Electrical and Data Issues
Updated: Oct 9, 2017
To support electronic timing systems today, there is an intricate network of conduit and junction boxes around the track and field facility. This network of raceways needs to support electrical and data for the timing system and it’s many other components.
The in-ground junction boxes used are supplied by many different manufacturers and each have their pros and cons. The issue is more how they are installed and protection of the electrical and data connections.
I distinctly recall one high school training I did in Southern California. The facility was brand new and had been completed at the beginning of the new school year so football could play their home games on a new field. I arrived in early March to train the staff on their new electronic timing system. I always ask ahead of time for the school to check their connections before I arrive so that we don’t waste time troubleshooting. They responded that the facility was new and everything was good to go.
When I arrived in the morning I took a walk around the track facility and opened the junction boxes to see what I had to work with. The boxes were very muddy all over the inside walls, the electrical and data connections were already rusty and corrosive buildup. The GFI circuits were popped and would not reset. It was Southern California, who expects a lot of rain!
When I met the timing crew inside the school that morning, I informed them of the issues I found and their response was that they had a very wet winter this year. We managed to get power working in one location, but they had to call the contractor back and repair all the damaged connections.
I can’t recall all the facilities I have walked into to find similar situations. Many times, we have had to pull new data lines for the Ethernet network and replace receptacles so that we have a stable electrical connection. I have worked in several facilities built near rivers and lakes and they already know that they have a high water table to deal with. Some near saltwater marshes had to deal with high tides and the water table.
Some of these situations are tough to find a good solution and meet all the safety code requirements. At least if everyone discusses these issues when surveying the site and planning the design, most can be avoided.