Does anyone know if there is a practical difference between the retro-reflective tape in the manual (3M 8830 Scotchlite Reflective Material) and other brands? We have a role of Reflexite GP020 from a previous year’s kit of parts. It is the correct size but if it could make a difference in tuning our vision processing we would want the correct type.
There can be some differences, but if you’ve got your vision system tuned well, it shouldn’t be a problem. I’d probably buy a little of the new stuff just to check it against the old before using it everywhere.
We bought some imitation tape. The amount of difference is negligible compared to lighting differences on tournament fields where you should recalibrate during the calibration times.
Another question - where to buy the actual tape? I cannot find it at Home Depot, Amazon, or McMaster. What I do find are these:
Are these close enough?
There are two basic types of retroreflective tape. The type usually used on the field is “prismatic” based on cubic surfaces reflecting a signal back to the direction from which it originated, and is similar to retroreflective street signs. The other type (often listed in team versions and easier to obtain) is based on glass beads embedded in the tape. It also returns a good bit of light in the direction from which it came, but has more scatter than prismatic tape. The good news is that if your vision system works with glass beads, it is definitely capable of working with the better prismatic tape, though a bit of adjustment may be required.
Last time I purchased each, the RR tape from AndyMark was prismatic and the RR tape from Home Depot was glass bead based.
I found this place.
I haven’t purchased from there yet. But it seems like a decent option.
As others have said, the difference in lighting conditions on an actual field will be the most significant difference you will have between your practice area and the event. I strongly recommend that you ask about calibration times at the event and then utilize them to double check that what you have will work, or recalibrate it to work for the operating conditions at the event.