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The iBowsight: Turn Your iPhone Into a Versatile Bow Sight

by Dustin DeCroo 16. December 2011 07:42
Dustin DeCroo

At we are always fascinated by cutting edge technology in the archery world, with that said, the iBowsight is very intriguing. The iBowsight is a two part system that combines the iBowsight app (for iPhone 4 or 4s) with a bracket that mounts to any bow with standard AMO sight holes. From there your iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S utilizes the camera for your sight picture and can utilize the HD video camera in conjunction with your sight. This means, you can use the phone as a sight and record your hunt at the same time. The pins and sight ring are both fully adjustable in regards to color and size as well as offering a pendulum sight option for extreme angles.

This is what the iBowsight App/mount ready to hunt!

As interesting as this is, my skeptical mind began to ask questions about the “reliability” of an electronic and removable sight. With this in mind, I sent my questions directly to the manufacturers of iBowsight as I didn’t have the opportunity to speak with them at the Mathews retailers show where I was first introduced to the product. These were the questions that I asked as well as the responses from the engineers of iBowsight.

What happens when you get a phone call or text?

You can set your phone in airplane mode or have blue tooth on for incoming calls. With bluetooth, you can always answer with your headset, I personally will put mine in airplane mode when I hunt to lock out the distraction! For text it is simple, below is what it looks like when the text shows up, the text will show on top of the iBowSight Screen while in iBowsight mode even when at full draw. As you can see the text does not in any way interfere with your sight ring.

This shows what will be shown when a text is received.

Does the iPhone mount exactly the same way every time?

Yes for the first 1500 times it should be within +/- 0.003". To mount the iPhone 4(S) effectively, reliably, securely and quickly, a clamp system with 8 mounting points has been designed. This system allows the user to mount and remove the iPhone from the bracket in less than 10 seconds while maintaining the same position, +/- 0.003” from -4F to +120F.

Additionally, iBowSight allows users to create multiple profiles to meet the needs of the current bow in use. This means each profile can be set up individually and even be specific to the brand and length of the arrow being shot. One has the ability to build and tune these specific profiles to get within +/- 0.003” of an inch even in extreme temperatures. The beauty of these profiles is that they can be precisely recalled at an instant time after time. To make this a true sight system, the mounting bracket is predrilled to give up to 3 mounting positions on the bow and have a pre-tapped holes for a bow quiver. The back of the bracket is also predrilled to accommodate for future accessories and comes standard with a removable accessory mounting bar. There will be two different styles available at the ATA Show offered in Black and different Camouflages yet to be announced. The iPhone attaches to the bracket via the stainless steel bristle around the phone , the bracket does not attach to the glass screen because the screen can expand and contract due to temperature variances.

How does the app affect battery life?

The app does not affect battery life, unless you leave it in the foreground, with iOS5 multitasking, you can put it on back ground and it is just dormant. When running in the background mode, the battery will last 16hrs.

The app is designed to have a lot more features than most people can dream, like instant on, 2 seconds to in-focus from app being pressed.

How does the iBowsight work in rainy or snowy conditions?

With iPhone's water resistant design, there will be rain hood and USB plug sold as accessories for those who want to use it in those weather conditions.

How do you sight in the iBowsight?

Just like any other sight, but with iPhone you can micro adjust in +/- 0.003" once you have the iPhone bracket installed on your bow you can rough sight it in, then to do the fine micro adjusting to your sight. You will be able to micro adjust the sight within the iBowsight App. You will also be able to change the sight ring to any different color you want so that if you tilt the bow past level the color of the sight ring will change to warn you that you are not holding the bow level. In the App, you will be able to move the sight pins to sight in like you would with most other sights.

3rd Axis Calibration

3rd Axis Calibration

Color choices for pins, ring and bubble level.

The iBowsight has the ability to be a pendulum sight as well as a pin sight.

Pin Ajustment Mode

How do the lenses work with the sight?

The iPhone uses the built in optics of an iPhone, to reverse the wide angle built in lens, a fix focus telephoto lens is recommended to get a 1X1 ratio.

The app has a 4X Zoom. These can be purchased over the internet from various manufacturers with prices rangeing from $25.00 to $800.00, it all depends on how fine of optics you want... quality comes with a price.

As for optics, it is optics, you get for what you pay for. It uses standard 11/16" screw mount and I recommended non focus design lens.

The bracket will come with an installazion hole for the correction lense of choice.

The iBowSight App will be available for purchase via the Apple iTunes App Store in the near future. ( Should become avilable the day before Christmas )

The iBowSight App not only transforms the iPhone into a bow sight, by leveraging the iPhone’s advanced electronics and iOS 5, it is also a video camera which can film every shot and store them into the internal memory of the iPhone. The video will be recorded in 720p and 1080p when using the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S respectively.

In v1.0 of iBowSight, the following features are available:

  1. Sight ring can be size from 0.3” radius to an edge to edge radius of 2.1”
  2. Sight ring’s can have up to 2.6 millions colors of choice
  3. Sight ring can be micro adjust in an increment of 1/326”
  4. Each pin size can be adjust from 0.012” radius to 0.240” radius
  5. Each pin can have up to 2.6 millions colors of choice
  6. Each pin can have its own shape beside a standard dot. At version 1.0 there is a total of 9 shapes to start.
  7. One can add up to 7 pins to the sight
  8. There is built in digital zoom from 1.0X base on internal optics to 4.0X in an increment of 0.01X
  9. 3rd axis adjustment to accommodate the most demanding and complicated sight set up
  10. Built in water level for visual bow leveling
  11. Sight level confirmation via ring color choices. i.e. One can set the ring color to be green (color A) when leveled and red (color B) when the bow is tilted. Thus one can look at the ring color change instead of the water level to confirm if the bow is leveled.
  12. One can have the option to set the sight into an automatic pendulum sight when the bow is dropped below 45 degrees. This feature allows the best of both worlds. In pendulum mode, the choice of sight pin shape and color is totally independent from the original pins. However the reference position of the pendulum sight is still base on the 20 yard pin. Therefore setting the pins in use are critical for the pendulum sight options to function properly
  13. up to 20,000 storable profiles, (each profile also bow, arrow, arrow length, point weight, and other parameters settings)
  14. Operational indicators (mini icons to show on active screen which optiions are active

Lighted Nock Challenge

by John Mueller 23. June 2010 15:31
John Mueller

Earlier this year I signed up to do a comparison between 3 different lighted nocks. I chose The Firenock, Easton’s Tracer Nock, and Burt Coyote’s Lumenock to do my test. There were certain tests required for this evaluation. I was to shoot each nock 100 times, unless the nock failed before the 100 shots. After 50 shots I submerged all 3 arrows in tap water for 12 hours. After shot #75 I submerged the nock end of the arrow in salt water for 12 hours then let the arrows sit in a bowcase overnight. For the 100th shot it was optional to shoot the arrow with the lighted nock into a cinder block. Since I am using Easton FMJ arrows, which aren't cheap, I chose not to perform the final test. Here are my results and findings.


I purchased my Lumenock and Tracer Nock at Bass Pro Shop in St. Charles, MO. The Lumenock cost me $10.99 and the Tracer cost $6.77. I ordered the Firenock Model A1 direct from the manufacturer for $20.95. The Lumenock and Tracer are available in either Florecent Orange or Green. The Firenock comes in 9 different nock colors and 6 different LED colors or any combination of the above for 54 different combinations.

I used Easton Full Metal Jacket Arrows to perform my testing. This is the arrow I use while hunting. My arrow with a standard nock installed weighed in at 463 grains. After adding the Tracer Nock total arrow weight was 478 grains. The Lumenock mounted arrow weighed 477 grains. And the arrow with the Firenock weighed 477 grains. So the lighted nocks added roughly 15 grains to my arrow.  Adding weight to a hunting arrow isn’t a bad thing in my opinion, but adding it to the back of the arrow is. I would much rather add weight to the front to add stability in flight. Be careful when adding weight to the rear of lightweight arrows.

During the assembly of the arrows I needed to sand a small amount of plastic from the diameter of each nock to allow ease of insertion of each of the nocks. Without sanding I felt it took too much pressure to get the nock seated all of the way to the arrow, especially with the Lumenock. The Lumenock is designed to turn on by sliding in the arrow until it makes contact with the back of the arrow. You turn it off by pulling it out slightly away from the arrow. The Firenock turns on by the shock of the shot triggering a sensor built into the nock. You turn it off by tapping the nock end against a hard surface. The Tracer Nock is activated by passing near a magnet. The magnetic field activates the circuitry in the nock, turning it on. To turn it off simply pass it by the magnet again.

To me the simplest system is the one used by the Firenock. The shock of the shot turns it on and you bounce the nock on a hard surface to turn it off. I never had a failure to light on the shot. It usually only took one tap to get it turned off, but on a few occasions I had to tap it twice.  The Firenock also seemed to have the brightest light when viewed side by side with the other two. The Firenock was the only one of the three to supply a separate nock along with a weight to use when practicing and sighting in. This would definitely save some wear and tear on the nock as well as save valuable battery life.

The Lumenock proved to be the most unreliable nock to light. Some of the time it didn’t light at all and sometimes it would light, but turn off when it hit my target. The nock sliding inside the arrow just leaves too many variables.

While the Tracer’s magnetic system was pretty reliable, it did fail to light a couple of times. I do like the fact that after 10 seconds the Tracer Nock begins to flash, instead of a steady on light. I think it makes it more visible and easier to find your arrow.The magnet is held on to the bow by adhesive, but can be removed by a Velcro connection. There is the possibility that while walking through the woods you could knock the magnet off your bow, leaving the Tracer nock useless. To me simpler is better.

To perform my testing, I used my Bowtech Captain Bow, set at 65# with a 30” draw, equipped with a Ripcord Rest. I was shooting into a fairly new Block Fusion for my backstop.

During the first 50 shots of my test the Firenock performed flawlessly. It lit on every shot and stayed lit after coming to rest in the Block. It only took one tap of the nock on my picnic table to turn it off. The Tracer Nock lit on 49 out of the first 50 shots and stayed lit after entering the block. Passing the lit nock past the magnet a second time immediately turned off the Tracer ready to be shot again. On the one shot that failed to light, I passed the arrow by the magnet by hand and it did light. Not sure what happened there. The Lumenock failed to light twice at the shot and one time did light but it was a very weak glow instead of being completely light up. In addition, on one occasion the arrow was lit, but when it hit the block the Lumenock turned off.

Then it was time for the water submersion test. I used an old wallpaper soaking trough to completely submerge all 3 arrows in water. When I first started soaking the arrows I didn’t notice anything abnormal. When I came back an hour or so later, the Lumenock was glowing under the water. I guess the water was acting like a conductor and completing the citcuit causing the nock to glow slightly. Neither the Tracer or the Firenock showed any signs of light.

I let the arrows soak overnight and pulled them out the next morning. The Lumenock was still glowing slightly. After drying all of the arrows off with a towel the Lumenock went completely out.

I then started my next round of 25 shots into the block target. After the first shot with the Firenock I was unable to turn it off by bouncing it on my picnic table like I had before. I bounced it a number of times, but it would not turn off. So I pulled the nock out of the arrow. Some water came out with the nock. I blew on the nock and circuit board and shook the water out of the arrow. Then I disconnected the battery from the nock, the light went out and didn’t come back on when I reconnected the battery. It worked fine after that coming on every shot and turning off with a tap on my picnic table.

The Tracer Nock worked fine after I took it out of the water.  It came on every shot and shut off when brought back by the magnet. The water submersion test had no effect on the Tracer at all.

Once dried off the Lumenock turned off and stayed off until shot again. It lit all 25 times when shot, but did turn off 1 more time as it entered the block. I guess the shock of hitting the target is causing the nock to move enough in the arrow every now and then to shut it off.

After shot #75 the test called for all 3 nocks to be soaked in salt water while installed in the arrows for a minimum of 12 hours, then left overnight in a bow case. Once again after soaking for a short time the Lumenock began to glow slightly. I let the arrows soak overnight and in the morning not only was the Lumenock glowing, so was the Firenock.  I put all 3 arrows in an old bowcase and left them there until I got home from work about 12 hours later.

When I took the arrows out of the case, the Firenock was still burning. I tried bouncing in on the table to turn it off, but it would not shut off. I took the nock out of the arrow and dried it off and pulled the battery out. Then I reconnected the battery and the nock turned on again. I could not get it to turn off with the battery connected. The salt water must have gotten in there and ruined the circuit board.  I tried shooting it to see if that would maybe shut it off, but it stayed lit until I pulled the battery.

Taking the Lumenock out of the case I noticed it was no longer glowing. I pushed the nock against the back of the arrow to see if it would light, but nothing happened. Then I pulled the nock out of the arrow and dried it off and disconnected the battery. I reconnected the battery and tried setting off the nock again, but it would not light. I shot it a couple of times and nothing. I’m not sure if the battery went dead from burning all that time or something short circuited in the salt water bath.

I then took the Tracer Nock out of the saltwater and passed it by the magnet, it lit. I then shot the Tracer 25 more times and it lit every time but once. The Tracer was the only nock to complete my testing. I’m not a big fan of the magnetic system, but the Tracer held up really well to the test.

I chose not to do the final crash test of shooting an arrow into a cinder block with nock attached. I really didn’t want to destroy one of my good arrows.

I have to say I liked the operating system of the Firenock the best. The shock of the shot lights the nock and then you simply bounce the nock on a hard surface to shut it off. The Tracer worked most of the time, but I don’t like the idea of having the magnet attached to my bow with the possibility of knocking it off walking through the woods. The Lumenocks’s system of the sliding nock was the most unreliable method with more failures than the rest.









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