Rubik’s Cube Timer

I have been looking for a good timer to use to record my solve times for the Rubik’s cube. There are quite a few and I have used them all for the most part. But I am not totally pleased with any single one of them. Don’t get me wrong there are several, that are quite nice but there is always something I don’t like.

In terms of aesthetics, I love the Omega Studio timer, but it offers very little in terms of functionality. It would serve the purpose if it could be activated using the keyboard (and yes I know I could simulate mouse buttons using the keyboard and some software but the hassle is unnecessary) but as it stands, it is not what I want.

So I decided to make my own, just like I do all the time. Something nice, simple and with recording capabilities.

Here is what I made:

It can be activated using the mouse buttons or the keyboard. To start the timer press and hold a key or button down until the green light turns on. When you release the key, the timer will start moving.

To stop the timer just hit any key or button.

Once the timer stops, the time is recorded, unless you click on “Discard this time”.

On the bottom there is a random scramble in standard notation to get your started with the next solve. Left-click or any key-press will generate a new random scramble.

To exit any window and the program itself just press ESC.

If you open the Performance window, you will see a nice graph of your times. The blue line represents the actual times, and the red line a 5-point average. By doing it this way you avoid having to do 5 solves each time you want to keep a record (which is one disadvantage I found in other timers). Now I can just do 1 or 2 solves and they will be recorded and my current average is computed automatically.

In addition, you can chose a date-based graph so you can see which days/months you have practiced more intensely.

The charts are fully featured:

  • Mouse-over to view time, average and date.
  • Zoom In by dragging to the right-down
  • Zoom Out by dragging left-up
  • Scroll/pan by click&drag.

I have more features for the graphs saved for future versions.

If you want to look or remove some of the recorded times, use the Edit Record window. Uncheck the times you want to hide from the performance graph, and that’s it.

Finally you can pick the color of the timer 7-Segment display by clicking on Color repeatedly.

The Bellon Cube Timer is completely free, but I reserve all rights to it.

DOWNLOAD THE LATEST VERSION OF THE BELLON CUBE TIMER

The software is portable so just put it inside a folder and it will run from there, without messing with the system. You can even keep it in a USB stick and use it anywhere.

If you have suggestions, comments and compliments, please leave a note below.

P.S. Soon to come, more puzzle scrambles, sounds, selected range charting, step timing (to measure time spent at each step), and a metronome for practice.

UPDATE v. 1.1.1

  • New 10-avg Graph (shows the average of 10 times from 12, by discarding lowest and highest)
  • New Stats Digest in the main window (shows current 10-avg, best 10-avg and best time ever)
  • New Settings window (controls LED display size, color, stoplights and inspection time)
  • New Inspection Time Countdown ( When enabled, first key release will start the countdown. Once the countdown gets to zero, the timer starts. If you interrupt the countdown, the timer will start upon key release)
  • New a Beep is heard when 5 seconds are left in the countdown
  • New a Beep is heard when the timer starts aftr the countdown is done
  • New Options for disabling sounds and stoplight delay
  • Fix Display bugs (The timer display is now rendered with my own engine, and not using Windows. The display should now look nice on all screen sizes)

NOTE: I am told that on one system the seconds digit is misplaced with respect to the unlit LED segments underneath. This is happening because, for some reason, that computer insists on displaying the font using variable pitch and not fixed pitch (mono-spaced). I have no idea why that is happening, since I am forcing the display of fixed pitch.

If your system is displaying the seconds digit in this manner, please let me know so I have more data to investigate.

About the Author

21 Responses to “ Rubik’s Cube Timer ”

  1. Hi Alain,
    very nice timer! I really like the graphs and the general aesthetics. Here are a few suggestions that could (in my opinion) improve it:
    1. Support for other cubes (scrambles, statistics and so on)
    2. Option to display a (rolling) average of 10 out of the 12 last solves (removing best and worst times)
    3. Mimic stackmat timers: start/stop timer with combinations of two keys instead of just one (e.g. ctrl+M, or user-defined)

    great job, thanks for sharing!

    Cyril

  2. hey i cannot get to the site to download it and i have been looking for something like this for the past year please help.

  3. Cyril,

    Thank you for your comments.

    1. Yes, other scrambles (plus stats) in the works.
    2. Done.
    3. Ok, I will think about it.

    Jessie,

    Not sure what the problem is, I just tried and it downloads fine for me. I’ll try to send it to you via email.

  4. Hi Alain,
    Thanks for your reply. I downloaded version 1.1.1 but I am a bit puzzled by the averaged results. How can the program compute a rolling average of 10 out of 12 already after one solve? My understanding is that the n-th average of 10 out of 12 should be given by :
    (t_n-11+…+t_n- max{t_n-11,…,t_n} – min{t_n-11,…,t_n})/10

    Hence no rolling average until one has completed the 12th solve.
    This is apparently not the case in your program. Did you use another approach? Same comment for the avg5

    Otherwise the program is perfect, thanks!

  5. Hi Cyril,

    Instead of waiting for 5 or 12 solves, the program takes the average of the available data points. Users are impatient, so why make them wait?

    Strictly speaking you are correct, I just made the algorithms adaptive, instead of skipping processing until the minimum data points were reached. It took a bit more effort but it’s the little things that users come to appreciate in an application.

    Thanks for the comments!

  6. Ok but I think I did not make my main point clear ;-) When I manually compute the 12-avg (removing the best and the worst times and averaging the 10 others) with “my” formula after the 12th, 13th or later solves, I do not obtain the same averages as your timer!

    Try writing a dummy Record.txt with 12 exact same times, then a 13th say 10 seconds lower, then a 14th say 20 seconds higher than the 12-avg after the 12th, 13th, and 14th solves, according to my formula. But it is not the case on your statistics graph, which seems to incorporate some predictive data (or a small silly bug…) I was interested in understanding how you compute the 12-avg in your timer. Any explanations?

    Feel free to email me for a more direct contact if I am still too unclear!

    Cheers,

    Cyril

  7. I will check, but I think what you are experiencing is the handling of edge cases. The average is centered at the point in question, meaning that for the 5avg it will take the values of the two adjecent points on the left and the two adjacent points on the right to compute the average. When the point is near the edge, it mirrors the values off the edge.

    The 12avg is trickier because it is an even number, so I am doing an uneven distribution.

    I am planning on incorporating predictive curves both using a special Kalman Filter and a predictive exponential filter of my own (which I have used with great success for sports performace prediction in basketball and chess).

  8. I’m having some trouble with the display…When i go to settings then the colors, whenever i try to change it, it doesnt work.

  9. Hi Maya,

    What happens when you select for example the Blue display color? (It should instantly change).

    I have an update coming soon, if we can figure out what’s wrong, I can fix it for the update.

  10. what is your best times

  11. im haveing problems i cant seem to get the time to display other then that looks great

  12. yeah,, same goes to me,, the color doesn’t change..
    also,, last time i run the timer,, the number didn’t show up..
    can you help me..??

    sorry for my worst english.. :D

  13. Very nice timer and interface and functions! Though there is somethings this timer can improve on like having avg more than 12 or less than 5 maybe do something so when you havent finished your avg of 12 it won’t have a random number
    if you really want your timer to be popular make it so you can emulate a stackmat

  14. I think being able to have the program open in a window would be great. As it is, I find the program simply fantastic, but having it always run in full screen means I have to frequently exit out of it if I’m just doing casual solves now and then.

  15. Very nice timer, I like the graph function. Did my pb on it the other day! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7C4E9BOR4i0

  16. Very nice timer!

    Just one minor problem: if you use the same Record.txt file on two different systems, and these systems happen to use different date formats, the program won’t be able to read that file properly.

    For example: I used it on one system where the date was saved as “26/9/2010″, which became a problem when I ran the program on another system. In order to make the program work I changed my system’s default date format, but that’s just a workaround.

    Other than that, no complaints!

  17. i have a little sugestion sorry for my poor english im from mexico so please do not be so serius about i have a litlle suggestion why not have the 4x4x4 5x5x5 6x6x6 and 7x7x7 to so you can have your average in the same program its yust a question tanks a lot preatty cool timer at least work for the only troble ist that i have the other cube metion and i wish i can get mi average in separete tables thaks and one again and again sorry for my ugly english ñ.ñ

  18. Impressive timer!
    Great aesthetic alternative to other timers with the functionality options of true timers.

    *Also to Maya H.: to fix that color issue go to “BellonCubeTimer”(The configuration settings one), open it up with notepad and at “Color=1″, change the number to change the color of the timer.

    0=Blue
    1=Red
    2=Green
    3=White

  19. Hi Alain,
    I have a problem. When I press the Space button for an end I get a message that the day and time is not correct. I check and restart all my settings but its not working. Can you give me some advice.

  20. Same problem with me, the first time it worked great,the second time i opened the timer, the time did not show. just plain black. Please suggest a solution.

  21. Hello Alain, hope you still read this thread. I don’t know why but your program is not running on my system (Windows 7 64 bits). Is there a known issue with this OS?
    Thanks.

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