Planning for the Future


So, you just bought a new timing system – congratulations! Or maybe you have had your system for a few years now. While most of our products will last long beyond their 5-year warranty, you will need to plan on replacing items now and then. Planning for future purchases can make your budgeting for those expenses a lot easier.

3-5 years: Laptop

Most laptops will last much longer than 3-5 years. The timing computer does not need to be high powered or brand new.  However, make sure that the USB connections are solid. That is typically the first issue, especially if you are plugging the CTI in and out frequently. Intermittent CTI communication issues can indicate either a bad USB cable or a bad USB connection on either the CTI or the computer. If you can wiggle the USB connecter in the port, it is probably bad.

Make sure you keep all your software up to date. IST software updates are available on our website, and you should run any Windows updates that are available any time you power up your PC.

5-15 years: Touchpads, Backup Buttons, Deck Cable Deck Cable

Depending on the amount of use (or abuse) your equipment is subjected to, all these items can last for a long time. However, at some point they will need to be replaced.

Touchpads themselves cannot be repaired, but their connectors can be replaced. Replacing the connectors can help extend the life of your touchpad. So can rinsing them in fresh water and storing them in a dry place where they will not get squashed or sliced. It is a good idea to budget for one or two new touchpads a year, starting around year 4. If you do not need them, great! But if you do, you will have the money set aside already.

For the deck cable, you will know when it is time to replace it. Deck cables can be repaired. The 25-pin connector can be replaced, as can the individual lane boxes. At some point though, it will cost as much to repair it as it will to just buy a new one. Replacement is also necessary if there is a break in the cable between the boxes, which can happen if the deck cable is twisted and coiled tightly when stored.

Backup buttons can also be repaired. You can replace the plug end yourself, and we can fix the push button end. If the coating on the wire starts to fray or the wire breaks, then you will need to replace it. Coil the buttons loosely and store them in a dry place to help extend their usable life.

10-15 Years: CTI, Start Device, Pace Clocks Computer Timing Interface box

The CTI does not get thrown around the way that deck cables and backup buttons do, so they should last a long time. Like a laptop, it is possible for the USB connector to loosen over time, but that we can easily repair that. Keeping the connections for the scoreboard and deck cable clean with an electrical contact cleaner can help extend the life of your CTI.

Just about anything that goes wrong with a start device can be repaired. Batteries, speakers, and microphones can all be either repaired or replaced. You will only need to replace the body of the start device if it gets wet internally or if you are spending as much to keep it running as it would be to get a new one.

Pace Clocks are like Starts, in that most of what goes wrong can be repaired. The exception is the blue Programming pendent on the SWIMCLOCKs. Those are no longer able to be repaired as we cannot get the parts for them anymore. The good news is you can replace the pendant with a Bluetooth Adapter and program your clock using an app on your Android or iPhone device. Eventually the clock may need to be replaced if the case is damaged beyond repair or if the internal electronics got wet.

10-30 years: LED Scoreboard

Our fixed line LED scoreboards should last for 30 years or more. Our very first one is 29 years old and still going strong. There will be individual panels that go out, but those can be fixed. You may also have connectors go bad, but those can be fixed as well. The connectors can be replaced by maintenance staff, or even a parent. The trickiest part of the replacement is getting up to the scoreboard, which usually requires a lift. You can also have an IST technician come out and troubleshoot and repair your scoreboard. We charge for time, materials, and expenses, so it can be fairly expensive to have someone on site. However, it is not nearly as expensive as purchasing a new scoreboard!

If you are looking for an upgraded scoreboard, think about an IST Video board. They have a 5-year manufacturers warranty. These boards are designed to be used outdoors, so they will stand up to the humid pool environment. With a video board you can run advertising at your pool, which can be a significant source of annual income for your program. It can help pay for the cost of the board, as well as any future equipment needs.

Be prepared!

If you take good care of your timing equipment, it should last for a long time. Plan ahead with your budget every year. Set aside a little money for the inevitable repair and replacement costs and they won’t take you by surprise.

When you have equipment that needs repair, reach out to us to get an RMA number. We will send you the RMA number and shipping instructions, as well as an estimated cost for the repair. Once we have it repaired, we will reach out to get payment and send it back.

If you are thinking about replacing equipment, reach out and get a quote. We will send you a quote for whatever you need plus shipping that you can give to your business office. When you are ready to purchase you can send us a PO, check or call with a credit card.

[email protected] || 800-835-2611 ||


15% Off Pace Clocks Thru July 31st
You have until the end of July to take advantage of our amazing deals on pace clocks! 15% off of all pace clocks and bundle WORKWARE for only $50! Call us or visit our website for more information and incredible deals!


Posted in
International Sports Timing, Scoreboards, Grand Rapids, MI
Scroll to Top