chronograph

phorwath

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2005
Messages
6,946
Location
Alaska
Get the USB Power Bank as it will eat through 6 AA in a couple hours or less.
Less than 1hr at 30*F. Seriously! I fired 14 shots on a new set of Duracell AA batteries and received the message that the radar couldn't arm because of low battery power. This was my first use of the unit.
I also learned that with 22 WMR cartridges, and reduced power loads in my .223, the muzzle needed to be within a couple inches, and right next to, or slightly behind the unit. Didn't activate with the muzzle 3 - 4" inches forward of the unit.
So there are some user nuances to be learned.
On the other hand, it read 22 caliber bullet velocities all the way out to 75 yds. Which I didn't expect.
This allowed me to determine a good B.C. value for these bullets using my ColdBore 1.0 ballistics program, which will be very accurate for at least for the first 100-150yds of use.
Same thing with my 338, 308, and 284 caliber centerfire rifles. I'm shooting new (to me) bullets in all three rifles. These lathe turned copper bullets don't have any Litz tested/confirmed B.C. values. By capturing 6 velocities over the first 75 yds of bullet flight, I was able to develop a G7 B.C. value for each bullet that's dead nutz on for the first 100yds of bullet flight. This gives me a good starting point. I expect these B.C. values will need to be tweaked down slightly for 500-1,000 yd use. Only measuring drops at longer yardages will tell the full tale on their B.C. values at reduced velocities. I plan to reprogram the unit to record velocity at 20yd increments in order to capture downrange velocities out to 100 yds with the larger caliber bullets.
It's a lot easier to haul and set up than my triplicate optical chronograph setup. Another big advantage - it's not light intensity sensitive. From November thru February, I lack sufficient outdoor lighting for reliable use of my Oehler chronographs, because the sun is so low in the sky at my northern Alaska latitude.

So there are some nice features. BUT..., purchase the lithium power pack if you buy the LabRadar. Unless you want to have to install 6 new AA batteries after every 14 shots fired. I'm glad I did.
 
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phorwath

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2005
Messages
6,946
Location
Alaska
The largest problem in the use of the LabRadar is: The unit can not be remotely armed (yet). According to distributor, this option will become available in December... for Android phone/tablet owners, using a Bluetooth App that is in the works.

So here's the story, from my experience and perspective:
The Doppler radar must be "armed" before it can record bullet velocity. The unit "arm" time can be programmed to any length of time desired. However, the longer the unit is programmed to remain in the "armed" mode, the faster the battery power is consumed. When the unit is armed, the batteries are in power drain mode.
And here's the issue:
In order to manually "arm" the unit, the user must be able to reach the unit with a finger and push an arm button two times. When I'm set up shooting to develop and collect reloading data, I'm firing in a prone position - laying on the ground. The unit is located near the muzzle. If you shoot with a muzzle brake, the unit is located just behind the brake so the gas blow-back doesn't tear it apart. If shooting without a muzzle brake, the unit is positioned at or slightly forward of the muzzle. Either location is too far forward of arm's length. This means I have to relocate from my prepared firing position in order to reach the "arm" button on the unit. This is a real pain in the ***. I don't know about you, but when I'm shooting ladders or otherwise testing ammo precision, it takes me a while to get settled in and feeling good about my hold before touching off the chambered round.
So the way this works is you manually "arm" the unit by pressing the "arm" button twice, prior to firing the first shot. After arming the unit, I now jhave less than 80 seconds remaining to get situated behind my rifle, draw a bead on my POA, and squeeze the trigger. On my first outing, I programmed the unit to remain armed for 80 seconds after a shot was fired. By the time I fired one round and was prepared to fire a second round, the 80 seconds of time had commonly elapsed. Which meant I had to leave my firing position again in order to push the arm button two more times, re-position behind the rifle again, and then fire the shot within what remained of the 80 seconds.
Having the unit programmed to remain armed for 80 seconds after each shot was fired, I was able to shoot 14 rounds before the 6AA batteries were lifeless. So you can only imagine how long the batteries would last if you pre-programmed the unit to remain armed for 120 seconds or 180 seconds. Which isn't an unreasonable length of time between shots for me when I'm in the midst of testing the precision of my loaded ammunition. Let alone waiting for the barrel to cool down between shots fired, or studying the wind prior to shooting.

Solutions: The only two I can think of:
1) You either need an automotive battery to supply the power draw of a longer pre-programmed "arm" time or,
2) The unit needs to be able to be "armed" remotely - from my shooting position behind my rifles.

I e-mailed the distributor about this concern after reading I read the owner's manual, and prior to my first use of the unit. I knew right away this was going to be a major inconvenience in my use of the LabRadar. The distributor responded promptly and stated: "We will be coming out with a Bluetooth App for Android and Apple phones/tablets soon, where you will be able to arm the device remotely since sometimes it is out of reach from the shooting position. We expect the Android version to be out in December, with Apple version following soon after."

So the good news is, the need has been identified, and the FIX is in the making. The bad part is, I use a Windows Phone, which means the Android and Apple App won't function using my smart phone. I'll have to figure out a work around. Will likely need to purchase a used Android/Apple phone or tablet, in order to utilize this Bluetooth App. But that can and will be done. Because I need to be able to "arm" the unit from my shooting position.
 
Last edited:

shphtr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
231
Location
Alaska
Used the Ohler (sp?) for 20+ years and worked great with limitations: mainly problems with light variations, e.g. early morning, late afternoon and shadows. Have had the LabRadar for about a year and very satisfied. It is true it is battery hungry but battery pack works great in the Alaskan cold and can be recharged once depleted and low light conditions are not a problem. Once purchased and used I suspect you will agree it was money well spent. Good Luck.
 

Cow Town Bill

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2011
Messages
9
I like mine , it seems to work well . I have not run mine on batteries , I bought the power pack . I kept reading they eat batteries up quickly .

My Lab Radar is the best chrono I've ever had. And, yes, you need a power pack---my buddy and I figured that out in a hurry.
They take a bit of time to use properly but once you get that figured out you'll never look back.
 

phorwath

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2005
Messages
6,946
Location
Alaska
I wouldn't say I don't like the LabRadar. It has a lot of good things going for it.

But I do say I'll like it much more when it can be armed remotely. So I can get ready to shoot, arm the unit from my prone position behind the rifle, and then fire. This way the programmed "arm" time can be reduced down to 20-30 seconds, and the battery and/or power pack life preserved for much longer shooting sessions.
 
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Greyfox

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
5,674
Location
Northeast
I like the LabRadar but poor battery life required I get the battery pack as well. Unfortunately it recentlywent dead on me and I need to ship it back for repair. It was one of the earliest units shipped and worked well until now.
I will say the Magnetospeed has been more frequently used when I’m specifically after velocity for ballistics/programming and already have POI info. I’m very confident of the very accurate velocities acquired off this unit with calibrations(if needed) for long range shooting made using BC for precise results.
 

sfdoc2000

Active Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2014
Messages
39
Location
UT
Got my LabRadar about a year ago. Absolutely the best. Yes it eats AA batteries but you can use ANY USB 5 volt accessory power pack to power the unit. Do not have to buy the relatively expensive dedicated power pack. I have a small 5V 6.4 amp hour unit that recharges from my computer port that powers the unit for about 20 hours before recharge. I really like the SD card memory that I can pop into my computer and download all the data in seconds. Great for load development and for verifying ballistic coefficients on bullets because it gives you stepped downrange velocities out to about 70 yards that no other chrono can do.
 

phorwath

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2005
Messages
6,946
Location
Alaska
Got my LabRadar about a year ago. Absolutely the best. Yes it eats AA batteries but you can use ANY USB 5 volt accessory power pack to power the unit. Do not have to buy the relatively expensive dedicated power pack. I have a small 5V 6.4 amp hour unit that recharges from my computer port that powers the unit for about 20 hours before recharge. I really like the SD card memory that I can pop into my computer and download all the data in seconds. Great for load development and for verifying ballistic coefficients on bullets because it gives you stepped downrange velocities out to about 70 yards that no other chrono can do.
Thanks for sharing that info on power pack life. Good to know. And I agree on the benefits and uses of the SD memory card and the multiple velocities collected. Very nice to have all data recorded and available for review and ballistic app use on the desktop PC.
 

david Helms

New Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2017
Messages
2
The Labradar I see them all the time at the Range where I shoot, as well Bought one back in Nov. for my Christmas present . They were $50 off original price. Also bought a spare battery from Amazon got a much bigger battery for less price
 

Richard W

New Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2017
Messages
2
The largest problem in the use of the LabRadar is: The unit can not be remotely armed (yet). According to distributor, this option will become available in December... for Android phone/tablet owners, using a Bluetooth App that is in the works.

So here's the story, from my experience and perspective:
The Doppler radar must be "armed" before it can record bullet velocity. The unit "arm" time can be programmed to any length of time desired. However, the longer the unit is programmed to remain in the "armed" mode, the faster the battery power is consumed. When the unit is armed, the batteries are in power drain mode.
And here's the issue:
In order to manually "arm" the unit, the user must be able to reach the unit with a finger and push an arm button two times. When I'm set up shooting to develop and collect reloading data, I'm firing in a prone position - laying on the ground. The unit is located near the muzzle. If you shoot with a muzzle brake, the unit is located just behind the brake so the gas blow-back doesn't tear it apart. If shooting without a muzzle brake, the unit is positioned at or slightly forward of the muzzle. Either location is too far forward of arm's length. This means I have to relocate from my prepared firing position in order to reach the "arm" button on the unit. This is a real pain in the ***. I don't know about you, but when I'm shooting ladders or otherwise testing ammo precision, it takes me a while to get settled in and feeling good about my hold before touching off the chambered round.
So the way this works is you manually "arm" the unit by pressing the "arm" button twice, prior to firing the first shot. After arming the unit, I now jhave less than 80 seconds remaining to get situated behind my rifle, draw a bead on my POA, and squeeze the trigger. On my first outing, I programmed the unit to remain armed for 80 seconds after a shot was fired. By the time I fired one round and was prepared to fire a second round, the 80 seconds of time had commonly elapsed. Which meant I had to leave my firing position again in order to push the arm button two more times, re-position behind the rifle again, and then fire the shot within what remained of the 80 seconds.
Having the unit programmed to remain armed for 80 seconds after each shot was fired, I was able to shoot 14 rounds before the 6AA batteries were lifeless. So you can only imagine how long the batteries would last if you pre-programmed the unit to remain armed for 120 seconds or 180 seconds. Which isn't an unreasonable length of time between shots for me when I'm in the midst of testing the precision of my loaded ammunition. Let alone waiting for the barrel to cool down between shots fired, or studying the wind prior to shooting.

Solutions: The only two I can think of:
1) You either need an automotive battery to supply the power draw of a longer pre-programmed "arm" time or,
2) The unit needs to be able to be "armed" remotely - from my shooting position behind my rifles.

I e-mailed the distributor about this concern after reading I read the owner's manual, and prior to my first use of the unit. I knew right away this was going to be a major inconvenience in my use of the LabRadar. The distributor responded promptly and stated: "We will be coming out with a Bluetooth App for Android and Apple phones/tablets soon, where you will be able to arm the device remotely since sometimes it is out of reach from the shooting position. We expect the Android version to be out in December, with Apple version following soon after."

So the good news is, the need has been identified, and the FIX is in the making. The bad part is, I use a Windows Phone, which means the Android and Apple App won't function using my smart phone. I'll have to figure out a work around. Will likely need to purchase a used Android/Apple phone or tablet, in order to utilize this Bluetooth App. But that can and will be done. Because I need to be able to "arm" the unit from my shooting position.
 

Richard W

New Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2017
Messages
2
I'm not sure what type of battery you are using, but with Duracell copper Tops you generally can get 160+ shots. We keep our set at 60 seconds on the Armed time and 60 seconds on the Screensaver. I understand your need to keep the armed time longer to get into position etc. but that will not decrease your battery life to 14 shots with new batteries. If your an avid shooter, i would buy the USB battery bank. Unfortunately this technology requires a lot of power. For most shooters the AA Alkaline batteries work fine.
 

phorwath

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2005
Messages
6,946
Location
Alaska
I'm not sure what type of battery you are using, but with Duracell copper Tops you generally can get 160+ shots. We keep our set at 60 seconds on the Armed time and 60 seconds on the Screensaver. I understand your need to keep the armed time longer to get into position etc. but that will not decrease your battery life to 14 shots with new batteries. If your an avid shooter, i would buy the USB battery bank. Unfortunately this technology requires a lot of power. For most shooters the AA Alkaline batteries work fine.

Not sure why my AA battery use was so limited. The batteries were out of the box new. It was 30*F on my first use. That may have cut into the Duracells? Alkaline batteries don't perform great in colder temperatures.

Dunno... I had the unit programmed to remain armed for 80 seconds. I fired 14 shots. I probably also armed the unit an additional 3-5 times, as I was learning on-the-job while reviewing the owner's manual, etc... I armed it and on the 14th round, the unit recorded that bullet velocity, and then the screen said unable to arm due to low battery power. Received a message that said to plug in a USB power pack for additional use - which I did. I bought the USB power pack at the same time I purchased the LabRadar. Glad I did or my first outing would've been pretty limited.

Another reason I think the limited battery life may have been cold weather related, is after removing the Duracell batteries at the house, I checked their remaining voltage after they had come to room temperature and all the batteries read around 1.45 volts - which I thought should have been sufficient. When new, I think they read 1.55 to 1.65 volts. Anyhow, I did not test the battery voltage while they were still chilled to 30*F, so they may have been unable to function further due to the cold outdoor temps.

I finished up using the USB Lithium power pack, and their still seemed to be plenty of power remaining. Like 4 of the 5 indicator leds were lit up. The powering solution is straightforward. Now I'm impatiently awaiting the Bluetooth App option for remote arming. That will be a VERY nice upgrade.
 
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djfriesen

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2016
Messages
207
Alkaline batteries don't work in freezing temperatures. The fact you were even able to get 14 shots is surprising, and probably due to the fact that the unit had retained some residual heat from the trip to the range.

Either way, the charge pack seems like a no-brainer, but I bet Li-ion batteries or warmer conditions would have yielded better results.
 

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