Stopwatch errors could make race times wrong by a tenth of a second


Stopwatch at swimming race

Stopwatches may not be as accurate as you think

EyeEm / Alamy

Digital stopwatches can make rounding errors of up to 0.11 seconds, which could be enough to change the winner of close races. Although the devices record time extremely accurately internally, they often make errors when converting that raw data to human-readable values.

Most digital stopwatches measure time by counting the predictable oscillations of a quartz crystal. The crystal will pulse many thousands of times a second and the final count is converted into seconds with decimal places, in a format known …



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