on the track.

Tire Pyrometer:

As soon as the kart stops after the cool down lap you are now ready to use the pyrometer functions of the Intercomp device.

I like to begin with recording tire temperatures and I always begin at the right front of the kart. I believe this may be a carry over from racing cars. When the driver climbs out of the left side he almost always kicks the guy getting tire temperatures in the head. It doesn't usually take more than one kick to teach you to start on the right side.

The easy flow is RF, RR, LR LF. Intercomp has even thought about protecting your head and made the defaults within the tire pyrometer follow the RF, RR, LR LF sequence. For each tire you read the outside, center and then the inside. If you have fumble fingers and mis-record a temperature they have even provided a re-read to back up one reading.

You do not have to follow the default selections of RF, RR, LR LF. You can select any sequence which you desire. The device will let you read tire temperatures in any order which you select.

When you complete readings on the right side the pyrometer will indicate "temps saved" and then you are ready to proceed to the left side. When you are finished recording you have ten memory positions into which to store tire temperature recordings. You can recall the memory any time to review recordings and you can also use the averaging feature which is built into the device.

The average mode will display averages and differentials for the left, tight cross (left rear and right front) cross (right rear and left front)

All temperature recordings can be recorded with either "F" or "C" temperatures and then you can even select to change between "F" or "C" when displaying the data. We find this very helpful when we have friends from Canada or Europe visiting with us. We both get the temperature data that we are accustomed to reading.

When I said that these guys must have really listened to the needs of the crew chief a prime example is they have even given us the ability to have a manual entry mode. This lets me add specific numbers instead of the data recorded. There are times when I want to enter some data and be able to have my specific data display in the print out or even be used in some of my averaging calculations. These guys have been to the races.

One question we always get is what is an ideal tire temperature. Over the years we have developed a target for ourselves. For oval racing we target track temperature plus 40 degrees as a maximum, for road racing we target track temperature plus 30 degrees. The largest difference being that in road racing the races are typically longer (up to 30 minutes) and they take a lot more tire management than 30 or 35 laps on the ovals. For a long oval race I would revert to our road race objectives and set up the chassis to manage the tires to our desired temperature profiles.

Brake Pyrometer:

As soon as you are complete recording the tire temperatures it is time to make a trip around the kart again and to record brake rotor temperatures.

If you just asked your self why brake temperatures the answer is that these temperatures may provide you insight into some issues which you have been struggling to cure. On an oval do you push on entry and are you loose on the exit. On road courses does the kart start out really good on the first few laps and then get progressively harder to turn? The answer is likely in your brakes. And only brake temperature readings will tell you what you need to adjust.

First lets understand the device which we have in our hands. Just as with tires there is a default sequence RF, RR, LR LF. As with the tire selection you can alter the default to your preference and again there is the fumble finger repair mode to re-record a previous setting.

There are two probes which can be used in this mode. There is a brake probe (part 360026) which you will need if you intend to take more that one temperature reading per brake rotor or there is the standard tire probe which will record one temperature per brake rotor,

It is very nice to have the brake probe (part 360026) if you are trying to diagnose a brake problem like a piston which is hung up on one side of the caliper, or a pad which is not fully retracting. Then you can get multiple readings per rotor and really focus in on the cause of brake issues.

In karting you can make a selection of either the standard probe or the brake probe and likely be satisfied. Because karts only have one brake rotor on the rear I take the temperature of each side of the rear rotor as it helps the instrument when calculate the averages as the instrument expects both a right and left side temperature reading.

Brake temperatures in karting are very proportional to tire temperatures. A good
rule to apply is: for a driver which is at or very close to the appropriate
weight for the class the brake temperature will be approximately two times the
tire temperatures. For karts who are in excess of the weight for their given
class we will see brake temperatures rise to as much a three times the tire
temperatures. This is very true with a driver of 50 to 80 pounds over the weight limit for the class. Just as added weight diminishes kart performance, added weight rapidly increases brake temperatures. If you experience any temperatures over three times the tire temperature you have a set up issue and you need to execute some significant changes in your set up or you may have to get your driver some added driving instruction. If you were doing measurement on a full size race car you would find the relationship to be brake temperatures of five times the tire temperatures is quite normal. This is due to the added weight of a full size car.

When you begin taking brake temperatures you will likely find that the front rotors are significantly hotter than the rear. This is caused by the brake bias adjuster in the brakes system. The karter feel very comfortable with the front brakes applying before the rear. The rear of the kart does not step out or wiggle.

Do not rush into any changes. You have a driver with comfort and with comfort comes safety. The first step is to have the driver at his or her pace try very small adjustments to brake bias. The driver has to be convinced that the kart will not be upset by the changes in brake bias. You need driver safety and confidence to achieve speed.

As the front brake temperatures come down, the front tire temperatures will come down as well. The push on entry will begin to go away. The push on the road course will come later and later in the race and will then go away. All of this will be accomplished without giving up driver safety and driver confidence.

Excessive brake temperatures give the kart high tire temperatures and once the tire temperatures get excessive and the kart starts to loose grip the tires begin to slide and then tire slip adds to the heat in the tires. Do not forget the tires get rid of their heat to the wheels and the wheel dissipate their heat to the spindles and the chassis of the kart. If the brakes are adding excessive heat the heat from the tires has no where to go.

Look for balance in the temperatures of your brake rotors. Fronts and rears should be within 10 or 15 percent of each other.

Many crew chiefs who compete on the tracks around the United States find themselvesat a short track on a Friday of Saturday evening and one of the issues is trying to work in low light situations. This device has a built in light which is perfect for timing and for recording tire and brake temperatures after each practice, qualifier and feature.

Do not worry about getting to the track and finding out that your timer/pyrometer has a low or dead battery. First there is a battery condition alert to warn you of a low battery. The good news is that the unit uses a standard 9VDC alkaline battery which is available at almost every race track.

Other applications:

We even use the brake pyrometer feature to check our cylinder head temperature. We check our on board instrumentation with the Intercomp pyrometer. We do the same test to verify the exhaust gas temperature probe that we run in the pipe. We usually find
that our Intercomp device and the on board instrument from Digatron are so close that a plus or minus five degrees proves that all is working fine and that we can depend upon both instruments to provide accurate readings. We test quite a variety of
on board instrumentation with the Intercomp pyrometer and we are often surprised at the error rate we find in some on board instrumentation. We have always assumed that if the Intercomp device and the on board device were within 25 degrees there was no
issue as very few drivers have the time or discipline to be able to tune the EGT to within 25 degrees.

When you think about the modest cost for such a versatile device I'm sure that you will follow our lead and add this versatile tool to your toolbox. It replaces four watches, most crew chiefs have had trouble keeping two active for an entire race. It puts a tool in the hands of the crew chief to tell how the chassis is working as soon as the kart comes to a stop after a practice, heat or race. It is sure to save you money on tires as the immediate feedback tells the crew chief and driver what needs attention and it is very likely to improve your finishing position. If you can keep the tires under your kart for a longer period of time than your competitor it assures that your lap times do not fall off late in the race. You only have to lead the last lap to win.

Pricing is:
Timer Pyrometer model # 360100 $299.00 with carrying case.
Serial cable to connect to PC or printer model # 100784 $59.00
Serial cable to connect direct to printer Model # 100785 $59.00
Probe for tires model # 360013 $59.00
Probe for Brakes model # 360026 $89.00

Contact Intercomp at:
Intercomp Co.
14465 23rd Ave. N.
Minneapolis, MN 55447
800 328-3336

Bob Chiras
Crew Chief
Allkart International
603-432-4766 home

781-442-3045 work