freETarget – Open Source Electronic Target
This is the site for building your own electronic rifle or pistol target
June 30, 2021
What is freETarget?
Virtually all competitions are now held on electronic targets. They have the advantage of providing instantaneous feedback without the necessity of peering through a scope or scoring with a plug gauge. Unfortunately, they are expensive and outside of the means of most shooters.
So what to do?
Given the success of various open source projects such as Linux or Open Office, it seems to make sense that somebody try to make an open source electronic target.
freETarget – Free E Target
FreETarget is an opensource Electronic Scoring Target (EST) project where the parts to make the target, electronics, and visualization software is available online and can be assembled by anybody.
Who can use freETarget?
freETarget is open source, so anybody who has the technical expertise to install software on a PC should be able to make their own freETarget.
- Advanced amateurs
- 4H Clubs
- Scout troops
What do I need?
All of the technical documentation can be found at http://github.com/ten-point-nine/freetarget. This is a conventional github repository that contains the hardware and software documentation that you would need to make a freETarget yourself.
There are three major elements:
- The target sensor and acquisition electronics
- The target housing
- The PC visualization software
Target Sensor & Acquisition Electronics
freETarget uses a custom circuit board to acquire the projectile information, and an Arduino MEGA2560 to process the signal. You can fabricate the boards using the Gerber files on the github, or you can purchase assembled and tested boards.
The circuit communicates to the PC over a long (15 meter) USB cable you can buy from Amazon.
The target housing can be made from plywood and mounted on your target stand. Drawings for the housing are available on this site.
The target housing drawings on this site are for a simple holder that locates the sensors in the correct location. This lets the user decide if they want to put the target in a stand, in a berm, or hanging from a target rail.
PC Visualization Software
The PC software is available in source form on the github, or in an installation package on this site.
Latest from the Blog
June 29, 2021
Things are moving along. Please find the updated technical documentation on the site
May 17, 2021
Earlier this month the boards arrived from the manufacturer. Product is being sent to people on the list from the oldest inquiry onwards.
If you sent an inquiry in the past, expect an email some time in the next two weeks.
Otherwise contact us and get your name on the list.
The new boards include a filter to try to silence shots and only keep the pellet wake.
March 28, 2021
FinallyThe freETarget Version 3 boards are done and working.I’ll be contacting the first few people this week and placing a production order on Monday. I have a list of everybody who inquired and I will be getting back to you in the order in which you emailed.Features of Version 3
- Dual display, one for the shooting point, and the other for a spectator display.
- Brightness controlled LED
- High current motor drive for witness paper
- Face strike detector for missed shots
- Built in diagnostics to help in installation
- Polarized cable harness for easier installation
- Easier sensor calibration and sensitivity adjustment
March 25, 2021
The Version 3 boards came in last week and so far the tests of the new hardware is going well.
Target LED brightness works.
Extra display port works
High current motor control works
New User Installation software is working.
Face strike circuit works.
We have started the live fire tests. Only put a few hours in, so I hope to be finished over the week-end to place a production order on Monday.
January 30, 2021
We are sold out of the Version 2.2 Engineering Samples. Based on feedback, Version 3 will have the following new features
- Support for adjustable target brightness
- Fifth Sensor to detect hits to the frame
- Extra USB serial port to drive another display
To everybody who emailed us, we will be incontact when the new boards come in.
January 24, 2021
The tin of pellets did not go for naught. The results are in.
Except for the second hole that was shot outside of the target, the remainder are in the right place.
To everybody who has been waiting, I will begin shipping this week.
January 12, 2021
Christmas was productive. I shot about half a box of pellets through the target and corrected a lot of small things that contributed to the error.
Today’s shots looked good and I will begin sending out the first samples in the next week or so.
Thanks for your patience and support.
November 5, 2020
The first field tests using an air pistol was good-news-bad-news. If you hit in the black, the score was good to within 0.1/0.2 of a point. If you shot outside of the black, well, let’s not talk about that.
Investigation showed that the problem was an error in detecting when the pellet crossed the microphone plane. There is a hardware fix for it and the boards can be modified by hand.
So, this weekend I am setting up a production line to convert the 20 boards I have into 10 revised assemblies.
For the first 10 people on the waiting list, you will get the hand modified boards. After that the change will be incorporated into the next rev of the boards.
Thanks for understanding.
October 24, 2020
Today the boards arrived. Use the Contact Us page to get in line for samples.
October 1, 2020
Testing started. Going well in the black. Issues with shots in the 1-2 ring.
September 17, 2020
It took five weeks to send a package from Kansas to Cluj but finally it arrived.
So now there are two systems in test.
August 28, 2020
Sorry that August has been a slow month. Between work, house repairs, and SLOW postal service from the US to Europe, not much progress has been made this month.
On the positive side,
- Contributors have been adding new target sizes
- Production of the first 12 boards is underway
- JSON remote control of the hardware is working
- Software for factory test is about 75% complete
- There has been a lot of good talk on GitHub and TargetTalk.org about the project.
August 12, 2020
Making slow progress.
The boards have been laid out for production, but with the summer, things have been slow. The layout is complete, but production will have to wait until later in the month.
The first sample has been sent to a Beta Test. I’m hoping it works for him, but like any Beta Test, I’m expecting something not to work.
Received a number of inquiries about longer range targets such as 50m rifle. The signal processing software has been revised to allow variable sized targets, but until production begins you won’t see the change.
Some people have asked about using WiFi or Ethernet to talk to the electronics. Using an USB/Ethernet box should address the concern. https://www.amazon.com/AV-Access-Extender-Operating-Synchronously/dp/B01EV33R8S/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=2BX5LOTTNYHKI&dchild=1&keywords=usb+ethernet+extender&qid=1597254087&sprefix=usb+ether%2Caps%2C220&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyVTRWTTRUTlpSTlZRJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNDYwNzIwMlpaV1hHTkJXVVJZWCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMjE5Njk2MUhXMzQ0Qjc3V05RQyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
July 16, 2020
The mechanical drawings of the target holder are now on the Downloads page.
The PC software is now available on the web site (this one) and looks awsome.
The prototype boards are back. Two will be available for evaluation in late July or early August. The board sets which include an Arduino, signal processing board, sensor modules, and the wiring harness will cost $150US, plus shipping. The 16 meter USB cable is separate and is available on Amazon.
The first two boards are engineering samples and may require some TLC to get working. For that reason, these boards have to go to people with technical qualifications. Unfortunately, there are no refunds if the prototypes do not work for you.
To apply, go to the contact page and send a message detailing your technical qualifications. Based on the replies, the two leading responses will be chosen.
Once we get the kinks worked out of the process, the boards will be available to anybody.
Been busy fixing up the detection algorithm. Got tired of live fire tests and now simulating the hardware to fix up the software.
By the middle of June, the algorithm looks completely debugged.
We have the first cut of the PC software, and we have begun live fire tests on the hardware and software.
Things are looking good, but some of the shots are landing up in the wrong place on the display. Needs more work on the data collection software
The target sensors are working well to recognize the pellet and compute the trajectory. Right now we are using the debug software to figure out the circuit.
Anybody want to make the PC software?
The boards are back and part way though debugging. Now that we have hardware, we found that the bullet sound is opposite to what we thought. Ooops. Now the sensor boards have cuts and jumpers on them, but they do detect the pellet
We’re making progress. The circuit is out for layout and the signal processing software has been started.
Next step is to wait for the boards to come back and put in the firmware
Electronic targets are here to stay, but who can afford $2000 for a single target. The solution is an open source project like Linux to build the next generation of electronic targets.
This project links up firmware developers with HMI designers with circuit engineers to create a low cost DIY electronic target.
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